God Gives Us Purpose

By Dr. Jack Graham

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

The familiar Bible story of David and Goliath is taught to children and preached from pulpits on a regular basis. The young shepherd boy David is applauded for his courage. The story is more than a children’s story, and it’s more than a story of a great fight between a young shepherd boy and the giant Goliath. It’s the story about a clash of the titans of good and evil. It’s a powerful picture of our own battles and the promise that we have for victory in Jesus Christ.

I want you to think about why David was so courageous. Remember, the children of Israel were encamped on the hillside of the side of the Valley of Elah. We can go to the Valley of Elah and stand in the very place where the battle took place. On one side of the hill were the children of Israel, and in the camp beneath were the Philistines… the cruel, ironclad Philistines… pagans who did not know the one true God of Israel.

A giant represented the Philistines. We know him as Goliath. He was a powerful man; according to Scripture he stood between nine and ten feet tall. Certainly with his helmet on, he would have reached almost eleven or twelve feet. A massive creature. He would have been a top draft choice for the NBA!

Goliath was powerful and strong. He probably weighed somewhere around four hundred pounds because we know the very armor that he wore weighed between 150 and 200 pounds. He carried a spear like a telephone pole, and the head of the spear weighed about twenty or twenty-five pounds. He was the Incredible Hulk and Darth Vader wrapped up into one.

The giant man had more protection. He had a shield bearer, the Scripture says, someone who walked in front of him and carried a shield that was as big as a man to protect Goliath against any errant arrow that might be flying his way. I’ve often thought about that guy carrying the shield for Goliath. I envision him strutting in front of this massive man saying, “Yeah, we’re bad! We’re bad!”

Day after day this intimidating presence moves closer and closer to the encampment of Israel defying the armies of God and God Almighty Himself, shouting and cursing obscenities.

We all face giants in our lives. Maybe you face giants of envy or jealousy or temptation or moral challenges. Giants of worry and fear grip the hearts of many.

The scene changes. God’s champion, David the shepherd boy, enters. He’d been anointed to be the king of Israel, but he was still a shepherd at this point. He’d not yet ascended to the throne. He was probably just a teenager. We’re told he was fair and ruddy and good-looking. Probably redheaded and handsome – just a kid.

But there was something about this young man that was different. He had a heart for God. His very name, David, means the apple of God’s eye. Scripture reminds us that God does not measure strength and power by the outward appearance, but He looks on the heart. If you want to measure an individual, don’t measure the head; put the tape around the heart.

I want to show you how we, like David, can win our battles and experience success in God’s eyes. First Samuel 17:29-30 holds the key: “And David said, What have I done now? Is there not a cause?’ Then he turned from him toward another and said the same thing.”

“Is there not a cause!” If you’re going to survive or thrive in life, you must have a cause. David’s cause was the honor and the glory of God. He would not let a foul Philistine defy the armies of God and blaspheme the name of the Lord.

The Israelites were shaking in their sandals on the side of the hill. They had forgotten who they were and why they were there. Little minds have a desire to win, but great minds have the determination and courage to win because they have a cause. Do you know your cause in life? It’s our purpose that keeps us going against all odds.

I read an acrostic on “purpose.” It is purpose that separates the ordinary from the extraordinary in life.

P – Pray
U – Unite
R – Risk
P – Plan
O – Observe
S – Sacrifice
E – Expect

If you have a cause and your cause is for the glory of God, it’s going to make a difference in your life. A huge difference. It is not intellect alone that God uses, or education or good looks or popularity or wealth, but it’s great hearts – men and women who are dominated by a passionate cause. David charged the giant and changed the world because he loved God more than life.

We’re facing a similar conflict in our world, a clash of the cultures, a clash between good and evil, between God and antichrists. The war is for the soul of our nation and the souls of the world.

Some would suggest that we retreat to our churches and forget about saving the lost, but this is not a time for Christians to retreat from the battle. It’s time to get into the battle and stay in the battle against evil and the forces of hell.

There comes a time in our lives when we must say, “Enough, I’ll not allow you to blaspheme the name of my God anymore.” When we stand for truth and righteousness, our cause defines our purpose. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).

There is a major difference between positive thinking and positive faith. Positive thinking is good as far as it takes you, but positive faith says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

The battle is the Lord’s. Our purpose is to commit our lives to Him. Jesus said if your faith is even the size of a mustard seed, you’ll say to the mountain (or giant) “be removed,” and it shall be cast into the sea. He was reassuring us that the smallest amount of faith is bigger than our biggest obstacle.

Dr. Jack Graham serves as Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, one of the largest and most dynamic churches in the country.