I can remember my basketball coach looking up and down our line of players during practice, and the longer he waited the more my heart would thump in my chest. This was when I was a junior in high school, and so many players on our team were dead even except for the top four. Our coach would scan our lined-up team back and fourth for the fifth starter. At every single practice he would hang his head, breathe a deep sigh, and say, “Chip, I guess.” That was my nickname on the basketball team. Depressing!
1 Samuel 16 – 27 is one of the most popular known and preached stories in all the Bible: David and Goliath. I’m afraid that is hardly ever taught correctly, though. I hear it mostly in terms of overcoming the giants in your life, finding courage within you, the little boy who could, and how to face your giants. This story is not about being a David. Instead, this story is all about how we’re weak and scared and how much we need Jesus.
The story continues with a horrible king over God’s people, so God chose His own king to have rule over His people rightly. God sends His prophet, Samuel, to Jesse’s house. Samuel scanned the line-up of brothers, but none of them were the chosen one of God until David was brought onto the scene. God told Samuel to anoint young David as the King of Israel. Samuel did, and the Spirit of God rushed upon David. We see a very similar but even greater event in the life of Jesus. At His baptism with John the Baptizer, the Spirit of God came down onto Jesus and the Father said for all to hear, “You are My Son in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3). Christ (Messiah) mean “Anointed One.” Jesus is the final King anointed by God to rule His people forever. We must understand anointing and filling of the Spirit in terms of Jesus. We are fully filled and anointed with the Holy Spirit at salvation because we are in Christ. What’s true of Him is true of us.
Shortly after being anointed as King of all Israel, David is led by the Spirit to Israel’s battle against God’s enemies – the Philistines (1 Sam 17). God is very descriptive in this story about the battle taking place and about the enemy. The enemy is described with great height, armor, weapons, etc. The danger of the enemy was clear to Israel. In an even greater way, God has made the description of our enemies purposes, plans, and weapons very clear. In fact, God tells us that we are perfectly aware of Satan’s schemes so we should not be outwitted by him (2 Cor 2:11). In several passages, God tells us that Satan’s three main temptations are the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. We know his schemes! We just have to watch for and resist them!
On the battle field, the challenge was made. The war was over serving. Whoever won would be made the servant of the other. That is so like real life today! If Jesus wins your heart, you will serve Him. If He doesn’t, you will be serving Satan. The Israelites were scared to death. They knew none of them could conquer the taunting warrior-god.
Think about it. David was anointed the King over God’s people, and immediately fought the worse enemies of God singlehanded. Likewise, when Jesus was baptized and anointed with the Holy Spirit, He was led by the Spirit straight into the wilderness to fight against the enemy of God – Satan. David ran up to the frontline to handle Goliath himself. He slung a stone, nailed him between the eyes which killed him, but David wasn’t done. He ran up to Goliath, pulled out Goliath’s own sword, and chopped the giant’s head off. He killed him with the dude’s own weapon! Likewise and better, Jesus overpowered the Evil One by resisting all of his skilled temptations (Matthew 4), and even ended up defeating him with his own weapons – taking on our sin and tasting death as our substitute. So here’s the big idea – don’t face your giants, don’t overcome your giants, and don’t personally kill your giants. It won’t work…unless it is through Jesus!