1 Samuel 17:31-58
31 What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him. 32 David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” 33 Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.” 38 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. 41 Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. 42 He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. 43 He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!” 45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” 48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. 50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. 51 David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran. 52 Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines to the entrance of Gath[a] and to the gates of Ekron. Their dead were strewn along the Shaaraim road to Gath and Ekron. 53 When the Israelites returned from chasing the Philistines, they plundered their camp. 54 David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem; he put the Philistine’s weapons in his own tent. 55 As Saul watched David going out to meet the Philistine, he said to Abner, commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is that young man?” Abner replied, “As surely as you live, Your Majesty, I don’t know.” 56 The king said, “Find out whose son this young man is.” 57 As soon as David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with David still holding the Philistine’s head. 58 “Whose son are you, young man?” Saul asked him. David said, “I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem.”
I feel so sorry for David in this story. The youngest son of Jesse, the shepherd, who endures the humiliation and hatred of his eldest brother Eliab, in front of other soldiers. You can hear the question in David’s voice “what have I done, can’t I even ask a question?”
David “sees” Goliath with God’s eyes, with fresh eyes. He has not lost heart in the unending battle against the Philistines. He is uncircumcised (unclean) and he defies God Himself. David has been trained caring for His Father’s sheep. He has killed every lion and bear (enemy) in that role, he can easily kill this Philistine, an enemy of God. He sees the God who is with Him (whose he is), more than the circumstance. He never looks at what he is NOT. He is unafraid. He doesn’t put his faith in his lack of training, his lack of armour, his inexperience or his age.
His eyes are fixed on this enemy of God. His heart is fixed on how large His God is and that His God can do anything.
This unknown young man, to King Saul and Abner (commander of the army), is the rescuer of Israel.
He has a destiny ordained by God and it starts with David’s faithful care of his father’s sheep which brings him a revelation and experience of WHO God is for Him. This humble training ground holds his future.
Where are you at? Do you feel you are in a humble training ground? God has more for you and me. We need to be faithful with what He has asked us to do. We need to be willing to take care of the Father’s sheep (church). We need to defeat the enemies within us (fear, doubt, selfishness, bitterness, jealousy, etc..) and allow God to work on us. This passage assured me that for each one of us, He has a much bigger future for us all.
Father, help us to keep our eyes on you and become all you have intended for us to be. We are your “sheep”, your people. Help us to care and love for your people and in this journey teach us how to wrestle the “lions and bears” so that we are prepared for what you have for us in our future.
Written by Ps. Sue Botta