Updated: May 20, 2018
The story of David and Goliath is too familiar. Yet it is important to see the story beyond its common impression: a tale of a weak victim courageously fighting a strong bully. It was a spiritual battle between two gods and their kingdoms. Both David and the Philistines made it very clear they knew it was a spiritual battle. Ironically it was the Israelite people who failed to see it.
There are some important observations we can make while reading the account of the battle in 1 Samuel Chapter 17:
1. It all started on a typical working day for David.
David was just doing his usual job - tending the sheep. How insignificant was that when compared to those fighting in the army! But it's OK. It's not about what David was doing but what God was doing.
2. David asked questions and listened from different perspectives first.
David didn't encounter a burning bush or hear any mysterious voice from heaven. He learned about the situation simply through asking questions and listening to people around him before deciding what was going on.
3. David separated the facts from the emotions.
David recognized the Philistines' threat, but he did not allow himself to be swept away by the terror around him. And in doing so, he was able to present himself to fight.
4. David assessed the big picture with God in mind.
David saw where the ultimate power truly lies, and under what power he should be fighting. This perspective was a life-and-death matter for him and his whole nation.
5. David was not motivated by his chance of showing off or the reward.
Though both were obvious to him at the time (a new wife!), he was motivated by his frustration at his God and community being mocked.
6. David was as despised by his own people as by Goliath himself.
Often our biggest hindrance is not the ultimate enemy, but the opinions and emotions of people around us. It could be ourselves. It was David's own people and their fear that were getting in the way. Goliath was the easy part!
7. David embraced dangers in his daily life. God simply used his experience.
Dealing with Goliath for him is pretty much like dealing with lions on a typical shepherding day. God didn't need to give him extra supernatural power.
8. Giving glory to God in his daily work allowed David to see threats from God's perspectives when crisis arose.
David attributed his success in his shepherd work to God. It was God who had rescued him from lions and bears. This was where his confidence rested upon.
9. David chose to stick with what God had already equipped him with
v.40 Shepherd's sling and stones: There's no need to adhere to the traditional expectations and methods other people wanted to impose on him. The armour and sword were irrelevant in God's plan. God called David to be a shepherd. So he fought as a shepherd.
10. David made it clear the glory of the outcome was to God and to God alone.
David knew it was God who was working, not him. This was what the battle was about.
What do we notice in the decisive factors behind David's triumph against the giant? What was intriguing is how David was simply 'being himself', while God used many attributes David had already had for His own glory, especially his close relationship with God in facing dangers. Are we ready to be used for fighting giants for God's glory today?