Daily Reading: 1 Samuel 17:42-47
42And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.
43And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comes to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
44And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.
45Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comes to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.
46This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
47And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saved not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.
There were three types of warriors in ancient times: people who fought with slings and archery (David), foot soldiers who were good at up-close combat with swords (Goliath), and people on horseback.
Malcolm Gladwell we may have been telling the story wrong. In his book, “David & Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants,” Gladwell proposes that Goliath may have actually been the underdog, not David.
“Goliath was a foot soldier; David was a slinger. When put this way, and you note that Goliath and David were fighting from somewhat of a distance, it makes David’s weapon choice seem smart. He’s good at attacking with accuracy from afar. It also makes you understand why Goliath was in trouble the moment David whipped out his sling. If David never got close to him, how could Goliath attack and defeat him?”
David’s courage came out of something other than himself because courage is not a self-generated virtue. Courage is always produced by faith. In the preceding chapter, Samuel the prophet had informed David that God had chosen him to be the next king of Israel and anointed him with his brothers around him (1 Samuel 16:13). David knew this information when he arrived in the camp and heard Goliath’s rants. David drew additional confidence by remembering how God had helped him in the past (1 Samuel 17:34–36) and also the promise he had to be king.
David saw God as bigger and stronger than the fearful Philistine. So, he went out to fight knowing that God would give him victory over Goliath — and when he did, the victory would demonstrate God’s power and faithfulness, not David’s courage (1 Samuel 17:46–47).
The hero in the story is not David and his courageous faith, because without the great Rescuer- David would not have been alive to even face Goliath. David says himself” “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” (1 Samuel 17:37). David says very clearly who the hero is, who the victory belongs to the whole time and perhaps we have missed it, as we championed David “the underdog”.
When David came on the scene, he heard the same mockings of Goliath that the rest of the Israelites heard. However, David would respond in an entirely different way than the rest of the army (1 Samuel 17:23-32).
Those same words which caused fear in the soldiers, angered David. What did David know or see that the others failed to see? David knew that he had a covenant with God. His covenant, the Davidic Covenant although different than then New Covenant is still in operation today.
The Davidic Covenant is unconditional because God does not place any conditions of obedience upon its fulfillment. The surety of the promises made rests solely on God’s faithfulness and does not depend at all on David or Israel’s obedience.
The difference between the response of David and the rest of the army was faith in God’s promise that caused David to act on his belief or courage.
God wants us to know that He has cut this New Covenant with us through Christ our representative. And according to this covenant of grace, we have His undeserved favor. We are blessed because Jesus took our punishment upon Him. Because of what Jesus has done on the cross, we have victory over every giant. Our courage to face our giants will not come from confidence in ourselves. It will only come from confidence in God’s powerful promises.