Friday, October 15, 2010

David and Goliath

(Once again I chose a familiar story from the Bible for the devotional portion of Valley View Baptist's ministry at our local nursing home)

The story of David and Goliath is one of the best known in the Bible. The army of Israel under King Saul, and the army of the Philistines were faced off against each other in somewhat of a stalemate. Most of us remember how that the Philistines had a giant by the name of Goliath among their number, who was over 9 feet tall. He would come out each day and provoke the army of Israel, saying that he would fight their best man, and the winner of that fight would determine the fate of the two nations. No one except the young lad David was willing to accept the challenge.

1 Samuel 17:38-40 And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him. And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.

then went out to meet the giant on the field of battle, where they exchanged insults.... well, not so much an insult as a prophesy on David's part:

1 Samuel 17:46-47 This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands.

that the "battle" was on:

1 Samuel 17:49 And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.

There are a multitude of lessons to be learned from this event in David's life. The point I would like to elaborate on is found in verse 47 where David says "And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give you into our hands."

Even the part of the story where David took off Saul's armor testifies to this. Whether or not David was wearing armor would not have changed the outcome of the battle one little bit, except for this. If David had been wearing armor, it would have disguised what a youngster he was. The Philistines would have looked on him and seen a warrior, maybe a little on the small side, but a warrior none the less. No, by going out to meet Goliath as a young shepherd boy, armed with only a shepherd's sling, it was very obvious that David did not stand any kind of a chance against the giant warrior. It was painfully obvious that only God could deliver him and the Israelites.

You see, God could have provided a strong experienced warrior to fight Goliath. Perhaps even King Saul, who was taller than the other Israelites and was known for his military feats. But if God had allowed Saul to fight and defeat Goliath, who would have gotten the glory? Certainly it would have been Saul and not God. God chose an inexperienced youth to fight the battle so that everyone would know it was God who determined the outcome, not man.

The situation is much the same when it comes to salvation. Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

In Jesus day, that was a really eye opening statement. The scribes and Pharisees were the religious leaders of Israel. They did everything they could to follow every commandment of God, every law, and even every religious tradition of the Jews. They did everything they possibly could to avoid even the appearance of sin! We only tend to look down upon them today because Jesus rightly chastised them because many of them were relying on their own righteousness. But if their own righteousness was enough to earn them a place in heaven, who would get the glory?

David faced insurmountable odds when he fought Goliath. He didn't stand a chance. He couldn't save himself from the giant; only God could save him, and that was obvious. So God received the glory for it.

When the Spirit of God shines the light of the Bible on our sins, and we see that we are facing insurmountable odds, then we understand that we don't stand a chance. Only God can save us from our sins, and that is obvious. If you have not already done so, won't you put your trust in Christ's payment for your sins? God will receive the glory for it!