Almost everyone in America has heard of the story of David and Goliath. Now, if you are like me, you have grown up hearing this story of a brave boy facing a giant with faith and overcoming where all the grown men could not centered on yourself. What is Goliath in your life? How can you be brave like David (so that you can make God give you the victory you want like David over Goliath)? These stories are full of legalism and rules. Do this. Pray like this. Act like this. Don’t be like Saul.
To a point, there is a little bit of value in that, because David was a man after God’s own heart and there are worse heroes that you could have in this world of sinners than a faithful and penitent one.
But what if the story isn’t about you? What if the story is, in fact, about Jesus Christ and what he has done for us? Jesus said that the scriptures testified about him (John 5:39). It is amazing to me looking back on my childhood that I spent thirty years hearing human-centered, me-centered, works-centered teaching about David and Goliath before I ever heard of this story as type and shadow of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
As a quick disclaimer, I am not saying that the events related are untrue or fictionalized. But what if God did not cause these true events to be recorded to show you how to be a brave little engine who could? What if he caused them to be recorded to point to the salvation and victory that we all have in Jesus?
It that is true, then Goliath, that immense giant warrior is not a sign of our fears. Goliath is the enemy that we could not dare to face, that we had no hope in defeating. We aren’t the brave little shepherd boy, we are the army of Israel, hiding in our tents while Satan, the guilt of our sins, and the brokenness of the world roar and challenge us to battle outside. Tall, handsome, strong, and popular, King Saul probably looked more like a WWE superstar than the greasy weasel we see in cartoons and movies about this tale, but all of the human bad-assery in the world wasn’t enough to overcome a 3:1 weight disadvantage, and the muscle that came with it. No one in the army, not even Jonathan who later won a fight at 10:1 odds, could hope to stand against Goliath.
In the same way we are worse than hopeless against Satan and our own sins. We aren’t just powerless against them, we are dead in them: face down, flat-lined, dead.
Then David, the prophet, priest, and king, is not our bravery or the courage of faith, but he is a sign of Jesus who would come and fight in our place when we could not. He defeats sin, death, and the devil when we could not, and just as David’s victory became the victory of all Israel to the glory of God, so Jesus’ death in our place and victory over death itself gives us forgiveness of sins and eternal life in him.
I don’t know about you, but learning that the story is about Christ and not an example of holy works that I will never match lifts a big burden off of my back and gives me yet another reminder to thank and praise God for all that he has done for us in Jesus Christ.
Bible passage: 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 (ESV)
I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.