God sent David’s nephew Abishai to rescue David from the giant Philistine Ishbi-benob just as that mammoth warrior “was about to kill him” (II Samuel 21:16b, NLT). As New Testament believers we have the ever-present help of the indwelling Holy Spirit, the “paraclete,” the “one who comes alongside” us, to help us in our struggles.
After Abishai rescued David from certain death, “David’s men declared, ‘You are not going out to battle with us again! Why risk snuffing out the light of Israel?’” (II Samuel 21:15-17).
“The light of Israel.” As God’s anointed leader for Israel, David reflected the light of God. No, David wasn’t perfect, but he was “a man after (God’s) own heart” (I Samuel 13:14b). Human frailties may have won out on occasion, but the vast majority of David’s life was spent in a passionate pursuit of the Almighty.
Israel wasn’t through having problems with the Philistines, though. “After this, there was another battle against the Philistines at Gob. As they fought, Sibbecai from Hushah killed Saph, another descendant of the giants. During another battle at Gob, Elhanan son of Jair from Bethlehem killed the brother of Goliath of Gath. The handle of his spear was as thick as a weaver’s beam! In another battle with the Philistines at Gath, they encountered a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in all, who was also a descendant of the giants. But when he defied and taunted Israel, he was killed by Jonathan, the son of David’s brother Shimea. These four Philistines were descendants of the giants of Gath, but David and his warriors killed them” (II Samuel 21:18-22).
David may have no longer been able to go out and fight alongside his men, but his years of service had set the example for them. They were the finest of military strategists; but most of all, they’d also learned that God and God alone was the one to who could give them these victories.
Note the giants who were killed in this last account: (1) Ishbi-benob, the one Abishai had stopped from taking out David; (2) “Saph, another descendant of the giants;” (3) an unnamed “brother of Goliath” killed by “Elhanan son Jair from Bethlehem” – First Chronicles 20:5 identifies him as “Lahmi, the brother of Goliath;” and (4) “a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot.”
Four “giants of Gath.” If we look back at First Samuel 17, we read: “Goliath, a Philistine champion from Gath, came out of the Philistine ranks to face the forces of Israel. He was over nine feet tall!” (verse 4).
The young shepherd boy David had come to bring supplies to his older brothers who were fighting in this battle. But listening to Goliath’s taunts so infuriated David that he asked the men of Israel’s army: “Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?” (I Samuel 17:26b).
You know the story. David ends up going out to fight Goliath, “armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling” (I Samuel 17:40b). As David advanced toward the giant, “He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag” (I Samuel 17:40a).
Five stones. It took one stone to take down Goliath. David had been prepared to take out all five of them; but four lived to fight another day and were killed in subsequent battles.
Although the Biblical account mentions only David's “staff and sling,” he had much more than that on his side. When Samuel, in obedience to God’s instructions, anointed David as Israel’s new king, “the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on” (I Samuel 16:13b).
Got giants in your life? None of them are bigger than the power of God indwelling you in the form of His Holy Spirit.
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates