The story of David and Goliath has permeated the fabric of our culture to the point that this true story has become a metaphor for overcoming great odds. Not just great odds, but even slightly difficult ones like a basketball team beating another team that was marginally better. While one can draw that conclusion from the biblical text, that was certainly not the main point of the story.
This story shows us about life, our relationship with God, who God is, God’s power, overcoming great odds through faith, and how God wants us to live. It shows the power of God not the power of David. David is a picture of Jesus Christ here. He sacrificed himself for the unbelieving Israelites and defeated death and the enemy. He became the king of God’s people. All of this points to Jesus.
With that said there are many powerful principles that can be drawn from the story. One of my favorites is that David did not let his enemy set the rules for his life. You remember the setting. Goliath, backed by the hoards of the Philistines, threw down the gauntlet to the Israelites, who had their own throngs of fighting men. Goliath said, “Let’s fight mano y mano.” Of course he wanted to do that. He was 9 & ½ feet tall, had the most advanced weaponry of his day, and had an armor bearer to boot. While it was common in that day to settle small skirmishes in that way, it was not common for large armies in a major conflict to do so. I’m still not sure why King Saul kowtowed to that demand. Nevertheless, Goliath’s challenge implied fighting Goliath’s way. You can tell by the introductory trash talk between David and Goliath that Goliath expected more. But David did not operate by the rule of intimidation but lived by the rule of faith. He came to Goliath with a sling and five smooth stones and a heart filled with faith in God. Don’t romanticize “little David’s” approach. A skilled man with a sling and a tennis-ball-sized rock was a formidable weapon. Properly slung it was like being hit with a small cannon ball. David, of course, won and the rest is history.
That brings me to the big application questions. Who is your enemy? And are you allowing your enemy to set the rules in your life?
The rule of doubt or the rule of faith
The enemy wants you to live by the rule of doubt. He began this strategy in the Garden of Eden with Eve. He always wants you to doubt God’s words, God’s promises, and God’s wisdom. Do you live by doubt or do you live by the rule of faith. David lived by faith in God. It was the difference between defeating a giant and being bird food.
The rule of conformity or the rule of giftedness
Even King Saul tried to get David to conform to his ways. He tried to get David to wear his armor. Perhaps it was the king’s personal armor or maybe it was from his armory. Most likely it was the king’s own armor, which tells us that David must have been a large teenager because the Bible tells us that Saul was “head and shoulders” taller than everyone else. The point is that David figured out quickly that he could either conform and die or walk in his own giftedness and win. God has made you with a particular set of skills and experiences. You either conform to everyone else’s way or walk in the power of God’s gifts and blessings in your own life.
The rule of hesitation or the rule of action
David did not hesitate. He accepted the challenge and took action. Your enemy wants you to hesitate, to wait, to procrastinate, to find a more convenient time, or to ignore the challenge before you. He tells us to put it off and to wait for better circumstances. A few decades later David’s son, Solomon, wrote, “If you wait for perfect conditions you will never get anything done.” He probably learned this lesson from dear old dad. No doubt he heard the story countless times. It was enough for him, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to record this lesson in Holy Scripture.
Someone will set the rules for your life. You will either live by the rule of faith and follow God’s rules – the ones that lead to life and victory – or you will let your enemy set the rules for your life and go on to struggle and defeat. I hope you choose wisely and choose life!