Don’t face your giants like David

You all know the story. Little ol’ Shepherd boy David is delivering some cheese and bread (awesome brother!) to his brothers on the battle field while Israel is at a stand still against the Philippine Army. 

Why the stand still? 

Glad you asked.

Because the Philistines have a proud, taunting, and huge(9′ 6″!) soldier double dog daring the Israelites to come out and fight him!!

David sees the situation, gathers a few stones for his sling shot, and grouds his assurance of victory to King Saul in that the LORD fights for him.

We know what happens next. David slings away and sinks a rock right into the giants head. He then take Goliath’s sword and cuts his head off. You can almost hear the mass amount of ‘gulps’ in Philistine throats.

Israel advances and secures a great victory that day. So what does this story mean today? Is it more than a story? In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians he says that everything written in the Old Testament was for our benefit so that we didn’t make the same mistakes they did.

So, what’s the lesson here? The story is commonly interpreted as an encouragement to not be scared of the “giants” in our lives. Rather we should face them, trusting God to grant us the victory.

Is that how you’ve heard it? I have.

But the more you look at the biblical narrative as a whole you see a disconnect. You see very faithful people of God not getting the victory all the time (Job, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, Paul etc.). You see very sinful people of God still being used for God’s purposes and experiencing His blessings (Abraham, Rehab, David, Solomon, the 12 disciples).

So what is a more accurate way to interpret this story? Well, Christologically or Gospel centered.

You see, we shouldn’t look to David for what to do. We mistakenly put ourselves as the hero. That’s where we go wrong. You see, Jesus is the hero. We are the frightened Israelites. We are the ones who share in the benefits of another’s actions. Just as the Israelites shared in the victory because of David’s actions.

Jesus is the hero who beat our enemies of sin, satan, and death. Our confidence to kill sin, repent, turn away from evil and worship God comes only on the grounds of Jesus actions on our behalf. We are passive beneficiaries of Jesus’ victory on the cross. When Jesus said that the whole Bible spoke of Him, this is part of what He meant.

How amazing is the story of David and Goliath now?

Once I learned to look at the Old Testament this way, it shed a whole new light on all those popular stories. 

I hope and pray it does for you too. 

Let me know what you think! Or if there are other stories you now see with a more Christ centered view.

For a deeper understanding check out this book by Dr. Ed Clowney

The Unfolding Mystery
Soli Deo Gloria 

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How could God have Israel wipe out entire nations?!

This is quite possibly the hardest things to understand in the Bible. Some people may turn to the book of Joshua and read the stories of the Israelite conquest in Canaan to find some pretty ruthless campaigns. At first glance it seems unnecessary and over the top. Without CONTEXT, you can get a real different sense of the God of peace and mercy that is heralded.

The first and most important piece of context is from God Himself. In Genesis 15:16 He says, “And they (the Israelites) will come back (from Egypt) here (the land) in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” Paranthesis mine.

We see here that God sends His own people into slavery and oppression so that He doesn’t judge the Amorites prematurely. Doesn’t seem irrational or tyrannical, does it?

Next, in Deuteronomy we see Moses reiterating the Sinai laws and covenant to the Israelites before they cross over the Jordan river to take the land. Strikingly, in Deuteronomy 9:4 Moses tells them, “Do not say in your heart, after the LORD your God has thrust them out before you, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me in to possess this land’, rather it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out before you”

Here we see that God is not arbitrarily ordering the murder of nations. These nations have sinned against God generation after generation, more than 400 years, and at last God is judging them. His instrument of judgement is the nation of Israel who He promised to give the land after their conquest. 

The final point I’d like to make to show that God is not racist or an evil tyrant is from another passage in Deuteronomy. In Deuteronomy 20 Moses says, “When you draw near to a city to fight against it, offer terms of peace to it. And if it responds to you peaceably and it opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall do forced labor for you and shall serve you.”

Even here we see an extra length of mercy. If they didn’t want to fight with Israel, they lived; they were then made to work for them. 

Clearly, God did not arbitrarily order genocide. The biggest help in understanding is context. Read the first 6 books of the Bible straight through and it is much easier to understand. You wouldn’t pick up a novel, start reading halfway through, and put it down because in one chapter a character wasn’t “nice”. You’d read before and after to get the whole picture or read from beginning to end-like normal.

Hope that helps! I hope this helps you answer other people asking you these hard questions.

Soli Deo Gloria