When David killed Goliath in the name of God, everybody in Israel celebrated. But they forgot the facts of life: giants have babies too. Toward the end of David’s reign, when David was weary from yet another Philistine uprising, the giant problem almost destroyed David. One of Goliath’s big kids set out to assassinate him. The story has a moral: overcoming temptation is like overcoming giants; the roots of the problem must be dealt with.
Now when the Philistines were at war again with Israel, David went down and his servants with him; and as they fought against the Philistines, David became weary. Then Ishbi-benob, who was among the descendants of the giant, the weight of whose spear was three hundred shekels of bronze in weight, was girded with a new sword, and he intended to kill David. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah helped him, and struck the Philistine and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him, saying, “You shall not go out again with us to battle, so that you do not extinguish the lamp of Israel.” (2 Sam. 21:15-17)
Apparently, Goliath had four sons. When they were born, their mother and all the women of the family probably made all the usual cooing noises over them, knitted soft toys and oversized booties, and said how cute they were. From Israel’s perspective, they were sinister ogres: super strong and formidable fighters. One nameless monster even had an extra finger on each hand and an extra toe on each foot.
Thankfully, David had gathered some courageous men around him. They stepped in when he was weak and protected him from the giants. As far as we know, those four big brothers were the last giants to trouble Israel. David’s mighty men eliminated them like troublesome rodents.
James tells us that sin is the offspring of a chain reaction. Lust for something provides fertile ground for temptation to take root and produce sin.1 We often associate lust with sexual sin but it can apply to any intense desire. The key to overcoming temptation is to tackle that giant—lust.
If we are alert, we will know of the birth of a giant and be able to act before it has time to grow. Unusually strong or fast growing desires need guarding against. Monstrous cravings that reach beyond normal healthy limits should raise red flags. Never call baby giants cute! They grow surprisingly fast. Dealing with giants while they are still babies is by far the best strategy. But at whatever point they are discovered, giant desires need to be eradicated.
- Wise people gather stronger believers around them who can help them resist temptation. Accountability to others is part of overcoming temptation. Have a friend you can call when you feel the heavy footsteps of temptation approaching. “Please pray for me.”
- Remember the Scripture promise: No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it (1 Cor. 10:13). Ask God to show you the escape route.
- Goliath lost his battle because David’s faith in God had far more substance than Goliath’s bravado. God honored David’s faith and humility. When we admit our weakness and vulnerability and place our trust in God, then we are in the best position to experience His deliverance.
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- James 1:13-15 [↩]