This is one of the most recognizable stories in all of the Bible. David and Goliath. Overcoming insurmountable odds. The little boy defeats the giant man. The underdog wins! However, it is important to examine a few of the most pertinent or telling facts of the story and then reflect on its significance.
The Israelites and the Philistines stood on two mountains, with a valley separating them, prepared for battle. Goliath, the Philistine champion, went out to challenge Israel. By the measurements given in the Bible story (6 cubits and a span), Goliath would have been 9 and 1/2 feet in today’s system of measurement. He wore a bronze helmet, a coat of mail, bronze armor on his legs, and had a bronze javelin between his shoulders. His coat weighted between 125 and 150 pounds, and his spear head was 15 pounds. He was an intimidating figure, to say the least! He called out to the Israelite army, and challenged them to send a champion of their own to fight against him, and that the loser of the challenge would see his nation submit to the other. They were “dismayed and greatly afraid(v. 11).”
While David was going back and forth between the army, Saul, and his father’s sheep, Goliath issued this challenge for forty days. Jesse sent David back with break and grain for his brothers. When David saw Goliath taunting Israel, he asked about him, and his brothers and some of the other men explained their plight, and how Saul offered riches, his daughter, and exemption from taxes. David asked the question, “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” His brothers chided him a bit, but then David told Saul that he would go down and fight Goliath. Saul discouraged him, but he insisted, telling of how God had helped him defeat the lion and the bear when they attacked his sheep. Saul consented, but tried to dress David in his armor, which did not fit. David then took a staff, five smooth stones in a pouch, and his sling.
When Goliath saw David coming down, he cursed him and insulted him, and threatened to feed his flesh to the birds and beasts. David responded with strong faith statements about God’s ability to defeat Goliath. David ran toward Goliath, took a stone from his pouch, and slung it, hitting the Philistine and killed him. To be certain, he took Goliath’s sword, and cut off his head. Once the Philistines saw that Goliath was dead, they fled from Israel, and Israel pursued them, killed many of them, and plundered their tents. David took Goliath’s head back to Jerusalem, and kept his armor.
This story clearly demonstrates God’s ability to anoint and empower a believer when they obey His call upon their life. Many of us have faced our own Goliaths, with their taunts and insults, only to see God miraculously give the victory. Trust God explicitly, and do not doubt, for He is faithful! God will never let you down. When Goliath rears his ugly head, understand that God will give you his head if you go into battle in the name of the Lord.
1 Samuel 17:45 (NKJV)
45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.