Taking the Giant’s Head
“Finishing the job” in terms of spiritual ‘execution’ is a hallmark of David’s leadership and the glaring inadequacy of Saul’s. David had a greater understanding of protecting the sheep than merely defending them from disaster; he wouldn’t even allow the loss of one little lamb. He didn’t drive the bear and lion away with well-placed stones, he took the battle to the bear and lion, grasped them by the beard, up close and personal, and took their heads, so to speak. Saul had the inherent “opt-out” of execution procedure for every opportunity at full obedience; he always had a clear justification in his mind for adjusting what should be done so he could do something he thought would please the people.
In this way, Saul was content with almost obedient while David pressed his way to the fullest consequences of his course of action. Saul was willing to spare Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle when God had clearly said “to leave nothing, bring home nothing, spare nothing.” Saul’s decision was much like Achan’s theft of banned spoil from Jericho, taking the thing under a ban of God’s destruction. While the modern mind would often fail to see the seriousness of God’s response, God takes execution to heart. “Will of God be done on earth as it is in heaven.” David, on the other hand will not stop until the full consequences of confrontation with the giant have been fulfilled. He is going to take the head in order to get the sword.
Taking the giant’s head is something along the lines of “a finished work.” Saul is into trophies. David is into triumph. Saul is content with appearance. David is contending for actuality. Saul pleases people. David proceeds on principle. Saul plans a parade. David plans to plunder.
Taking the giant’s head seldom enters the modern christian mind. The thought of finishing the job is foreign to the new diplomacy of christianism. Like Saul the political mindset is one of learning to get along with the enemies of the Father, not routing them. That would seem unfair and unkind, probably against the rules to the modern christian leader. Few can see the need to keep bear and lion from carrying off a lamb a day. The idea of ridding the valley of lions and bears never seems to enter their minds. They have a “well, lions and bears have to eat too” mentality, a Lion King kind of “its the circle of life” worldview. They didn’t get that from the Bible or the Spirit!
Someone with a David-like mindset appears too radical to the modern christian mind. “He’s gonna get his hands bloody!” They would applaud perhaps for a few moments, but then they would ask God for a different leader. “Now that this brute has cleaned things up, we need a new leader who will let us all go home in peace. This guy wants us to rush into the valley and chase the army of Philistines all the way to Hooscow! We just wanted someone to shut that giant up. Now, the enemy will use this defeat to get more recruits and we’ll be worse off than ever!” Blah Blah Blah
Some people don’t want shooting in the streets, so they complain about shooting in the streets. We can’t stop shooting in the streets without shooting in the streets. In all depends upon who is shooting whom. The clean up is more than some people can stomach. They just want the giant to go home and shut up. The idea of taking the head seems barbaric to them, and they can’t see God programming His people to shed blood.
“That’s why we have a champion,” they think, “so we don’t have to get any blood on our hands.” Then, they will sit back and critique the sheriff. “It isn’t necessary to show such force. Just talk to the rowdies and they will see reason.” They just don’t get it! Giants aren’t there just to intimidate. They fully intend to poke your eyes out! Once the army of Israel learned to live without swords and spears, they were fully prepared to negotiate for better conditions of slavery. They were the kind of shepherds who would offer a lamb to the lion and bear if they would just go away and stop roaring.
Modern christians have been giving away the ground they stand on for several generations. They were intimidated by science and sent Saul leaders to face down the giant of evolutionary philosophy. They backed into their corners and created a subculture throwing their children at the giant to avoid the scorn of the enemy. The roar drove them back, and they picked up shovels and pitchforks saying, “We are here for harvest, not war!” Content to “get people saved” they gave up on their assignment to disciple cultures. They became “harvest is our only calling” christians. “We aren’t called to take dominion over anything but the building we constructed where the city planners told us we could build.
David won’t even go into the battle without the intent to execute. By execute, I mean carry out the fullest consequences of his assignment based upon the consequences of the principles he believes. He isn’t taking giants prisoner. He taking the head!
David doesn’t make a spur of the moment decision to take the giant’s head. He goes into the valley fully prepared to die or finish the job trying. There is not parade of victory in his mind because he doesn’t think with a political spirit like Saul who would like to arrange for a parade so he can walk in front of the champion and take credit for this great victory of his leadership. “We have won a great appeasement with our enemies. Now, they will leave us alone.”
David isn’t going for appeasement or “one-up-manship.” He is going for a full execution of dominion. David isn’t attempting to “learn how to get along.” He is functioning on principle. Although such principled living means radical behavior and “give me liberty or death,” David just hasn’t learned the fine art of appeasement. David sees the safest condition for sheep as no lion or bear, not giving them a lamb now and again to keep them from attacking.
So, the strength of David’s actions is that he has already made the decision before he faces the situation. He doesn’t need to determine what is appropriate for the moment as a political creature would. He is committed to the execution of the fullest consequences of his principles. This doesn’t seem radical to David.
The political spirit leaves leaders who call for principles looking like radicals. It seeks accommodation when such accommodation will ultimately lead everyone to a place of passivity about the enemy.
Champions have preset principles they will not sacrifice. This doesn’t represent mindless obsession. This represents full obedience. The problem with many modern christians is that they have absolutely no idea what they are willing to die for. They can step back half a stride again and again sacrificing principles with each retreat until they are sitting with hell at the table drinking the kool-aide of full accommodation. They say, “OK, I’ll bow down and worship you to get the kingdoms of this world. Surely Father wouldn’t ask me to die in order to get them.”
David lives by principles he is willing to die for. Saul lives by political appearances as a plausible process of retreat or a precipitous opportunity to parade. Either way, Saul is living the consequence of what he believes. Saul is surprised that God is making a big deal out of nothing when he brings Agag and the best of the flocks and herds home with him. David would be shocked by the idea of taking a giant prisoner. David lives out the consequence of his principles by taking the giant’s head in order to get the giant’s sword.
Few people know their principles, their presets. Without presets you lack precepts. Living by principle always comes down to giving in on little things. You lose your soul stepping over a line, but you only take half a step to cross it. You don’t realize you gave up your convictions several steps before. Principled people don’t embrace the idea of “a little lie” or a “nobody will ever know theft.” Principled people don’t sell out for appeasement at any level or you will step over a line of no return without realizing it. This helps explain Esau’s loss of birthright.
David killed Goliath on principle. So, he carried that principle to the fullness of its consequences. This awakened a whole army to the same principle and they began to function based upon principle as well. Without a commitment to principle you cannot be prepared to fulfill purpose. Without principle you will do the right thing for the wrong reason. Without principle you will exchange good intentions for full obedience. Without principle you will lose your purpose even while you maintain your position. Saul remains king, sitting alone in his tent listening to the roar of the giant; when David takes the giant’s head, Saul hears the roar of his army running into the valley. Saul has his position but he can’t fulfill God’s purpose.
Do you know what you are willing to die for? Do you know what decisions you’ve already made that nothing will deter you from doing? Do you already have “a quit” in your mind, a fall back position for evading full obedience?
The test of character is what it takes to stop you; and when hell learns what it takes to stop you, then that is what you will get.