The story of David and Goliath is well known by many people, even non-church goers. Numerous lessons, story books and even movies have been produced about the courageous, young man who killed the Philistine Giant and would later become Israel’s greatest king. I have watched a few of the movies for entertainment purposes, but when I want to know just how this warrior became “a man after God’s own heart,” I go to the one true source, the Word of God. Recently, the Lord has revealed to me how David’s words and actions in a particular circumstance can be mirrored today by Christ- followers, of which I am one. I hope you will join me on this journey to become a woman or man after God’s own heart as you read what the Holy Spirit has shown me in his Word.
As a female living in the Western world several thousands of years after David lived and reigned, it’s difficult for me to put myself in his sandals. David was a shepherd as a young boy from the Judean town of Bethlehem. I’m a suburban girl, so I really have no idea how shepherds live, then or now. I did watch the entire series of McLeod’s Daughters about women who owned and worked a modern day sheep and cattle ranch in Australia, but I still have no real life experience with sheep. I had never even heard the baa of a sheep before I attended an event in which my husband’s young niece and nephew were showing sheep. Who knew there was such a thing! I wonder how David would have faired at a sheep show.
It was during those shepherd days that David learned to trust God and he was able to defeat the Philistine giant Goliath. After this victory David became a warrior, and for at least the next fifteen years he and his band of mighty men were roaming the countryside fighting battles. Again, I have never fought in physical combat, but I know without a doubt there is a spiritual war all around us. We as believers in Jesus Christ are commanded to put on the full armor of God so we will be prepared to stand our ground when the when the enemy approaches. So I guess this means I am a warrior. Our only offensive weapon is the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God, so reading, meditating and applying how God interacted with men and women in his Word (both Old and New Testament) is the best place to train for battle.
Here are a few necessary facts to set the stage for this one particular story of David and his relationship with the Lord. Like today, there were ongoing conflicts between Israel and its neighbors. The Philistines were one of the constant sources of hostility towards the Israelites. Israel’s King Saul failed to keep his fighting champion David close by due to his own insecurity and extreme jealousy of the young hero. Also, because Saul had made his intentions of killing David very clear, David eventually settled his six hundred fighting men and their families in the distant town of Ziklag. This was a town allotted to Israel’s tribe of Judah years before but was under Philistine control at this time. Shockingly, David even had the blessing of one of the Philistine’s leaders, King Achish of Gath. And guess who was from Gath? None other than the giant Goliath that David had slain!
At the beginning of Chapter 30 in the book of 1 Samuel, we find that David and his men joined King Achish and the other four Philistine kings’ armies to wage war against Israel, but the other rulers were totally opposed to David’s presence. They believed he would turn on them in battle. Even they knew the songs that the Israelite women sang about David and his victories, so King Achish sent him and his men back to Ziklag the next morning. It seems odd that David would switch allegiances and go to war against his own people. God does not spell out in his Word why David did this, but once he did, Israel’s King Saul quit looking for him.
Three days later the story turns tragic. When David and his men returned home they discovered the entire town had been raided by another long time enemy of Israel, the Amelikites. The city was burned and all the inhabitants had been kidnapped. David and his army were filled with enormous grief. Unfortunately, the men’s grief turned to anger against David and they talked of killing him. David was not only grieving; he was totally stressed out!
OK, let’s try to imagine how this might play out today. You have been on a long, tiresome business trip with your employees and you can’t wait to see your family when you get home. When your plane lands at the airport in the city nearest your small town, you discover there’s no phone service and all internet has been shut down as well. Somehow you all are able to catch a cab (can’t call Uber) for the thirty-minute ride home, while anxiety is creeping in. As you pass the “Welcome” sign to your town, all of you notice that something’s not right. The town is eerily silent and no one is moving about. Anxiety has now turned to fear. One by one you discover that your houses have been looted and your families have been kidnapped! Your first reaction would be to ask, “Where are my people and who did this?” But now this situation goes from bad to worse. Your employees are blaming you and are plotting to kill you! What do you do?
Let’s look at what David did in his horrible situation. He was in great distress like his men, but he found strength in the Lord, his God. David needed advice, but he didn’t turn to another person, but to the only one who knew how to defeat his enemy. He inquired of the Lord, asking if he should go after the enemy and would he be successful in overtaking them. The Lord answered yes for both questions.
So here’s a lesson in the form of a question for all of us. When the enemy is attacking, do we rely on the counsel of men or do we go directly to the Lord? Let that sink in.
Just as the Amalekites were Israel’s enemy, we too have a God-defying enemy. His name is Satan. Jesus said Satan is a murderer and the father of lies who comes only to steal, kill and destroy. He wants to kill your dreams, steal your joy and destroy all that God has given you. He may not physically kidnap your family or burn your house, but never think that he doesn’t have some plan to destroy you, especially if you are a Christ follower. Many of us pray about a situation, but still go to people for their advice. Godly counsel is not wrong, but make sure we aren’t bypassing God and his Word first, giving him time to speak directly to your spirit about his plans. Believe me, many times I, too wish God would just audibly speak when I am in dire need of help, but He has chosen to speak through his Word and Spirit.
Take time to meditate on that question. Ask God to show you where you are doing life on your own and to remind you that He wants you to seek Him first in every area of your life.
There’s more to learn from David, the warrior. Who says the Bible is boring?!