I feel like I have known the I Samuel 17 story of David and Goliath my entire life! And I never tire of reading it and learning from it. Here are some thoughts from my recent devotions:
- Ordinary responsibilities often result in extra-ordinary opportunities.
David is well known for his shepherding. He is watching the sheep when Samuel arrives at his home to anoint the new king that will replace King Saul. He is the one who writes the beautiful and comforting words of Psalm 23:1– The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He is famous for protecting his sheep at all costs, even killing a lion and a bear who was trying to attack his flock. In this story in 1 Samuel 17:17-20, David was actually watching sheep when his father called for him and sent him to deliver food to his brothers who were already at the battlefield. Had David not been willing to fulfill his “ordinary” responsibilities, he would not have even been at the battlefield where Goliath was and this story would never have happened. The “ordinary” is what led to the “extraordinary”.
- Faith in God removes fear (I Samuel 17:23-32).
I love that David is incredulous that “this uncircumcised Philistine” was causing such a stir. King Saul had offered great wealth, his own daughter as a wife, and an exemption from taxes to any man who could defeat Goliath. David apparently didn’t believe it and actually asked several men. What made the difference in David’s view and the rest of the army? It was his faith in God, and it removed all fear! “If God be for us,” Paul wrote to the church at Rome, “who can be against us?” “Greater is He that is in you, than He that is in the world,” is how John said it! Faith in God not only removes fear, but also opens the door for criticism, which provides us with another lesson.
- Critical people rarely convey wisdom (I Samuel 17:28).
Eliab, David’s brother, responded critically. It may have been that he was convicted by David’s simple faith. It may have been that he was offended by his lack of fear. It may have been jealousy because David had been chosen as king. We really don’t know, but we do know that his criticism was completely wrong. He claimed to know David’s motive, direction, and thinking. He spoke hastily and foolishly. James 1:19 would have been helpful to Eliab: “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” We should beware of people who have critical spirits and we should be aware that we can very easily be critical ourselves. Criticism and wisdom never function together.
- Smaller victories prepare us for larger ones (I Samuel 17:34-37).
I suppose that killing a lion and a bear wasn’t exactly small. However, no one knew about the lion and the bear and it appears somewhat routine for David as a shepherd. The flock was his responsibility and he certainly went above and beyond to fulfill that responsibility. Our text indicates that as David had trusted God to help him in the earlier and more private victories, he was now prepared to trust God to help him in this much larger and more public one. What a lesson for us! The best time to handle any matter is when it is small, and as we learn to handle smaller matters, it prepares us to win over the larger ones too.
- One person can make a massive difference (I Samuel 17:45-54).
David was just one young and insignificant shepherd boy who had simply made a habit of walking with God and doing right. His victory over Goliath impacted an entire nation. The army that had been hiding in fear was now encouraged to defeat their enemy. The soldiers who were paralyzed by the failure of their own king, were now able to shout with victory and joy. This “nobody” who had been secretly anointed to be the next king, was suddenly a household name with his own “Top 40” song (1 Samuel 18:6-7). And most importantly, the enemy was defeated! One person can make a massive difference.
Yeah, I love the story of David and Goliath. What have you learned from this story? I would love to hear about it.
Thanks for reading.
Your sincere friend,