“And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath of Gath” 1 Samuel 17:4 KJV
“Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath…” 1Samuel 17:4 NASB
As Sunday school scholars, few stories excited the imagination, especially of boys, as did the story of David and Goliath. So noteworthy is the incident that the phrase, “David and Goliath” has found its way into the everyday speech of politicians and pundits. The imagery of the underdog, the overwhelming odds almost guaranteeing defeat, and the unexpected victory have all crammed themselves into that expression.
But the incident from the life of David has far deeper meaning and value to us. In its literal setting, it was part of God’s master plan for bringing David to the throne. It began earlier with the recommendation that this master musician come to the palace to serenade the troubled king, Saul. But the victory in the valley of Elah took him permanently from the sheep-folds to the army and to the center of political life in Israel.
God’s timing and technique are flawless and wondrous to behold. There are valuable lessons for us even in this as to God’s ability to bring us to His purpose for our lives.
On another level, we cannot help but see another drama being played out before our eyes. Goliath is the enemy’s “champion.” He challenges Israel to provide a man: “give me a man that we may fight” (1 Sam 17:10). The flesh in Saul, even though head and shoulders above everyone else in Israel, could not match up to the giant who towered above even him. The entire army was dismayed and afraid (v 11).
The champion of the enemy strode into the valley demanding Israel supply their champion for the battle. The terms were simple: the conquest of one man would determine the outcome for all.
Israel did not have to fight; their champion would fight for them. They did not have to face the giant. Their champion would descend into the valley for them. One man’s victory would be victory for all; and one man’s defeat would mean the utter defeat of all.
The rest, as the expression goes, is history. David descended into the valley and emerged the victor. One man’s act brought deliverance to all. Romans 5:12-19 elaborates on this grace-inspired truth. One Man, our Lord Jesus Christ, went into death. It was His “one righteous act” by which many were constituted righteous. It was by the “obedience of one” that we have been made righteous. He went down into the valley to face the foe. In so doing, He rendered him powerless, and gained an eternal victory.
Israel watched as their champion carried the field of battle. Viewing the victory by the champion, they descended to enjoy the spoil (vv 52, 53). Likewise, we are “more than conquerors” in the sense that we are victors without fighting; we are enjoying the spoils without the struggle. He represented us at the cross and won the victory for us.
Is there a contrast between David’s victory and the praise he received from the women (ch 18:7), and the song which men sang about the Lord Jesus? A contrast between the esteem which it brought to David and what it meant for the Lord Jesus?