I was recently reading through 1 Samuel and stumbled upon the familiar story of David vs. Goliath (Ch. 17). Most people use this story to draw inspiration in the face of a difficult situation or uncertain circumstances. However, as I read the story again a question came to mind: How was David able to defeat Goliath when season warriors retreated at the site of the Philistine Champion?
This question came to mind for several reasons:
1. David had no prior military experience before going to battlefield that day.
2. He had no credible life experience that would seemingly prepare him for such an event.
3. David is thought to have been a young teenager when he went to face Goliath.
4. The best warriors of the day were terrified of Goliath and fled at the sight of him.
5. David exuded an extreme confidence in his ability to defeat Goliath upon his arrival.
As I explored the text, I discovered 5 reasons David was able to defeat Goliath in spite of the chaos surrounding him...
1. He Looked Past Discouragement.
As soon as David arrived to the battlefield, his first encounter was seeing the Israelite army retreating at the sight of Goliath (v.24). He immediately asks why people are retreating and soon afterwards asks what the price is for the man who will defeat Goliath. His brothers catch wind of David's presence and begin to ridicule him and call him arrogant and evil hearted (v. 28). More than that, He is brought before Saul, the leader of the Israelite Army, who tells David "You can't go fight this Philistine" (v. 33). Everyone that David encountered, everything that He saw was a put down, but David carried on anyways, he went into battle, won the victory.
2. He Trusted His Training.
Although David had no credible military experience or training prior to this day, He had much experience as a shepherd. As a shepherd, he looked over the sheep and other livestock that his family owned and protected them from attacks from thieves and wild animals. Interestingly enough, David felt as if this prepared Him to go and face the Philistine Champion as he responded to Saul's put down this way... "Whenever a lion or a bear came and carried off a lamb from the flock, I went after it, struck it down, and rescued the lamb from its mouth. If it reared up against me, I would grab it by its fur, strike it down, and kill it. Your servant has killed lions and bears; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them" (v. 34-36). What confidence David displayed in this encounter. You see, David knew he wasn't trained in the ways of the military, but he knew that he was prepared for this moment. In the face of life and death situations in the past, he rose up and killed lions and bears with little more than his bare hands. He risked his life for a little sheep, and had come out victorious. He didn't doubt his preparation, but instead trusted in these situations. He understood that everything that had happened in his life up to this moment had prepared Him for the opportunity that was before him.
3. He Trusted His Lord.
More importantly than the above mentioned points, David had a supreme confidence in the Lord. David claimed that Goliath would be like the lions and bears that he had slayed because he had insulted his God (v. 36). More than that, he boldly stated "The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine," (v. 37). David found comfort in the fact that the Lord had been faithful to deliver Him from difficult circumstances in the past. David understood that "If God is for us, who is against us?" (Rom. 8:31) More than understanding all of that, he drew his confidence and courage from the fact that the Lord was on his side. And this was a game changer, it convinced the commander of the Army to send Him into battle. It allowed David to recognize that the source of victory was not contingent upon His performance, but was wrapped up in the Power of The Lord. In Christ and Christ alone was David able to defeat Goliath, and David understood and trusted in that.
4. He Used what He Had.
Once Saul heard how the Lord had delivered David in the past, he felt confident in sending David out to face Goliath. However, the same people who were discouraging David before were now encouraging him to go into battle in a particular way. The King gave David his armor, sword, and military clothes. Despite the best military equipment the Israelite army had, David was unable to walk and maneuver in the equipment (v. 38-39). Instead of going into battle with weapons and gear he couldn't/didn't know how to use, David went to face Goliath with a staff, slingshot, and 5 stones (v.40). The same gear that He would have been using defending to animals that he was shepherding. He simply went into battle with what he had.
So many times in life, when faced with great opportunity or adversity we feel as if we are not adequately prepared for the moment. We begin to seek advanced tactics or tools that we have no credible experience using, instead of simply trusting what we have. I genuinely believe that the Lord has gifted and exposed us all with what we need to overcome adversity and thrive in situations. The question then becomes, will we use what he has gifted us with? You see David wasn't great with a sword, but was phenomenal with a slingshot! Although the sword may have made more sense to most, David was gifted with accuracy and power with a slingshot. And it most likely made the difference in victory and defeat. Think about how this story might have turned out if David went to fight in clothes and weapons that he was unable to walk in...
5. He Confidently Took Action.
David didn't simply talk about the battle, he went into battle. Many people in life talk a big game, but David went out and did all that he talked about. He ran out to face the giant, and ultimately came back victorious; the most unlikely of upsets (v. 46,48,51). You see, nothing great ever happens without courageous people taking a bold step of faith. He didn't allow discouragement to stop him, he didn't allow his inexperience to make him doubt, he didn't leave God on the sideline, he used simply what he had, and with all of that he went out and WON.
Considering all of that, are you prepared to face and slay the Goliaths in your life? It won't be easy, but we have God on our side if we have that relationship with Him. He already knows what we are going through, nothing in our lives is a surprise to God. We simply have to let go of ourselves and allow God to take control (John 3:30).
Are you willing to:
-Look Past Discouragement
-Trust your Training
-Trust the Lord
-Use what You Have
-Confidently Take Action
Is so, you are ready to slay your Goliaths.