Why is it that the story of David and Goliath has become one of the most familiar and best loved stories in the Old Testament? One reason is that we love to root for the underdog. We want the little guy to win when he faces a giant. Who wants to root for the big bully? Bullies are nothing new and they have been around even before there ever was a school playground.
Read 1 Samuel 17
The Philistines and Israel were in a face off. Each side was to send out their fiercest warrior. Whose side their representative solider if he won would secure victory for the whole nation. The losing side would be disgraced and be in submission to the victorious side. The god of the losing side would be ridiculed. For Israel the name of Jehovah God would be mocked and ridiculed if their warrior lost.
Goliath is called a champion. He is a skilled warrior. He was a giant who measured nine and a half feet tall and his armor alone was 200 lbs and probably weighed more than David and his sling and the five stones altogether.
Goliaths spear shaft was like a weaver’s beam and the point weighed 15 lbs. The Philistines at that time held the monopoly on iron works so they were superior with military technology and economic prosperity.
Goliath’s shield bearer would run ahead of him and Goliath would shout and taunt in defiance. “Chose a man and have him come down to me.” “This day I defy the ranks of Israel.” And “Give me a man and let us fight each other.”
When they heard this Saul and all the Israelites were terrified. It is most interesting that Saul was terrified. He himself stood head and shoulders above all others in Israel. It underscores the futility of trusting in the flesh.
When it comes to strength, intelligence and money someone always has more. ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD. (Zechariah 4:6) The problem is that the Spirit departed from Saul. Without God’s Spirit his physical stature is meaningless.
But who did have God’s Spirit? It was a young shepherd boy by the name of David. 1 Samuel 16:13 tells us David was anointed as King. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him in power.
David was in their fields tending sheep. God was preparing David for something big, really big and he was about nine and a half feet tall and beyond that he was being prepared to be the king of Israel.
As a shepherd David was learning the tenderness needed to be the shepherd of God’s people. But also God was teaching David toughness needed and David was demonstrating God’s power. As a shepherd the Spirit of God delivered David from the paw of a bear and the paw of the lion. God was preparing David for the victory.
Jesse’s three sons were at the scene of Goliath’s defiance. David delivered a care package to his brothers in the military. That is when David heard what was happening. At that moment Goliath was shouting his usual defiance. David saw Israel run in great fear.
Now Saul was offering a great reward for the one who could take Goliath. There would be great wealth, the Kings daughter in marriage and no taxes for the family of the one who defeated Goliath. David’s older brother burned with anger at the very thought of David enquiring about the reward. He may still have been jealous that Samuel passed them by and anointed David as King.
David’s brother accused David of just wanting to watch the battle. What David was saying was reported to Saul and he sent for David. David told them he himself would fight the giant and no one needed to lose heart. Saul said, “But you are just a boy and Goliath has been a fighting man since his youth.” He told the story of taking on the bear and lion seizing it by the hair and prevailing.
When I was sixteen years old I wrestled a bear. See picture here.
This was a trained bear who wrestled 50,000 people. It only makes me realize that there was no way David prevailed over a bear in the wild without God’s Spirit.
By God’s Spirit David took on a bear and a lion. (1 Samuel 17:37) God delivered David from the bear and the lion and he would be delivered from Goliath.
Saul said go the Lord be with you. The hope of the nation was pinned on this Shepherd boy. They put a bunch of cumbersome armor on David. It was like a child putting on adult clothes. David couldn’t even walk around. I don’t need these; there is a proverbial saying “man in armor is his armor’s slave.”
Goliath was relying on military armor wearing 200 lbs. David was relying on the Spirit of God and he will go without armor.
This young shepherd boy picked up 5 smooth stones. He is unprotected carrying nothing with him but a sling to go out against this giant with 200 lbs of armor and heavy weapons. Goliath was relying on his strength and weapons and armor.
Humanly speaking David stood no chance of defeating Goliath. But Goliath was facing God’s servant. Goliath really did not stand a chance because a giant is nothing before God.
David went out to face his giant armed with a sling and the power of God. Goliath ridiculed David and cursed God. Calling on the name of the Lord was the key to David’s victory and will be necessary when you face the giants.
David was right with God. The power of God casts out fear. David spoke boldly as he faced Goliath. 1 Samuel 17:47
The battle is the Lord’s. What giants do you face? It is the Lord’s battle so give it to the Lord. Step out in faith. You must trust God when you battle giants.