What if David had not killed Goliath? Well, he would have been torn to pieces with bare hands unless he ran away. Goliath meant it when he told him, “I’ll turn you into a tasty morsel of field mice.” (1 Samuel 17:44 MSG) That’s Goliath’s macabre idea of battlefield snacks. But we seem to be getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s back up a little. Here’s the story.
Goliath was a major celebrity in Philistia. They don’t come any bigger than that. The guy was ten feet tall! There were three classes of celebrity in those days – royalty, priests and warriors. There was no “Keeping up with the Kardashians” category. Or even a Jay Z or Kanye category, though arguably the guild of rappers and musicians known as the Sons of Asaph should ordinarily qualify as celebrities, Asaph in particular. Goliath was a warrior celebrity. He was also a national icon. They didn’t use words like “national icon” in ancient times, they used “champion”. Not to be confused with other Goliaths his brand moniker was “Goliath from Gath” – GG. Gath was one of the five Philistine city States. Philistia was a pentapolis. The other city States were Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod and Ekron. Goliath means “great” or “splendor,” so you can also call him “Goliath the Great” – GG.
The Philistines were Israel’s most incessant enemy. The two nations had a long history between them. It continues till this day. Palestinians are descendants of Philistines. They fought seven major battles. Israel won four of those battles. The David/Goliath confrontation was the fifth.
Goliath took his celebrity status rather seriously. And he dressed the part, even for battle. He wore bronze helmet, carried a bronze sword, even wore bronze shin guards. These were custom-made stuff. He even had an aide de camp – an “armour bearer” which only kings had. Goliath made sure the specs of his armour was leaked. All to intimidate. Burnished that celebrity profile. His iron mail was so heavy no airline will accept it as luggage today. It was 57kg! The TIP of his spear would qualify as hand luggage though. It’s the average weight of a baby – only 7kg.
At the Battle of the Valley of Elah, Goliath threw a challenge at Israel: “Why bother using your whole army? Am I not Philistine enough for you? And you’re all committed to Saul, aren’t you? So pick your best fighter and pit him against me. If he gets the upper hand and kills me, the Philistines will all become your slaves. But if I get the upper hand and kill him, you’ll all become our slaves and serve us. I challenge the troops of Israel this day. Give me a man. Let us fight it out together.” (1 Samuel 17:8-10) This went on morning and evening for forty days like a news item on CNN. Same repetitiveness. He was of course playing to the gallery. Was all show business. The Bible says, he “took his stand and made his speech.” (1 Samuel 17:16) But those speeches affected the morale of the Israelites. He made sure to mount the soapbox right after each battle formation. And “the Israelites, to a man, fell back the moment they saw the giant – totally frightened.” (1 Samuel 17:24) No one took up the challenge of course. No one wanted to volunteer for suicide. Not even with the promise of exemption from taxation by King Saul, with the hand of his daughter thrown in for good measure. And so we have our answer. If David had not killed Goliath, the Israelites would have become slaves to the Philistines.
Goliath was trying to redefine the rules of engagement. But he would soon meet the ultimate redefiner of the rules of engagement. Now, notice Goliath mentioned Saul in his speech. He was insulting him, taunting him. Saul after all was the national champion of Israel. He was Mr. Israel. (1 Samuel 9:2) Unfortunately, Saul was suffering from depression at this time. He was probably more terrified than everyone else. “When Saul and his troops heard the Philistine’s challenge, they were terrified and lost all hope.” (1 Samuel 17:10) Fear is the primary and most potent weapon of the Enemy. Enter David, the eighth and last son of a poor farmer named Jesse.
Three of David’s brothers served in the army. David had taken victuals to them when he saw Goliath’s show. David was the kind of guy who read Commando Comics. He loved action movies! Ok, there were no movies in those days but you get the drift. His eldest brother accused him of wanting live action – “Hoping to get a ringside seat at a bloody battle.” David volunteered for the suicide mission as you very well know. He would go on to kill Goliath. What David exploited was the narrow band of Goliath’s exposure – his forehead, an available space of possibly 2in x 5in. Think Lionel Messi or Ronaldo going for a small opening in the defense wall during a free kick. Goliath thought David was a joke. He actually felt insulted they sent a fine boy against him. (1 Samuel 17:42) Obviously, Goliath wasn’t handsome. Possibly looked like an armoured vehicle. He calculated on brawn, David calculated on grey matter, and then he sunk a stone into Goliath’s grey matter. You can’t go after a Goliath pound for pound. You must exploit his vulnerability and weakness. This is a particularly useful lesson for business. Goliath’s avowed strength was actually his weakness as well. All that mass of beef meant he was slow. David was more agile. Less mass. He had greater speed. And David matched his advantage to his equipment. He chose a projectile. The stone being smooth had aerodynamic quality. He could never have defeated Goliath in a close body encounter. He used distance instead. Goliath unfortunately went for the wrong equipment strategy. He was hoping to use a sword even though he had a spear. It’s why he ran towards David. A sword is only useful in a close combat. He allowed his prejudice and emotions to dictate his strategy and he paid for it. What he wanted was to tear David to pieces. David never fought Goliath’s battle. Goliath fought David’s battle. Never fight the battle of a formidable opponent. Make him fight yours. Redefine the rules of engagement. Don’t do conventional warfare.
Now, before the match they were trying to suit David up, trying to match him with Goliath. But he wasn’t used to body armour, could hardly move. You can’t fight Goliath trying to be like Goliath. You’re not Goliath! And you can’t out-Goliath Goliath. All that was needed was a sling and five smooth stones. It’s instructive David took five stones to the fifth battle between the Israelites and the Philistines. Five is the number of grace. There was contextual grace and projectile grace. Grace upon grace. He would need a supply of grace from the God of all grace to conquer Goliath. “For out of his fullness – the superabundance of his grace and truth we have all received grace upon grace – spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing, favour upon favour, and gift heaped upon gift.” (John 1:16 AMP) Jesus is the gift that keeps giving.
Goliath is a typology of salvation by works – the reliance on self-effort, personal strength, even self-righteousness. He represented the righteousness of the law. David on the other hand typified grace. “For the Law was given through Moses, but grace – the unearned, undeserved favour of God came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17 AMP) You can’t earn salvation through human effort – fasting, observance of rituals, self-flagellation, the doing of penance, alms giving, doing good works… These won’t earn you salvation. “For it is by grace – God’s remarkable compassion and favour drawing you to Christ that you have been saved, through faith. And this salvation is not of yourselves, not through your own effort, but it is the undeserved gracious gift of God, not as a result of your works nor your attempts to keep the Law (the Ten Commandments), so that no one will be able to boast or take credit in any way for his salvation.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 AMP) If you’re born again, you’re already saved is what this passage is saying. You’re not going to be saved “on the last day,” you’re already saved! You show forth your salvation by good works you don’t earn salvation by good works. Five stones of grace fell Goliath, not the five fingers of David.
It’s interesting David held a shepherd’s staff to confront Goliath. No one could understand why. Goliath couldn’t either. He thought it was totemic of derision. Which was why he asked, “Am I a dog that you have come to me with shepherd’s staff?” (1 Samuel 17:43) David never used that stick in the confrontation so why was he holding it? That stick represented the staff of office of the Shepherd of Israel. Our Lord is the Good Shepherd. (John 10:11-14) David faced Goliath with the authority of Jehovah. He never knew what hit him! We must learn to face challenges with the authority of the word of God.
But the most important fact in the David vs.Goliath confrontation is that the death of David would have jeopardized the lineage of Jesus. (Romans 1:3) Jesus would not have been born. He’s referred to as the “son of David.” Seventeen verses in the New Testament refer to him as “son of David.” It is on account of Jesus that God promised David, “Your house and your kingdom will continue before me for all time, your throne will be secure forever.” (2 Samuel 7:16) If Goliath had killed David there would have been no salvation for mankind.
If you’ll like to give your life to Jesus, please pray this prayer: Father I acknowledge that I am a sinner, that Jesus died for me, that you raised him from the dead. Father please forgive me. I accept Jesus today as my Lord and my Saviour. Amen.
© #Illuminare Leke Alder | email@example.com
To download my free articles – Correspondence With Unbelief and Conversation With Unbelief, go to http://myilluminare.com/correspondence-with-an-atheist/ and http://myilluminare.com/conversation-with-an-atheist/ respectively.
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