When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Sam 16:6-7).
All the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were much afraid. And the men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel. And the king will enrich the man who kills him with great riches and will give him his daughter and make his father’s house free in Israel.” And David said to the men who stood by him, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” And the people answered him in the same way, “So shall it be done to the man who kills him.” (1 Sam 17:24-27).
You’re all probably familiar with the story of David and Goliath. A very young man trusts in God and kills a hardened veteran warrior of gigantic stature in single combat. And we all know it’s an amazing story of faith.
But look at how David sees the situation. Because he’s not looking at it “as man sees” but as the Lord sees. In human understanding, David would look at Goliath and see a giant with weapons so heavy David probably can’t even use them properly, covered in armor, a veteran of many battles. But that’s not how David sees: he looks at the divine perspective.
David hears first the promise King Saul has made as the warriors of Israel talk about it. He hears that the king will give the victorious champion a large amount of wealth, will marry his daughter to the champion, and will give freedom to the champion’s whole family. That’s a lot to gain!
And then you see Paul do a kind of cost-benefit analysis: “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
Did you catch that? What is his analysis of his enemy?
First, Goliath is uncircumcised. Why is that such a big deal to David? Because every man of Israel bears the marks of circumcision. Circumcision was the physical seal of the covenant God made with their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They all bore the mark of the favor of God, something that they saw every day, that reminded them that God was with them.
Goliath doesn’t have that.
What’s more, Goliath is a Philistine. This just reinforces the non-favor of Goliath because the Philistines were, at the time, Israel’s closest rivals. They were mortal enemies. The Philistines worshiped Baal, Astarte, and Dagon, not Yahweh. They opposed God in their worship, and they opposed God by warring with God’s people, Israel.
Goliath defies the armies of the living God. He bears no mark of favor with God, he is from a people opposed to God: Goliath has absolutely no favor in this fight. That’s how David sees it.
Basically, David sees things this way:
First, what’s at stake: David has a chance to (a) get a whole lot of money, (b) get married and become tied with the king’s family by blood, and (c) gain more autonomy for his own family. Furthermore, and most importantly, he has the chance to defend the honor of his people and his God.
Now, David assesses the things in his favor: he bears on his body a mark that shows that God is on his side. Between that mark and his descent from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, he knows that the Almighty God has him in his favor. Goliath has none of this.
What does Goliath have over him? He’s big.
To David, this is a no-brainer. He seems genuinely surprised no one else sees it this way. He’s surrounded by people who all have the same advantages as he does, but they’re all afraid of the big guy. The way he’s quoted here comes off as, “Wait, the king is offering what to kill this guy? And this guy has nothing going for him other than his size? What’s wrong with you guys?”
How much more are you empowered by God? You who has the Spirit of the Living God living inside of you?
The Israelites had a mark made by men to remind them of God’s covenant and favor with them. You bear the seal of the Holy Spirit, made by no one but given you as a sign of your faith in the Son, the very presence of God Himself living with you, empowering you, and giving you favor. The Spirit of power, and love, and a strong mind.
How dare you be afraid of anything?
Right now, I want to ask yourself: how different would your life be if you weren’t afraid of anything? In what areas of your life are you being held back by fear? Where does fear keep you from success?
Now you know that God is with you, that God favors you. So what is holding you back? Why are you afraid? What do you have to fear? Because when everything is so heavily in your favor, fear is a choice you make.
Why not change that? Right now? Stop choosing fear and start choosing faith! Because you’ve got God in your corner, and that means you’ve already won!