With the biblical story of David and Goliath, we can learn five principles that will help us face the great challenges or “giants” that come our way in life.
These principles are:
- The importance of knowing God
- We must know the weapons we have
- we need to know ourselves
- We should not be intimidated by what we see or hear
- Our greatest desire should be that God be glorified
The biblical story of David and Goliath
We find the story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. The Philistines, fierce enemies of Israel, had challenged the Israelites to war. The two armies positioned themselves facing each other on opposing hills, with the Valley of Elah in between, and waited.
For 40 days Goliath, a Philistine giant with impressive armor, came out in the morning and in the afternoon to challenge the people of Israel with a rather burlesque tone:
What are they marshalling their ranks for battle? Am I not a Philistine? And are you not in the service of Saul? Why don’t they pick someone to take on me? If he is able to face me and kill me, we will serve you; but if I defeat him and kill him, you will be our slaves and serve us.
(1 Samuel 17:8b-9)
The entire army of Israel felt intimidated, from King Saul to the youngest soldier. The freedom of the people was at stake! The Bible says that “when Saul and all the Israelites heard what the Philistine said, they were dismayed and very afraid” (1 Samuel 17:11).
David was the youngest of eight brothers and his three older brothers were with the army of Israel. Since 40 days had passed, his father Isaí-who was very old-asked him to go to the battlefront to bring something to eat and to see how his brothers were doing.
David was a shepherd so he left another shepherd in charge of his sheep, went to the battlefront, and found himself in the situation. Each army on its mount, the valley in the center, and Goliath loudly defying the Israelites. He also heard that although Saul offered a good prize to the one who dared to fight, the number of volunteers was surprisingly small.
David was outraged. “Who does this heathen Philistine think he is, who dares to defy the army of the living God?” he asked. Some who heard him went to Saul and he sent for David. They talked for a while and David managed to convince Saul to allow him to face Goliath. Your reasoning for him? God had delivered him several times from wild animals and he trusted that God would deliver him from Goliath.
This is how David faced Goliath, beat him, and killed him armed only with a slingshot, his staff, his shepherd’s bag, and 5 smooth stones. But actually, those weren’t David’s only weapons!
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Let’s look at five basic principles that were decisive in this story.
David’s Basis for Success
1. David knew God:
David knew the great power of God because he had experienced it in his own life. Although he was very young, probably a teenager, he already knew without a doubt that God is faithful and that he helps his children at all times.
As a shepherd, David had seen large, ferocious animals attack his flock. God had helped him by giving him the strength and skills necessary to defeat them. That is why his faith in God was firm and he was completely sure that the Lord would help him on that occasion to defeat Goliath.
David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the Lord be with thee. 1 Samuel 17:37
Have you experienced the power of God in your life? Do you remember specific situations in which God helped you overcome a trial or solve a problem? Was your faith strengthened by that experience? Has your trust in God grown over the years?
2. David knew his weapons:
Saul offered David his battle dress and weapons, but David would not use them. He couldn’t even walk carrying all of that on him! He preferred to use the weapons he used daily to protect the sheep from him: his staff, his shepherd’s bag, his slingshot, and five smooth stones that he chose very carefully. He knew how to use them, what they were for, and how he could make the most of them to make them more effective.
David also knew what his most powerful weapon was: the name of the Lord Almighty! His trust was really in God, not in his own abilities as a shepherd. That was why he was so sure that he would achieve victory, even if logic and eyesight supported the contrary.
Do you know the armor that God has provided for his children? Read Ephesians 6:10-18 and allow God to examine you and show you how to use the weapons that he has given you so that you can overcome the moments of trial, temptation, or difficulty that come into your life.
Learn about the armor of God: it’s meaning and how to use it.
Study passages that talk about the power of God’s name such as those found in Proverbs 18:10, Acts 4:5-13, and Mark 16:17-18.
3. David knew himself:
David took care of his family’s flock, he knew how to use his strength and cunning to rescue the sheep. He knew her speed and his agility. He knew the perfect distance to attack effectively without risking too much. He knew the abilities God had given him and used them with confidence.
And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. 1 Samuel 17:34-36
Do you know the talents, gifts, and strengths that God has given you? Are you using all the potential that God has placed in you for His glory? God has created us for a purpose and expects us to do our best to bless and help the people around us.
4. David was not intimidated by what he saw:
Even Saul, who was the king of Israel and the tallest man among all the people (1 Samuel 9:2), was intimidated by Goliath’s size and armor. This one for his part took advantage of that fear and launched threats in a loud voice. But David was not intimidated by either the height or the shouting.
David focused on something the others missed: the part of Goliath that was unprotected. That small space on the giant’s forehead was left exposed. He focused his attention on hitting there, landing a good hit right there, and so he beat him!
Do you take advantage of the opportunities that God puts in your life? Do you focus on the doors that God opens for you or how difficult they seem? Do you fill your mind with the Word of God and go to the Father in prayer each day to receive the necessary encouragement? Or do you let yourself be carried away by defeatist thoughts and the belief that you will not be able to do things?
5. David had a purpose: that God be glorified
The glory would go to God, his name would be exalted. David was certain that he would succeed in defeating Goliath in the name of the Lord, but he did not seek to be recognized or admired for it. He knew that victory would only come through divine intervention. God would be glorified and everyone would see the great saving power of God delivering his children from evil.
The way God fights or the weapons he uses may seem illogical humanly speaking. However, his weapons are the most effective because they come full of power, with his blessing, and lead us to glorify his name.
Do you do everything for the glory of God or are you proud of your achievements? Do you talk about the things that God does in your life? Or do you prefer to talk about yourself, your intelligence, your strength, or your skills? Make a count of “inexplicable” things you have seen in your life: provision at the right time, protection from some evil, healing, or improvement of your health. Give glory to God. Thank the Father and tell others about his wonders.