“David and Goliath”
David and Goliath
1 Samuel 17
Rocky. The Karate Kid. The Mighty Ducks. Revenge of the Nerds. Hoosiers. Tucker: The Man and His Dream. Braveheart. Slumdog Millionaire. Star Wars. What do all these movies have in common? They are all about underdogs fighting against the odds to win or overcome their situations.
We also note these situations in real life. They include the U.S. beating the Soviet Union in hockey in the 1980 Olympics. The students in Tiananmen Square in 1989. (Especially the one student (Wang Weilin?) standing in front of the tank column.) And, it could be argued, the election of Donald Trump. Love him or hate him, NO One thought he was going to win in 2016.
And when the media talk about these sorts of situations, what are the terms usually used to describe them? David vs. Goliath. Today, we are going to talk about the original David and Goliath event.
After the days of the Judges, which we talked about last week with Samson, we find ourselves in the time of the kings. You may recall that the children of Israel went to Samuel, the last Judge and also a prophet and High Priest to God, they went to him and said, “We want a king like everybody else.” The problem with that request was that they had a king…God. And it was a big sin, a big no-no, for them to say they wanted to replace God with some puny human. God warned them, through Samuel, that if they did this, these human kings were going to take their money, and take their kids, and do like human kings did, and they went, “Yup…that’s what we want.” And God did what God does sometimes. Sometimes, He lets us have what we want. You know the old phrase, “Be careful what you wish for…you might get it.”
God let them have a king. His name was Saul. He was a head taller than everyone else in Israel. He looked a like a king, at least. At first, Saul was a good king. He tried to do what God wanted and was humble in doing it. As time passed, he got less humble (imagine that) and he started to stop obeying God and to do things that made God very unhappy. And God rejected Saul.
God then sent Samuel to anoint a new king. At God’s direction, Samuel was sent to Bethlehem, to find a guy named Jesse. The new king was to be one of his sons. Jesse brought out all of his sons, and God said when each one came to Samuel, “This is not him.” And Jesse said, “I have one more son, but he is just a kid, and he is out watching the sheep.” They brought him in, and God said he was the one. David was anointed King of Israel when he was just a pup, and obviously they did not tell Saul this.
Saul, meanwhile, was suffering from an evil spirit, and the one thing that made him feel better was music. David was skilled at playing the lyre and singing, and he was brought into the court of Saul to play for him. And that sets the stage for Goliath.
The Philistines decided to go to battle against Israel. Israel did the same. They lined up their armies on separate mountains, with a valley in between them. This is the way you fought in those days. You lined up your armies, you talked some trash for a few days, then you would run down the hill and try and kill all the other guys.
What happened here that was different was that the Philistines had a super soldier, a big dude, a mountain of a man, whose name was Goliath. The Bible says Goliath was over nine feet tall. The Thunder could use him, right? His armor weighed 125 pounds. The head on his spear weighed 14.5 pounds. This…was a big, strong man.
Goliath stepped out away from the rest of the army, and he called out to the Israelites a challenge. Instead of the armies fighting, Goliath told the Israelites to pick their best soldier. They would fight one on one, and the losing side would be slaves to the winning side. Saul and the rest of the gang heard this, and they were afraid. Nobody wanted to fight that dude.
You need to know, as we pause this narrative, that what should have happened is this: Saul was the biggest Israelite, he was the best fighter, and he should have gone down and fought Goliath. But he didn’t. And it wasn’t because he was the king, and this was beneath him. He didn’t because he was coward, he didn’t believe God would protect him.
For forty days, Goliath came out each day and challenged Israel to this fight and insulted God. No one on the Israelite side said they would fight him. But David, who had gone home to watch sheep while the king was at the battle, brought food and goodies for his brothers, and he heard Goliath issuing his challenge. And you know what he said? “I’LL FIGHT HIM.”
Saul said, “Look kid, we appreciate the offer but you are just a …kid.” But David told Saul that as a shepherd he had killed lions and bears (No tigers!), and God protected him then and God would protect him against this pagan Philistine. And Saul said, “Er…OK!” And I still can’t believe he did that. His army really had to think badly of him for that.
Saul took his armor and gave it to David. It was way too big. Picture Matthew here in Shaquille O’Neal’s clothes, you know what I mean? Finally, David said, “I don’t need that stuff. All I need is God, and a couple of good rocks.” You know, for his sling.
David stood in front of Goliath, and Goliath was not amused. He was insulted that this kid came out to fight him. And he mocked David and cursed him by the Philistine gods. And when Goliath went at him to fight him, David took his sling, fired the stone at Goliath, hit him square in the forehead, and…down he went. And David took Goliath’s sword and cut off Goliath’s head. The Philistines, when they saw this, they ran. (They didn’t keep their deal.)
So what does this tell us today? Well, this is not in the Bible to tell us to be good fighters or to learn how to use a sling, or anything like that. God is not telling us to trust in ourselves and rely on our strength or our abilities. And we talked about that last week, too, with Samson.
What happened with David and Goliath is here in the Bible because this is about faith. This is here to teach us that we are to trust in, and have faith in, the Triune God. Faith in the power of God to protect us and serve those who put their trust in Him. When Saul looked at David, he saw an underdog. When the Israelite army looked at David, they saw an underdog. When Goliath looked at David, he saw an underdog. They all saw David as someone who was unlikely to win.
When the world looks at us, they see underdogs against those who oppose us. And when we are on our own, without Jesus in here, we are underdogs. If we fight the devil, the world, and our sinful selves, alone without Jesus, we will lose.
With Jesus in here, however, we are far from underdogs. As David faced Goliath armed with faith, our enemies are weak and puny compared to the God who has created us, who is with us, and who has saved us by the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus. This is not some morality play that tells us if we act better, God will love us. This is here to remind us what God does for us. God killed Goliath through David. God killed Satan, death and hell with Jesus. This is about what God does.
And because of what God does, and because of what God gives, we are no longer underdogs. We can face those who oppose us with confidence, because the God who was with David so long ago, is also with us. I know it. You know it. Because He said so. Got it? Good.
In Jesus’ Name.