The Rival You Need

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1 Samuel 17:4-11
4 Then Goliath, a Philistine champion from Gath, came out of the Philistine ranks to face the forces of Israel. He was over nine feet tall! 5 He wore a bronze helmet, and his bronze coat of mail weighed 125 pounds. 6 He also wore bronze leg armor, and he carried a bronze javelin on his shoulder. 7 The shaft of his spear was as heavy and thick as a weaver’s beam, tipped with an iron spearhead that weighed 15 pounds. His armor bearer walked ahead of him carrying a shield.

8 Goliath stood and shouted a taunt across to the Israelites. “Why are you all coming out to fight?” he called. “I am the Philistine champion, but you are only the servants of Saul. Choose one man to come down here and fight me! 9 If he kills me, then we will be your slaves. But if I kill him, you will be our slaves! 10 I defy the armies of Israel today! Send me a man who will fight me!” 11 When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified and deeply shaken...

The concept of having a rival in your world isn’t a fun concept. It’s not something that I have ever welcomed. But the presence of a rival isn’t always a bad thing. Here we see Goliath step on the scene. The funny thing is that the Israelites are on the cusp of the promised land. They are about to walk in and obtain their promise right now. However, they are petrified in fear at the look of this giant, this rival, called Goliath. There are probably some of you out there who are on the cusp of your promise, and a rival has stepped in right before you are about to lay hold of the promise. And you are terrified. If you’re honest with yourself, maybe you are afraid of going after your promise today. Maybe you’re afraid that you’ll be defeated in the process of obtaining your promise today.

Rivals have the ability to bring out and expose the inadequacies in us. In this case, it was the enormity of who Goliath was and the sheer significance of his force and weight. The Israelites were afraid of the giants of the land they were about to obtain. In Deuteronomy 3:11 it describes King Og of Bashan as needing a bed over 13 feet long and 16 feet wide! That’s the kind of giant that was in this land.

Goliath was 9 feet tall. This 9 foot tall guy is taunting the Israelites. He appeared invincible. Saul was the closest thing to being his equal rival. That’s why Saul was so afraid. He was the largest of all the Israelites, and he was just under 7 feet tall. Saul was especially worried about being the best match for Goliath in this moment.

But as we pick up scripture, we see David comes into the picture in verse 32. I like David because he’s just a shepherd boy who’s come into the battlefield to give his brothers some lunch. He’s the least of the least. No one would likely put him in to face off with Goliath, especially when their fate depends on it as a nation.

But here we see that David is consoling the King. Lisa Bevere made a compelling point about this scripture, saying “I love that David had in him, even in the state of being a boy, the makings of a king. When we think about David, we may ask: Who made King David famous? It wasn’t a prophet. It wasn’t a friend. It wasn’t a king, and it wasn’t a father. The very thing that made David prominent and famous was his rival Goliath.”


  1. What rival is in the way of you receiving your promise right now? (It can be a person or a rival of fear, unbelief, etc.)

  2. What inadequacies is the rival exposing that you can work on?


Dear God,

I pray that You open my eyes today to identify the rival in my world. Make clear to me the inadequacies that are surfacing in my life, and help me to work on those areas, so I am ready for the promise that You have for me. Thank You that coming against a rival is actually an opportunity for greater growth in preparation for a larger sphere of influence.

In Jesus’s Name,