The Victory of the Lord’s Annointed
1 Samuel 17:31-54
A few weeks ago we looked at the first half of 1 Samuel 17, which sets up the most famous fight of history, between David and Goliath. We saw that we are not to read this text as a morality tale, which primarily teaches us how to be like David. Rather, we are to read it through Christ-centered lenses, enabling us to see David as the Lord’s anointed who foreshadows the ultimate Anointed One, who defeats the final enemy on our behalf. As we read this story, we should not place ourselves in David’s shoes, but rather in the shoes of the Israelite soldiers, who go from cowering in defeat to emboldened by the victory of the Lord’s Anointed.
This Sunday, we will look more closely at the second half of this chapter which describes David’s victory in detail. In preparation, let me encourage you to read this chapter again in its entirety, giving attention to three themes behind David’s actions.
1) First, notice what has prepared David for this battle. His training has come through his practical experience as a shepherd (1 Sam. 17:34-36). David has learned to fight in order to protect his flock.
2) Second, notice what motivates David to fight. He is zealous for the glory of God! He is not fighting to prove himself, to “overcome his giants,” or to upstage King Saul. He is fighting because the glory of Yahweh’s name is on the line (1 Sam. 17:45-47). Oh, that we would live with this kind of passion for the glory of God!
3) Third, notice where David places his confidence. Even after describing his previous success in killing bears and lions, he reminds Saul that it was not his skill but God’s hand that had delivered him then, and will deliver him now (1 Sam. 17:37).
David’s preparation, motivation, and confidence all establish him as the Lord’s anointed. He will be the shepherd-King, who loves God’s glory more than his own life, and trusts in God’s power to win his battles. In all these things, David is an example to us. But his example also shows us that we have not lived this way. And, in fact, David himself did not always live this way. There will come a day when he will choose to stay home from battle and to manipulate those under his care, rather than protect them.
The story of David and Goliath is meant to establish David as the Lord’s anointed, but it’s also meant to point us to the Anointed One we truly need, Jesus the Son of David. In Christ we have a King who always acts to defend and care for His sheep, who is always motivated by the glory of His Father, and who carried out His mission in full dependence upon the Spirit. Because of the victory He won on our behalf, we can follow Him into battle with confidence that He will work in and through us to advance the Gospel in the world!