Memo 1039: A Small Opening
So much has been written about and so many sermons preached on the story of David and Goliath that I hesitate to examine the story for what new insight can possibly be garnered? Yet the historian chose to include this story early on in David's biography because it tells us so much about the man and the condition of his peers. Once again we see that David's family had no use for him, for his eldest brother could not resist the opportunity to insult David when he arrived to bring them a care package and gather information for their elderly father:
When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.” “Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?” (1 Samuel 17:28-29).
David sidestepped his brother's negativity and stayed focused on what he saw which was a giant whom everyone thought was too big to hit but David saw as someone impossible to miss. Let's examine David's pedigree to take on the giant in his own words.
"LET ME AT HIM"
For forty days, twice a day, Goliath had come out to challenge someone in Israel to a duel, and eighty times the army returned without a volunteer to go forward. David heard Goliath once and immediately said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him" (1 Samuel 17:32). When Saul questioned David's sanity, David made a cool, logical case for why he was the man to take Goliath on and down:
"Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine" (1 Samuel 17:34-37).
At no point in the story do we read that the Lord directed David to take on Goliath. David observed, reasoned, and concluded in faith that he was the man for the job and basically said, "Let me at him."
David risked his life based on the logic of his faith. He had the perfect mix of experience, faith, and skill that led him to conclude his mission would be successful and we know that it was. David examined Goliath and saw something that no one else saw. While he was covered with armor and was nine feet nine inches tall, his forehead was unprotected and David knew he could sling a rock and strike him there. Historians tell us that slingshot "slingers" could knock a bird out of the air at sixty yards, so David was confident both in his ability and God's help. David wasn't just going to fling a rock at Goliath and hope it hit the mark; he was going to do what he knew he could do and do it for a good cause. A few inch opening on the forehead was all he needed.
The point in all this is you must mix your faith with some skill if you want to slay a giant. What can you do better than most? Counsel? Write? Draw? Sing? Teach? What gifts do you have? Are you working to perfect them? If so, then are you actively looking for opportunities to use them? God equipped David, David perfected what God gave him, and that made Goliath a marked man, an easy target to God's man. I urge you to follow in David's footsteps and look for the small opening that no one can see but to you is the bull's eye that your faith and your experience know is the perfect opening that God can use. Have a blessed week.