The Real Story of David & Goliath

This Sunday I am speaking on one of my favorite Bible stories: David & Goliath. You do not have to be a "church person" to have heard this ultimate underdog story of a shepherd boy who defeats with a sling and a few stones a war-trained giant who wears weights for a jacket.

I love a good underdog story. Some of my favorite movies are about underdogs: Rudy, Rocky, Remember the Titans, The Karate Kid, Hoosiers, Braveheart ... you get the idea. We love movies that involve some person or team overcoming tremendous odds to win an unimaginable victory.

We love the story of David and Goliath because we appreciate stories of courage and heroism. I believe there is a part of us that wants to stand against the odds with valiant audacity and win the battle. In short, we want to be David.

I believe this is one of the primary reasons that most of the sermons you hear about this biblical account center on encouraging us to stand bravely like David and face life's "giants" - which usually come in the form of financial stress, an addiction, a bad relationship, stress, anger, or any other "difficulty" that we face in life.  Most of these well-intended messages provide us some type of moral example application on how we should muster courage, trust God, and use our weapons to defeat those pesky giants life sends our way.

But what happens when the giants win? What happens when the relationship ends or the addiction comes back or the financial security never comes? What happens when all the courage you can muster is not quite enough and you retreat to the corner afraid to face your giants?

I believe to read the story of David & Goliath strictly as a moral example to follow misses the Bible's bigger redemptive storyline. While David does serve in some regard as an example, more importantly David stands as a mere shadow of the One who would come to conquer life's eternal giants.

In the story, David is kind of a champion-redeemer in the sense God raised up this unlikely deliverer who would stand in the place of cowering Israel and win a battle that guaranteed victory for the entire nation.  His victory provides escape for God's people.  See what's going on here?

The story of David & Goliath fits within the broader framework of God's redemptive story. It demonstrates how God works.  David is a picture of how God would one day provide a Champion-Redeemer who would conquer the enemies of sin, death, and hell.

Our ultimate enemy is not our circumstances or finances or troubles or whatever "giants" you are facing. Our greatest struggle is against the law of God that demands our perfection, our sin that causes us to fall short of God's standard, and death - the consequence of our sin.

And it is in the gospel that God provides an unlikely Savior to deliver His people from these eternal enemies, to win the victory on our behalf. 

As others have pointed out, we are less like David facing the giant Goliath and more like the Israelites cowering in fear while our Champion-Redeemer stands in our place and wins the battle over sin, death, and hell for us through his own sacrifice. He wins our fight and we reap the benefits.

Here's the good news: ultimately it is not on you to muster up the courage to face and overcome your giants. That battle has already been fought and won by Jesus.

In other words, we do not fight FOR victory. We fight FROM victory. Huge difference.

What happens when the giants win? What happens when my courage fails? What gives me hope when I am unable to win the battle?

What gives me hope and courage is knowing that Jesus has already won the battle. Victory is mine through Jesus.  As David says in the story, "The battle is the Lord's." 

What that means in my every day life is I live in what He has done for me. I can face whatever difficulty life throws my way because I am His. He has won the victory on my behalf.  I rest in and live in the power of His victory.  I don't have to be Rudy. I don't have to be Rocky. I don't have to be David.  I just have to be me - a sinner who has been pursued and purchased by a Champion-Redeemer who stands in my place. I live in His triumph.

Jesus is greater than David. So the next time you read the story of David & Goliath, remember this story is more than another underdog tale.  It is a shadow of a bigger story where the ultimate victory was won by a Champion-Redeemer whose victory gives me the hope and courage to face life's difficulties.

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