Wednesday, March 28, 2012

David's Display of Faith in Confronting Goliath

I was at bat Tuesday morning for the devotional at the CBCmeeting.  Last week, during my Bible reading I was impressed while reading the story of David and Goliath, so I decided to make that the focus of the devotional.

I had a glimpse of the children’s show Davy and Goliath, but I did not do any voices (“Gee Davy’) nor did I ask anyone if they remembered the story. 

My main focus was on the strength of David’s faith.  Many kids who attend Sunday School are very familiar with the story of David and Goliath.  That falls in the class of the top 5 that all kids know about regardless of denomination.  We all know that little shepherd boy David, brought down Goliath with a sling shot and 5 smooth stones.  Actually, he carried 5 smooth stones and took down Goliath with one stone.

As an adult, and reading through the book of Samuel, I picked up on things that may not have been discussed as a child in Sunday School class.  The thing that stood out was the strength of David’s faith.  When David heard Goliath challenging the Israeli fighting men, he said "Who is this pagan Philistine anyway that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?" 1 Sam. 17:26.

This is noteworthy because the Bible says that Goliath was huge.  He was 9.75 feet tall.  In other words, he was very close to being 10 feet tall.  David was probably a teenager at the time. Jewish men in that era were less than 6 feet tall, probably 5’5” to 5’8.”  So Goliath was nearly twice as big as David.  When the Israeli soldiers, and King Saul, heard Goliath, they were terrified.

David was the youngest of 8 boys (he had some sisters as well).  His three older brothers fought in Saul’s army and the oldest, Eliab, was angry with David for being on the battlefield.  David dismissed his brother’s discouraging words and said, “Don’t worry about that Philistine, I will go fight him” 1 Sam. 17:32.

Saul wonders why this child is willing to confront this giant.  David talked about how he tended sheep and when bears and lions tried to take the sheep he fought them away.  I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God!  The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” 1 Sam. 17:36-37.

So then he confronts, Goliath.  Goliath, who had been trash talking for weeks, asks “Am I a dog,” he roared at David, “that you come at me with a stick?” And he cursed David by the names of his gods. “Come over here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!” Goliath yelled. 1 Sam. 17:43-44.

David did not allow Goliath to intimidate him.  David moved in against Goliath, who again was nearly twice David’s size.

“You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  Today the LORD will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel!  And everyone assembled here will know that the LORD rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the LORD’s battle, and he will give you to us!” 1 Sam. 17:45-47.

Throughout this encounter, David never hesitated.  From the moment that he observed Goliath, to the time that he slung the stone and brought Goliath down, David remained confident that the Lord was with him.  This differs from the many other commissions and military conflicts presented in the Old Testament.  Moses tried to get God to select someone else to lead Israel out of Egypt.  Nearly two chapters are devoted to Moses trying to get God to change his mind.  It seems that other men who were called by God responded by saying, who me?  These responses were made by Barak and Gideon in the book of Judges.  In this battle, David recognized that God was with him and no matter what, he was not going to lose. See e.g. Psalms 23.   David was far from perfect.  Still, this story demonstrates that David possessed an incredible level of faith in God.

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