Facing Your Giants
For some odd reason, I’ve been walking the hallways and corridors of my memories a lot as of late. I’m not certain why that is. However, I’m finding many events therein, through the fog and haze of time, that remind me of biblical events.
I am saddened by some of these memories while others I find to be hilarious. However, in both I find truths that are tucked away in the pages of my Bible.
For instance, there was a time in my twenties that Dad told me that there was family reunion of his people in Sullivan County Mississippi and asked if I’d take him. His only surviving and favorite uncle, “Uncle Joe”, was getting on in years and Dad would like to see him once more before he passed from this earth. “Uncle Joe” was Dad’s uncle whom I was named after. I got “Lonnie” from my dad, and “Joe” from “Uncle Joe”. I agreed because I’d only met “Uncle Joe” once when I was six years old, and I wanted to meet the rest of Dad’s family that I did not know.
We left well before dawn that Saturday and drove from West Carroll Parish in Louisiana to Sullivan County Mississippi. There were a lot of people there to meet! There was a lot of food, and a large spread was laid out for dinner that day.
I do recall that there was a young man there, a distant relative of mine, that I’d never met. He was nineteen years old and a giant of a man. I’d say he was about six feet ten inches tall and weighed around three hundred and twenty pounds. He had to duck his head and turn three quarters sideways to walk through a standard door. I never heard him called by name since everyone called him “Big Boy.”
We all had a marvelous dinner under great shade trees, and we all ate until we were stuffed. I retired with Dad and Uncle Joe to some chairs under a shade tree at Uncle Joe’s pump house. That’s a small structure that covered the pump that pumps water to the house in rural areas for you youngsters who may not know what a pump house is. Uncle Joe reached into the pump house and pulled out a bottle of Peach Brandy. He took a swig before passing it to Dad. Dad took a swig and passed it to me. I took a swig and passed it back to Uncle Joe, completing the time honored tradition of three generations having a drink together.
Now, being way out in the country as we were, there was not much in the way of recreation as I soon learned. The custom of the family during family reunions was that the “boys”, those in their teens, would gather out into the yard and fight. No, I’m not talking about wrestling. I’m talking bare knuckles fighting. That was their recreation.
Well, they all gathered out in the yard, fifteen or sixteen of them, and the fight was on. Ol’ Big Boy was laying waste to the kindred. Some lay near unconscious while others fell merely bleeding from the mouth or their nose.
Uncle Joe was watching the festivities going on when he asked Dad, “Bud, is your boy too good to go out and “tussle” with the young’uns?” Uncle Joe took another sip of Peach Brandy and handed it to Dad.
I looked over at Dad, who took a sip of Brandy before he looked over at me. “Make it quick, son. We’ll be having to leave soon.”
I had my marching orders from the two previous generations, and I didn’t want to embarrass dad in front of his uncle, who just happened to be my namesake. Reluctantly, I took the bottle of brandy from dad, took a swig, handed it back to Uncle Joe and walked out into the melee.
As I walked out onto the battlefield, Big Boy was tossing the brethren left and right. He was nearly a foot taller and outweighed me a hundred and twenty pounds. But strangely I wasn’t afraid. I figured that I’d take a lump or two and fall out of contention. But I wondered as I approached, “Is there any way to take this giant down?”
I bypassed all the others and headed straight for Big Boy who threw a wide, sweeping left hook that I ducked under. I felt the wind from the force of his swing as his fist went over my head. The momentum of his swing carried him to my left and I kicked him behind the left knee sending him to the ground. He arose quickly up onto his knees, and I drop kicked him, landing both boot heels squarely on his chin. He was out cold. I turned to look and everyone else had just stopped fighting in disbelief. Big Boy, for the first time, had been put down. That was it. Game over. I’d busted up the party.
I walked back to my chair under the shade where Dad was grinning, and Uncle Joe was laughing so hard I thought he was going to wet himself. Uncle Joe handed me the Peach Brandy and I took a swig and handed it back to him.
“Hot dog Buddy!” Uncle Joe laughed as he swatted Dad on the back. “Little Joe has done whipped ol’ Big Boy!”
“Looks like.” Dad said, still grinning.
“He is kinda small though Bud.” Uncle Joe teased. I am the smallest man in the family.
“Yeah, Uncle Joe,” Dad said, “I guess them Irishmen on his mama’s side of the family stunted his growth.”
That’s the last time I ever saw Uncle Joe. It is a memory of which I am very fond. So why would I share a memory of a time when I had drink with my dad and his uncle and participated in a recreational fight when I don’t drink or fight anymore? It’s what they call transparency. I used to drink and fight in my younger years. But for me it is a memory that I treasure and laugh over from time to time. It is one of the few memories that I faced a giant in the arm of the flesh and didn’t get scuffed up. So, how does that remind me of any biblical event?
Well, I recall in 1st Samuel that a shepherd boy named David was ordered by his father to take provisions to his brothers who served in the army of Israel against the Philistines. The army of Israel had been challenged by Goliath of Gath. The custom of the day is that, if both armies agreed, each army would choose their greatest warrior to fight. Who ever won that was the army that won. Such was the case when David arrived at the battle grounds.
Goliath taunted the army of Israel,
“He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel and said to them, ‘Why do you come out to draw up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and you servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us.’” 1st Samuel 17:8-9
That is what David heard when he arrived. In 1st Samuel 17:26 David asked,
“Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him saying, ‘What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?’”
David took great exception that any man should dare to taunt the army of God. Who would dare do such a thing? Why was the army of Israel not doing anything?
David went out to meet the giant and the giant, Goliath teased him.
“Am I a dog that come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 1st Samuel 17:43.
Daniel replied to the giant,
“You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel. This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” 1st Samuel 17:45-46.
As the story goes, David struck the giant with a single stone taking him to the ground. Then David took the giant’s sword, killed him and decapitated him with his own sword. Game over. David had busted up the party, In less than five minutes. Brutal like. Kinda like me and ol’ Big Boy.
I knew I couldn’t defeat Big Boy by conventional means. I meant him no harm. I just didn’t want to get scuffed up. All David knew is that this uncircumcised Giant had taunted the entire army of Israel. The army of the living God! Who was this Philistine that he would taunt the living God of Israel? David took exception that this man thumbed his nose at the God of Israel, and he could not accept that no matter how large the opposition was.
You see, David, even as a youth, did not care how big Goliath was. He did not care how heavy his helmet, his armor, or his spear was. All he understood was that this man had insulted the armies of his God! He understood that the Lord of hosts (the hosts being the angelic armies of God) were greater than the giant he saw before him. In that, David had no fear.
So, I’m going to ask the question. What giants are you facing today? A lack of finances? A bad health report? Broken relationships? What giants stand before you today child of God? Is God not the same Lord of hosts as He was in 1st Samuel? Do you face your giants in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel? Is God not that same God?
I think He is. You see, I’ve faced a lot of giants. When I took them on in my flesh the outcomes were not what I would call favorable. However, I have learned that when I face those giants in the name of the Lord of hosts, Yhwh t’svot, I am given a restful peace that is beyond my understanding. There are times when life has been difficult, but my faith did not waiver. One by one the giants fell. Sometimes they fell at the last possible second before it seemed that I would experience total annihilation.
Do not ever doubt that the Lord of Hosts is on your side. God is faithful to His Word. You be faithful. But how can you be faithful if you don’t know God’s Word, the Bible? The truth is you cannot be. But you can set your heart to be while you are learning. Now I’ve had to unlearn some teachings that my parents and past pastors instilled into me. I suppose they did the best that they could, and I love them for that.
However, I set my heart to learn about what God actually said and not depend on what I’d been told He said. To do that, I had to open that Bible and read for myself and pray for wisdom to understand. It takes time. Take the time today to begin a new journey with God. It’s the best investment of time that you will ever make.
I am The Old Watchman, Ezekiel. You have been warned.