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The Various Shapes of Goliath

The story of David and Goliath in 1 Sam 17 has become so famous that it is a phrase that has come to represent anytime there is a victorious underdog. And while David was certainly an underdog from a certain vantage point, obviously we know the point of the story is that God was rescuing his covenant people, even through the most unlikely of vehicles in the most formidable circumstances.

David wasn't tall, he wasn't extremely strong, he seemed to be just a simple shepherd boy.

Or perhaps not. Perhaps David was a young man who had come to learn to trust and put his faith in his God Yahweh. Perhaps David, even in his relatively short life thus far when he meets Goliath on the battlefield to defend God's honor had already learned what trust and obedience looked like.

David says to King Saul (who disbelieves that someone of his stature and age could be victorious in such a circumstance in which he was clearly in over his head - 1 Sam 17:33), that he had actually been victorious in combat with things such as lions and bears, and that this uncircumcised Philistine would be no different (1 Sam 17:34-36)!

Where did David get such confidence from?

He says that it has been the Lord Yahweh who has been "rescuing him from the paw of the bear and the lion" thus far (1 Sam 17:37). So to David, apparently this was just another walk in the park of battle with the Lord Yahweh at his side to rescue him. Apparently to David, the victories that the Lord had provided already up to this point were simply preparing him for this next challenge. Of course we know what Yahweh's goal was all along, to continue to be faithful to his covenant promises to the Israelites.

Yet I think there is something we can learn today from David and his words to King Saul.

David calls upon previous victories that he believed the Lord had provided to give him confidence and strength in the midst of a new challenge (and what a challenge it was!).

So as we face various "lions and bears" in our lives, whether they come emotionally, spiritually, physically, or relationally, let us remember the victories that God has provided already, from the smallest to the greatest, and let that aid us in facing new challenges with great faith and confidence, knowing that it is the Lord himself who is fighting for us!

And let us learn from David as well, that many times the truly frightening enemies to our faith and God's promises to us may not come in the form of Goliath at all, but rather in the beauty of a Bathsheba.

Sometimes it is when precisely when we think we are not on the battlefield (2 Sam 11), that our greatest battles are presented.

"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers are undergoing the same kind of sufferings." (1 Pet 5:8-9)


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