Lessons from David and Goliath

Recently I spoke to my church’s youth group from 1 Samuel 17 – the story of David and Goliath, and I found it really exciting how many parallels there are to Jesus, and some of the lessons we can draw out of that passage. I’ll start with those lessons and then look at Jesus and David.

The world loves the story of David and Goliath – most people think that it’s all about conquering you’re own giants, about being yourself in the face of fear and hardship, of overcoming hardship on your own strength.

They’re dead wrong. The whole point of the passage is that David trusts God and acts on that trust when no one else does. The whole point is that David can’t do it – but God can, and God will vindicate his name.

God makes Israel wait 40 days before he gets David to rescue them. God doesn’t promise us that he will rescue us from our struggles here and now, and he definitely doesn’t promise immediate rescue. In fact he tells us that everyone who wants to live a godly life will be persecuted (2 Tim 3:12).

God doesn’t promise to save us from depression or financial difficulty or broken relationships. He doesn’t promise to heal us of cancer or other sickness.

But he does make big promises. He promises that he works everything for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28), and that these hardships are for our growth and to purify us (1 Peter 1, James 1:2-4). And he promises that although he may not “rescue” us from them in this life, if we trust in him then we already are rescued from them, and will be free of them in heaven (Revelations 21).

Will you trust God with you’re giants? Will you wait on his timing to save – be that in this life or through death and into his arms?

 

Here are some of the cool parallels I was talking about before:

David obeys his father. He has been told that he will be king of Israel. He has every reason to be proud and selfish and not do the low jobs that his father makes him do. But instead he obeys selflessly and humbly.

Jesus obeys his Father. Jesus is God, he has every right not to come and give his life for us, the people who have rejected him. Yet he obeyed his father to the full – even to death on a cross. He gave up his glory and humbly gave his life for us to save us. Philippians 2.

David is a good shepherd. He looks after his Fathers sheep – he makes sure that when he goes away to obey his father more fully that he provides someone else to care for the sheep.

Jesus is THE good shepherd. He looks after his Father’s sheep – us. He is the good shepherd who lays his life down for the sheep. And when he did that in obedience to his father. and when he rose again and went to heaven, he sent someone else to look after the sheep – the Holy Spirit (John 14).

David was to be a king after God’s own heart. David trusts God and obeys God fully – and his willingness (in fact eagerness) to fight Goliath shows his faith in God. Yet David did sin and stuff it up.

Jesus is THE true king after God’s own heart. He did not sin.

David conquered Goliath and saved God’s people from slavery to the Philistines

Jesus conquered sin and death when he died for us and rose again, freeing us from slavery to sin.

But Jesus did more than David, as we’ve already seen. He didn’t just fight the enemy and win. He gave his life to win the victory for us, and rose again to prove it.

Will we trust Jesus? He is the true and better giant conquerer. He is the one who crushes the serpents head. He is the saviour – will you trust in him?

He is the only one who can save us from our biggest enemies – sin, satan and death. But he does if we repent and believe and follow him. Will you?

 

Note: Another common misconception about David and Goliath – people think Goliath was a giant in temrs of “Jack and the Beanstalk” Giant. No – he was probably about 3m tall. Only about a foot taller than the tallest man recorded in the 20th century. Not all that unfeasible.

There’s nothing like being with Christians.

“For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:18, 19 ESV).

Over the last weekend I’ve been away on a Christian youth camp called KYCK. It was excellent. I went 2 weeks ago and got the chance to hear the talks, which were really good (it’s always good to hear the gospel preached, but especially when it’s preached to 2000 youth). But this weekend I went to volunteer.

The thing that struck me the most was that even though I had never met the guys I was working with, because of our trust in Jesus it didn’t take us long to become quite close. Paul says in the passage above that because of Jesus, all Christians have access to God. He then goes on to say that we are no longer strangers and aliens, but fellow citizens – God’s family.

I experienced that reality over the weekend, and as we drove home I read that verse and it struck me as deeply true. When we become Christians we really do move from being enemies of God into being his children. And as part of that we are automatically part of a massive family. Here are some reasons that being with other like-minded Christians is so encouraging:

  • You can rejoice together about the salvation that is in Jesus. It is the centre-piece, the reason that we can come together as family instead of strangers.
  • You can discuss God’s word with them – learning from their knowledge and encouraging them also.
  • You can know that the relationships you have will last for eternity.
  • There’s an automatic understanding of one another – you can understand each other’s ideas and world-views, you have heaps to talk about straight away and there’s a type of trust that flows from that very quickly

Of course there are Christians who you will meet who you don’t get on with. There will be things you disagree on. But spending time with like-minded Christians who you’ve just met is super-encouraging, and what struck me most was the simple honesty that we could have with one another as we worked to serve God together and learn about him.

Over the weekend I got a glimpse of the truth expressed by Paul in the verse above. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, like being with fellow Christians – because if you and they are both seeking to know God better and to learn, then there should be nothing but mutual encouragement between you. Obviously this should be true of our relationships at church, but also in our relationships with other Christians. Is it true for you? Have you experienced this fellowship?

We still live in a fallen world. A world full of disagreements and goodbyes. But the reality is that because of Jesus we are entirely forgiven, and we can look forward to the reality of heaven, where there will be no sin or suffering or hardships. Where we will be in perfect, selfless fellowship with other Christians in the presence of our God and glorifying him together.

What a wonderful thing that is. Are we looking forward to it?

Now vs later.

http://www.signwarehouse.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Procrastination-Now-vs-Later.jpgIn my last post, I mentioned that when it’s hard to give up something for the glory of God, we should shift our thinking. Instead of getting frustrated and annoyed about what we can’t do because it would dishonour God, we should think of what he has done for us, and consider it in an eternal perspective.

For example, I find it easy to look at Non-christians and see that they live sinful lives yet seem to get the best things in the world. They sleep around, they get drunk, they cheat people, and yet they don’t seem to face any punishment for it – in fact they often get wealthier and prouder from it. And that can be hard – sometimes it feels like serving God means you miss out on some of the “good stuff” of life.

But shift the perspective a little. Instead of thinking about what they get, have a think about the benefits we have for being Christians. Here are just a few of the bigger ones:

  • We are completely and entirely forgiven for our sins – released from slavery to sin and death through faith in Jesus and all he has done for us.
  • We are adopted as God’s children and Co-heirs with Christ through faith (Romans 8)
  • We have a God who cares for us (1 Peter 5:7), and he tells us to cast our anxieties upon him.
  • We have the promise that God is in control and works in everything for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28)
  • We have the sure hope of heaven, where there will be no more pain or tears or suffering. Where we will be with God our saviour and Lord forever, glorifying him as we were created to do.

That last point holds another key to staying content in what God has done. In Psalm 73 Asaph explores these things. In verses 2 and 3 he says:

But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

Yet after considering how good the wicked have it, he considers it from a wider perspective.

…I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.

You see, those who reject God and continue to live their own way will get what they deserve – hell. Regardless of how “good” they are, without God they are still sinners (Like we all are). Since God is just, he cannot stand sin, and he will punish these people rightly and justly for eternity. And that’s what we all deserve.

But Jesus came and took our place – he took our sin and God’s wrath, so if we put our faith in him we can be forgiven. In the scheme of things, if you compared living a wealthy and prosperous life here which results in eternal punishment with a hard life here and an eternity with God in heaven, it is far better to have the worst life imaginable on earth and be with God forever than to have everything you could want here and go to hell.

But how does this affect our lives? I’ve got a few suggestions here, there are probably more ways it can help us.

  • It can help is resist temptation: When we are tempted to sin, if we weigh it up in the scheme of eternity and if we consider all the good things we have already received from God, we can more easily say no to sin.
  • We can have hope, fixing our eyes on heaven instead of worrying about life here and what we do or don’t have.
  • We can be more thankful to God for what we do have, and rejoice in it, instead of focusing on what we want. This is definitely counter-cultural in our consumeristic society.

I hope those thoughts were helpful!
God Bless!
Nat.