Read – 1 Samuel 17
Focus v. 45-47
Everybody loves to see an upset — to see the underdog win. It is what makes team sports like football and hockey exciting. If the team that is expected to win, always wins it gets boring — like seeing the Patriots in the Super Bowl every year — I got nothing against the Patriots, but I’m sorry, it’s just getting kinda old.
In today’s reading we find what I would call one of the greatest upsets in history! This is quite possibly my favorite bible story of all time. Young David, armed only with a sling and a huge amount of faith in the God of Israel, going to face the giant Goliath, with all his weapons, armor and battle experience. The odds seemed to be hugely in favor of Goliath…what could go wrong? Apparently Goliath had never faced anyone who could sling rocks before so it caught him by surprise, and when it finally sank into his head – the rock that is – literally, it was too late for Goliath.
It the underdog winning against unbelievable odds that makes us feel good about the story, however, there is a theme layered into the dialogue between David and Goliath that brings out what God is doing in the story. It’s not just about a big strong bad guy who gets done in by a smart little good guy. It’s about the glory of God being brought to the foreground by the faith of this little good guy, in contrast to not just the pagan disregard for God of the Philistines, but more importantly the spineless faith of Saul and his army.
David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”
Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth.” (v. 32-33)
Saul should have been the one (head and shoulders taller than all the rest) who strapped on his armor and waded out to meet Goliath with an inspiring message of faith in an almighty God who would do the fighting for him.
The biggest contrast in this story is not between David and Goliath (though the contrast there is huge) no, the biggest contrast is the difference between David and Saul. David allowed his faith to overpower his fear, while Saul allowed his fear to stifle his faith. The contrast in spiritual character between these two men is striking, and it is one of the main reasons God chose to transfer the kingdom from Saul to David.