By: Pastor Jarren Rogers
Manyof the things we read in the Bible have had a profound effect on the world around us, and most of the time, we don’t even realize it.
In the Old Testament, Israel held certain beliefs and professed faith in a God that diametrically opposed those of the nations that surrounded them. They were one of the first cultures that not only didn’t participate in human sacrifice, but directly opposed murder. When other people groups of the day participated in sexual immorality and sex rituals, the Israelites promoted sexual purity and condemned adultery.
These are just a few of the narratives that Israel lived into which set them apart from the other ancient nations. And reverberations of those narratives continue to resonate in our outlooks and paradigms today.
One of the primary narratives that we see played out repeatedly in Israel’s story is that Yahweh is a God who is for the little guy. He’s on the team of the underdog. This isn’t a God who bolsters the strength of the rich and the powerful. Instead, he shows us over and over again that he stands behind the weak and powerless.
Of course, one of the foundational stories in which we see this played out is in the battle of David and Goliath.
David comes skipping behind the Israelite battle lines to bring his brothers food and unknowingly stumbles upon a tense standoff between the cowering Israelite army and the towering warrior Goliath.
Even though he is a young boy, out of his faith in God, David steps up as the warrior brave enough to take Goliath one on one.
Before the battle, he is brought before King Saul. Saul places a bronze helmet on his head and clothes him in armor, strapping a sword to his waist.
But then David said this:
“’I cannot go in these because I am not used to them.’ So he took them off” (1 Samuel 17:39).
As we know, he goes into battle with a simple sling and some pebbles, and he wins the day.
The interaction that David has with Saul shows us much about their character and faith. Before marching into battle, Saul sought every protection and weapon possible. On the other hand, David strips down to the bare necessities. For it is not him fighting, but his God.
I wonder what helmets we place on our heads whenever we go into battle? What swords do we arm ourselves with? What armor do we strap onto our chests?
Do we try to win battles with our intellect, using reason to somehow make heads or tails out of the difficult situations we face? Do we protect ourselves with worry and fear? Do we cope with our struggles by distracting ourselves with simple pleasures like food or entertainment? Maybe we use social media as our weapon or gossip as our sword. Perhaps pride is the helmet with fix upon our heads.
When we grasp for our helmets and our armor, we, like Saul, have it all wrong. We tip our hand and show that our faith is not up to par.
What if we, like David, removed our heavy helmets and stripped out of the armor that restricts our movement? And instead relied wholly on God. Removing your sword and your protection is an act of humility and of faith.
But it’s the only way to defeat Goliath.