“You measure a man by the size of his enemies. Without Goliath, David is just some punk throwing rocks.” So spoke Billy Crystal’s character in the film My Giant.
A warrior over nine feet tall…125 pounds armor of armor…a fifteen pound spear head: Why are these measurements meaningful? Who measured? Did some eleventh century B.C. embedded journalist wander onto the battlefield? “Excuse me, General Goliath. Would you mind laying your armor on the scales?”
This careful cataloging occurred after David decked Goliath. I imagine a leisurely and gleeful post-mortem as David calls to his older, but less courageous, brothers: “Hey, Eliab, come try on this armor! Shammah, can you even lift this spear?” Goliath’s sword ended up in the tabernacle at Nob, a trophy among holy items kept by the priests.
When David accepted the challenge to fight, he knew Goliath was big, but he didn’t know how big. Although he didn’t fully understand the Philistine’s size, David did comprehend that God is a whole lot bigger, or as Veggie Tales says, “God is bigger than the bogeyman.” So David shouted to the giant, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel…” (1 Samuel 17:45, NIV)
David defeated Goliath, and then measured him. It’s a wonder the singing shepherd didn’t faint when he realized what he and God had just done.
Not many months later, David escaped from another bogeyman, physically smaller than Goliath, but greater in malice, David’s insanely jealous father-in-law, King Saul. David detoured to Nob, where the priest gave him Goliath’s sword. The Bible doesn’t tell us the size of the sword, but someone familiar with weapons could estimate based on the Philistine’s height and the weight of his spear. I’m guessing this was a big sword. The Bible also doesn’t tell us how long David was on the run from Saul, but I estimate nearly a decade.
Why lug around Goliath’s oversized sword for ten years? It had to be too heavy for David to wield. I think the sword was a constant reminder of what God had done and what God would continue to do for David. The sword was a reminder that it’s not about swords, or our own abilities, or the latest bells and whistles. It’s about the power of God.
It’s so easy to focus on the size of our enemy and the messes we find ourselves in, some of our own making, some not. It takes a conscious effort to focus on the size of God instead.
In Psalm 103:2, David wrote, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” Let’s keep reminding ourselves and each other what God has done for us already.
And to the writers of My Giant: Without God, David would have been just another dent on Goliath’s shield.