In the children’s department at Hoffmantown church, we are walking through the entire Bible in 1 year. This week, we are focusing on the story of David and Goliath. I do not know when the last time you read this story was. I am sure you are familiar with it from your childhood. I purposefully went back and studied I Samuel 17, verse by verse in order to familiarize myself with the specifics of the text and not just the overall story. I would like to examine the two main characters of this story. Goliath is the first of the main characters mentioned in the text. Following him is the young man David. As we examine these two main characters, we will also discover much about God and His attributes.
The name “Goliath” means “splendor” or “magnificent”. He is the best of what man has to offer. He is proud and in his pride, he opposes God. We know from James that, God also opposes the proud. The root of Goliath’s name means “deported, carried away, captive, removed”. Ironically, this is what happens to proud people when they try to stand toe to toe with God. They will be broken and they will fall, sooner or later. Goliath had a few reasons to be proud. First of all, everyone else around him only came up to his shoulders. He was a very tall and well built man. He had been trained to fight from his childhood. He was confident in his abilities, both natural and trained. The tallest human in recently recorded history is 8 feet and 11 inches. The text in I Samuel relates to us that Goliath was about 9 feet and 6 inches tall. The average height of men during those days was about 5 feet and 4 inches. David was still growing. Some speculate that he may have been about 5 feet and 2 inches tall during this encounter. That would make Goliath almost twice as tall as David. Not only was Goliath tall, he was also very strong. His scale like armor weighed at least 78 pounds and some claim that it could have weighed 157 pounds. That is just the body armor. Goliath’s spear weighed at least 15 pounds and could have weighed as much as 30 pounds. Goliath was very proud, to the point of extreme arrogance. He taunted the entire army of Israel on a daily basis. He was so brazen that he spoke out against the living God. Goliath had such a lofty opinion of himself that he looked down on others, especially David. This is what pride does to a person. It changes that person into someone who is irritating to be around. He looks down on everyone else so that he can make himself feel more important. He does not care about others. Goliath provokes Israel, David, and ultimately, God. Are you a proud person? Do you look down on others? Do you provoke others with your words and actions? Do you see yourself as being better than you really are? If this is who you are, you get really nasty and do a lot of harm to others. Worst of all, you set yourself up to be opposed by the living God. He will “remove” you and show you just who you really are and who He really is, if you continue to walk proud. Goliath trusted in himself. He trusted in his idols, which really only fed his fleshly desire to be even more proud. He found out just who he really was and who God really is, but, when he did, it was too late for him to change. Are you going to wait until it is too late?
David was going to be the king of Israel, but, that was all in the future. He came from humble beginnings and, as a result, he was a humble man. We later discover that he had some situations in his life that he could have bragged about and maybe even become prideful. He killed a lion and a bear with his bare hands. Yet, he only reveals that information when necessary. David trusts in the Lord and he learned to do that from his childhood, as his father taught him. Even when sharing the story about killing the lion and bear with his bare hands, he reveals that the secret to his success was the fact that the Lord protected him. He trusted the Lord. David was faithful and obedient in the little things. When David had a job to do, he did it. He obeyed his father. He did not run away from his responsibilities. David was a servant. He took food to his brothers and was taught by his father to respect leadership and show that respect in action. David did not go to Israel’s camp empty handed. He took food to his brothers and also to the commanders of the army whom were responsible for leading his brothers and protecting all of Israel. Jesse, David’s father, taught David to be grateful to those who protect and serve. David received instructions from his father Jesse and he arose early in the morning to carry out his duties. As a teenager, are you quick to obey your parents’ instructions? Are you grateful to those who protect and serve? Do you honor the people in leadership roles over you? Are you faithful in the little things? Do you show your appreciation to others?
David was angered when he heard Goliath mock the living God and he wanted someone to stand up and take action. Since no one was brave or bold enough to take action, he trusted the Lord to protect him as he stood up for the Name of the Lord. David was misunderstood by his brothers and they ridiculed him. He did not let that bother him nor stop him from standing up for the Lord. Are you ready to stand up for the Lord when no one else will? Are you ready to be ridiculed by others for standing up for the Lord? David knew that God is the Lord of Hosts, Jehovah-Sabaoth. David had reasons to fear Goliath but, because he knew his God, he was able to do as Daniel 11:32 teaches:
David took action. He knew what to do and when to do it because he knew his God. David was victorious because he trusted the Lord. David did what he did for the Name of the Lord and not for his own glory. The name “David” means “loved” or “beloved”. David acted out of love. God loved him and worked in and through him. Goliath trusted in himself and did what he did out of pride. David was victorious and the Name of the Lord was proclaimed. Goliath was the loser because he tried to proclaim his own name. Are you living to make a name for yourself or, are you living to proclaim the Name of the Lord? One guarantees victory while the other guarantees defeat. The choice is yours. Which one will you make?
May the Lord help us learn from Goliath’s mistakes and mimic David’s attitude and actions!