Taking Aim at Bullies – A Look at True Power

By Marjorie Foerster Eddington

In children’s picture Bibles, Goliath always looks so big and strong and powerful. Sometimes little kids, and even big kids, want to be that big and that strong and so identify with Goliath. Goliath towers above everyone and gets his way just by being huge. And David is always drawn so small, often looking silly.

Some people get sucked in by this apparent sense of power. Because of their physical size or prowess they play the bully—terrorizing the smaller and weaker, the ones who will run away from them in fear. As a result, these Goliath-bullies feel dominant. But the truth is, their power isn’t permanent. In fact, they aren’t really powerful at all; they have a false sense of power.

Maybe they didn’t read the story all the way to the end. Goliath isn’t the super-human he appears to be. Goliath gets knocked out flat by one expertly slung smooth stone from David’s sling. True power isn’t in huge size or physical force. Power isn’t in deafening yells or abusive words.

  • Power is in humility and trust.
  • Power is conviction in God’s protection.
  • Power is courage to yield to God’s guidance.
  • Power is in refusing to let fear govern our lives.

David refused to let fear make his people slaves to the Philistines. David may very well have been afraid. The Bible doesn’t tell us. It would probably have been impossible and unwise not to be a little afraid of a nine-foot giant. But that’s what courage is—doing the right thing even though you’re afraid.

See, the bully will try to keep on terrorizing people until someone challenges him … until a David shows a Goliath that his power is penetrable, flawed, fleeting, God-less.

For no matter how big that Goliath bully looks, God is always bigger. No matter how scary that situation appears to be, God is always stronger. God’s pretty clear: “I am the Lord, and there is none else” (Is 45:6). And that’s how we defeat bullies. We put our trust in God, just like David did. That gives us the courage to face our fears.

David ran to meet Goliath with the knowledge that God was his strength and protection—his secret weapon, or not so secret, since he says to Goliath: “You come to me with a sword…. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts… This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand … for the battle is the LORD’s” (1 Sam 17:45-47). He charged fear head-on and struck it down with one smooth stone.

There is a David for every Goliath, and we can be that David. We can run to meet the Goliaths in our lives. We can run with courage and conviction and beat any bullying action.

In addition to defeating the Goliaths we face in our lives (such as fears, diseases, bullying, acts of terror), we also have the responsibility to pray, earnestly, that we, our friends, and those who would make themselves enemies, don’t get caught up in the trap of wanting to be like Goliath. Even though Goliath may look pretty scary and may make a lot of us really fearful, in the end, Goliath’s so-called power is smitten by the smallest of stones.

Let’s pray that we have courage enough to throw that stone.