1 Samuel 17:34-37: But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
David V. Goliath. A classic story that is woven into the fabric of our culture. So much so that even in sports pregame shows, comparing two teams as David Vs. Goliath is fairly common. It is a great story, though recently I’ve rethought whether we should be telling it to children. As I recap the details think about whether you would really tell this story to your 5-year-old: David was a young shepherd. Goliath was a giant, who said mean things to Israel’s army. David decided to fight Goliath. Goliath had big powerful muscles with which he carried big powerful weapons and armor. David being a shepherd had no armor and his only weapon was a sling. As he approached Goliath, he took out his sling and Goliath made fun of him. The stone that left the sling went straight to Goliath’s head; striking and killing him. David approached Goliath and took his sword from his belt and cut his head off. Hmm, good story for 5 year olds? Nevertheless, we tell them the story… I digress from my point.
David, being the underdog was seriously questioned about his ability to take on a giant. Was it wrong to question him? I don’t think so. I probably would have been right there screaming for someone else to step up, especially considering what was on the line. If the David wins, it is a win for Israel (obviously) and the Philistines have to serve the Israelites. If Goliath wins, the Israelites are then subject to servitude to the Philistines. A lot was riding on this.
David, ever confident step us to the plate and says, “I got this. I am a shepherd, what is the #1 job of a shepherd? To protect the sheep. There was this one time that a bear came and took one of my sheep away. I chased it down, punched it, and took the sheep back. Another time, a lion tried the same thing. I grabbed its hair, and punched it too, and got that sheep back as well. After killing a lion and bear, this giant is nothing.”
David knew an important truth: If you want to defeat giants in public, you have to defeat a some wildlife in private. As Christians, all too often we are overconfident in our abilities, when we are underqualified. We see “great” ministers with big ministries fall, because they did not fight battles in private before taking on giants in public. I would almost guarantee that is the case every time you see a “moral failure” in ministry. Now, to bring balance, that is not to say that if battles are won in private, it is a guarantee to defeat giants in public. There is no guarantee against moral failure or a fall from grace.
I want to backtrack for a quick moment. In our own abilities, there is no amount of confidence or strength or anything else that makes us good enough to fight any battles. Just as David’s confidence was in God, so must our be for any battle that we are to fight. Our strength, confidence and whatever else must come from God.