Face Your Giants

October 7, 2018

        In our Scripture readings this morning you heard about Daniel, Moses, and David (Daniel 6:1-28, Exodus 14:5-8,10-18,21-23,26-30a, 1 Samuel 17:1-11,16,25-51).  They all had something in common…  They all had to face something that most of us would be absolutely terrified of.  But their faith in God gave them the courage and the strength they needed to overcome their fear and defeat the giant that threatened them.  And because they did, many people were saved.  In Daniel’s case, the king revoked his law forbidding anyone to pray to a god other than himself, violation of which was punishable by death; and in its place issued a command that only the one true God, the one that Daniel worshipped, was to be served.  In the case of Moses, the children of Israel were caught between the Red Sea and the Egyptian army, but because Moses trusted God and followed His command, God worked a miracle, and not only he, but all of God’s people were saved.  And David faced a giant named Goliath whom no one else was willing to face, and saved God’s people from the Philistine army. 

     Sometimes we are also called upon to face giants in our lives.  Sometimes they are private ones that we alone battle, but most times our fight not only affects us, but other people as well.  Perhaps not as many as that of Daniel, Moses, and David, but nonetheless, it is important that we understand that our faith and courage, or lack thereof, will have either a positive affect or a negative one on those we love and whose care we are entrusted with.

     So what giant are you up against?  Are you battling an illness or injury?  A job situation?  Financial difficulties?  Problems within the family?  Or maybe you are privately warring against depression, anxiety, or an addiction?  All of these can seem immense and impossible to overcome.  And by our own power they very well might be.  But we are not called upon to rely on our own power.  David trusted God when he was but a shepherd boy, and defeated a giant.  Even after he became king, he continued to trust in God, not in his own power.   In Psalm 62, when faced with enemies, he said, “I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.  So many enemies against one man - all of them trying to kill me. To them I’m just a broken-down wall or a tottering fence.  They plan to topple me from my high position.  They delight in telling lies about me.  They praise me to my face but curse me in their hearts.  Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.  My victory and honor come from God alone.  He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.  O my people, trust in him at all times.  Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.” (vs. 1-8). 

     So what will be your response when a giant threatens you and your life gets turned upside down?  Will you curse God and give up, like Job’s wife told him to do after God allowed Satan to take all that he had, including his health (Job 2)?  Or will you wait quietly before God, putting your hope in Him?  Will you have the courage to go where God directs you, to do what he is calling you to do?  Or have you become too impatient to even listen for His instruction, too hardened to allow the Holy Spirit to work a miracle, too caught up in your own self-pity to see that other people are looking to you for inspiration and possibly even confirmation of the reality of God’s power and love - and maybe even His very existence?

     If we get discouraged when God sends us a minor difficulty to overcome, a mere midget with a pocket knife, how are we going to have to the faith, the courage, and the strength to face a major crisis, a giant with a machine gun?  God sends us the little problems to prepare us for the bigger ones.  Mother Teresa is credited with saying that God will never send us more than we can handle.  But we should not be concerned with what we can handle, but what God can handle, for we are to put our faith and trust in Him, and not our own strength.  When Sarah laughed at God’s promise that she would have a son, God asked Abraham “’Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD?’” (Genesis 18:13-14).  When the disciples wondered how a rich person could be saved after Jesus told them how difficult it is for someone with great wealth to trust in something other than their riches, Jesus told them “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26).  The apostle Paul, after imploring God to remove the ‘thorn in his flesh’ said that our Lord’s response was "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9a).  And Paul responded, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (vs. 9b-10).  Few of us will ever have to face as many giants as did Paul, but we would be wise to note that he never relied on his own strength, but instead told the Philippians, “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13).

     You also can do more than you think.  Put your trust, your hope, your confidence in the God who created all that exists, who loves you so much that He humbled himself to walk among us in human flesh, die on a cross and rise again to defeat death for us, and sends His Holy Spirit to all true believers to empower them - and then, yes, you too can not only face your giants, but defeat them as well!  Amen.

VIDEO:  "Confidence"  (Sanctus Real)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEGGVmSSr-I