Two armies faced off in the Valley of Elah. The Philistine army had sent their best man to fight and had demanded the same of Israel’s army. Tradition dictated that the man who won would secure victory for his people while the remaining army would be their slaves. If Israel chose the right man, they could win the war without a single casualty.
There was just one problem: the challenger was a giant.
Elah was known as the Valley of the Terebinth, a tree sacred to various tribes in Canaan. Perhaps the Philistine armies felt bold, knowing they would be surrounded with the trees they worshipped during their big showdown. Whatever the case, the Israelite army stood the side, cowering in fear at the thought of facing a giant. The stakes were high – if they lost, they would lose both their Promised Land and their freedom – a fate they had suffered once before. In fact, they had been through much of this before. After years of slavery in Egypt, their first trip to Canaan led them into the Valley of Eshcol where they found fruit and giants – giants they knew they would have to face one day in order to claim their Promised Land. Yet here they stood in Elah, wondering if anyone was strong enough to face this giant in the valley.
But then along came a young man, fresh from herding sheep. He was no stranger to valleys but this one presented a unique challenge. He saw the giant but did not fear him. His only focus was on the fact that this man was insulting his God and his people. As he stared down the giant, David must have remembered the stories he heard as a boy: stories of the patriarchs, of his people enslaved, of the Exodus, and of Israel’s desert wanderings of almost 40 years after they did not face the giants in their valley. David knew the stakes. He decided he would do things differently – after all, God was on his side. What follows is possibly one of the most famous stories in the Bible. A little Hebrew boy took up his slingshot, having rejected the king’s armor, and hurled a stone at his enemy who immediately fell. David learned a vital lesson that day: through his own strength he could do nothing but God made him into a conqueror and later a king.
We encounter giants in our own valleys. Physical threats, financial obstacles, and emotional upsets may seem insurmountable. In many cases, giants from our past torment us. And yet God still sees. Sometimes He moves the storm out of your life. Sometimes He joins you in it. And sometimes God sends divine enablement. When your heart is right and you are seeking to do His will, God supplies strength and encourages you throughout the process.
No matter the size of the obstacle in your valley, remember that your God can make any giant fall before your feet.