I’ve started listening to David and Goliath: underdogs, misfits, and the art of battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell and there is SO much of a spiritual implication in the very thing he centers his book around. For a non-Christian book, I’m amazed at what he teaches first and then the rest of it continues to strengthen this concept.
We all look at the story of David and Goliath as this completely undersized and way under-matched battle of a massive giant vs a tiny teenage shepherd but when one removes themselves from the “THERE IS A MASSIVE GIANT! THERE IS A MASSIVE GIANT!” and just view it from a new perspective a few things come to light:
- David had proven himself as a skilled ranged warrior – he had killed both a lion and a bear – while Goliath was an infantryman. In war, as rock trumps scissors and scissor trump paper but paper trumps rock, so does infantryman > cavalry > ranged warriors > infantryman. Based on who he was alone (a skilled ranged warrior) he already had the upper hand over the enemy (Goliath, an infantryman).
- When you look more closely at Goliath he starts to seem more… frail. Here was this big infantryman and yet he still had a shield bearer. According to the book, an expert on war of that era noted that shield bearers were used not in infantryman of the time, but ranged warriors. So why would he have one? And why did he note “staves” instead of the singular format? And why/how was he so big? Because he likely had a condition called Acromegaly. In this disease, a tumor of the pituitary gland causes uncontrolled release of the growth hormone – so everything gets bigger and you can have issues even walking etc since your body wasn’t made to grow that big. It also can cause a part of the nerves to the eyes to get pressed on and cause vision issues. So this MASSIVE enemy is that way because of a medical condition that was also making him have bad enough vision a shield bearer was used to be his guide. As the book notes:
The very thing that gave the giant his size was also the source of his greatest weakest.
- Everyone including King Saul expected David to fight Goliath on his terms. Goliath kept asking for a man to come fight him in assumed hand-to-hand combat but here comes David and he’s got no armor on and wielding only a staff and pouch on his side. Goliath, with his horrible vision, likely could only see the staff and his vision was so bad he even thought it was multiple “staves”. By the time David was running at him with his sling up at his side and the stone was killing him was likely mere minutes, if not seconds. He might have never even saw what was happening and at most might have only realized it for the split second before death.
We are under no obligation to fight the enemy on his terms.
I recently had a conversation with a friend who was getting incredibly upset with staying at our church and feeling like “I don’t even want to raise my future kids here.” Being the sister of the children’s pastor and also having a deep love for my church, I had to fight myself from getting upset and wanting to stop the conversation immediately. As we talked some more it finally came to me. “[friend] have you ever thought that this was an attack from the enemy?” Churches can get growing pains (churches are like hospitals, if every one there is perfectly healthy there’s actually something wrong) and thankfully he did seem to turn around his thinking when realizing maybe it was the enemy trying to get him out of church. I’m thankful God taught me a loving answer and had me work to support him. Our church would lose out if he left – every soul is precious and he’s been a good friend to me and others over the years.
So Dear Readers,
Let’s go forward with this new concept deep in our hearts: when the enemy looks SO big and scary, let’s give our fears to God and let Him help us see our unique advantages in this seemingly outmatched battle. Let us ask Him how we should fight and remember that the very thing that intimidates us might sometimes be the very source of their greatest weakness.
Thankful for a Perfect Commander in Christ who knows all our life’s battles and who created us with unique advantages and has the perfect plan for victory,