When we read a bible story such as David and Goliath, we want to think of ourselves as being like David, don’t we? We like to think of ourselves as underdogs in this big bad world who have the courage and ingenuity to defeat anyone that comes against us. In our family library, we have dozens of children’s bible books and they all seem to feature this story. After all, it is a classic and kids love it. Even our 3-year-old daughter Elizabeth was reading the story of David and Goliath to her “baby” just the other day. But most of these children’s books end up having the wrong application. Most of them end up saying – you can do anything you want if you just set your mind to it – you can beat the giants of this world. That’s the kind of message that the reader is left with and it’s the same message kids get in the public school system. The problem is, it’s a message void of the gospel.
Some time ago, it was refreshing to encounter something different as I was reading the Gospel Story Bible to our kids. The author, Marty Machowski, suggested that we are more like the Israelite soldiers than we are like David. If you remember near the beginning of the story, Goliath said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day. Give me a man that we may fight together. When Saul and all Israel heard these words, they were dismayed and greatly afraid” (1 Samuel 17:10-11). Isn’t it true that when our enemies and the storms of life come our way, more often than not we are fearful, dismayed, and anything but courageous? It would be great if we could all say we were like David and met the enemies of life head on but that’s usually not true.
What we need to hear is that there is a Hero who has come to save and rescue us from our plight. The enemies of life (namely, sin) are far too big for us to face alone. The Bible tells us that, “while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). Left to ourselves, we would be like the Israelite soldiers without David – hopeless and afraid. Thankfully, however, we have not been left to ourselves.
The shepherd boy David was actually what is often called a “type” of Christ. He wasn’t “the Christ” but he was a type of the One to come. Without David’s courage and faith, eventually Saul and the Israelite army would have succumbed to Goliath and the Philistines. But in their weakness and in their time of need, God used David in an incredible way. What is interesting is that as 1 and 2 Samuel unfold, we come to see that David was weak and sinful too, and was in need of the grace of God every bit as much as we are. And no matter what the circumstance – whether it be the highest high (defeating Goliath, military victories, his coronation as King, etc.) – or the lowest low (on the run from Saul, committing adultery with Bathsheba, murdering a Uriah, taking the census, etc.) David was in desperate need for the rescuing grace of God and for the most part, he knew this (see Psalm 51).
Friends, it’s not about us being like David. It’s not about us taking on a savior mentality and thinking we can defeat the enemy of sin and the other giants in our lives. We can’t! Therefore, we must look to the One who can. We must look to Christ. True faith forces us to look away from self, and unto God. Two thousand years ago Jesus died on the cross and He paid the price for our sins. He bore the wrath of God (1 Peter 2:24) and the Scripture tells us that by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). Apart from Christ, we would just be like those Israelite soldiers – fearful, afraid, hopeless, purposeless, and weak. Maybe for some of you, that’s where you are at today and you need to humble yourself before God. But the gospel tells us that if you have Christ in your life, all of that changes. The weak become strong, the lost are found, the blind can see, the orphans are adopted, the timid become courageous, and those who are weeping shout for joy! That’s what God does for the humble at heart – for those who admit their need for Christ. You see, it’s only when we have Christ in our lives that we can be like David, courageously facing the giants of life.
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).