David and Goliath

“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty (Zech 4:6)

Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled in Socoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim, between Socoh and Azekah. Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines. The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them. A champion named Goliath who was from Gath came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing 5000 shekels (125 lbs.), on his legs he wore bronze greaves (shin guards) and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod and its iron point weighed 600 shekels (15 lbs.) His shield bearer went ahead of him. Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me then we will be your subjects. But if I overcome him and kill him then you will become our subjects and serve us.” Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the ranks of Israel. Give me a man and let us fight each other.” On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified. For 40 days the Philistine came forward every morning and every evening and took his stand (1 Sam 17:1-11, 16).

And a Little Child Shall Lead Them

David was the youngest of the 8 sons of Jesse. The 3 oldest had followed Saul to war, and as was the custom of the time David being too young to enlist carried food and other supplies to his brothers in support of the war effort. One morning he arrived at the Israelite camp in time to hear Goliath’s daily challenge to the men of Israel. “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the Living God,” he demanded (1 Sam 17:26).

Even though the prophet Samuel had already visited Jesse’s home and anointed David as Israel’s next King, (1 Sam 16:13) to his brothers he was still a little kid come to embarrass them, and they tried to send him home. But King Saul heard of David’s questions and sent for him. David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine, your servant will go out and fight him” (1 Sam 17:32). When Saul reminded David that he was just a boy, David recalled the times while tending sheep when the flock had been attacked by both bear and lion, and David had defeated them. “The Lord Who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine,” he declared. Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you” (I Sam 17:37).

We all know how David, armed with only a slingshot, fired a stone into Goliath’s forehead and killed him. And how the Israelites chased the Philistine army all the way back to the gates of their cities, completing Israel’s deliverance from Philistine bondage, a task Samson had begun earlier (Judges 13:5). But as exciting as this story is on the surface, there is even more hidden beneath.

I Spoke To The Prophets, Gave Them Many Visions And Told Parables Through Them

Several times in Scripture, the Lord informs us of the value of these stories from Israel’s history (Hosea 12:10, Rom 15:4 & 1 Cor 10:11). We’re to learn the lessons they contain, not just repeat them as historical accounts, because they were orchestrated in such a way as to reveal truths about God, and none more so than the story of David and Goliath.

If you see the story as a parable on spiritual warfare, you’ll gain some remarkable additional insight. The word parable means to “lay along side” so we’re not discarding the historical validity of the account, just gaining another level of understanding. The main characters in Biblical parables always represent someone or something else, so try seeing Goliath and the Philistines as Satan and his demonic host, Saul and the Israelites as man in the flesh, and David as man in the Spirit. For 40 days Saul and his army were intimidated and paralyzed by the defiant words of Goliath, just as in the flesh man is intimidated and paralyzed by the power of Satan. 40 is the Biblical number of testing and shows that man in the flesh will always fail his test with the enemy. And as David discovered, not even the king’s own armor, the best man could fashion, was suitable protection but instead further encumbered and immobilized him (1 Sam 17:38-39). Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephe 6:12). For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary they have divine power to demolish strongholds (2 Cor 10:3-4). Wearing Saul’s armor, David was an awkward and ineffective boy, but armed in the strength of the Lord he was more that a match for the giant Goliath (1 Sam 17:45-47). “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty (Zech 4:6).

Logic vs. Emotion

It’s good to remember that there was logic to David’s position, and not just emotion. Sure he was indignant at Goliath’s defiance of the Lord’s Army and angry that no Israelite had accepted the challenge, but the Lord had already used him to defeat a lion and a bear, either of which could have been a match for Goliath. And he had been anointed as Israel’s next king, an unconditional promise God could not fulfill if David was defeated and killed. So David had his own past experience and the promise of One who cannot lie to bolster his faith. Knowing these things, he didn’t believe the possibility of defeat existed (1 Sam 17:32-37).

Parables have often been described as heavenly stories put into an earthly perspective. To gain their wisdom, just put things back into the spiritual realm. Doing so we find that we have the same logical support for our faith that David had for his. The Lord has already defeated His enemy and ours (Col. 2:15 & 2 Tim 1:10) and we’ve been promised not only kingship (Ephe 2:6-7) but also sonship (Gal 4:4-5) by the one who cannot lie. These are unconditional promises that God cannot fulfill if we can be overcome and defeated by our enemy. Knowing these things, we can’t believe the possibility of defeat exists. Fear and faith cannot exist in the same mind at the same time. Submit yourselves then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7) just as the Philistines fled from the Israelites.

By the way when David went out to face Goliath he stooped down and picked up 5 smooth stones (1 Sam 17:40). Ever wonder why? It turns out Goliath had 4 brothers.

Now you know the adult version.