Without Goliath, David could have remained a nobody

About two weeks ago, I listened to Sharing Life Issues, an evening radio program with Chaz-B of Inspiration-FM. The topic of discussion was about people who had lost their Faith in God / were in the process of doing so, as a result of challenges in their lives. It was while he(Chaz-B) read-out listeners comments(text messages) and summarized each that he made a statement, from which I grabbed the above title. Until then, I guess I had always looked at the Bible’s story of Goliath and David from one angle and not from the other.


David and Goliath: if there could be a contest of Bible stories known by most people around the world, Christians and non-Christians, among old and young, I think that of David and Goliath would either rank first, second or third.

1-Samuel chapter 16: Saul, Israel’s king had been rejected by God because of his sin: disobedience and rebellion. While Samuel the Priest mourned Saul’s rejection, God’s instruction came to him to go and anoint another King, one from among the sons of Jesse, a Bethlehemite. Before this time, there was no Bible record that Samuel and Jesse/any member of his family knew each other personally or had any meeting where David was the object of discussion.

David is first mentioned after Samuel arrived in Bethlehem and told the people there that he had come to make a sacrifice / worship unto the Lord. Everyone got ready for the sacrifice. Jesse and his sons were invited to the sacrifice. And while everyone thought that they were just sacrificing unto God, He(God) and Samuel were discussing whom, among Jesse’s sons He had chosen. God soon guided Samuel to anoint David who wasn’t originally at the venue of sacrifice, but had to be summoned. David was a shepherd boy, and was with the sheep. The scene of sacrifice / worship came to an end and everyone returned to their normal life.

David’s name crops up a second time towards the end of 1-Samuel chapter 16, when one of Saul’s servants recommended him to Saul. He soon became Saul’s armor bearer and entertainer of some sort because he could play a harp with his hands.

1-Samuel chapter 17: it was time for war with the Philistines and everyone(males) who were old enough for war were at the battle front, and those who weren’t invited to the battle(example: David) had gone back home.

David had resumed his shepherding. He must have thought he was just running an errand for his father, who instructed him to go give some food(bread and cheese) to his brothers in the war and see their welfare, but little did he know he was going to fight with and kill a giant. In God’s divine wisdom and plan, time was ripe to launch David, a young boy whom He(God) had groomed to know no fear, into Israel’s public eye.

And just as David arrived at camp, Goliath of Gath roared and defied Israel’s God. David soon joined a conversation where some men in Israel’s army talked about the fearsome Goliath, and the rewards that awaited the person who could fight Goliath. David must have talked so confidently and convincingly of his abilities that word immediately went to Saul the king, that there was someone in the battle willing to fight Goliath the Philistine. David was summoned and he immediately wasted no time in giving testimonies of how he killed a lion and a bear with his bare hands and protected his sheep.

David was so sure of himself:

1Sa 17:34  And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:
1Sa 17:35  And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.
1Sa 17:36  Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.
1Sa 17:37  David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.

Long story cut short, David, with just a stone in a sling, launched it straight into Goliaths forehead. Goliath fell down dead, David ran up to him, took his(Goliath’s) sword and cut off his head. The Philistines, seeing their champion was dead took to their heels, but Israel pursued after them in battle. Thus David became Israel’s star – he killed the giant.

Formerly unrecognized by family and country, David, a shepherd boy became a celebrity in Israel. There are some salient questions to ask:

  • what if David had disobeyed his father? What if he had gone somewhere else, for ex: with his friends to play; rather than immediately to the battle field with the food supply he was instructed to go and deliver?
  • what if he arrived at the battle too early before Goliath surfaced to defy the God of Israel? and soon left for home after delivering the goods;
  • what if he arrived too late, after Goliath had made his boast and waited on Israel to present their own champion?
  • what if David had allowed the fear that gripped the men of Israel’s army whom he met and conversed with to grip him too?
  • what if he decided that even though he wasn’t officially invited to the battle, he would be less concerned about who defied Israel’s God and who didn’t; and so made his return to his own sheep after delivering the food supplies?

David’s brother tried shouting down his inquisitiveness (v28-30) but David won’t be deterred; Saul tried to discourage David (v33) but David wasn’t in listening mode. I am of the opinion that Saul, in his wildest imagination couldn’t have thought David could really kill Goliath. Considering Goliaths physical size, the size and weight of his armor, David of all people? Perhaps, as himself couldn’t face Goliath and none of his guards / most battle-experienced able bodied men volunteered to do the same, Saul must have thought that David could buy Israel some time with whatever he(David) had in mind. Did Saul have advisers in his army? What did they say to him? Perhaps the conclusion was that David’s words was out of youthful exuberance, and they had nothing to loose if David died.

David’’s motivation: I think David was really angry that this Goliath had all the audacity to defy the living God, and yet be allowed to live. The host of Israel had been hearing these same words before David arrived at camp and hid themselves out of fear, but David wasn’t ready to let Goliath go free. He must surely be punished for blasphemy against God. David simply believed that God who delivered him from the Lion and Bear was able to deliver him out of the hand of the Philistine.

I believe David wasn’t thinking about becoming King and taking over from Saul, else he won’t have put him
self i
n harms way; David wasn’t considering joining Israel’s army either. David didn’t offer to fight Goliath so that he could gain popularity in Israel; he wasn’t trying to make a name for himself / his family; David had no reputation to redeem / solidify. The truth is if David chose to return to his sheep, he had nothing to gain or loose. There is no indication that David was interested in any personal reward, he was more interested in defending the God of Israel whom Goliath defied.

David wasn’t obviously thinking that his fight with Goliath would be his greatest and most popular battle, else he would have considered a sling and a stone not an ideal- enough preparation. He must have thought he would just kill Goliath and return to his normal life, just like at other times when he killed a lion and bear.

1Sa 17:37  David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.

If I were David, I would have said an Amen, but it doesn’t look as if that prayer carried any weight, considering Saul was not in good terms with God. But there is no record that a priest commended David into the hands of God for deliverance. There is no record that David himself prayed. In fact, there is no record of any specific commandment by God that David should go kill Goliath. In terms of his being obedient to his own father, his errand was complete, he was way out of league and supposed to be on his way back home.

David recognized a divine assignment when he saw it: he didn’t need any specific instruction from God to stand up to defend his own creator. He didn’t need the voice of his father telling him to stand up and be a man. He didn’t need the voice of an angel to confirm any vision anywhere. In fact, there was no time for a vision, there was no time for any kind of meditation. It wasn’t time to make a sacrifice to know Gods plan about Goliath. David needed no prayer from any priest for him to take a decision that must be taken. David didn’t ask for help from anyone, it was time for him to do it himself. David didn’t need anything, anybody anywhere to make him realize that he was supposed to prove to Goliath and the Philistines that there is a God in Israel, the Lord of Hosts. This was all David wanted to prove.

David was so sure he would kill Goliath but didn’t know that Goliath would be his launching pad into greatness.

question: what if he hesitated?

Conclusion: Sometimes in life, we unfortunately think when we are supposed to act and we act when we are supposed to think. Even the Bible says, there is a time for everything. And while we wait thinking when we are supposed to take an immediate action, many times we loose the battle at that specific moment. Thus, a battle that could have been won within minutes lasts for days, weeks, years and unfortunately for some, an entire lifetime.

God will never let anyone down that chooses to defend His(God’s) reputation. From Genesis to Revelation abound examples of those God backed up – real time. Examples include Daniel, Paul, etc. Without Goliath, David would have remained a nobody. When God makes himself your insurance policy, there is nothing else, no one else to fear, nothing else to worry about.

your comments and opinions are welcome.


Ayotokunbo Ajewole, an engineer, an avid writer, and blogger (a.k.a OmoJesus)

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Ayotokunbo Ajewole, an engineer, an avid writer, and blogger (a.k.a OmoJesus)

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