No doubt most readers of this article are somewhat or very familiar with the story of David versus Goliath. In this story, we see that David faces a giant who is nearly ten feet tall. I Samuel 17:4 – “And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.” According to my Thomas Nelson KJV Study Bible there is a section in the back that gives weights, measurements, etc during Bible times. A “cubit” is 18 inches in length and a “span” is 9 inches long. If you do the math that puts Goliath at 9 feet 9 inches tall. Oddly enough there are many who would reject the fact that Goliath was that tall. However, according to the Guinness’ World Book of Records they record the tallest man who ever lived to be Mr. Robert Pershing Wadlow. He has been called the Gentle Giant, the Tallest Man Who Ever Lived, the Boy Giant, and the Giant from Illinois because he was born in Alton, Illinois. He has been measured to have stood 8 feet 11 inches tall. Born on February 22, 1918 he later died at the age of 22 on July 15, 1940 in Manistee, Michigan. The reason for his unusual height is due to “hypertrophy of his pituitary gland which led to unusually high levels of human growth hormone” (Wikipedia). Mr. Wadlow “wore a size 37 AA shoe and worked in advertising for the International Shoe Company” (Wikipedia).
Knowing that Mr. Wadlow was not the tallest man to ever live, since Goliath had him beat by nearly a foot, we do know that when David faced the giant, he had a BIG problem. In life you and I are going to face Giants and we are going to see problems so BIG that they seem insurmountable. It can be physical disability, it can be family problems, it can be financial or as in the case of 2020 it can be a worldwide pandemic. The question of how we deal with our problems all has to do with whether or not we are HORIZONTAL or VERTICAL.
When David came to deliver food to his three brothers who were stationed on the front lines of battle, he was shocked to see how the whole Israeli Army was HORIZONTAL. The Bible says in I Samuel 17:11- “When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistines, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.” The natural reaction of the human body is “fight or flight”. In the case of King Saul, David’s brothers and the whole Israeli Army, they were HORIZONTAL in their perspective because of the Giant’s sheer size and obnoxious mouth. I Samuel 17:24 – “And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid.”
David on the other hand was an average sized Shepherd boy. Last of the eight sons of Jesse, he was faithful to his father’s flock. When he observed the Giant, David famously said, “Is there not a cause?” When David was brought before King Saul, he told the king, I Samuel 17:32 – “And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” Where did David get this type of courage to live his life VERTICALLY? Why was this young Jewish boy fearless in the face of a Giant? Listen to David’s statement in I Samuel 17:37 – “David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the Lord be with thee.” It’s simple…David’s confidence came from his previous experience in killing a Lion and a Bear. However, that confidence wasn’t in his ability but in the power of his God. Remember David made the earlier statement, “The Lord that delivered me…”. In life, giants don’t decrease in size as we age, they actually get larger and more intimidating (a Lion, a Bear, and a near 10 foot tall Giant Warrior). Your giant today may be the challenging “Algebra test” coming up. Later that giant turns into “what in the world do I do with my life after I graduate high school?” Eventually that giant becomes, “is this the right person I should marry?” Down the road that giant becomes, “how do I carry on when our newborn child has a lifelong disability or disease?” Eventually that giant becomes the “sting of death”.
In order to defeat a giant, one must have a VERTICAL perspective. Notice David’s response to Goliath, I Samuel 17:45 – “Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.” He was fighting his Giant in the name of the LORD. We have a prayer answering God that will fight for us if we are VERTICAL in our life. Exodus 14:14 – “The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.”
Your perspective in life (horizontal or vertical) will lead to a specific outcome. You can freak out about the pandemic and the virus’ lethality or you can look to God and have complete peace that Heaven is your home. You can worry about family problems that you can’t solve because they are issues between your parents or you can go to Christ with a broken heart and let Him strengthen you, I Peter 5:7 – “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” The application for this principle could be endless. Just know that my elevation in life changes my clarity. Isaiah 55:8-9 – “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” When you’re walking on the street you can only see what’s immediately in front of you or your immediate periphery. Trees, pedestrians, buildings, vehicles etc. all obstruct your line of sight. You are unable to see what’s around the next block. However, when you are in an airplane you can see for miles in all directions. The more you spend time looking at God and less time looking at your giant the higher your perspective will be and the more clarity you’ll have in life. That clarity will give you confidence to run TOWARDS your giant and not AWAY from your giant. David did that very thing in I Samuel 17:48 – “And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.” The rest of the story tells us that David severed Goliath’s head with the Philistine Warrior’s own sword. Talk about poetic justice!
Your decision to live VERTICALLY will require you to be all ALONE. David was the only Israeli Warrior in that valley fighting the Giant. Don’t expect a fair fight…because when you face Satan it’s never going to be fair or easy. David fought the Giant and the Giant’s “armor bearer” (two versus one). Keep in mind, your decision to live VERTICALLY will not only help you defeat your giants but will also encourage others who are living HORIZONTALLY to begin living VERTICALLY. I Samuel 17:52-53 – “And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron. And the children of Israel returned from chasing after the Philistines, and they spoiled their tents.” David’s VERTICAL approach gave the Israeli Army some things to help them stop living HORIZONTALLY. The Bible says the men “arose.” That means David gave them CONFIDENCE. The Bible says they “shouted.” That means David gave them EXCITEMENT. The Bible says they “pursued.” That means David gave them PURPOSE. The Bible says they “spoiled.” That means David gave them VICTORY.
So…do you live HORIZONTALLY or do you live VERTICALLY?
Pastor Jeff Harris
Anchor Baptist Church | Hilton, NY