1 Samuel 17:37 – David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the Lord be with thee.
The classic confrontation between David and Goliath has been a rally point for believers in need of encouragement and motivation. Yet this timeless tale almost did not take place – not for all the wrong reasons but for some good reasons. Consider the scene: an idealistic teenager confronts a battle-tested king and his advisors surprisingly to exclaim his untested capability to defeat an unrivaled soldier (17:32). Reports of David’s zeal reached Saul, who sent for the soldier (17:31), but the youthful boy who appeared before him dripped with impulsively and inexperience (17:33). The youngest age at which an Israelite could enlist was twenty years of age (Numbers 1:3; 26:2). How could the King and Commander send in an untrained teen and keep a good conscience? Saul immediately rejected David’s offer (17:33), and that statement should have been the end of the meeting. David halted his sermonizing and read his résumé to the King (17:34-36). The shepherd boy faced mortal combat against dangerous wildlife, and that uncircumcised Philistine was nothing more than a beast. Emphatically, David declared that he would be victorious because God would deliver him just as he had previously experienced (17:37). David’s faith and courage were extraordinary despite his logic oversimplifying the situation. The king, disarmed by David’s persuasive presentation, made a huge military gamble. Saul uttered a prayerful blessing, and David would need it; the only way David would succeed would be if the Lord were with him in the fight.
It was not David’s family or his future that won him the opportunity to confront the giant; it was his deliberate and determined faith. The facts were not on David’s side, but his faith in the Lord’s power certainly moved in his favor.
David took steps of faith to advance his walk with God. The faith to face the giant was cultivated in the remote and lonely pastures in Bethlehem. David was the youngest, least respected son from what was then an insignificant town. God grew his faith through situations that grew in complexity, difficulty, and importance. We tend to overlook, diminish, or criticize the value of unseen or unrecognized acts of faith. Some wish that someone would herald our heroism as a faithful person; others perhaps cannot see these moments as the building blocks of spiritual lessons.
Every Christian is enrolled in the school of faith. God is the teacher, and life is the classroom. Promotion to the next opportunity comes only when the lessons are learned and the exams are passed. The elementary lessons of faith will seem like the lonely pastures, but promotion from the pasture to the palace comes only by demonstrating faith on the battlefield of life.
Our whole life is characterized as the faithful endurance of spiritual battle (2 Timothy 2:3, Hebrews 12:1-2, Ephesians 6:10-18, James 1:12). If we are to “war a good warfare” then we must hold on to faith (1 Timothy 1:18-19). Good soldiers know what to pack when deploying to austere environments; good soldiers of Jesus know to take faith with them everywhere they go. So strap up your boots, pack your faith, and take the steps of faith necessary to take you across the battlefield of life!
Daily Reading: 1 Samuel 17:12-37
Bible Reading Challenge: 21 Days on Faith