“David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine.” 1Samuel 17:48.
I look at David in the above verse, and he amazes and challenges me. Facing the difficult task before him, he does not shrink back. He surges forward. Don’t you love his godly courage and conviction?
Hmmm....maybe not. Don’t we sometimes feel too tired, or fearful, or daunted? And it can seem that all David does is serve to remind us of how faithless we can be. “Yeah, but that’s David, and I’m not.”
For myself recently, I have had to juggle demands of an ever changing and challenging social landscape of shifting expectations that are placed upon the Church in current times. And it has drained me. It’s an interesting time to be in a place of leadership.
Now, I am not looking upon these demands as being my personal “Goliaths,” or evil giants that I need to tackle. I need to see this time as God’s time, and His time for me to be here. And the same goes for you too.
And so I find myself looking at David in this passage. I am picturing a young, yet rugged and handsome youth charging towards Goliath, sling in hand, with a steely determination in his eyes.
What was his secret? Well, in truth, it’s no secret, but rather an all too often forgotten fact which his own king and countrymen had overlooked, and which we too often fail to grasp hold of.
1: David didn’t trust in tools made by human hands, but in the Person and name of God. King Saul looked at this Philistine champion named Goliath, and he saw the size and arrogance of the man, the strength of his armour, and everything that was at stake.
At the same time he looked at his own army, and he saw fear, despair and defeat written all over them. But who is this young, cocky shepherd boy standing before him? He strides in to the king’s presence and confidently declares that he will take on Goliath?!
Well, with a nervous gratitude, Saul kits David up with a full suit of armour and fighting gear. But David’s a lad. And this suit is basically swimming on him. And so he says, “Listen king, I appreciate your concern and your gesture in this armour, but this just won’t cut it.” 17:38-39.
Sure, he went out and faced Goliath with his sling, which he no doubt made himself, but more importantly, he went out clothed in the name of God. Goliath was ridiculing God’s name. But David went out in it! 17:45.
2: David did what he did, not for personal gain, or for anyone’s glory other than God’s. Goliath watches this young shepherd approach with his sling. And Goliath laughs. He mocks David. He mocks God. He curses them. But David declares that on this day Goliath will die. David wasn’t worried about becoming the people’s champion, or the hero of the nation. Rather he says, “...all the earth will know that there is a God in Israel.” 17:46. That is why he did what he did, and how he could do it as he did it.
Perspectives and priorities; If we get them in correct, godly order amongst all the other stuff going on in our lives, then maybe we may be more like David and able to run towards the obstacles and tasks that we face in life no matter what they are...for Him!
I love what David later writes in Psalm 20:7. It reflects the scene of 1Samuel 17. And I wonder if upon composing that psalm, David held in his hand that old sling of his and called to mind that day in the Valley of Elah.
May it be the heart cry for ourselves; “Some trust in chariots and horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”