One of the best known and most loved stories in the Old Testament, I think, is that of David and Goliath. Many things stand out about this story but one, in particular, grips me: David’s prior experience with God and how that increased his faith. This matter is seen in David’s response to those who mocked him as a foolish shepherd boy going up against the great Goliath. First, though, David perfectly diagnosed the problem with his question: “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (17:26) Who in the world does Goliath think he is? We might ask the world a similar question: Who/what do you think you are that you should defy God and his church?
Here’s what so gets me, though. It’s David’s response to his fellow Israelites: “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine” (17:37). David: “Been here, done this. Desperate conditions call for a great and faithful God. My God has delivered me in times past; he will do so, again.” Of course, we know the rest of the story. And the chapters that follow burnish David’s reputation even more as he eludes Saul’s attempts to kill him, is a friend to Jonathan, and does so much more. But as I think about this deal with Goliath, so quickly come to mind the verses of that great old hymn, one of which is:
Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right Man on our side,
the Man of God's own choosing.
You ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth his name,
from age to age the same;
and he must win the battle.