Let’s look a little more closely at the differences between David, the Israelites, and Goliath.
As we read the story in 1 Samuel 17, two truths stand out right away: 1) Goliath is huge, 2) the Israelites, including King Saul, are terrified. Goliath was almost ten feet tall and he had the best armor the Philistines could attain: a large standing shield, a coat of mail weighing about 125 pounds, and a spear with a head made from iron weighing about 15 pounds. Not only is this guy huge, his armor and weaponry are some of the best. No one in Israel’s mighty army dared to walk up to this giant—despite his taunts.
And what of Goliath’s taunts? He said things like, “Am I a dog that you come at me with a stick?” He also curses David by his gods, “I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!” King Saul and the army of Israel feared death at the hand of this Philistine.
What of the shepherd boy? Although we read David had previously killed lions and bears, he does not put his confidence in his own ability. Remember, this is not yet “King David” who is a mighty warrior. This is little-brother-bringing-food David. Amazingly, David seems to be the only one not concerned about this detail. Saul, Goliath, and even his own brothers all point out the fact David is young and not apt for war.
As we are in a series on perspective, let’s look at David’s perspective here. What can we learn from David? David’s mind is not fixed on fear, but rather it is fixed on God:
“I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God!” – 1 Samuel 17:36
“I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! – 1 Samuel 17:45-46
And so he does. The significance of this for Israel and the history of the world is huge. Of course, David eventually becomes King and Jesus, the Messiah, comes from his lineage.
But why wasn’t David afraid? Even though this literal giant stood in front of him, his eyes were fixed on the faithful, Sovereign God. Israel’s army was focused on the giant. The giant was focused on himself. David was focused on God. At the core of fear is unbelief (see Matthew 6). Perhaps something in your life is tempting you to fear. As your brother, who loves you, might I ask if you are trusting in your own strength during this time? I hope we can together fix our eyes on God and join David in saying, “I love you, LORD, you are my strength” (Psalm 18:1).