The 2009-2010 men’s NCAA basketball championship ignited excitement across the nation. Even people marginally interested in basketball circled the date, tuning in to watch a modern day “David versus Goliath” match-up. Perennial powerhouse Duke faced Cinderella story Butler. Though the underdog fell short of victory, Butler’s run through the tournament reminded the nation that not all “giants” prove invincible. Because of mankind’s interest in such competitions, the account of David and Goliath in I Samuel continues to be a favorite Bible story for both young and old. In I Samuel 17, readers find a young shepherd boy tending sheep and a nervous father, pacing the floor, fretting over his older sons off at war. One day, the father, Jesse, summoned his young shepherd boy son, David, in from the fields. Jesse requested David carry a parcel of goodies down to the battlefield for his other sons and to inquire about their safety. David appointed a substitute shepherd for his sheep, and marched off to do his father’s bidding.
David found the army of Israel and the Philistine warriors in a stand-off. Neither army engaged in combat, for the Philistines ordered their not-so-secret weapon Goliath to fight against the soldier brave enough to step onto the field from Israel’s side. Exercising zero faith in God, the army of Israel cowered in fear. Goliath stood over nine feet tall and was heralded as the undisputed champion. For forty days Goliath taunted the army of Israel and Israel’s God, yet no man dared face the giant. Much rode on the outcome. If Goliath reigned victorious, Israel’s army became enslaved to the Philistines; if Israel’s recruit defeated Goliath, the Philistines would be lead off in chains. No one wagered on an Israeli to win. Shocked by the giant’s ridicule of God, David inquired what would be done for the man to face the champion and win. One close to David scorned his inquisitive mind.
David’s eldest brother mocked him, claiming he only came to the battlefield as a curious thrill seeker. He also threw another verbal jab, “And with who did you leave those few sheep.” Notice the word “few” as an obvious dig, insinuating he lacked the seasoned years to be in charge of a large flock. David’s youth and motives garnered suspect accusations. Many lessons leap from this encounter with his sibling, but the first reminds young people to live out the verse I Timothy 4:12. This Scripture reads, “Let no one despise or think less of you because of your youth,but be an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” How many times have we remained mum, while others mocked Christ or used His name in vain? David spoke boldly for His God. For many years, I’ve challenged teenagers to live boldly for Jesus, and I’ve watched as several set the “example of the believer” in their homes and schools. Teenagers living out such a life, teach the world a valuable lesson: age matters not in modeling a Christian life.
A second truth to ponder comes from David’s response to Eliab’s derision. David perseveres. I once heard a pastor comment, “The only army to go into battle wounded, is the body of Christ.” Petty differences and an untamed tongue can discourage a fellow believer from faithful service to Christ. The put downs of his eldest brother could have sent David and his slingshot back to the sheep fields. Instead, David exhibited maturity beyond his years. He stayed the course, standing resolute in his commitment to God.
Everyone knows how the story ends. God blesses David’s faithfulness, delivering the giant into his hands. Today, “giants” assail us on every side. Health issues, relational problems, and financial difficulties portray Goliath’s we face on a regular basis. Overcoming these colossal obstacles requires a devoted commitment to Christ. Once the battle smoke clears and the believer stands victorious, truly the rallying cry “I can do all things through Christ” equips and encourages believers for the conflicts to come.
About the Author: I'm a Christian, husband, father of four and serve as a full-time minister of music and youth. In my spare time, I enjoy writing. Someday I hope to be a published author. You can find me on the web at http://brvan.com/