It’s one of the best-known and most-beloved Bible stories. David, his daddy’s shepherd and the king’s minstrel, became God’s instrument used to defeat the nine-foot-tall Philistine soldier. The underdog wins! Good overcomes evil! The hero emerges unscathed while the villain falls on the battlefield.
I love the story. I’ve told it to my kids and grandkids. I’ve preached God’s victory from the powerful passage. I’ve written about its truth. We all know the details. They’re right there in 1 Samuel 17.
The Philistines and the Israelites lined up for battle, one on that hill, the other across the valley on the opposite hill. For forty days, the ferocious Philistine slandered and cursed the Israelites and their God, daring any Israelite to meet him on the battlefield for a duel-to-the-death, winner-takes-all, one-on-one contest!
Nobody was crazy enough to take the bait. Instead, the Israelite military, including their king, hid in their tents like gutless, yellow-bellied, scaredy-cat, sissies. Wimps!
When David showed up, he couldn’t imagine why his bigger brothers, or the famous king Saul hadn’t put a stop to the giant’s insulting taunts. “Don’t let anyone be discouraged by him; your servant will go and fight this Philistine!” (1 Samuel 17:32).
David, the shepherd-boy, went into battle with a slingshot, five smooth stones, and a faithful heart. “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:37). He confidently spoke to the Philistine champion: “You come against me with a sword, spear, and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord of Armies, the God of the ranks of Israel—you have defied him. Today, the Lord will hand you over to me. Today, I’ll strike you down, remove your head, and give the corpses of the Philistine camp to the birds of the sky and the wild creatures of the earth. Then all the world will know that Israel has a God, and this whole assembly will know that it is not by sword or by spear that the Lord saves, for the battle is the Lord’s. He will hand you over to us” (1 Samuel 17:45-47).
Okay, there’s the point. We need to “know that it is not by sword or by spear that the Lordsaves, for the battle is the Lord’s. He will hand (the enemy, any enemy, even the great big enemy) over to us!” (1 Samuel 17:47). David knew that God had rescued him from the vicious predators, so he trusted God to overcome another adversary.
David proclaimed the gospel message, the good news that echoes through the ages! “Don’t let anyone be discouraged by him; your servant will go and fight this Philistine!” (1 Samuel 17:32).
Don’t worry! Jesus, the Root of Jesse and the Son of David, came to seek and save the lost! He fought the battle of the ages at Calvary and declared the eternal victory, “It is finished!”
Don’t worry. Trust Jesus. He’s the giant-slayer!
All Scripture quotation, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.