The story of David and Goliath ranks up there with some of the best-known Bible stories, especially with children. The story emphasizes good over evil, it has a giant, it has swords, shields and spears and the good guy wins. However, there is much more to the story than David’s triumph over Goliath.
Our event, told in 1 Samuel 17, begins with the Philistines gathering their troops for battle, and Israel doing the same. These armies drew up battle lines, the Philistines stood on the side of a mountain and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side with a valley between them. Bible commentaries estimate there were approximately 40,000 battle ready participants in each army. Our story then continues with Goliath, a Philistine champion, coming out of camp and taunting the Israelite army every day for 40 days. Math says that’s 80,000 hungry solders needing to be strong and ready for battle had to be fed each day for 40 days. This readiness requires plenty of nourishment from food and drink. Can you imagine the logistics required to accomplish this task.
After I completed flight school we were sent to the Idaho/Washington boarder for survival training, we were given a map and compass and told we had three days journey to reach our destination. Prior to being sent off we were trained in making snares, etc. to capture game for food during our journey. I do not know how many survival trainees had gone before us but what I do know is there was not a rabbit or any other animal or fish between there and Texas. I would believe this same scenario existed with 80,000 solders needed to be fed each day. I could not even imagine a bird landing on a limb that it did not have a rock chunked at it.
This brings us to the introduction of David. His father Jesse, called him and gave instructions to bring his three elder brothers, serving in Saul’s army, an ephah of dried grain and ten loaves of bread. He also was told to carry these “ten cheeses” to their captain. This had to have been a common practice of the community suppling food to their armies. Note Jesse was shrewd in his purpose by supplying food to his son’s captain. When David arrived, he dropped the supplies off and heads to the battle lines to learn what all is going on. While there he sees and hears Goliath for the first time. Goliath was approximately 9 foot tall and had weapons to match his size and I will assume an intimidating loud voice. His weapons were estimated at around 200 pounds, the Bible mentions his armor bearer but not his size. I think it would have been awful to have had that job.
Goliath issues a simple challenge morning and evening each day, you defeat me, you win, I defeat you, I win. Each day he continues defying the armies of Israel cursing and blaspheming their God. At this point Goliath is winning the battle in view of the fear he has put into the army of Israel for 40 days, especially their leader King Saul. When we first are introduced to Saul, the King and leader of the Israelite army, he is described as being head and shoulders taller than the Israelite people and the logical choice to face Goliath. Also note, at this time the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul (1 Samuel 16:14).
David is probably 15 years old, too young to join Saul’s army. He hears Goliath’s challenge for the first time and visiting with the other soldiers he learned how lucrative the reward was for the man that takes Goliath out. The reward included cash, the hand of Saul’s daughter and tax exemption for life. He also had witnessed the fear portrayed by the soldiers as they fell back at the sound of Goliath’s voice.
We now learn David’s heart and devotion to his Lord when he speaks “who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” King Saul hears about David being in camp and what he is saying and sends for him. Note David had not bragged, he did not say he was going to go out and whip Goliath’s butt, but he had stood up for God. When David did meet King Saul, he did offer to kill Goliath in the name of the living God. I believe Saul was glad to hear these words after 40 days of “smack” being hurled at him. God has intervened at this point by sending David with food for his brothers and preparing King Saul’s decision to allow David to fight Goliath. Why would Saul allow himself and all of Israel to be put in the hand of a 15-year-old boy. Saul had to know the odds were 100 to 1 at best of David coming away with a victory, logically, what chance did he have. Only through the will of God was this scenario created.
David was given the Kings armor to wear, I know David must have thought this was a cool thing to have the opportunity to put on armor, a sword and carry a shield. Of course, once he had everything on he realizes the futility of this decision as he cannot move with agility and speed. David redresses himself in his own cloths, puts his bag over his shoulder, grabs his sling and off he goes. When we leave for a hunting trip, we also carry a bag known as a “possibles” bag, in this bag is anything we think we may possibly need. It usually contains a knife, binoculars, gloves and a cell phone. David’s bag contained much the same, just the “possibles” were different, in this bag we know he stopped and picked out 5 smooth stone. David has been criticized by some for picking 5 stones, why didn’t he just pick one if he knew his God would deliver him. I believe I am a good shot; however, I would never go hunting with just one bullet, I have no issue with his decision, David was being a good steward and doing what he would normally do when given the chance to put ammo in his shepherd’s bag.
Goliath now sees David for the first time and is furious and insulted that Israel would send such a lad to fight him. David was unaware that his previous killing of a lion and a bear were preparing him for this moment. I cannot imagine a hand-to-hand fight with a lion, bear or a giant. David now gives one of the best testimonies in the Bible, found in 1 Samuel 17:45-46. “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.” David was fully aware that God was in control of his life, and he had faith that God would deliver him. He did exactly what he said he would do and killed Goliath, the Philistines begin to retreat and were pursued by Israel and defeated.
This recount of the battle between Goliath and David shows David to be a man after God’s own heart. “After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do’ “(Acts 13:22). David faced Goliath not in a material way, but in a spiritual way. David drew on past experience where God had delivered him from a lion and bear. David made sure to give God all the glory prior to and after the victory. David wrote, “I put no trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame. In God we make our boast all day long” (Psalm 44: 6-8).
- The Lord is always with you, remember His faithfulness.
- You can have courage to face all odds through your faith in Him.
- You have the ability to defeat your Goliaths knowing our Lord goes before you.
- Trust God, David’s faith is evident.
- David chose the armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10-20)