In 1 Samuel 17 we read the story of David and Goliath, which most have heard in some form either in Sunday school or from the pulpit. I invite you to look into this familiar story with a new perspective.
Here is David, about seventeen years old. He had not long ago been anointed King of Israel in an undisclosed ceremony by the Prophet Samuel. The youngest of eight boys, his duty since the time he was very young was to tend the sheep for the family. He ate and slept on the hills of Judea guarding the sheep, faithful to do his part with honor. We also know that David took his harp with him and was adept at creating songs expressing his relationship with God, many of which one day became part of the Book of Psalms in our Bible.
King Saul was the current King of Israel. Israel was at war with the Philistines, engaged in battle at Elah. But this time the giant, dreaded warrior from Gath, Goliath, was challenging anyone from the armies of Israel to battle–survivor wins the entire battle. This is where David comes to bring his older brothers some food supplies from their father. When David hears the challenge he is outraged at the defiance of this man challenging Israel, God’s army. You see, already David had a different perspective than anyone else. Because of the time he spent worshipping the Lord and being faithful to his duties, he had God’s perspective on the situation and God’s favor!
Quite unbelievably the King allows a young lad to go against this giant with no armor and no weapons, just his staff and a sling shot. That had to be God’s favor because if David lost, Israel would lose the battle. David reminds me of the many soldiers who go into the armed services in Israel today. He was the same age, he grew up with the understanding of the importance of being Jewish, honoring God and country. Well, most Israeli’s today are secular, but there is still the freshness and passion of youth they share with David.
David is quite different from most because he had spent a great deal of time with the Lord. Not reading just the Torah–as the Priests and Levites did–but actually talking, singing, and meditating on God himself. Later, scriptures label him a friend of God. The result was that God was with David. He had slain a bear and a lion with his hands. He saw the challenge as God’s and not his or the army’s.
David knows that a giant is but an ant compared to God. But he uses the wisdom that God has taught him in the wilderness as strategy. He knew that God was going to use him to defeat the enemy. He knew that the best rocks for his sling were found in the river bed, right there at their feet. As he squats to pick them up he is studying the situation. He would have at most five chances to swing the rocks before he was overtaken by the charging giant. He knew exactly what he had to do–plant a rock squarely between the giant’s eyes. No problem! God was with him! Goliath had no idea that he was facing the Lord’s Dread Warrior, camouflaged in the form of a young man. A man with the wisdom and strategies of Almighty God–El Gibbor.
Today, more than ever before in history, we are in desperate need of God’s strategies for war and the Lord’s perspective for every battle we face. There are many giants, and the armies coming against us are numerous, armed with stealth and great evil. Many believers have found themselves in a wilderness, suffering in various trials–yet getting good at worshipping in all seasons and calling on the Name of the Lord, rather than attempting anything in their own strength. We are becoming Dread Warriors for the Lord. The enemy has no idea where we come from, and will not recognize us clothed in humility.
I picture David grasping the five smooth stones, and turning them over in his hand. While he studies the giant and the situation, he places them in his pouch. His eyes are still fixed on the enemy, bright with the revelation of God’s omnipotence, with full confidence in the outcome because he knows his God.
How can we know God like that? Read the Word. The Bible is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12)-in it are the Words of Life. Jesus is the Word made flesh. Read the Bible until you can find five smooth stones without having to even look for them, weapons available at the ready for any situation, empowered and targeted by your relationship with our loving, heavenly Father–Almighty God.