How To Be a David in a Goliath Culture
There’s a lot we can learn today from the story of David and Goliath.
We’ve all heard the story before – at least, we assume everyone’s heard it – how a brave young shepherd boy defeated a daunting, Philistine giant, destroying his stronghold of power and delivering God’s people from his grasp. It’s recorded in 1 Samuel 17, in case you have the chance to read it. We suggest you do because it’s engaging!
The story opens with a godless nation (Philistines) staging a campaign to fight against God’s people (Israel). The goal was domination – or elimination, whichever came first.
Goliath, the strongest soldier in the Philistine army, represented the strength of their power. He was the bully used to submit their enemies. His stature was intimidating, and his threats even more so. The vitriol and disdain he hurled at Israel was enough to make a grown man cry. And it probably did, as the entire Israelite army fled the battlefield every day he taunted.
For 40 days this went on, day after day, while the Israelite soldiers did nothing but run and hide. Interestingly, God’s men were dressed for the fight, united for the fight and even hyped up about the fight, but they didn’t fight. And their leader – the king appointed to lead them in the fight – sat quietly in his tent, crown on head, armor on the ground, frozen in fear.
All that changed, though, the day David arrived on the scene. He was the same young shepherd boy that Samuel the Priest had anointed king of Israel just months before, yet his time to rule had not yet come. In the meantime, he faithfully tended his father’s sheep and brought food to the battle line for his brothers.
While David dished out spray cheese and Panera bread to his brothers, Goliath came out again, spewing, “Am I not the Philistine and you servants of Saul?” What he was really saying was, “Am I not a warrior beast and you the servants of Saul, your weak and cowardly king?”
Goliath continued, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.” Little did he know that David – a man of a different spirit – was in the crowd that day. As Goliath shouted, the scripture literally says, “and David heard him.” It’s as if God was saying, “The men in God’s army heard Goliath for 40 days and did nothing, yet when David heard him everything changed.”
He was ready to stand and fight. This peaked King Saul’s interest, so he summoned David to his tent. After hearing David was ready to “jump in the octagon,” Saul offered him his weapons for battle. (OK, hold up for a minute: Saul was appointed and anointed to lead God’s people in battle, but not only did he stay out of the fight, he offered his weapons to a teenage boy to fight for him!)
Yet David stuck with what he knew best. He only needed a stick and a sling, which were the tools he used to fight off lions and bears while faithfully tending his father’s sheep when no one else was watching.
And poor Goliath – he had no idea what was coming. He showed up to a gunfight with a javelin. Even worse, Goliath had no chance in this spiritual struggle because David knew the “battle was the Lord’s.” As the story goes, David busted a cap in Goliath’s forehead – and the once capitulating Israelite army hiding in caves became courageous warriors rushing into battle.
So how’s this apply today?
Goliath represents ungodly agendas/ideas that seek dominion in culture. He’s a bully that demands servitude of all people, as he taunts, ridicules and persecutes anyone who dares stand against him. His chief aim is to eliminate Christian influence – to get rid of those who shine the light of truth, which is the only weapon strong enough to defeat him.
The army of Israel represents the church. We gather on Sundays, unite for meetings and conferences and even get hyped up in worship – but for the most part, we have no intentions of fighting Goliath. He’s just too scary, and we don’t fully trust that the “battle is the Lord’s.” Quite often, we think it’s just “politics.”
Saul represents pastors – yet not all of them because of the faithful that are engaged in the battle. He represents the ones with the crown of culture – those with influence, a platform and a stage. For the most part, they sit quietly in their tents (church buildings) with all the weapons and leadership necessary to lead the army of God against the spiritual “Goliath” of our day. Yet they continue to sit by – crown on head, armor on the ground, frozen in fear (the fear of man and a man-pleasing spirit).
David represents faithful, spirit-filled, biblical Christians – those who hear the taunts of Goliath, recognize the battle is the Lord’s, and are ready to contend earnestly for the faith. They understand the battle is “not between flesh and blood,” and they are willing to embrace all individuals while resisting ungodly ideas (Goliath’s) that enslave them.
As we travel the country, we see this story playing itself out. We continue to hear “Goliath’s” threats in the form of ideas, agendas and ordinances that are brazenly set against the knowledge of God. And we watch as many “King Sauls” refuse to stand up and fight. Yet we’re also witnessing movement from thousands of “Davids” across this nation who aren’t running from the battle, but toward it.
Today’s sexual revolution is a Goliath in our culture – one that is transforming the moral structure and meaning of life for all Americans. King Saul doesn’t have what it takes to defeat him – only spirit-filled, truth-and-love, David-like Christians have the authority from God to fight and win. So pick up your spiritual sling, put the stones of God’s truth in your pouch, and run toward Goliath. And always remember: The battle is the Lord’s!
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