Israel’s Unlikely Hero (4-1-18)

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called…that no flesh should glory in His presence(1st Corinthians 1:26, 29)

Holy Writ is filled with amazing examples of great men achieving seemingly impossible goals. Their tales are so well known that their names are immediately linked to the event. We hear the name of Daniel and we instantly recall his experience inside the lion’s den. Mention the name of David and our mind’s eye brings into full view his impossible victory in the battle against the giant Goliath. Several Biblical accounts similar to these are simple for us to remember in great part because of the “heroes” we associate with the event. Yet, what makes these men so admirable is that they would not call themselves “heroes” as we do. As proof of this, notice what David declares when he decided to accept Goliath’s challenge, “This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel (1st Samuel 17:46, emphasis added). Two very valuable lessons can be found in David’s promulgation: First, his unwavering conviction that Jehovah God was with him and that He would grant him victory over any foe. Second, the real reason David chose to accept the Philistine’s challenge. The young shepherd was not motivated by immortalizing his name among Israel nor did he seek vain glory from man; it was David’s zeal for God kindled “for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God” (1st Samuel 17:26b)? Although he was not yet an experienced veteran of war, David was troubled by Israel’s lack of confidence in Jehovah God (1st Samuel 17:32-37). For this reason, David felt obliged to remind his people “that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you in our hands” (1st Samuel 17:47, emphasis added). One must take notice of David’s inclusion of his fellow countrymen in his bold assurance of victory. He does not say “He will give you in MY hand,” but “He will give you in OUR hands.” Without a doubt, these words were aimed to return the hearts of Israel to Jehovah God. Once again, let us recall that in this moment David was not equipped to fight Goliath. In reality, from an earthly vantage point it was madness for King Saul to even have allowed this young, inexperienced shepherd to take on this Philistine champion of war. Hence the purpose for God choosing a young shepherd boy as His warrior to deliver Israel from her enemies. Prior to this Scripture, as Samuel sought to anoint a new king over Israel, he is instructed by God “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart(1st Samuel 16:7, emphasis added). When Goliath appeared before the Israelite camp to defy them, the Israelites confirm God’s words to Samuel. Instead of placing their eyes on Jehovah God, the inspired scribe reveals “and all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were dreadfully afraid” (1st Samuel 17:24, emphasis added). Indeed, to read that God chose David to deliver Israel from a formidable enemy validates the apostle’s inspired council to the church in Corinth (1st Corinthians 1:26, 29). It is fabulous to observe the subtle comparison between Israel’s present king and future king. In Saul we are able to see the depths that he had spiraled in to due to his lack of obedience. Remember that Samuel was sent to anoint David king as a result of Saul’s refusal to comply to all of God’s commandments concerning the Amalekites (1st Samuel 15:1-23). His lack of spiritual vision hindered him for understanding that God was to be glorified by punishing Amalek for their sins against the people of Israel when they left Egypt (Exodus 17:8-16). Saul had become haughty as king, so much so that he deceived himself by proclaiming “I have performed the commandment of the Lord” (1st Samuel 15:13b). Thus, the results of his arrogance in believing that his will was equal to God’s will is best described by the proverb that teaches “the wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, but the folly of fools is deceit(Proverbs 14:8, emphasis added). Saul’s descent began when his eyes shifted in focus from the Lord God to himself. Similar to Nebuchadnezzar, Saul was self-aggrandized with the foolish thought that Israel “I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty” (Daniel 4:30b). In other words, Saul stopped giving honor and glory to Jehovah God and proceeded to give it to himself. Therefore, when the giant champion Goliath appears to defy Israel’s camp it is not surprising that “when Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid” (1st Samuel 15:11, emphasis added). This fear that gripped Saul’s heart stemmed from the fact that “the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul” (1st Samuel 16:14a, emphasis added). He was well aware that the presence of Jehovah God was no longer with him due to his rebelliousness. Saul had been utterly rejected by God, because he had rejected God first. However, “the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward” and hence the reason he had the boldness to confront Goliath before the people of Israel (1st Samuel 16:13b). Where Saul had lost his spiritual vision due to his carnal mind, David had displayed his faith by his full reliance upon Jehovah God. He did not seek the glory of men, but that God be glorified by His people. There is no question that from human opinion, David was the most illogical choice to battle Goliath. Yet, from the spiritual perspective he was the right choice. David had not been chosen because of his wit, military experience, or physical strength. Rather, he was chosen to be living proof that “You will save the humble people; but Your eyes are on the haughty, that You may bring them down…As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him” (2nd Samuel 22:28, 31, emphasis added).

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