One of my favourite Bible stories while growing up, was that of David and Goliath. I loved hearing about how the ‘small’ boy conquered the giant with a sling and stones. It became one of those familiar stories – the ones you’ve heard so much that you kinda know it like you know the back of your palm. Really, if you grew up in a Christian home, you have to be extra intentional not to fall into the trap of thinking you know all there is to know about a particular story in the Bible. Like, say, the story of Hannah and Samuel, or the story of Ruth and Naomi – stories rehashed more often than not especially when teaching virtues.
The story of David and Goliath is one of such stories. Very familiar and comfortable, in fact we use it as prayer point. For example, “every Goliath standing in my way, fall down and die.”
(Rolling my eyes. Because, really?) Even the actual Goliath didn’t just fall down and die. Something killed him. Someone killed him. But before I talk about his death, I’d like to share a little bit about what I learned from his life.
Yes, you heard (read) that right. I learned some things from Goliath’s life and even me, e shock me. But while I visited 1 Samuel 17 to specifically read about David’s awesome victory, imagine my surprise when the Holy Spirit began to draw lessons from Mr. Goliath’s life. Goes to show that God is indeed no respecter of persons. I mean, he also says we should go to the ants to learn. Ants!
Please keep reading if you want to learn with me, but please stop reading if you feel a strong sense of tufiakwa, how can Goliath teach me anything?
Lesson 1: Mr. Goliath was a prepared man. Because, think about this, he was a giant. Bible says he was about 9 ft. This means, he already had the advantage of size. Like, his size alone was intimidating, enough to strike fear in the hearts of his opponents. He could have said, all I need to do is show up and the battle is over. Instead, he showed up with his size plus extra armour. You can see 1Samuel 17: 4 -7 for his entire wardrobe. Basically, Goliath did not come to play. He was ready and prepared in ALL ramifications.
Now, let’s think about this in relation to our lives, careers, etc. How prepared are we? Your competition is prepared. They have the advantage of name and size but they go ahead to get the skills, knowledge, technology and people required to dominate the market. They come with extra ammunition. They are not to be underestimated. So, how about you?
Lesson 2: Goliath did not have an identity problem. He knew who he was and what he supposedly carried. Yes, he trusted in the wrong things, but his knowledge of his identity fueled his confidence – 1 Sam 17:8 Sometimes the people we are scared of, have every reason to be scared of us but we don’t even know it.
Lesson 3: My favourite lesson is the fact that Mr. Goliath was consistent – 1 Sam 17:16. This guy showed up every day for forty days (a month and ten days), day and night, same time, same place. Doing what? Giving his speech. Saying the same thing. Wearing the soldiers down psychologically. Every single day. Again, he didn’t have to. He was already scary enough. He could have shown up once a week, pumped fear into the people and he would have still been okay.
For me this was a huge lesson, because we don’t put in half the time and consistency Goliath did into prepping these Isrealites for defeat. In our careers, we expect to beat the best at their game when we sometimes don’t even put in half their efforts or their consistency.
Another thing to look at, is the fact that Goliath showed up every day, just to talk. This guy understood a secret the Isrealites didn’t – that victory doesn’t start on the battle field, it starts from the mind.
He was talking twice a day for forty days. Intentional words curated for the soldiers to breed fear in their hearts, to tear down their defences and to keep himself at the forefront of their mind. If Goliath was a brand, his advertising was superb.
Maybe some other time, I’ll do a short piece on David and how his defeat of Goliath wasn’t a miracle.