A Giant of Faith

The August 2014 issue of The American Legion Magazine tells about an incident in the life of Jake Allex. It was Aug. 9, 1918, and the 131st Infantry Regiment, 33rd Division, attacked Chipilly Ridge in France between two British units. The American forces went over with little artillery support into the face of deadly artillery and machine-gun fire.

When the two sergeants and lieutenant in Cpl. Jake Allex’s platoon were wounded, he raised his hand and shouted for the survivors to follow him. When they were held up by a machine-gun nest, Allex continued the attack alone. He lobbed three hand grenades at the machine-gun nest and then jumped in with fixed bayonet. When the bayonet broke, he continued to fight with the butt of his rifle.

By the time the German position was indisputably his, he had killed five and captured 15. Besides the Medal of Honor, his decorations include British, French and Italian medals—a true giant among heroes.

Israel was in a stagnant confrontation with the Philistine army. The Israelites certainly needed a giant of faith, a hero, to face Goliath who stood at 9 feet, 9 inches! Along with his height, he had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of mail that weighed 125 pounds, as well as bronze leg protection. Goliath carried a spear, the iron point of which weighed 15 pounds and instantly would kill anyone who was unfortunate enough to be in the way. He also had added protection—a shield bearer who went ahead of him.

No one in the Israel’s army dared to confront this mammoth man! It took a civilian with a ruddy complexion, a red-headed young man by the name of David to lock horns with Goliath. He was a young man with a giant faith in his God. David was a true hero who ultimately would receive the Medal of Honor from God.

David Was a Man of Obedience
He was sent by his father to the front lines to take supplies to his brothers, and he obeyed immediately. Obedience is such a vital part of the Christian life. Nelson Bell wrote that one may shout from the housetops about his or her faith and orthodoxy, but “unless they are coupled with obedience to the teachings of God’s Word, there will come a time when we will find ourselves rejected from His eternal presence.”

David Was a Man of Courage
Call it foolhardiness of youth, but I believe David was chock full of courage.

During the 1920s, a man by the name of Mallory led an expedition of the most qualified and experienced men to climb Mt. Everest. Three times they attempted to ascend the mountain, and three times they failed. It was on the third attempt when disaster struck. An avalanche hit, and Mallory and most of his party were killed.

When the few surviving climbers returned to England, they held a banquet saluting the efforts of Mallory and remembering him and their colleagues. At the dinner, the leader of the survivors stood and looked around the hall at the framed pictures of Mallory and his comrades who had died. Then he turned his back to the crowds to face the huge picture of Mt. Everest, which stood looming as a silent, unconquerable giant behind the banquet table. Tears streaming down his face, he addressed the mountain on behalf of Mallory and his dead friends.

He said, “I speak to you, Mt. Everest, in the name of all brave men living and those yet unborn. Mt. Everest, you defeated us once, you defeated us twice; you defeated us three times; but, Mt. Everest, we shall someday defeat you, because you can’t get any bigger and we can.”

David knew Goliath’s challenge would not get any louder. It was time to put his faith to the test and step out courageously to face the giant. Whatever giant you face today, it is time to face it with God-sized courage!

David Was a Man of Experience
He had faced danger before when he looked into the eyes of a lion and a bear. The essence of experience is extracting meaning from everyday events—life itself. To David, meeting danger was something that prepared him to meet Goliath. How prepared for life’s Goliaths are you?

David Was a Man of Action
How many men lay in the trenches at night dreaming of being Israel’s hero by defeating Goliath? The next morning, they did nothing about it. David, on the other hand, did do something about it. “He took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag, and with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.” This was the distinguishing mark of David in this historical event. He was a man of action!

How many of us dream, plan and think about what we need to do for God, yet do nothing when what we need to do is put them into action?

David Was a Man of Victory
The biblical writer wanted to make sure his readers understood the outcome. “So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone” (v. 50). We love the ending because good triumphs over evil.

Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” I want to be one who triumphs over evil because I want to do something!

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