1 Samuel 17-18
The Waiting King: David (God’s choice), cont’d. 1 Samuel 16-31
1 Samuel 17:1-58-The Philistines attack Israel. The armies were camped on the sides of the Elah Valley (15 miles west of Bethlehem)…the Philistines on the south side and Israel on the north side. The Philistines send out their hero, Goliath, to challenge the hero of Israel. They were proposing that one of their men fight one of Israel’s men. It would be a winner-take-all fight…with the army of the losing hero becoming servants to the winner’s army. Not only did Goliath strike fear into the hearts of the soldiers…but worse, he mocked the LORD. David was the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons. While his older brothers were at war he has been tending sheep. His father sent him to take food to his brothers and to see how they were doing. He arrives with the food just in time to hear Goliath rant and to see the Israelite soldiers run away. David responded, “…for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” (:26). His oldest brother, Eliab, heard him and was probably embarrassed in front of the other soldiers. He chastises David and accuses him of coming to the battle just to see the show. But Goliath has insulted the God of Israel…and David will not allow that to happen. He accepts the challenge to fight Goliath. Someone told Saul that they had found a challenger who would face Goliath and he sent for him. Imagine his disappointment when it wasn’t a battle hardened, seasoned warrior who shows up…but a teenager who had just been tending sheep. David assures him that he has dealt with lions and bears protecting those sheep…and Goliath posed no greater threat than they did. At this point Saul is out of options. No one else would fight Goliath, so what did he have to lose. And after all…wasn’t he supposed to be the hero of Israel? He had better send someone out to fight Goliath or he might have to go himself! He tried to get David to wear his armor…but remember, Saul was a tall man and David was just a youth, so it was too big. David walks down into the valley to face Goliath. Goliath taunts him, but David isn’t afraid. Someone has said that the rest of the soldiers said, “He is too big to hit.” But David said, “He’s too big to miss!” I like that attitude. David is completely confident in the LORD and says, “I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, who you have taunted. This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands…” (45-46). With that, David attacks Goliath with the same sling that he had used to protect his sheep with…striking him in the forehead with a rock. Goliath falls to the ground. David grabs Goliath’s own sword and cuts his head off with it. When the Philistines saw this happen…they ran away. The brave soldiers of Israel chased after them. Afterward, David put Goliath’s weapons in his tent. Saul didn’t know anything about this new hero…not even what family David belonged to…so he had his commander find out and bring David to him. Perhaps already Saul has begun to envy David and wants to find out all that he can about him so that he can keep control on the situation.
1 Samuel 18:1-4-David and Jonathan (Saul’s son and the heir to the throne) became friends. Jonathon made a covenant with David…committing himself to David as the Lord’s anointed.
1 Samuel 18:5-16-Saul put David over the men of war. The women sang greater praises to David than to Saul. This caused great envy on Saul’s part and he began to distrust David. Saul was still suffering from mental instability that led to fits of anger and rage. Now, he became consumed with envy towards David to the degree that he tried to kill David two times by throwing a spear at him as he played the harp. Saul sent David away from his presence, probably thinking, “Out of sight, out of mind.” But everything that David did prospered and Saul heard about it.
1 Samuel 18:17-30-During the battle with the Philistines Saul had promised the hand of his daughter in marriage to the man who killed Goliath (17:25). Now, he making good on his promise. Saul offers David his daughter, Merab to be his wife…but there are conditions…he has to fight Saul’s battles for him. Saul is trying to put David into battles so that he will be killed. David politely declines…saying that he is not worthy to be the son-in-law of the King. Saul gives her to another man. However, then he hears that his other daughter, Michal, is in love with David. He offers her to David. David tells him that he doesn’t have enough money for a dowry. Saul says that he understands…the only dowry he would ask for would be the foreskins100 Philistines (obviously they are not just going to offer that up without a fight!). David accepts and brings him 200 foreskins. But Saul’s plan backfired. Now, with David in the family, he became even more aware of the fact that God was blessing him. Saul becomes more and more afraid of David. He is afraid that David will seek to take the throne away from him.
Prayer: Lord, help me to face the struggles and difficulties of life in the manner in which David did. With absolute confidence in You.