This Sunday, our kids heard the famous story of David facing down Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. David’s attitude is exemplary in showing us just what trusting God can allow us to do. It allowed David to stand out in front of his own army and face down a giant. God is on our side, and if David can stare down a Philistine champion, maybe we can show some courage as well.
So the Israelites find themselves at war with the Philistines, there perennial rivals in the area. Who knows what had set off the conflict this time. Regardless, like many ancient battles, both sides were a little uneasy with the wholesale slaughter of their own army, so a challenge of champions fighting is put forward as a solution. Many cultures used duels of champions instead of all-out fighting in order to lessen the blow should they lose. Better to lost one guy and live than lose hundreds or thousands and be trampled.
Goliath, then is introduced, as a hulking tower of muscle, armor and weapons. I don’t know if there’s another passage that so thoroughly describes a man and his weapons in the Bible. So, who’s gonna tackle this one? Is it the tall, handsome king, Saul? Nope. Is it tall, handsome Eliab? Nope. Even with the promise of riches, marrying the king’s daughter, and tax exempt status, no one steps up to the plate.
In tromps David, carrying a load of supplies because the state of war is taking so long that families are forced to send supplies to keep their family members going. David has one job – deliver the goods to where they needed to go. He does his job, right as Goliath comes out for the challenge. David hears it and his heart starts racing with anger, at Goliath’s blasphemy and insults, and excitement, over the upcoming cage match with the giant. David glances around, and everyone is hiding. David is appalled and begins dragging men out, pointing at the giant and asking, “Tell me again, you coward, what do you get for fighting and winning?” The soldier would answer, then slink back into his tent. Eliab gets on to David charging him with malice, and disobedience, but David stood with a clear conscience, he had done his job.
Finally, Saul gets wind of David’s marching around the camp and calls him in. “David, what are you doing, boy?”
“Your highness, you and everyone else need not fear! I have arrived and will take on the giant!” exclaimed David. Saul spewed the wine he had begun drinking all over the tent.
“I’m sorry, David. It sounded like you said you would fight the giant? He’s been a warrior since he was a boy, and you’re still a boy.”
“The Lord is with me, Your Highness,” says David, his eyes narrowing. “I’ve handled bears and lions more fearsome than this braying donkey.”
Saul sighs and motions for his armor bearers to find some armor fit for David. They had their work cut out for them, but, after all of their effort, David walks out with no armor, in stark contrast to Goliath. David spends some time meditating down by the stream as he picks up five smooth stones and stashes them in his satchel.
Upon arriving to the edge of the valley where the combat would begin, David notices the world seem to dim as a great voice thunders, as music begins to play. “Weighing in at a terrifying amount, covered in armor, and with enough weaponry to spear-fish a whale, the Giant from Gath, Goliath!” The Philistines cheer as Goliath walks in, the lights playing off of his shining, well polished armor, looking like a rhinestone cowboy if there ever was one. Goliath stops and poses, letting his oiled-up biceps talk for a moment before delivering his speech upon seeing his opponent.
“Are you coming against me with sticks? Am I a dog to be played with? I’m gonna bury you, little boy!” shouts Goliath.
The lights shift and focus on David as his own song begins to play. “On this side of the valley, coming it at a diminutive 105 pounds of pure sheep smell, David!”
“Oh come on! The announcer’s biased!” David said. “Whatever.” David shrugs, and walks down the valley, popping his neck on either side and loosening up his joints. When he’s within shouting distance, David calls out:
“Look here, Philistine. You come at me with an arsenal, I come at you with the God of Israel on my side. He will show you that this battle can be won without fancy weapons or… height. In fact, today, I’ll be feeding your corpse to the birds and animals. Your people will be decimated. And the Lord will receive victory this day! Come at me, bro!”
Somewhere, a bell sounds, and David rushes the field of battle. Goliath lumbers in, carefully picking his way down. Once situated, David sets is feet, loads a single stone in his sling and winds up for the toss. Goliath, not suspecting a thing, picks up momentum, and suddenly stops short of even being able to take a swing at David. Goliath stumbles, and falls. Having not brought a sword, David improvises, running forward, grasping Goliath’s own sword and bringing it down with a sickening shlup. David holds up the head of his enemy and lets out a cheer as the Philistines panic and run and the Israelites give chase.
David had courage because, for all his faults, David understood what it meant to trust God. David may have felt fear, he may have realized the cost and risk, but David trusted that God would come through for His people. David’s trust in God would serve him his entire life and would earn him the title of “man after God’s own heart” for his faithfulness and trust.
How do you model God being with you? Do you take faithful risks? Do you step out in faith? Do you encourage your kids to be brave and trust in God? How do you model the wisdom to know when a risk needs to be taken or avoided?
May you live as though God is always with you. (Because He is!)