David and Goliath

Can you picture it? On one side of the valley is the army of the Philistines. On the other, the army of Israel. 3,000 years ago Goliath the giant stood in the middle of a similar valley mocking Israel and Israel’s God. On a fateful morning, shepherd boy David arrived and witnessed the terrifying blasphemy.

We often apply this story with David as our model and Goliath as representative of our giants and obstacles. In this interpretive scenario, any difficulty becomes our Goliath and David’s faith and courage become our template for overcoming.

I believe this interpretation is individualistic and shortsighted. David stood before Goliath because the Philistine army was seeking to take away Israel’s land. God had given Israel the land. Israel was standing on the promises of God. David’s victory over Goliath is a template, but not primarily of personal triumph. It is a picture of deliverance.

God used David to deliver Israel from Goliath and the Philistines. God honored David’s faith and established David’s fame that would eventually lead David to Israel’s throne. We’ll not dive into the story’s details here, but you should reread 1 Samuel 17.

David is a model of faith, but his faith and his victory were designed to redeem and deliver. God wants your faith to grow. He wants you to overcome. He does not want you to experience defeat. Ultimately, we know this because David is representative of a Greater King and a Greater Deliverer who withstood the enemies (giants we could not overcome) of sin, death, and Satan on a cross outside of Jerusalem.

What God does desire for you and for me is that our faith would grow so that he can use us to participate in his work of deliverance for others.

David developed his faith in four specific ways in and around 1 Samuel 17. I’ve written them below as applications that will help us as we develop our faith in God.

  • We develop our faith in the alone times with God. David spent years in the wilderness caring for his father’s sheep. His alone time with the sheep provided David the opportunity to reflect on the glory and majesty of God (look at Ps. 2, 8, 19, 22, 23, and many others). If you want your faith to grow, you must make time to read God’s Word, reflect on his glory, worship him privately, and pray to him regularly.
  • We develop our faith by being faithful in the little things. Goliath provided a giant test to David’s faith. David was ready for that test because he was faithful in the little things in life. David took his role as a shepherd seriously. When he went to the camp that day, he was on an assignment from his father. Even on assignment, he left his sheep with a caretaker. David was responsible and faithful in the little things that few people noticed, but God noticed his heart (Acts 13:23). You can develop your faith by being faithful in whatever role God has given you: father, mother, child, caregiver, employee, boss, etc. If you will be faithful and full of integrity in the small things, God will prepare you to participate in his redemptive work in larger things.
  • We can develop our faith by looking to God’s faithfulness in the past. David’s faith in God in his previous battles against lion and bear developed his faith for the enemy of the present. One of the more helpful things we can do to develop our faith is to reflect on God’s deliverance in the past and the times we believed and God came through. The God who came through yesterday is the same God who will come through today and tomorrow. Too often we borrow fear and worry because we look at our situations. Instead, we need to look back at God who is and who is faithful. If we could trust him in the past, we can trust him in the present and the future.
  • We can develop our faith by relying on God and who God made us to be, not the resources of others. Saul offered his armor to David. This was a noble gesture. Actually, it was Saul’s responsibility to fight Goliath, but his fear and lack of faith in God kept him paralyzed in the camp. When David agreed to the battle, Saul sought to protect David by loaning his armor. David rejected it because he knew his strength rested not in outward vesture, or in military attire, or in skill and arms. His strength rested in God and what he had tested in the past—his sling and the stones. Our God is full of resources. Furthermore, he designed you perfectly. He gave you gifts and talents, and if you will trust him, he will strengthen you just like he did David.

Building our faith is vitally important for daily Christian living. Truthfully, we are more often like the fearful Israelite army than the courageous shepherd boy.

Get this. God wants to develop your faith because he invites you to participate in his work of deliverance.

  • Your faith in a trying situation might become the catalyst for an unbeliever to come to Christ.
  • Your faithfulness in the little things might be the testimony a child, grandchild, or friend needs to believe in God.
  • Your trust in God to be on mission (like going on a mission trip, sharing your faith, serving a local mission agency) might be the springboard a lost person needs to come to Christ.

God is interested in developing your faith for his redemptive purposes.