Slaying the Giant of Pride
It looks at how small you are.
It looks at how young you are.
It looks at how old you are.
It looks at your fear.
It looks at your inexperience.
It looks at your simple ideas.
It determines that you are easily defeated. It determines that you are too small, too weak, too afraid, and too inexperienced to take on someone of its caliber.
Pride clouds judgment. Pride makes one unaware of the God you serve. Pride determines that you are not a worthy opponent.
If only pride knew the truth…
Reading: 1 Samuel 17:24-51
Goliath was an actual giant who had puffed up with pride. He had sized up his opponent and in his pride, determined that they would be easily defeated. He looked at how they trembled before him and he counted his victory long before the battle even took place.
As he strutted along in his, “I’ve got this” confidence, there was one thing he hadn’t taken into account. He hadn’t even thought about God in the midst of this battle. The God whose reputation was well known in all of the land. The God who rescued His people from Egypt and brought them into the promised land. The God who could part waters, make water flow from rocks, and manna fall from heaven. THAT God. Maybe if he had taken God’s reputation into account, he wouldn’t have strutted around with such confidence. Maybe if God’s people had taken God’s reputation into account, that they would have given Goliath a better picture of the God they served.
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Maybe when Goliath looked at how God’s people trembled before him, he assumed that God trembled before him, too. Maybe he looked at Israel’s small size and determined that God was small too. Whatever it was, Goliath had misjudged this battle entirely.
Pride Overestimates our Importance. Goliath thought a lot of himself. I imagine him strutting around with confidence. He easily laughs and taunts. He puffs out his chest, sure of his victory. Look at what kind of battle Goliath proposes. (1 Samuel 17:8-10). He proposed a battle where he (and only he) would fight one person from the Israelite army. In his pride, he had already decided that he could easily beat any Israelite. If he hadn’t believed this, do you think he would have been so quick to offer up himself and his people to Israel as servants?
Goliath did a lot of overestimating. He overestimated his importance and his ability.
Pride Underestimates our Opponent. (1 Samuel 17:43). Goliath had sized up the whole Israel army and was confident in his ability to win. I’m sure that when he stepped out to taunt and challenge the Israelites, he had an expectation in his mind of what a proper competitor would look like. Imagine his surprise when a young child comes out to him on the battlefield. When David ran towards him, Goliath had already been making plans for what he’d be doing for dinner that night and how this army would serve his. The easy win was within his grasp.
While David had volunteered to fight Goliath, but he didn’t conform to Goliath’s rules. Goliath’s rules said one man against him. David showed up as one man, but he had God on his side.
1 Corinthians 1:27-29 ESV
Pride chooses foolishness over wisdom. Wisdom would have cautioned Goliath and reminded him of the many stories of when God rescued His people. Wisdom would have cautioned against taunting the God with an incredible reputation. Wisdom wouldn’t have counted a victory before the battle had even begun. Goliath’s pride had trapped him in a mindset of foolishness. Instead of choosing to make wise decisions, Goliath’s decisions were foolish and costly.
When we choose foolishness over wisdom, we forfeit the rewards that come with wisdom. Choosing pride could look like selfishness, resulting in loss of friendships. Choosing pride can look like counting our eggs before they hatch, resulting in loss of promotions or wounded egos. Wisdom promotes humility.
Pride loses out on a bigger reward. Goliath might have been viewed as a hero by his fellow warriors, but that was all his reward. David’s reward went far and beyond killing his giant. His reward was magnified because God had gotten the glory for that battle. David’s faith grew. David’s reputation was made. It also qualified him for slaying more giants.
How to defeat the giant of Pride:
Recognize pride’s language, but give your attention to God’s voice. What is God wanting to accomplish through this situation? David heard Goliath’s taunts, but he had also heard God’s voice inside of him that wouldn’t allow David to just let those taunts be. God had given David the means to defeat this giant through his experience as a shepherd. He had given David the tools to defeat this giant through the simple stones that David had picked up on the way to battle. He had given David the courage and the strength to face this task. What’s God’s voice saying to you?
Pray for Wisdom. James 1:5 tells us that whenever we’re lacking wisdom, we just have to ask God and He will generously give wisdom. David needed wisdom, especially in the midst of all of the emotion that was there on that battlefield. Sometimes wisdom will tell us to act. Other times wisdom will tell us to wait. Wisdom yields to God when it comes to timing, the tone of our voice, and a world of other tiny little details.
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Choose Humility. When in doubt, choose humility. Humility yields to God and His will for your situation. Humility doesn’t elevate itself to pride’s standards, but submits to God’s standards. One practical way to focus on humility is to consider how big God is and how small you are. God created the world, everything in it, AND YOU. God is bigger than you are. He is the one who orchestrated every cell in your body to work together to keep you alive. He’s the one who positioned earth perfectly in our universe to allow us to live and thrive. God isn’t as small as we are, He’s much bigger! When we submit to God’s standards and His leading, we’re acknowledging that His perspective is better than ours. We’re acknowledging that His wisdom is based on something that we might have never seen. When we see how small we are, compared to how big He is, it’s easy to submit to His ways.
We should never underestimate what God can do. That’s where Goliath got it really wrong. In Israel’s own strength, Goliath probably would have won that battle. But David knew exactly what God was capable of. He didn’t underestimate God. He looked at this seemingly impossible situation and He knew that God would have the victory and have the glory.