The idea for this post is a result of a sermon preached at DTS by one of the professors.
The setting of the battle narrative is Goliath as a representative of the Philistines on one side of the mountain and Israel on the other side of the mountain. Goliath continuously heaped insults against the army of Israel. He continuously defied the ranks of Israel. For fourty days, he taunted the armies of Israel. All of Israel was afraid and dismayed because of Goliath. No one dared to step up and battle Goliath as a representative for Israel. Who would dare to setup and fight Goliath? He was 9 feet and 9 inches. His physical stature alone would scare anyone off.
The author does something that is very atypical in a battle narrative. He gives a very detailed account of Goliath’s armor and weaponry. This passage is the longest description of military attire in the Old Testament. These things are unusually omitted in battle narratives. Goliath had five pieces of equipment: a bronze helmet, scale-armor which weighed 120lbs, bronze greaves, a bronze javelin, and a spear. And if that wasn’t enough he had a shield bearer going before him. No one wanted to challenge Goliath to a one on one combat until David appeared on the scene.
When David appeared on the scene in verse 26, David opened his mouth in the book of 1 Samuel to speak for the first time. I’m sure he spoke before this, but the author is trying to do something by recording this particular speech as his first speech in this midst of this battle narrative.
Where as everyone was concerned about the battle situation, they were dismayed and greatly afraid. David, when he opened his mouth to speak, was concerned about God’s glory. David says, “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the army of the living God” (v. 26). He was not concerned about Goliath, he was not concerned about the situation before him. He was concerned about God’s glory.
David in accepting the challenge to fight against Goliath was defending God’s glory because God was fighting for him. David declares, “For the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into my hands”, speaking of Goliath.
It is with this understanding that the author puts in the little description of Saul putting a bronze helmet and armor on David, and equipping him with a sword (verse 38). For Saul, in order to achieve victory in the battle he has to match equipment with equipment. Goliath has a bronze helmet so David must have a bronze helmet. Goliath has armor so David must have an armor. Goliath has a javelin (curved sword) so David must have a sword. For Saul victory is in what man can bring into battle. It is trusting in one’s own strength, ability, and resources. It is man achieving victory apart from God. Saul’s ideology is the one who is most prepared and most equipped will win the battle. Sometimes, if not all the times that’s our ideology. Do you fall into and practice Saul’s ideology?
The author records for us that David could not go into battle with Saul’s equipment. Instead he went into battle with a sling and five smooth stones. Why five and not ten or twenty? Maybe what the author is trying to do is highlight for us Goliath’s five pieces of equipment to David’s five pieces.
Count them. Goliath has: bronze helmet, scale-armor, bronze greaves, javelin, and a spear. Count them. David has: five smooth stones. Goliath’s five pieces of equipment were man made and fashioned over time. David’s five pieces were divinely made and smoothed by the water over time. One commentator commenting on this says,”It is divine enablement over human devices.” When the Lord fights for us there is no need to try to secure victory by other means.
When David actually entered into battle he says, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands” (v. 45). David acknowledges and knows what he is up against. David would be too foolish to go up against the well-armed and well-equipped Goliath with just a sling and five smooth stones. David didn’t say, “I come to you today with a sling and five smooth stones.” Instead he says, “I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel.” David realizes his greatest military resource in battle is God. May I say that our greatest resource in the Christian life is the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel?
The theology of the Old Testament and the New Testament is always those who achieve victory are those who depend upon the Lord. Jeremiah 9:23-24 puts it this way, “Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.”
Zechariah 4:5 puts it this way, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts (Zec. 4:6). There is no such thing as victory in the Christian life except when the Lord fights for us.
David was concerned about God’s glory. Knowing that God fights for him, he fights for God. How do we remind ourselves that God fights for us so we should fight for him?
Pick an area in your Christian that you’re struggling with: For some it might be gossip. For others might be pornography or maybe lust. An unloving heart toward your brothers and sisters in Christ. We all struggle with something. Once you think of that one area, every time you’re about to sin in that area, remind yourself that God fights for you in that area so fight for God.
Here is a living example of God fighting for me so I will fight for Him/with Him: http://www.iamsecond.com/seconds/josh-hamilton/
in His grace,