Read: 1 Samuel 17:1-54
For the battle is the LORD’s. (v. 47)
David and Goliath featured prominently in my children’s Bible storybook. David was a boy, after all, and Goliath a giant, a familiar figure in children’s literature. When I was a kid, I expected Goliath to say, “Fee-fi-fo-fum”! This story has a sort of “Tortoise and the Hare” feel to it, because the underdog prevails. There are lessons to be learned about overconfidence and being light on your feet (apparently all that armor weighed Goliath down and made him vulnerable to a stone from a slingshot). Yet I am not convinced this is primarily a children’s story.
A key is found in verse 47: “the LORD saves not with sword and spear.” Throughout the story of God’s relationship with Israel, it was God who delivered the nation. God took them through dry ground at the Red Sea and destroyed the Egyptians. In the words of Psalm 33, “The war horse is a false hope for salvation . . . for the LORD; he is our help and our shield” (vv. 17, 20).
How ironic that King Saul forgot this and it took a child to remind him. David then rejected Saul’s armor and took Goliath down without a sword in his hand. But David, as subsequent stories reveal, struggled to trust God completely. Notice here that he kept Goliath’s armor in his tent (v. 54), perhaps for future battles. Implements of war have always been alluring. We occupy ourselves with them at our own peril. —Jeff Munroe
As you pray, consider what you trust.
About the Author
Jeff Munroe is the editor of the Reformed Journal and, in addition to being the author of the best-selling book Reading Buechner: Exploring the Work of a Master Memoirist, Novelist, Theologian, and Preacher, is also a poet, blogger, and essayist. His work has appeared in Christianity Today, The Christian Century, US Catholic, and The Reformed Journal.