How the victory over Goliath points to the Victory of the Cross
March 1, 2019
Brodie Croyle, Executive Director
As I’ve studied the life of David and particularly his defeat of Goliath, I am struck by several things. At the time of this Philistine/Israeli showdown, David didn’t look like a king, or a soldier for that matter, but that actually made way for the Spirit to fill him and for any success David had to point toward a true King. As David was shepherding for his father, viewed as a very lowly job, God began to prepare David for a moment that would declare to the world and to the nation of Israel the greatness of the Father. David describes times in the field fighting lions and bears, delivering lambs from their mouths as they picked them from the flock. David was a skillful musician whose time practicing the harp would allow him the opportunity of entering the court of King Saul and eventually ascending the throne. God perfected David’s use of a slingshot, training his hands for war. Because of David’s role as shepherd, he learned humility, servanthood and obedience, as he woke day-after-day fulfilling the responsibility in his father’s household. Each moment refined David for a purpose.
As Goliath yelled across the battlefield for 40 days beckoning a man to fight him, the Israelite army was “dismayed and greatly afraid”, including David’s seven older brothers. In 1 Samuel 17:17, Jesse asked David to take his brothers food and that led to a moment when everything changed. In verse 23, “As he (David) talked with them (his brothers), behold, the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, came up out of the ranks of the Philistines and spoke the same words as before. And David heard him.” Goliath had been yelling the same thing over and over for days, while the armies of Israel sat back in fear. But, the Spirit of God came alive in David as he said to Saul, who ironically looked the part of “king” but hadn’t done much to help this whole time, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him, your servant will go and fight with the Philistine.” David was young. He wasn’t old enough to fight in the army. He might not have looked like a soldier, but this unsuspecting teenager walked in confidence toward a Philistine champion, pointing the victory toward the God that delivered him from lions and bears, and would do it again against this nearly 10-foot-tall enemy robed in the latest armor and superior weaponry.
Many love to view this shepherd boy as a meek, mild youngling who happened to beat the odds and was a great shot that day. However, in reality, the Potter was shaping the clay day-after-day so that he could step into the fight prepared, with unwavering courage and declaring defeat of the Philistines before the physical battle even began. The fruit of the countless hours of preparation in the field were now on display so that the world would find a deeper trust in God alone.
As I reflect on this story, I think of a quote a friend and former resident of the Boys’ Ranch sent to me recently: “It ran in my family, until it ran into me.” The journey thus far hasn’t been easy for our kids. They’ve endured more than most, they are young, they’ve been faced with moments that leave us pondering the reason. Maybe your journey hasn’t been easy either. Maybe you can look back over your life and recognize moments when you were prepared for something very specific, not even knowing what it was at the time. The account of David and Goliath as well as this quote, remind us that our Creator uses moments of preparation in the field to shape us for what lies ahead and to develop our courage for the times when we must step into battle. The messy work in the pasture points us toward the Throne.
You see, although we can glean countless truths and examples of great character through the story of David and Goliath, it’s an account that is less about facing giants and rooting for the underdog and more about Jesus and sin. When sin ran into Jesus, it experienced ultimate defeat. When satan ran into the Cross, victory over darkness was declared. When confusion ran into Truth, it created a joy inside that we can experience in spite of not understanding it all. Jesus, the unsuspecting Jew of Nazareth stepped into the battle with courage, humility and willingness, to fight the giant of sin on our behalf. May we embrace the sometimes difficult preparation that is making way for a greater Glory, and enter into the fullness of God. Let’s step into the arena with courage, knowing whatever we face has already been overcome.