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—APRIL 25.—1 SAMUEL 17:1-54.—
THE first giants mentioned in the Bible were those who had human mothers, but whose fathers were materialized fallen angels, as recorded in Genesis 6.* These, however, all perished in the Deluge of Noah's day. From time to time since then, there have been human giants found in Asia. Og, king of Bashan, had an iron bedstead thirteen feet long. In their report on Canaan, the spies told of seeing giants there—the sons of Anak. Goliath, the giant of Gath, whom David slew, was probably a descendant of this family.
We have had giants in recent times, also; Byrne, an Irishman, eight feet four inches; Middleton, an Englishman, nine feet three inches; Lushkin, the Russian, eight feet five inches; Chang, the Chinese, seven feet eight inches. Pliny declared that Gabbaras was nine feet nine inches tall. There is, therefore, no room for discrediting the story of David and Goliath.
David, a youth of probably twenty years, visited the army of Israel, in which three of his brothers were soldiers, taking food and delicacies for their refreshment. To his amazement he found the army of Israel facing the army of the Philistines, who had invaded from the west. They were not fighting, each apparently fearing the other. A champion from the Philistines came forth every morning, a giant in size and strength, wearing a bronze armor weighing two hundred and twenty pounds, and brandishing his spear, the head of which weighed twenty-five pounds, and the shaft of which was nearly three inches thick. He defied the Israelites, declaring that a battle between individuals would settle the war. He defied not only the nation of Israel, but its God.
Young David was amazed that this had progressed so long, and that nobody accepted the challenge. A believer in the true God, he realized the Covenant between God and his nation. His faith in the Almighty was such that he accepted the Divine promises implicitly. He wondered at the lack of faith manifested by his brothers and his countrymen. He intimated that, backed by God's promises, he himself dared to meet that Goliath.
King Saul of Israel had let it be known that great honor would come to the one who would meet the challenge of the foe. Young David was brought before him; but, anxious as he was for a champion, the king realized that the sinewy youth before him would be no match for the giant strength of Goliath, one blow from whose spear would destroy him. Then the stripling pleaded his cause. He declared that, as keeper of his father's sheep, he had time and again delivered them from the mouth and the paw of the lion and the bear. He had the courage, and above all he had the faith in God. As God had blessed him in his daily duties of the past, He would give him strength for victory in the duty of the hour, the meeting of the defiance of the giant and his insult to Jehovah.
The king was impressed. He would lend David his armor—the best in Israel. But after trying it, young David declined it with thanks. He was not accustomed to such armor and could be himself better without it. He took with him merely his shepherd's staff, to which he was accustomed, and his sling. Passing over toward the side of the Philistines for the combat, he chose five smooth pebbles from the brook. This slight armament, with God's blessing, was more than sufficient; for he needed to use only one of the pebbles.
The giant was indignant, saying, "Am I a dog, that this boy should come out to meet me with a stick?" According to tradition, as the lad approached the giant laughed, throwing his head backward. His helmet fell off; and he was exposed to the sure marksmanship of his despised opponent. There were no newspapers in those days, nor public libraries; and he knew not of how mighty a place sling-stones occupied in warfare even then, and that often, in skilled hands, they were almost as effective as are the rifles of today. The giant stunned, his armorbearer fled; and young David quickly dispatched him and took his armor as a trophy. The Philistines surprised, dismayed, fled, Israel pursuing them to their own fortified city.
Following Jesus' death, a new Divine order of things was ushered in. Those who have faith in God still have battles to be won, but not with carnal weapons. Their victories, nevertheless, are based upon the same principle which operated favorably with David. Faith in God is lying at the basis—the realization that the cause in which they fight is one approved of God. A courage proper to their faith—a faith gradually developed in previous victories over lesser foes, as in David's case—helps to give courage and strength for battling with the most terrifying giants we may encounter.
Remembering this, each Christian should be daily on the alert to overcome the little weaknesses, the little frailties—to become conquerors in the little battles with selfishness, anger, malice, envy, evil-speaking. Victories over these, and experiences gained with God's help in overcoming these, give preparation step by step for the greatest trials and the grandest victories.
When we learn of the Divine promise, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne," it gives us the thought that a great victory must be won to prove ourselves worthy of the great honor to which God has called His Church. And this victory, as we are happy to learn, is not always to the strong, but to those whom God will bless. And the conflict which God approves and will reward is not strife with friends or neighbors, however unreasonable they may be, but strife against unrighteousness, against sin, against everything which the Divine Law opposes. This strife and victory belong, first of all, in our own hearts and minds and, secondarily, will extend, as the Lord's providence may indicate, in battling
*For further explanation send 6c. in stamps for booklet, "Spiritism—Proofs that it is Demonism." Address, WATCH TOWER, Brooklyn, N.Y. [R5662 : page 105] against public evils and in support of public and civic righteousness.
We are not, however, to forget that the great giant of sin and iniquity, which has dared the people of God for centuries, will be smitten down only at God's appointed time, and by the antitype of David. The name David signifies Beloved. The antitypical Beloved is The Christ—Jesus the Head, the Church His Body. Shortly, a sling-stone of Truth is to smite down the great opponent; and the antitypical David will begin the Millennial Reign which is to lift up the world and bless it. As members of this David class, we must have the overcoming spirit, and its supporting faith and trust in God's promise and power.