1 Samuel 17, Verses 34-37: (David speaking to King Saul regarding Goliath) “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”
David vs. Goliath is the most famous underdog story in all of history. Everyone knows it, but few grasp its vital point – God is true power and humans are hopelessly powerless without Him. Depending on what you want to believe, Goliath stood somewhere between 6 ft. 9 in. to 9 ft. 9 in. tall. Like a good fish story, his height grew in each translation. No matter the actual facts, Goliath scared the living daylights out of King Saul and the armies of Israel. For exactly 40 days (If you pay attention, God seriously likes that number), Goliath would come out in the open and make his shout out for just one of Saul’s men to come fight him. Winner take all. Nobody dared…they would fall back in fear every time. God had specifically raised up Goliath to be what he was at that very moment to eventually meet, David.
David was the lightly regarded youngest son of a family from Bethlehem. (Yes, that same Bethlehem). Three of his older brothers were all in Saul’s army, but David split his time between keeping his father’s sheep and serving Saul. His family sent him to the front lines to give food to his brothers and cheese to their commander, hoping that it would buy goodwill in keeping them safe. When he got there, he was appalled at the disrespect of Israel by Goliath and was inquiring what had been going on. They told him that any man that stood up and killed Goliath would be made very wealthy by Saul, his family would be exempt from taxes, and he’d even be given the King’s daughter in marriage. When King Saul got wind of David’s intrigue he sent for him. Young David said to the King, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” The king must have laughed a bit looking at David and his bold claim, and said to him, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” That’s when David put on Saul the words quoted above.
David understood what no other soul all the way up to the King, in all their armor and all their weapons, on that battlefield understood – Power comes from God and God only, and because of his faith, he possessed far greater power than Goliath could ever fathom. This is a young boy that killed lions and bears with his hands. HIS HANDS. Because he had faith that God would enable him to do so. 100 out of 100 times without God’s intervention, a human loses that fight and dies badly to the animal. David knew God was with him. Later to come would be Jesus, born in Bethlehem in the direct lineage to David, who would say to his disciples (and us), “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20
God keeps balanced scales – Always. When you read Proverbs, Psalms and throughout the Bible, you quickly pick up how important this is to God. For instance in Proverbs 11:1 from Solomon’s wisdom comes, “The Lord detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favor with him.” The 9th Commandment is, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” This is a major stumbling block for most of human history. Human power attempting to usurp God’s almighty power. It will always fail, but yet, God will allow human power to build up even while his suffer, because he is turning their rebellion into his balance all the while, teaching his via suffering, while laughing at the rebellious because he knows their folly is doomed. Balance of power is a very tricky thing. A scale must be perfectly weighted on both sides to keep order, so if you consider that in worldly terms, you might begin to start to understand why things are the way they are instead of how we wish them to be. Why seemingly bad things (worldly terms) happen to good people, when in fact, all of it is a measure of God’s Almighty Social Justice balancing the scales. In our viewpoint, if 10 innocent people die at the hands of 10 evil people, and the evil people remain free and seemingly victorious, then God is wrong and maybe he’s just sadistic. That is exactly what Satan whispers in the ears of many, because we are looking through lens that only see worldly dimension. Spiritually, those 10 innocent people now reside in the presence and light of God’s perfect goodness, and those free evil people are very soon doomed to an eternity of torment and suffering. Social Justice, the battle cry of today’s secular activists? It’s always been in perfect play and balance, they just can’t see past today and into what is.
Recently I watched an interview with the American man who was the lead in the 1994 nuclear weapon negations with North Korea. In the process of that interview he said something that is wisdom seldom heard these days in political and diplomatic circles. When pressed that America is the most powerful nation in the world and why don’t we just use our strength to end North Korea, he replied, “Of course we could crush North Korea, but is that the right thing to do?” There is a man that understands morality balanced with power. For my vote, he can negotiate on behalf of America any time, any place. God’s scales will always tilt back to balanced, so if power on one side goes rouge, justice on the other side will surely balance it back out. That’s a difficult concept for anyone to fully bring mental image to, but that’s exactly how this life works.
So there is David being given the go ahead by Saul to fight Goliath. He’s loading him up with armor, weapons, and even his own tunic, and David shuns it all away…”I cannot go in these because I am not used to them.” David didn’t need all of the worldly creations of war to win this seemingly impossible battle. He took his staff in his hand, chose 5 smooth stones from a stream, put them in the pouch of his bag, and with a sling in his hand he approached the giant menace.
Goliath was insulted by them sending a boy and snorted, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” He cursed David and told him to come and die. Here is what David said in retort: “You come against me with a 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 deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, 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.”
David drilled the massive man in the forehead with a rock and he fell to the ground. Standing over him he took Goliath’s sword and removed his head. Battle over. God’s Almighty Social Justice.
One of my favorite parts of this story is verse 55…”As Saul watched David going out to meet the Philistine, he said to Abner, commander of the army, ‘Abner, whose son is that young man?’ Abner replied, ‘As surely as you live, Your Majesty, I don’t know.’ ” It makes me laugh. Can’t you just imagine that same scene in a big Hollywood blockbuster? Brad Pitt as Saul, and George Clooney as Abner, and Clooney and Pitt look at each other in shocked confusion, “Who is this guy???”
Have you ever found yourself faced with something so big, so daunting, that you lose all hope that you could ever defeat it? It could be problems in your marriage, it could be an addiction, it could be financial woes…it could be hundreds of things. Jesus Christ, your salvation, your Lord, your King, says to you, “If you just have faith as small as a mustard seed, I will give you the power to defeat anything holding you back from me.”
I have personally put that promise into action in my life. It’s as true as the sunrise. I have defeated many vices and habits that I always failed doing so with my own power, by using the power of the living Christ within me.
David is you today. Will you stand up to your Goliath?