1 Samuel 17
Today it is common to look for strength in numbers. Whether it is a wild crowd protesting, or the number of children at a Sunday School picnic, we often place a value on numbers. Actually this is anti-Biblical. Over and over again God points out, in His Word, that one person is important to Him. After all, hosts of angels celebrate the conversion of just one soul (Luke 15:10)….and most of us are familiar with the account Jesus gave of the shepherd leaving 99 safe sheep to search for one that was lost (Luke 15:4).
Our scripture today tells a story we often use in Sunday School to impress children with the amazing courage of David when he faced the giant Goliath. Certainly David becomes a Biblical hero on more than one occasion, but we must never forget he also had a weak side. The Psalms show us how he frequently had to seek the Lord’s forgiveness. Why then is the story of David and Goliath included in the cannon of scripture?
There are many lessons we can learn. What governed David’s heart and mind? His God is the God of the impossible. Mankind often is governed by fear. Power is thought to belong to armies with the greatest number, or the biggest men…and so forth. David did not rely on his own ingenuity when facing Goliath. He trusted his God.
Re-reading this old familiar story I realized that God chose to use one man with one sling and one stone…only one!
This challenged my heart. If I turn my life over to God’s control He will use one elderly lady to accomplish His purposes. Since He is the God of all power He could have used anyone, but God chose a young man, inexperienced in warfare, or so it would seem. What does God see that He can use, when He looks at you and me?
Quietly behind the scenes God had been preparing David for this moment in time. As he strummed his harp on the hillsides of Judea, singing praises to Almighty God, he had no idea that his poetry would live down through generations of time, reaching you and me today with truths about God and the comfort His presence gives to the lonely or forsaken. You see – David’s family didn’t think much of this young lad. He was given the job of looking after their sheep while his older brothers went off to war. The family didn’t know that meeting the terrors of wild animals, lions and bears who were after his sheep, would give David opportunity to study God’s strategies for overcoming.
Established in his worship, David’s total confidence was in the God of Israel. This is the secret of his strength and courage. We get a glimpse of his heart as he proclaimed the name of “the living God” (1 Samuel 17:26, 36). The God of Israel was not an idol made by human hands out of stone, but He is the God of miracles, alive to any dangers His people may face! David’s brothers mocked him (17:28) but David went on to encourage King Saul to believe in the power of God (17:32, 36). Furthermore David announced to Goliath himself “I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel” (17:45). He warned his enemy that “the whole world will know there is a God in Israel” (17:46)
The armies of both Israel and the Philistines stood mesmerized by the audacity of this young man! They learned that he spoke truth, as he faced Goliath. Warning him that he would cut off his head almost seemed like a joke, yet his threat was not against Goliath alone; he also cried out ”Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth” (17:46). After 40 days of taunting the Israelite army, did one young man really think he could route the armies of the Philistines?
Yet – it came to pass. God used one young man who threw off the heavy protective gear loaned to him by King Saul (17:38-39). He used the tools he was familiar with, facing the hatred and ridicule of the giant before him (17:40, 42-44). Can’t you imagine how we might tremble in such a situation? But David triumphed (17:50)!
Reading David’s story just thrilled my heart as I was reminded of the greatness of our glorious God! It challenged me to search my heart, to see if my view of God was as pure and true, as David’s. I am only one person, but according to the history of God’s purpose and power, I know He can still use me. He is not relying on numbers, but rather God is looking for a committed heart. As I enter into a new year am I willing to give Him my all?
by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)