1 Samuel 17

1 Samuel 17

Bible Passage:  1 Samuel 17

Today’s chapter is about the famous story of David versus Goliath.

David did what was obvious in his sight – to courageously take down the man who was defying the army of God.

Saul and his army did what was obvious in their sight as well – wait for someone to take on Goliath’s challenge, as no one had the confidence of taking him on.

What different sights they had! The problem is, no one could see what David sees, which is the spiritual aspect of the challenge.

David’s own brother even accused him of just going up there to “see show” (verse 28 – “watch the battle”)

A commentary I read brought up that David’s brother was angry with David because when one is greatly dismayed and dreadfully afraid, the last thing one wants is to hear someone telling one to be courageous. That is quite true.

Recently I asked a preacher what made him step forward to become a preacher. He told me that after hearing other preachers and elders come to Singapore to encourage someone to step forward to be preachers, he went around asking and encouraging others to become preachers. But he was asked why would he not sign up for the ministry himself? He was still a pretty fresh convert (compared to many who have been in the faith for years) and he did not think he would be a suitable candidate. However, he kept this matter in prayer and eventually decided to step forward to put in the application, even though he did not think he could ever be accepted. Thank God today he is a hardworking preacher for God.

While David repeatedly asked the soldiers what shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine, I believe he was trying to encourage the soldiers to take on the challenge courageously, pointing out to them that Goliath is merely an uncircumcised Philistine who is fighting against the army of the living God. However, the soldiers seem to miss the point as they repeatedly told him the same answers, focusing on the dangers of the battle and the material rewards only.  It is as if the prize is too good to be true and they rather stay alive than to covet for the prize.

Was David a proud youth? Did he have no fear?

In fact we cannot really sense any fear in the recorded account in the Bible, but we could read how David was more and more ascertained about his victory, as he recounted how God had delivered lions and bears into his hand, and he believes that God will also deliver him from the hand of this Philistine. When he went out to fight Goliath, his faith was manifested in his words. He sees only the weapons Goliath brought (sword, spear, javelin), but he comes in the name of the LORD of hosts.

David knew that no armor or weapon would allow him to win the battle against Goliath. In fact, relying on these things will only make him fail. Rather he understood to use what he has been trained at, believing that God will be with him as He was in the past, to bring him victory.

Goliath is like the obstacles we meet in our lives which we may find insurmountable or inevitable. We look at the physical restraints, and we are demoralized. We don’t want to surrender to them, (or admit we have actually surrendered in our heart) yet we do not see any other way out.

But David shows us that there is nothing such as no way out from something that is not right in the eyes of God. And when we have God on our side, we have no need to fear our enemies and problems, no matter how insurmountable they seem.

There was a truth seeker who find it impossible to overcome her backsliding nature, to leave her earthly routine and devote her life to God. There was a Catholic who did not believe it is ever possible for anyone to go to heaven because we are all so sinful. There are many who have strayed from the word of God because they think it is impossible to carry out His commands because of their circumstances, fear of livelihood, habits and traditions.

When we do not see the power of God in our lives, we will only concentrate on human weaknesses and limitations. And that is exactly what the devil wants to make us believe. That is why many Christians either believe that they will never meet God’s expectations, or they want to believe since everyone is the same (being weak in the flesh), God is so loving He has to ignore all their sins or else no one will go heaven.

Jesus Christ came down to earth as flesh precisely to show us how a human being in the flesh can overcome sin and the fear of death to attain eternal life!

We need faith in God to make a difference in our life choices. We need to have courage, not in our ability, but in God’s ability to change our circumstances and us. And finally, we need to believe that God will provide our needs, so we should not need to make compromises in our faith. It is not easy sometimes. But let us encourage each other to look at the positive examples always.

May God increase our faith. May God help our disbelief.

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