Today’s reading is drawn from 1 Samuel 17:43-47.
The story of David and Goliath is so familiar that it is often mentioned in popular culture. When an underdog wins a sports game or a political election, he is referred to as a “David” who defeated an opponent who is compared to “Goliath.”
Have you ever wondered why King Saul sent a shepherd boy into battle to fight a giant? Wouldn’t that mean certain death for David and defeat for the army of Israel? Saul’s move doesn’t seem to make sense. In the ancient Near East, this type of single combat (where one representative from each army fought against each other) was used. The belief behind this type of fight was that the armies believed that the outcome of the one on one battle was ultimately decided by the gods that each fighter served. The gods could work through a lesser fighter if they wished. If a lesser fighter won a victory, it was taken as a sign that his gods were more powerful than those of the other fighter, and that the ensuing battle between the armies would likely end with the same result. In the case of David and Goliath, this theory held true! Both fighters claimed allegiance to their gods. The God whom David served showed Himself to be the most powerful God. This was especially clear when God won a victory through a smaller, less experienced fighter who had no armor or heavy weaponry! As anticipated, the ensuing battle had the same result as the one on one combat: Israel won the victory over the Philistines.
Do you believe that God can work through unlikely people? This does not mean that God will always work in the way that we would like—we may not “win” every battle. We need to see ourselves as “usable” by God, not because we are great, but because He is powerful.
God, thank you that you can use unlikely people to accomplish Your will. Thank You for Your power and for Your gracious plans. Please help me to see myself as someone that You can use. In Jesus’ name, Amen.