We come this week to an extremely familiar story. I would estimate that most people (Christians and non-Christians alike) have heard this story.Malcolm Gladwell entitled his recent book David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants. The story serves to support the book’s premise of using unconventional methods in order to succeed. This story is familiar in our culture. Goliath’s name has become synonymous with insurmountable obstacles. We may even speak of facing Goliaths in our life.
But the story is much more than the conquest of an underdog. In fact, David does not consider his own abilities in the fight. He sees himself as God’s representative in the battle. David proclaims,
(1 Samuel 17:45 NIV) 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.
God is no underdog. Defeating Goliath may have seems impossible from a human perspective. But David wasn’t looking at the situation from this angle. David continues,
(1 Samuel 17:46–47 NIV) 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.
David was sure that God could handle the giant. While the rest of his countrymen were living in fear, David places himself in the care of God. He is confident that God will see him through. That is the point of the story.
As we face overwhelming circumstances, we are challenged to take David’s approach. Will we be like Saul and his army? Will we retreat in fear? Or will we lean into God’s provision. May this story have fresh meaning as we engage it together on Sunday.