“Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.” (1 Samuel 17.36)
The story of David and Goliath is quite familiar to us, and it is a great story to tell. The young man David brings provisions for his brothers to the camp of Israel. In talking to his brothers, and other men at the front lines, David finds out that the men of Israel are cowards, and the king of Israel does not have the Lord’s favor.
As readers of the story of David, we should realize quite a few things that help us fill out the story. Saul has disobeyed the word of the Lord multiple times already, and because of this, God has rejected him as king. More than that, the Spirit of God departed from Saul. We see this departure spiral downwards, and at the end of his life, it seems that Saul has gone crazy. Mirroring Saul’s downward spiral is David who received the Spirit of the Lord at the same time as Saul lost it. In the story of David and Goliath, we see a man filled with the Spirit of the Lord among a throng of people who are not, including their leader King Saul. The result is that David defeats Goliath as if he were just another wild beast of the field attacking his father’s flock.
As we consider this story, the difficulty is in considering what it means to us. Does it mean that when we are on the battlefield, we can kill those tall giants who taunt us and our army? I don’t think so. The point of the passage is to display a man who is filled with the Spirit of God who actually cares for what God cares for. Saul had neglected what God wanted. He offered sacrifices without a priest. He did not put the livestock under the ban. Instead the army kept the best livestock, ‘to offer as a sacrifice to the Lord.’ Not only that, but when the prophet of God, Samuel, presses Saul on the issue, he confesses he was afraid of the people! Even though he was the king!
The amazing thing about when we live in the history of salvation is that we who are Christians all have the Spirit of God dwelling within us. This means that we can be like David in caring about what God cares for. As Christians, we are now disgusted with evil in all sorts of different ways, just as David was disgusted at the evil of the uncircumcised Philistine. Ephesians talks about our being arrayed in battle armor to withstand the schemes of the devil. Like David in his Psalms, we stand firm on the Word, considering and meditating on it day and night. Consider how he was just a country boy, but he longed to spend day and night meditating on the Word of God. How else would David had known the evil of the uncircumcised Philistine? David seems to have known the law of the Lord even from his youth, and he was able to sing it as he considered his trials and successes. We too can meditate on the word of the Lord so that it fills us with zeal for the truth. This is the interesting thing from Ephesians: the sword is the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. As we stand firm, the only thing we wield as a weapon is the word of God which is the sword of the Spirit. This, then, is our stronghold as we stand firm and rest in the Word of God, through the power of the Spirit of God, to the glory of God the Father.
--J. Andersen 6/21/16