← back to list

Jun 03, 2018

A Shepherd Boy and a Giant Killer

Passage: 1 Samuel 17

Speaker: Vivian McCarthy

Series: Five Stones: Conquering Your Giants

Category: Faith

Giants confront all of us, and David's story gives us a strategy to meet them faithfully.

NOTE:  We used a video presentation of the scripture lesson for today because the story is very long.  You might be interested in seeing it on YouTube here.  Also, if you prefer to listen to the sermon, we are still working to provide the audio file.

Shane Stanford was 16 when he went into combat with his first life-and-death giant. He puts it this way:

It was during the summer of 1986, and I went to bed with the world on a string. I was captain of the golf team, president of my student class, and dating the prettiest girls in school. That same summer, my doctor told me that I was also HIV positive, contracted from medicines (made of human blood donations) used to treat my hemophilia.[1]

1986. This was when HIV was a death sentence. I remember it well because one of the men in the church I was serving at the time had gone through a similar bout with HIV not long before that year. It was terrible – no one knew what it was and all they knew was that he was dying and couldn’t stop it. Shane goes on:

[There was] only the sobering reality of a life that would most likely end in suffering. As you can imagine, my world collapsed. The giant of despair grabbed me and beat me without much resistance.

The story of David and Goliath was part of what rescued Shane from the giant of despair.

Israel, too, was paralyzed by despair and fear when David came on the scene. The kid brother walked onto the scene and Israel’s future changed because the kid was willing to use what he had to serve God to battle the giant. In what was one of those “God meant this message for me” Sunday mornings, Shane heard the story of David and Goliath as if for the first time, and he identified with David. He says that he realized:

The story of David and Goliath is more than a children’s Bible story about slingshots, stones and giants. It is about being fed up with the voice that is screaming from across the valley.

Friends we all have giants in our lives, and we all have choices in how we meet them. Over the next few weeks, we will look at the lessons that the shepherd boy David has for us when life is screaming at us from across the valley.

Do you know how the story of David's battle ends?  David chops off Goliath's head.  (We didn't show that in the video but it was there, complete with "Lego blood.")  That part of the story was really important for Shane Stanford because he was facing a giant in his life that was messy -- and the goriness of the story got his attention.  It wasn't sanitized.  It wasn't cleaned up.  And it was in the messiness that Stanford was able to hear God's message that day.  

On Tuesday, Susan brought a story to us for devotions at our staff meeting. It included a quote from the famous psychiatrist, Carl Jung. He was asked how he helped people get well, and his profound response was:

Most people came to me with an insurmountable problem. However, what happened was through our work together they discovered something more important than the problem and the problem lost its power and went away.”[2]

David was a master at not allowing the power – the giant – to overwhelm him. He has some things to teach us, no matter what the giant is that we face: anxiety, finances, illness, conflict, grief, abuse, exams, schedules, addiction, self-image.

I want to say this to our youth. That same day, Tuesday, as I drove in to church, I heard a brief piece on the radio that described a very scary giant that especially targets young people. There is a former stand-up comedian in Australia, Mike King, who decided to leave the stage and devote his career to helping youth who are depressed and feel “less than” all the time – especially those who think that self-harm or suicide are the only ways out.

He now does programs only for young people. See, he also experienced a great deal of depression in his life and considered suicide, so he knew that it was really important to talk about it.  In this clip, King is speaking to young people - click here for video. [The part we viewed on Sunday is just the first 11 seconds of the clip.]

Social media is a gift – and it can be a giant. And no one in this room knows that better than our young people.

So, let’s look to David for help at conquering our giants. Next week we’ll look at the first stone.


  1. All quotes not otherwise cited are from Five Stones: Conquering Your Giants by Shane Stanford and R. Brad Martin.  Copyright (c) 2013 by Shane Stanford and R. Brad Martin.  Abingdon Press.
  2. Quoted in The Incredibles article by Mark Batterson at