When David faced the giant Goliath in 1 Samuel 17, he saw some things others didn’t see. For one thing, David appreciated the fact that he and his fellow combatants were descendants of Abraham – a man who had received promises from God signified by circumcision, to which they were all heirs. Thus David could ask incredulously:
1 Samuel 17:26 …[W]ho is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?”
Since this defiant Philistine was not an heir to the covenant of circumcision, how would his size help him against those who were?
Further, David had experience in leaning on God for help in things that would otherwise be more than he could handle. Like any pious Jewish boy, he had been taught through the Ten Commandments that Moses gave to honor his father and mother. Thus he was most zealous to protect the flock of his father’s sheep which had been entrusted to him. David could recall that experience when Saul asked him how he proposed to win against an opponent who was so much larger:
1 Samuel 17:34 …David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock,
1 Samuel 17:35 I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him.
1 Samuel 17:36 “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.”
David also knew from his upbringing as an Israelite, hearing the stories of Scripture, that Israel had previously faced giants in this very land when they first sought entrance (Numbers 13-14). Twelve Israelite spies had been sent to scout the promised land. Ten of them came back too frightened to enter it because of its “men of great size” (Numbers 13:32). God was so disappointed in this response that he sentenced Israel to forty years of circling the wilderness before they could enter the promised land of Canaan. David didn’t want Israel to similarly disappoint God on this occasion.
Thus David took seriously what he had been taught about God – the promises to Abraham, the help in obeying the commandments of God, and the history of Israel. All these things David learned from hearing the Scriptures and taking them seriously. We can do the same.
We have been promised the Holy Spirit in this age to live the life of Jesus. We should take this promise seriously.
The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.