The Philistines were somewhat bothersome to the Israelites, trying to move into their territory in the Shephelah. For a long time, their armies camped opposite each other, neither moving from their position. However twice a day, a huge Philistinian man called Goliath would break the boredom and taunt the Israelites.
David wasn’t in Israel’s army, but he did have the job of providing food for his brothers. He went back and forth between the front line and his father’s sheep to carry provisions. One day he arrived at the same time as one of Goliath’s twice-daily taunts (1 Samuel 17:23-30). He, unlike any of the other soldiers, rises to the challenge.
Word spread quickly of the boy who isn’t afraid of the giant. When Eliab (one of his older bothers) hears, he yells at David.
1 Samuel 17:28 – “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”
You can see it, right? His older, stronger, soldier-built brother towering over him, trying to put him back in his place. What Eliab said to David said more about himself than it did about David. It reflected his own lack of courage and insecurity.
Matthew 15:18 – But what comes out of the mouth gets its start in the heart.
We’d never be able to fulfil God’s call for our lives if we were to listen to what other people said to us or about us. And what’s most frustrating is that those who speak negatively over us, are actually speaking from a heart filled with their own insecurity and hurt.
Who is speaking into your life? Perhaps what they’re saying says more about them than it does you. Listen to what God says about you – that’s all that should matter.
Thankfully David was rooted in God, and he shrugged off Eliab’s comment with barely a flinch. He approached Saul with his plan, and when Saul told him he’d certainly fail, David told him why he wouldn’t.
1 Samuel 17:34-37 – Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.
That last sentence says it all about David’s faith. The Lord who delivered me from THAT will deliver me from THIS.
Perhaps that’s the only statement we need to etch across our hearts – a reminder to ourselves of how far God has already brought us, and how fully we must believe that He wouldn’t stop now. If he did it before, He can do it again.
The big difference between David and Goliath, other than their height and weight, was how they armed themselves for the battle.
1 Samuel 17:44-45 – He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. “Come here, “ he said, “and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”
David said to the Philistine, “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.”
Goliath boasted of both his own strength and might, but David boasted in Yahweh Almighty. Goliath wanted victory and another win to his name, but David only wanted to display the glory and the power of God.
And oh, the difference their differing visions made to the end result. David defeated the giant with only a sling shot and a stone. God didn’t need David to be a military soldier or to wear fancy armour, He simply needed him to trust, and to be faithful. David would never have won the battle alone and he knew that right from the start.
I can’t do this… but He can.