This is a story we all know because it transcends the church and Scripture, as culture has adopted the language and imagery for its own uses and purposes. We resonate with this story because we all feel like David at times in our lives. We feel overpowered, overwhelmed, ill-equipped to deal with our adversity, small against the big, etc. This story gives us hope that we can succeed against seemingly insurmountable odds.
There are so many things to love about the story found in 1 Samuel 17.
Here were three of my takeaways Sunday.
1) David saw his previous experiences as preparation for his current battle.
But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:34-37a
When David was declaring to a bunch of scared military men and the current king that he would go and fight Goliath he did so with reference to his past experience against enemies of his father’s sheep. Something about his battles with lions and bears caused him to feel prepared to face this giant.
What if we viewed our present circumstances for the value they possess in our future?
What if the battles you are facing right now aren’t to overcome to you, but to prepare you?
2) David ran toward the fight, not away from it.
When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 1 Samuel 17:48
I remember in the aftermath of September 11th the stories that were written and the images displayed of those who ran into the buildings, ran into the rubble, ran into the chaos. They were heroes. Our humanity, we are told, gives us two options: fight or flight. Saul and his fellow soldiers were in hiding as 80 times Goliath called out for an opponent. David only had to hear it once to act. Then he convinced Saul that he could fight. Then he walked onto the battlefield and answer Goliath’s taunting. When the time was right he ran at his opponent.
We have a tendency to run away from our enemies, but our victory comes when we run toward.
3) Our battles are all about perspective. We are not standing toe to toe looking UP at a giant bigger than us, we serve a God who is looking DOWN on an enemy smaller than He is.
Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and 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 hand.” 1 Samuel 17:45-47
David made sure his brothers, Saul, and Goliath knew that he was aware who was fighting this battle.
Often when we face our giants we are overwhelmed by their size in comparison to us. Why not change your perspective, zoom out, and focus on their size in comparison to the God who fights for you?
There are so many other things that speak to me out of this chapter. David was only there because he said yes to his father’s request to carry grain and cheese to his brothers. Faithful service of the father will always position in the right place. Saul didn’t believe David could do it. Others won’t always recognize what you are capable of. David’s brother, Eliab, rebuked, criticized, belittled, and questioned David’s motives. When you take a stand, people will speak up against you.
It’s not just a child’s story. It’s a reminder that when we put our trust in God the giants in front of us will come down.