A big Chapel message about the Goliaths we face
Story by Rick Vacek
Photos by Gillian Rea
GCU News Bureau
In slingshotting the story of David and Goliath into an important message, Jodi Hickerson made a giant-size impression Monday in her first Chapel talk at Grand Canyon University.
The Teaching Pastor and Programming Director of Mission Church in Ventura, Calif., rattled off ideas and comparisons with the same dexterity David used to famously slay the giant. But her main point was simple and to the point:
“We all have giants,” she said. “Here’s the thing about giants: They always take up too much room.”
The giant standing in front of David wasn’t figurative, however. He was very big and very real. As Hickerson recounted in the first book of Samuel, Chapter 17, Goliath was wearing 125 pounds of armor.
“Like wearing a GCU freshman,” she joked.
She then went into boxing announcer mode to give her listeners a modern-day view of what it must have been like:
“In this corner, weighing 130 pounds soaking wet, carrying a shepherd’s staff, a slingshot and five stones, the kid who packed the lunch this morning … DAVID!
“And in this corner, standing 9 feet tall, he hasn’t bathed in months. He’s maimed people. He’s broken bones with his bare hands. He’s wearing a GCU freshman. He’s got a 15-pound spear on the tip of his spear. He’s won every battle. He’s the undisputed, undefeated champion from Gath … GOLIATH!”
Goliath scoffed at his small young opponent and uttered these words, recorded in 1 Samuel 17:43-44:
“Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!”
To which David replied:
“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”
We all know what happened next: David kills Goliath with a single rock to the forehead.
“Cool story … awesome,” Hickerson said. “And I do believe God included it in His Word so that we can see this is the part of the history of God’s people learning to follow Him, learning to trust Him.
“But I also believe it reaches into today – March 4, 2019 – because God wants you to know, wants me to know, that it is possible for the giants in our lives that demoralize us and have stolen so much of our time, the giants that taunt us and shake us deeply, the giants that harass us, it is possible for them to go down, too.
“So let me ask you today: What is your giant?”
Everyone has them, she said. She shared that she has battled many a giant on her 22-year spiritual journey: insecurity, impurity, pride, deceit, shame, doubt.
“What is it for you?” she asked the audience again. “I mean, if we’re going to win, we’ve got to be able to identify this great big hairy thing.”
It could be an addiction, a bad memory, a circumstance, a fear, a cycle of abuse in your family, a resentment, an unforgiveness, a bitterness. They move in, take up too much room and become relentless, she said, standing before you every day, just as Goliath stood before the Israelites.
“We may have giants that are relentless, but the love of our God is also relentless,” she added. “… So I’m asking you this question: Not only what is your giant, but do you believe our God is greater than our giants? Because that was the difference between David and all the other men who ran away.”
Just by looking at history, Hickerson noted, we can see how God has won these battles again and again. She then launched into an extended piece of fast-paced staccato about what faith looks like, twice drawing applause.
But the only effective way to deal with our giants, she said, is to follow David’s example. She closed by having her audience repeat this sentence:
“I will move toward my giant … with God.”
And then she shared one final thought that brought it all together:
“So often our problem is not our weakness … it’s our independence.”
Right on target.
● For a replay of Chapel, including the music by the Worship team, click here.
● Next week’s Chapel speaker is Jay Pathak of Mile High Vineyard in Denver.
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.