Anyone who is even remotely familiar with the Bible, or even any references to it (as it is the most referenced piece of literature in history), has undoubtedly heard the story of David and Goliath. I, therefore, do not plan to go into a great scope of explanation on it. For a refresher, or if you have never heard it (we weren’t all raised the same way), look up I Samuel 17. But this is more geared toward the Christian regardless.
The cliché application for this popular story is that we can always overcome our giants. With God’s help, we can slay any problem, obstacle, or temptation that comes into our path. While this is not an inaccurate application, and there are certainly multiple ones for any passage of the Bible (though only one interpretation), allow me to propose another, perhaps more accurate, application.
When David went to the battle on one of many fateful days in his life, he was simply delivering food to his older brothers and seeing if they were well. (They were, of course, because no one was fighting.) It was while making his delivery that David heard the words of Goliath and decided that he needed to be fought by some man, and that man should be him.
This problem that was Goliath did not seek out David. Yes, he was seeking a battle with some Israelite man, but he did not approach David. David approached him. This is the fallaciousness of the popularized application. Nowhere did David meet a giant in his path. Goliath was not David’s problem. He wasn’t even a soldier. He didn’t HAVE to fight him. In fact, everyone was saying he was as good as dead for trying.
So why DID David choose to fight Goliath?
The purpose for fighting comes immediately when David hears Goliath’s words. He says in verse 26 of I Samuel 17 that he was defying the armies of the living God. But while the stature of this problem sent every other soldier of God running in fear, David was courageous and decided to confront it.
Goliath was not David’s problem. He was a national problem. Goliath’s challenge was this, found in verses eight and nine: “Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us.” The result of this one-on-one battle would have lasting and major consequences for Israel. No one wanted to step up, one, for fear of their own life, and two, for fear of failing their entire nation.
But these problems never confront themselves. They will never solve themselves. It takes someone stepping up, taking a stand, and being willing to fight the battle.
David had no direct stake in this. What does he care about this battle? Let someone else fight it. But it did affect him- it affected everyone.
This is the same way it is with abortion in our nation, though it is hardly limited to that. This can be applied to any sin that permeates our society. We may be able to brush it off and say it doesn’t “directly affect us”. But sin affects a country as a whole. “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” (Gen. 4:7) God told Cain when his sacrifice was rejected that if he does not obey God, sin lied at the door. While he is supposed to rule over sin (“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” –Rom. 6:12), disobedience to God causes us to be ruled over by sin. Just as failure against this problem of Goliath would cause Israel to be ruled over by the Philistines.
When we look at David’s reasoning behind choosing to fight Goliath, it was not even the threat of losing his liberty. It was the profaning of God by Goliath. Sin- abortion, homosexuality or any other sexual sins, a sexualized society, you name it- profanes God. David fully knew this, he had a sensitivity to sin that few others did in the Bible. And he knew when he saw Goliath, the symbol for a national problem of sin, profaning God, something had to be done.
We can also see David’s confidence. He pointed out where God had taken him in the past and all that he had been brought through. As a shepherd, he’d faced multiple dangers, but had come through them. As he goes to fight Goliath, he tells him “this day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand” (v. 46). David’s confidence was not placed in his own abilities, but in God in whom he trusted and had placed his trust in.
Another thing we see is David’s preparation. He did not simply run out into the valley of Elah and say, “I got this!” I am not just talking about trusting in God, although that is crucial as well. David had prepared for this, unwittingly, for his entire life. He had been out alone in the fields, with only God as his company. He had no fear going into the valley alone. He had been fighting off wild animals for his sheep; he was more than willing to die for them, and would have been willing to die for his people, though he knew it was not God’s will. He knew how to use a sling from being a shepherd, his weapon of choice against Goliath (that and Goliath’s sword). And his love for God prevented him from walking away after hearing Goliath’s words. We must also be prepared to go into battle. We have to have our weapons ready, being versed in God’s Word and whatever apologetics and arguments are necessary to take on the enemy. We have to be alone with God; we have to be ready.
See David’s attitude toward the enemy. First, let me remind you that people are not the enemy. David killed Goliath, but Goliath is a picture for a national threat of sin. People are those we can attempt to win- not argue to death, but win to our side. Our enemy is sin, are the ideas behind it. This is where we must be relentless and ruthless. David calls Goliath an “uncircumcised Philistine” and tells him that he “will smite thee, and take thine head from thee.” We must be passionate against these things, and show no love for them. There is nothing good about them; let us not give them any credit.
Then we see David’s motivation. Again, it has nothing to do with him. Had he done it for the wealth or the king’s daughter, there is little doubt seeing how God had handled such situations in the past that David would have failed. Rather, in verse 46, David says he will slay Goliath “that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel”. This is not to say that certain national sins cannot be stood against by non-believers. There is a compelling case that can be made against gay marriage. On sex outside of marriage, research (and common sense) shows that abstinence in the only way to prevent STDs and pregnancy. Abortion, the most obvious, is an absolute wrong that is the killing of innocent humans; there are pro-life proponents who are atheists and supporters of other liberal social issues. But to the ultimate end, we are to operate to God’s glory, and not to elevate ourselves or to attempt to gain any fame for ourselves.
David did not have superior might or firepower, but he did have God on his side. He looked at a national problem, a national wrong, and saw that no one else was doing anything about it. There are national sins all about us. They have taken our country down to the level of men like the Philistines, who profane God. We must be willing to take notice of what is going on around us, and take action. Problems do not solve themselves.
It is not any easy task. Problems are big. They are entrenched, and have plenty of backup. We will probably even get opposition from our own people. But we can’t make excuses. We can’t say “it doesn’t affect us”, because that simply is not true. The outcome affects everyone. We have to step out and fight for what we know to be right. Forget what anyone else says or thinks. Forget the implied dangers. “I can do all things through Christ which strenghteneth me.” (Phil. 4:13) Or, as our own national currency states: “With God all things are Possible.”
Remember how David conducted himself: his faith, his boldness, his confidence in God. He jumped at the opportunity to fight for the benefit of his nation and against sin that spit in the face of God. As we look at things that have become commonplace in our society- abortion, hypersexualization, fill in the blank- we have to do the same. We have AN OBLIGATION to do the same.And remember, at the end of the battle, it was Goliath that was dead on the ground.