“Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, came out from the Philistine ranks. Then David heard him shout his usual taunt to the army of Israel. As soon as the Israelite army saw him, they began to run away in fright” (I Samuel 17:23b-24, NLT).
While David’s three oldest brothers “Eliab, Abinadab, and Shimea” (I Samuel 17:13a) and the rest of the Israelite army ran from Goliath like a bunch of scared rabbits, David made a beeline for the giant Philistine, telling him, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies – the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied” (I Samuel 17:45).
And with that, David “hurled (a stone) with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground. Then David ran over and pulled Goliath’s sword from its sheath. David used it to kill him and cut off his head” (I Samuel 17:49b, 51).
First Samuel 17 ends with the Israelites triumphing over the Philistines who had been thrown into complete panic when Goliath fell dead. King Saul had to have been pretty happy with the turn of events. “When the victorious Israelite army was returning home after David had killed the Philistine, women from all the towns of Israel came out to meet King Saul. They sang and danced for joy with tambourines and cymbals” (I Samuel 18:6). Sounds like a pretty good welcoming committee, doesn’t it?
But “This was their song: ‘Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!’” (I Samuel 18:7).
Which went over just great with the king. Verse 8 tells us that “This made Saul very angry.” So angry, in fact, that “from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David” (I Samuel 18:9).
The trouble with jealousy is that it’s like any other sin: if you feed it, it grows. Saul undoubtedly spent the night fuming over David’s popularity, and “The very next day… Saul… began to rave in his house like a madman” (I Samuel 18:10a). So as “David was playing the harp… Saul… suddenly hurled (a spear) at David, intending to pin him to the wall” (I Samuel 18:10b-11a).
David, the shepherd boy who’d killed the giant the whole Israelite army had run from, had defended both his Lord and his people. And what did he get for his trouble? A new enemy. Saul tried on more than one occasion to kill him.
But how did that work out? “David continued to succeed in everything he did, for the Lord was with him” (I Samuel 18:14).
Keep your eyes off your problems and on your Savior. And remember: “We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!” (II Chronicles 32:8b).
Copyright © 2012
Judy Woodward Bates