The saying ‘David vs Goliath’ has become a popular way of describing a situation or circumstance where an underdog, like David takes on a ‘giant’ like Goliath, and overcomes a situation by defeating the odds.
The story of David and Goliath takes place in the Valley of Elah in the Shephelah in Israel. The Shephelah consists of gorgeous low hills which make up valleys and ridges which connects the Coastal Plain (Tel Aviv) to the Judean mountain range (Jerusalem and Bethlehem) in Israel. This was such an important and strategic strip of land, in ancient times, and more recently during Israel’s war of independence in 1948. This strip of land has been used many times as a battle ground. It is a gateway from the coast to the mountain range: a gateway to Jerusalem. In biblical times armies from the coastal plain attempted to make their way through the Shephelah and come out at the highland area near Bethlehem to attack Israel’s ancient capital, Jerusalem. This is exactly what the Philistines tried to do in 1 Samuel 17.*It is important to note that at the time of David and Goliath, Jerusalem was not yet the capital of Israel, but still an important city none the less.
The Philistines were thought to have originated from Crete and were a sea people who lived in the coastal plain at the time. There was ongoing tension between Israel and the Philistines which you can read about in 1 Samuel 4-7.
King Saul heard that the Philistine army was planning an attack and he brought his army to the Valley of Elah to fend them off. We read in 1 Samuel 17 that the Israelite and Philistine armies were in a sort of deadlock – one camp was stationed on one ridge, the other on the other ridge.
So the Philistines sent one representative – Goliath. This was called ‘single combat’ and it was not uncommon as it was an effective way to fight. It meant you didn’t have to risk your whole army. Each army would put their ‘best foot forward’ to fight. The Philistines sent Goliath, described as a giant while Israel put forth David.
David was the youngest son in his family and he wasn’t even supposed to be at the battle ground at this time, he was only there to drop off food and check on the welfare of his brothers. Yet we read that on hearing Goliath’s challenge to a single combat he was compelled to step up to the plate.David was not the underdog and neither are we
Sometimes we can get the impression that David went into battle with ‘just a little slingshot’, when in reality slingshots are deadly weapons in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing.
An ancient slingshot was a leather pouch with two long cords attached to it. You would load a small heavy object such as a rock into the pouch and swing it around very fast. You would let go of one of the cords and the rock would be launched with great force and accuracy. Some experts says David’s slingshot would have been equivalent today to a 45mm handgun. This was a SERIOUSLY weapon.
In ancient times, when it came to the military, it was usually categorised into 3 groups:
According to history, it was the ‘slingers’ who defeated ‘infantry’ in ancient battles.
- Cavalry = Horse back and chariots (1 Sam. 8)
- Infantry = Armed foot soldiers like Goliath with sword, spear and shield. Their armour would usually weigh around 50-55kg (2 Sam. 10)
- Artillery = Archers and Slingers (1 Sam. 20)
When it came to this battle between David and Goliath there were certain expectations.
Goliath was infantry and therefore he would have been expecting an infantry vs infantry battle. Saul probably had that expectation too as he tried to give David his armour. The problem was, David wasn’t infantry. David was artillery. David couldn’t fight in a battle as something or someone he wasn’t.The reality of the battle between David and Goliath was that Goliath never stood a chance.
In the natural we see a young seemingly inexperienced boy with no armour and we can think ‘he doesn’t have a chance’. Yet having no amour was a benefit, there was nothing slowing him down. Goliath would have most likely been a great warrior and probably would have won if they were fighting evenly. But this was not an even fight!
Infantry was good fighting up close, but not from far away, there is not much a sword can do from a distance. David on the other hand would have slung with accuracy. It would literally have been like taking a gun to a knife fight.
David fought his battle differently. When going into battle we too should also fight differently.
As Christians we are called to live differently, love differently, lead differently and we are called to fight differently! We don’t fight the natural with the natural. We fight the natural with the supernatural.
When we are faced with giants: • Restoration over retaliation • Worship over worry • Praise over problems Read:
• Philippians 4:4-7
• 1 John 4:4
• Romans 8:11
No matter what situation or circumstance we face, we know that we do not fight the natural with the natural. With the Holy Spirit we fight with something much more powerful!David had faith that he would win because he stood on a promise from God
The story of David and Goliath doesn’t teach us that every giant we face we will win. In fact, some who try to live a heroic life like David without David’s call end up facing a lot of trouble. A biblical example of this is David’s nephew Asahel, who tried to be a hero and in doing so brought upon his own death (2 Sam. 2:18-23).
Nevertheless, we can ALWAYS learn personal lessons and principles from every biblical example.
We must remember that when David fought Goliath he did so because he knew he had received a specific promise from God about his destiny (1 Sam. 16:1, 13) and out of that KNEW God would defend him.Read:
• 1 Sam. 16:1, 13
• 1 Sam. 17:36
• Luke 16:10
When God promises something, God fulfils his promises, he is a faithful God. If God has promised YOU something, he WILL be faithful.
We want to encourage you, if you have a promise you believe God has given you, bring this back to the forefront of your mind when you are going into your next battle season. God is a faithful God. If there is anything we have learned from the life of David it is about how to live in those in ‘between seasons’ of the ‘now and not yet’ … keep on holding on! You may lose a battle or two, but know that the war is already won.Discussion Questions
1. Can you think of any real-life examples of a ‘David vs Goliath’ situation?
2. Have you experienced any ‘David vs Goliath’ situations?
- How did it make you feel?
- How did you overcome?
3. Why do you think David was so adamant that he wanted to fight Goliath?
- What was his motivation?
4. Can you think of other ways we are called to live and fight differently when faced with battles?
5. What are some of the promises of God?
6. What are the promises that you may have experience from God?
7. Where are you on the journey towards God fulfilling that promise?Prayer:
For the empowering touch of the Holy Spirit
For faith to continue to step out on the promises God has given you
- Jesus Christ has died and rose again, the war is already won!