Apr 22, 2020, 3:31 PM
“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14)
When young David looked at the Philistine warrior who had won many accolades for his fighting prowess, he despised him. Was that meant to psyche him up? No, David was standing on a rock. There was something he knew. Goliath was not a partisan of God’s covenanted people and therefore he could not rely on God to win this battle. David, on the other hand had the firm confidence that Goliath was just blowing hot air; he could bring him down. In a one-on-one encounter like that Goliath did not have a chance.
Unfortunately, the army of Israel was ignorant of this. Their leader Saul whose responsibility it was to lead the army in battle, had abandoned his call to duty. He had cowered under Goliath’s repeated threats which had been going on for forty days. “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.” (1Samuel 17:8-9)
Goliath was basing his power, might and boldness on the fact that he was a seasoned fighter, armed to the teeth. He trusted in his stature of over nine feet tall. “He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armour of bronze weighing five thousand shekels (about 57 kilograms), on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels (7 kilograms).” (1 Samuel 17:5-7)
Who in his right senses would not have been terrified at the sight of this giant from Gath? Whereas such paraphernalia and stature made the whole army of Israel withdraw each time Goliath appeared to threaten the Israelite army, for David it was mere curiosity.
When David got to the scene -- apparently on an errand to bring food for his brothers who were enlisted in King Saul’s army and to be able to report on their welfare to their father who was now aged, he overheard what the giant was saying. “This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” (1 Samuel 17:10) A common adage says ‘that curiosity killed the cat’. This is true only for cats -- not in the case of David unfortunately.
David, at first glance, would have seemed to be there by happenstance. It was when he arrived to check on his brothers that Goliath “stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance.” (verse 23) David also heard the Israelite soldiers mutter; “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his father’s family from taxes in Israel.” (verse 25)
Isn’t it amazing that trained soldiers heard Goliath boasting and ran away whilst David heard the same threat and began to ask of the reward that would be given to the fellow who would kill Goliath? Wouldn’t such an attractive reward stir up something in you to go and fight Goliath? Yet it did not move anyone from the ranks of the Israelite army.
David’s curiosity earned him the wrath of his elder brother who scolded him as a nosey-parker. When we look deeper, Eliab was only expressing his jealousy brought about since David was designated to succeed King Saul on the throne – a trust that should have fallen on his shoulders as the eldest son. “He burned with anger at him and asked ‘Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert?” Eliab wanted to settle scores. “What Have I done? Can’t I even speak?” David retorted and went on his way. David could not be bothered with people who want to get in his way.
When people get in the way of your dreams and purposes, just dismiss them. There is no need fighting with them. Word got to King Saul, who summoned David and despite hearing what motivated David he sought to dismiss him by saying you are just a boy whereas Goliath was a seasoned warrior.
As fate would have it, David had a track record as a shepherd. Whilst tending sheep, he had killed a lion and a bear single-handedly with his bare hands. He therefore saw Goliath as one of them. “Let no one lose heart on account of the Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” (verse 32) In disbelief, King Saul had proposed his coat of armour but after trying it on, David admitted he could not go and fight Goliath in that outfit. “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he had defied the armies of the Living God.” (verse 36)
Young people like David are more audacious in a bid to do exploits than the elderly who tread more cautiously. Where King Saul reneged on his duties, David was willing to take on the challenge. He however did not take an uncalculated risk. As he was ready to face Goliath he boasted in the name of the Lord and not in his own strength -- and that was the source of his victory. “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 hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, 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.” (verse 45-47)
Like David, whatever you put your hands to do, if you want to fight the good fight, do it in the name of the Lord of Hosts; because if you do it in your own strength, the hand of flesh will fail you. “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear.” (Isaiah 58:1)
“... but people who know their God shall do exploits.” (Daniel 11:32) David knew God, and he faced this uncircumcised Philistine upfront, not doubting. He won with a slingshot that landed in Goliath’s forehead – the only open space in Goliath’s armour. What precision!
Like David, trust in the Lord to direct your paths.