If you were to rank the most familiar Bible stories, surely David & Goliath would rank near the top. Even in the broader culture people will speak of a “Goliath” to refer to a seemingly insurmountable obstacle or enemy. The theme of the little guy overcoming great challenges is a favorite among writers of fiction and filmmakers. These stories will often be referred to as “David & Goliath” tales. Then there are all the Christian books with titles like Overcoming Giants, Goliath Must Fall, Giant Killers, No More Fearing the Giant, When Giants Fall, Overcoming Your Giants, etc.
But there is a problem with how we handle overfamiliar passages in the Bible. We often assume we already understand their meaning without carefully examining them. In the case of 1 Samuel 17, we might assume that this is a story meant to teach us how to overcome our personal giants. But this interpretation misses the main point of the passage. David’s victory over Goliath is not a morality tale. Rather, it is meant to establish him as the anointed one.
The point isn’t that anyone could have defeated Goliath if they had just had the faith and courage of David. The point is that no one could have defeated Goliath, except the one who was anointed by the Spirit of God.
With that being the case, we need to ask who David represents when we try to apply this to our own lives. Does he represent you and me as we face our personal giants? Or does he represent Christ, the Anointed One, who defeated the enemy we could not defeat? We cannot apply this passage properly without understanding how David points us to Jesus.
Once we see that, we can then place ourselves in this story. We are like the Israelite soldiers who couldn’t face Goliath, but followed David into battle after he had secured the victory. Like David, Jesus has secured the victory through His life, death, and resurrection. He now beckons us to follow Him into battle as we engage in a mission that cannot fail.
Only through Christ-centered lenses can we interpret this passage accurately, and apply it properly. I look forward to going deep into it with you this coming Lord’s Day!