David and Goliath

David and Goliath

Of all those David had dealings with, it is the one with Goliath that is best known to many.

Samuel, shortly after having been told to anoint David as king because he was a man after God’s own heart, we soon see an example arising from David’s own character why this was so.

Israel and the Philistines were frequently at war and in the account given in 1 Samuel 17 we see the two armies facing each other with their champion, Goliath, calling on the armies of Israel to produce their own champion to fight him in single handed combat, declaring “If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us” (v9). This caused much alarm in the Israel army ranks and the challenge was repeated every day for forty days but with none to take it up. Goliath was a formidable foe. He was mighty warrior, and feared by all he opposed. He was likely of Nephilim descent; he was nearly ten feet tall.

It happened that David, having been sent on an errand by his father to visit his three oldest brothers serving in the army, witnessed one of these episodes, enquiring what was happening. He asked “What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (v26b). Ignoring rebuke at his presumption, he offered to fight Goliath and, despite being dissuaded by Saul because of his youth, was confident of success: “Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine” (vv36,37b).

The outcome of the fight is well known, albeit unexpected, with David emerging as the victor. David did what few others did, then and now, placed the honour of God at such high premium and he did something most would regard as folly, done in order to uphold the honour of God’s name. He did what most recoil from doing – confront the giant. As much as anything, this act demonstrated how: “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence” 1Corinthians 1:27-29.

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