Pastor Randy’s Top 66 – 1 Samuel
“David said to the Philistine (Goliath), ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give all of you into our hands.’ ” I Samuel 17:45-47
This story of David and Goliath is a favorite for Jews and Christians alike, and it is very popular with the kids in Sunday School, but as my friend, professor and author, Dr. Eric Bargerhuff reminds us in his new book “The Most Misused Stories In the Bible”, this story isn’t about what you think it’s about. I’ll get to that in a moment.
So, a little background: King Saul – the first king of Israel – and his armies were at a standoff with their archenemies, the Philistines. One Philistine warrior named Goliath, who stood nine feet, nine inches tall, challenged the Israelite army with this wager in 1 Samuel 17:8-9, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” And then he continued in verses ten and eleven:
“This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.
No one in the Israelite army was willing to fight Goliath because….well, they knew they’d get mushed! But then David shows up. The young shepherd boy was sent to the front lines by his father to deliver some tuna sandwiches to his three older brothers who were a part of Saul’s army. David looked around at all of the frightened faces and was confused. Why would no one stand in faith – faith in Jehovah God – and defeat this giant (Who in God’s eyes was a grain of sand)?
For the sake of time (I hope you will read this seventeenth chapter on your own), I will cut through some of the dialogue and get right to our verses above. As I said at the beginning – and as Dr. Bargerhuff speaks about so eloquently – this story is often used in reference to overcoming fear, and facing the giants in our life by being strong and courageous. Okay, sure – there’s a bit of that in here, but these verses aren’t about David overcoming fear to face the giant Goliath – he was NOT fearful at all!! As a matter of fact, I love how verse forty-eight says, “As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, DAVID RAN QUICKLY TOWARD THE BATTLE LINE TO MEET HIM (My capitalized emphasis)!! Young David RAN into battle! No fear here! And why wasn’t he fearful?
David knew who his God was. David had experienced God’s strength in him when David slew a lion and bear that tried to attack his sheep. David was full of faith because he was full of his God. He wasn’t foolish (and we need to obviously be careful in dangerous situations), but instead David was confident in the Lord. Please, you just have to read the entire chapter to get the full impact of this powerful display of faith and confidence in our Great God. So, as my friend Eric says in his book,
“So the main point of the story is not about overcoming fear and facing your giants as much as it is about trusting in the power and character of God to deliver.”
As I had stated a few ‘Books’ ago when I wrote about the Book of Judges, Gideon was a mighty warrior of God because the Lord God was with him. Our Lord has promised to never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5), so we can step out in faith knowing that the creator of the universe is at our side because we are ‘hidden with Christ in God’ (Colossians 3:3).