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David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17:26-54).

Here’s a question to set you thinking: is it ever wrong to want more of God and to seek greater opportunity to serve him?

David saw the same as everyone else but interpreted them differently: they all heard the same giant, they all heard the same thundering threats, but David was full of faith. The people thought Goliath couldn’t lose; David thought Goliath couldn’t win. He had a proper perspective.

Why? He was indignant that the living God should be defied thus - look at verse 26 of 1 Samuel 17. There is a reproach on God’s holy people and so he exclaims, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” For David, the fact that Goliath was uncircumcised was not a mere detail. No, rather, it revealed that he wasn’t under the covenant of the Living God. And note how David describes God as “living”: he is up to date, what he was, he is; what he stood for once, he stands for now; what he did once, he wants to do now. He is not an idol - he speaks, he acts, he is not tied to the past. 

And David wants rid of the enemies of God. God’s enemies, after all, are outside the help of God, and therefore, they cannot defeat the armies of the living God. Anyone defying God is bound to collapse in the long run. David is full of the fear of the Lord - he hates what God hates and loves what God loves. Such an attitude is really behind the verses some contemporary Christians find hard to deal with: “Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.” (Psalm 139:21,22)

David was simultaneously encouraged and discouraged. His indignation resulted in him being told of the reward that would be given to the man who killed Goliath. And yet his brothers were still intent on ‘having a go’ at him, “What are you doing here? Who is taking care of those sheep of yours out there in the wilderness? You cheeky brat, you! You just came to watch the fighting!” (28, GNB) Did you notice how the sheep suddenly don't belong to Jesse’s family, but are now David’s? The brothers wanted to make David feel guilty, to appeal to his sense of responsibility. This is a common strategy of the enemy - twisting our consciences so that we feel flippant and not as serious as others. This criticism is slanderous - but note how David deals with it. He doesn't over concern himself - he responds, “Now what have I done?” But he turns to another man - asks the same question - and gets the same answer.

But David started in faith and now he continues in faith. Even before the king, Saul: “Your Majesty, no one should be afraid of this Philistine! I will go and fight him.” Saul dismisses his faith, “How could you fight him? You’re just a boy!” Then comes one of two faith-filled speeches:

“Your Majesty, I take care of my father's sheep. Whenever a lion or bear carries off a lamb, I go after it, attack it, and rescue the lamb. And if the lion or bear turns on me, I grab it by the throat and beat it to death. I have killed lions and bears, and I will do the same to this heathen Philistine, who has defied the army of the living God. The Lord has saved me from lions and bears; he will save me from this Philistine.”

Saul starts to think: ‘David might win but only if dressed in my armour’. 

David is having none of that. He is not trusting in himself - even though he expects God to use him. But he is not trusting in any mighty armour. I get the impression he is slightly rocked by Saul’s offer, but simply states, “I can’t fight with all this.” David trusts in the God who made him, and who has gifted him, and who has been preparing him. “He took his shepherd’s stick and then picked up five smooth stones from the stream and put them in his bag. With his sling ready he went out to meet Goliath.”

I love that he took 4 spare stones: he was ready for the remaining Philistinian champions, mentioned in 1 Chronicles 20:5-8.

There is a battle between worldly confidence and faith. The worldly confidence is based on superior strength, David’s apparent weakness, scorn and sarcasm, the demonic strength behind Goliath, and his self confident arrogance.  Goliath taunts him, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.”

David trusts God - Goliath’s gods are inferior. David calls God “Yahweh” - the Lord who will defend his people, and so he expects God’s name to be relished even more. “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 defiled. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head.”

David’s faith is rewarded: Goliath is knocked unconscious, and David beheads him, the Philistines are routed and trophies of war are carried away. God was what Israel needed - and David knew this, for David knew his God, and Israel’s God.

David prefigures Jesus…

Sin / Satan held us in bondage mocking our inability to trust God.

Jesus is our conquering hero who slew the enemy.

As Israel rallied because of the faith of David SO we live by the faith of Christ (Galatians 2:20 - we live by the faith OF Christ).

We too can reign in life because we are in Christ.

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