The Story of David and Goliath
The Israelites were looking across the valley and the Philistines were not coming down the slope. They aren’t coming! And at first, the men of Israel thought maybe they’ve won by forfeit.
But before they can celebrate, a sight unfolds before them, the likes of which they have never seen before. Something is moving down the slope. Something big. Something huge. It’s like a tree maybe or a mountain. Whatever it is, it is covered with bronze. It looks like a tank only they didn’t have tanks back then.
The thing got to the middle ground near the ravine and suddenly a shudder ran through the men of Israel. It’s a man. The biggest man they’ve ever seen. First Samuel describes him in detail. He stands six cubits and a span. That doesn’t mean anything to us but if you convert it to our system of measurement, it means he was 9 feet 9 inches tall. His name, of course, is Goliath. He wore a bronze helmet and a bronze coat of armor that weighed nearly 125 pounds. He wore bronze shin guards and had a bronze javelin slung over his back. The head of the spear had an iron point weighing 17 pounds.
Having gotten their attention, this is what Goliath says:
“Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other” (verses 8-10).
Verse 16 tells us that Goliath came out 40 days straight, twice a day, morning and evening, to challenge the men of Israel. Each day it was the same: No one would answer the challenge. God’s people were losing the battle before it started.
I imagine that the military men of Israel got together each night and tried to formulate a plan. I’m sure they talked strategy and tactics. Who would they send? When would they send him?
It only takes one giant to stop you as long as you look at life from the human level. Our lens picks up a giant ahead and suddenly he fills the whole screen until the giant is all we can see. Giants defeat us not because they’re big but because they make us feel small.
He gets there just as Goliath is making his daily rounds for the 40th time. This is pretty old stuff by now. Verse 23 says that Goliath was spouting his “usual defiance.” He comes out, makes a few threats, curses the men of Israel, and then goes back to his lines so he can toss off a couple of drinks at the Officer’s Club. But this time things will be different.
David hasn’t heard a thing about Goliath and his challenge. He’s just excited to be on the battlefield and away from those sheep. So he asks, “What’s going on? Why doesn’t somebody take care of that loud-mouth?” Look at the answer in verse 25: “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his father’s family from taxes in Israel.” It’s not a bad deal except for the part about Saul’s daughter. She was no prize. But notice David’s answer. It’s the key to the whole story. “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26). Did you get that? “The armies of the living God.” Not “the armies of Saul” or “the armies of Israel.” That makes all the difference in the world. The soldiers are saying, “Do you see that guy? He’s like a mountain out there. You wouldn’t last five seconds.” David, don’t you see him? Yes, David sees him. But he also sees something else that nobody in the army of Israel had seen. David saw that Goliath was not only defying Israel, he was defying Israel’s God.
David looks at life differently. Israel saw Goliath—that brazen giant—as an immovable object. David saw him from God’s point-of-view. “He’s blocking the way of God. Let’s go get him.” David was no match for Goliath but when that uncircumcised Philistine took on God, he got in over his head. This is not braggadocio or big talk. No, it’s entirely different. This is a man who sees Goliath from above. It’s like looking down at Shaquille O’Neal from the top of the Sears Tower. At ground level, you look up at him. From the top floor, you need binoculars to find him. It’s all a matter of perspective.
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. 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.”
He doesn’t return insult for insult or slander for slander. He doesn’t need to boast or to call names. It’s not a fair fight.
2 perspectives in this world
- Negative/Pessimistic – Saul and all of Israel were terrified
- Gripped/Hopeful – David was a Giant Killer which led him to become the King all because He spoke it in the NAME above all names!