Did anyone ever tell you the story of David and Goliath? It’s found in the book of 1 Samuel in chapter 17. It’s one of my favourites and it’s often referenced in TV programmes and movies. You’ve probably heard something large called “Goliath” or heard someone put the two names ‘David’ and ‘Goliath’ together when describing an unfair fight or argument. Read on to discover exactly what happened: read along if you have a bible. (If not, you can always download one from the App Store.)
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David was a shepherd boy, born in Bethlehem (where Jesus was also born generations later) who lived with his father and brothers in the countryside of Israel. The prophet Samuel came to David’s father’s house and anointed David as the next King of Israel. But David remained humble and, since there was already a king on the throne, Saul, David became a faithful servant to Saul as his musician.
One day when David was a young teenager, the Philistines (a powerful foreign army) came to attack the Israelites. King Saul assembled his troops on an opposite hill so that there was a valley between him and the enemy. Then Goliath, a Philistine champion over 9 feet tall, broke ranks and taunted the Israelites, suggesting they send one man to fight him. Considering how huge this guy was, needless to say no one volunteered! This went on for 40 days, morning and evening. The Israelites were so scared they were stuck in a stalemate.
Then David appeared. His brothers were in the Israelite army and his father sent him to give his brothers some food. When Goliath came out to taunt them, David heard the Israelite soldiers as they hurried away from him. “Have you seen the giant? The king has offered a huge reward to anyone who kills him.”
David responded, “What will a man get for killing this Philistine and ending his defiance of Israel? Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26
It was this question of David’s that got King Saul’s attention. In audience with the king, David said “Don’t worry about this Philistine, I’ll go fight him!” (17:32
The king laughed but David was strong. Drawing on his own experience of fighting bears and lions to protect his sheep, he convinced Saul to let him fight Goliath, concluding his speech with “The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” (17:37
So, with Saul’s blessing, David went out to fight Goliath.
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Initially, David was given the finest of King Saul’s armour to protect him from the giant. But David wasn’t used to them so he took them off. (In all honesty, I’d have taken all the help I could get, but David had a secret weapon: God was on his side.) He went to a nearby stream and picked up five smooth stone and put them into his bag. Then he went to face Goliath, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling.
I don’t know about you, but at this point I’d be terrified. Especially when Goliath comes out and starts taunting because you’re a small boy and he’s…well massive.
But David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies – the God of the armies of Israel who you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head…And the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle and he will give you to us!” (1 Samuel 17:45-47 NLT)
And with that, as the Philistine approached, David reached into his shepherd’s bag, took out his sling used it to hurl a stone across the valley that hit the giant on his forehead. The stone sank in and Goliath fell to the ground, face down.
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When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they turned and ran. And King Saul bestowed upon David a place in his royal palace.
Can you see why I love this story? The underdog wins thanks to his faith in God’s strength. I’ve always admired David’s child-like trust in God’s power. He just seems to know that God is with him. And this is available to us. Pray with me now:
God, thank you that David had such faith in you that he was willing to put his life in danger to show your strength. I would really like to have that faith in you, too. Please teach me more about you and let me learn how to trust you. I want to see your mighty power working in my life for good. Please guide me and protect me. Amen.
©2015 by Rachel Leathers