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