David and Goliath: the true story about a young shepherd boy, chosen and anointed to kill an enemy giant that the rest of the army was hiding from; chosen and anointed to become king over a nation even though his own family rejected him.
1 Samuel 17 is one of the best-known stories in the bible.
What resonates to me in this story is the reality that the current king and all the other soldiers were prepared to send David out to fight this giant who they believed would kill him.
David’s life was expedient to them. In sending out someone unrecognised and inexperienced, they could be seen to mock their enemy; they could restore some of their lost pride for hiding from Goliath so long. David was an offering for the Israelite army’s cowardice but it hit the mark with Goliath. “Am I a dog…?” he asks, enraged, in verse 43.
Of course, the point of war is to lay your life down, so king Saul could legitimise what he did. But David wasn’t even in the army. He was still too young. Too inexperienced. Too small. Nobody else was prepared to meet this giant. But they were willing to send out David. Not yet a man. Yet, he was unshakable.
Despite it all, there was a little bit of hope inside those men because of the way David spoke. They listened to his passionate embrace of who he knew God to be; who he knew he was with God beside him. Despite themselves, they hoped beyond hope. Romans 4:18 calls that faith.
God honoured David’s belief and unwavering faith in Him. God had a unique assignment for him.
As David boldly declared what God was able to do through him, we see the same is true of him as it was of his ancestor Abraham.
Romans 4:20-21 (ESV)
No unbelief made him [Abraham] waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
What can we take from this? If we believe and place our faith in the God who created us, we can trust in His appointment for our life too.
Jewish tradition tells of a sad saga between David’s father and mother at the time of David’s conception, resulting in David not being fully accepted as a legitimate son. He grew up being poorly treated by his family. He had every reason to grow up with a chip on his shoulder and low self-esteem. But he doesn't personify those things at all and we see God vindicate David.
In Chapter 17 of 1 Samuel, after David killed Goliath, King Saul asks three times whose son David is and publicly recognises him as his father’s son.
This is significant. In the bible, the number 3 represents wholeness.
That is God’s heart. A personal and loving heavenly Father, recognising, caring and restoring what has been lost in our lives. His righteousness never fails to ensure our vindication if we have sought Him. That may mean revisiting certain points in our lives where there’s been irreparable loss, in order to bring about healing and wholeness.
In David’s case, he had never been accepted by his family as a legitimate heir and had been marginalised. Yet, the king, the most important and prominent man in the nation, acknowledged and had him recognised as legitimate, even without knowing the significance of what he was doing on a personal level for David. Don’t you find that amazing?
Vindication. It came about from David’s devotion to his heavenly Father who had always acknowledged and recognised him. David (and his mother) hadn’t allowed himself to identify in being marginalised, but found his identity in the ‘Lord Almighty’ and was able to run with courage and vigour towards his battles; even battles as a shepherd boy that no one else had seen – but it built his identity.
Unless we know our identity, we’re unable to run forward into battle. Instead, we get caught up in the side-lines of fear, anxiety and doubt. Unless we know our identity, we are inclined to cower and hide away, as the entire Israelite army did, feeding off other people’s small-mindedness, because we don’t have the confidence in who we are as God’s heirs to succeed.
1 Samuel 17:38-39 show David taking up what he knew to be his. He knew the weapons God had given him to use and he used them with deadly effectiveness, as God intended.
Besides his staff and slingshot, David had other weapons that were not seen. His faith, and even the unrecognised faith of those who hoped beyond hope that he would succeed, was a shield. He also took the Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, that he proclaimed before everybody, that God was able.
Ephesians 6 talks about the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit that are part of God’s armour in the spiritual battle that we fight each day as Christ followers.
David knew his identity. He knew what God had given him. He knew not to listen to the lies of his brother (1 Samuel 17:28 “… I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is…”) because God said he had a heart after His own (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). David turned away from words spoken against him and didn’t allow himself to be influenced.
In the end, God ensured he was acknowledged for who he was. Not only that, God ensured David was able to establish a lineage that had been stolen from him. What should always have been his, God finally solidified.
God is beautiful and just. His righteousness is honourable. It was even at the expense of those who disclaimed David, and disclaimed the Lord, that the Lord claimed David.
As true followers of Jesus Christ, and even at the expense of others, we can be assured of the same vindication by God. When we declare Him as Lord and carry faith in His righteousness, and hope beyond all hope, He acknowledges and recognises us through our difficulties, and brings restoration.
Perhaps you’re walking through something now where you can plant your faith, as David did. Be assured, as David was. Believe God has appointed you for something too.
Don't regard what others say if you know who God is in your life. What is man to you? Identify yourself in God, as David did.
Ephesians 3:20 (NASB)
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us