The bellowing of the giant echoed across the valley floor. The boy-king looked down into the Brook of Elah. Shimmering waters rolled over the small stones at the waters’ edge. Undeterred by the giant’s size, strength, or reputation, the boy-king picked up five small stones and slipped them into his shepherd’s bag. These were not your typical rocks for child’s play. They were barium sulphate—twice the density of normal stones. When launched from his sling at 100 m.p.h. they would have the stopping power of a .45 caliber handgun. At nearly ten feet tall, the giant appeared invincible, but appearances can be deceiving. The boy-king had five stones and the skill of a sniper. He raised his voice in answer to the giant’s intimidation:
This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down! That all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s and he will give you into our hands!
Goliath was out of his league. And on that spring day, while thousands looked on, the giant fell to the little-boy-king named David.
Twenty-five years have passed. The boy-king has become a man. He’s looking down again, but it’s not for five small stones to slay a giant. David is on the roof of his palace, and his eyes scan the rooftops below. He knows what he’s looking for, though he’s acting like he doesn’t. He’s seen her bathing once before; the image keeps returning to his mind—beckoning him to forbidden pleasures. It’s only a glance, he reasons. If she appears, I’ll look away. Suddenly she’s there, on her rooftop—just as if his memory had called the image to life. His pulse quickens. His breathing comes quick and shallow. He knows what’s next—the memory of those past images awakening his desire. He turns his head away, but his eyes reach back toward the woman bathing. A battle ensues.
Look away. She’s not your wife.
It’s just a glance. No one will see you.
This is wrong. You’re a married man.
You’re free tonight. Is she?
Transfixed—his body’s stillness does not reveal his mind’s struggle. The internal battle is fast and furious; his will weakening under the onslaught. What had started as curiosity is now the full grown desire for pleasure. His imagination is racing ahead with the images he has captured. Entitlement is not far behind: You’re the king! What’s wrong with looking…since you’re the king and she’s your subject? Find out her name and invite her to the castle.
There once was a boy-king who, with five small stones and a sling, watched a giant fall and gave God the glory. But when he became a man, he chose to stand unarmed on the top of his palace, locked in a life-and-death struggle with the giant of sexual desire. This time, the giant didn’t bellow intimidating curses across the valley floor. It whispered promises of unrealized pleasure—of being desired and desiring in return. And on that spring day, the giant won the battle, defeating the king who had pursued his own pleasure, and at great cost to the kingdom.
Taken from Strength for the Struggle: biblical strategies for standing against sexual temptation