I wrote the following on July 19, 2010. Pulling it from the archives and sharing it here.
The story of David and Goliath is found in 1 Samuel 17. Take a moment to refresh your memory of this story.
I have heard this story for half of my life. And every single time I have read it or heard a sermon on it, it has been about how we (David) can overcome challenges, fears, etc. All that we need to do is trust God and we can conquer the giants (Goliath) in our lives.
There is something wrong with this. Let me be blunt here – who do we think we are? We read Scripture and jump straight to personal application and put ourselves in the hero’s role. Do you not see something wrong with this? I do.
Last night, I read this story for what could be the 3,584th time (slight exaggeration) and God showed me something new. So many times we resort to holding self in such a high position when we are absolutely nothing. We are so self-centered; it is in our nature to be so. This carries into our study of Scripture. Instead of skipping straight to personal application when we read Scripture, we need to interpret it to see where Christ is. The Bible is not about us – it is first and foremost about God. Yes, we can be seen in Scripture and it is given to us to speak to us – but not before it shows us who God is.
In 1 Samuel 17, the Philistines were powerful and the Israelites were afraid of them – they had Goliath (the 9 foot, 9 inch giant). Even Saul (the king) was afraid of Goliath – he wasn’t exactly showing great leadership skills. In this passage we can interpret that an enemy threatened death, and the people of God were afraid and didn’t know how to fight off the enemy.
Now, we can make application. Being the self-centered beings that we are, we look for us first. “Ah, I’m David and my problems are Goliath.” You are not David. I’m not David. And Goliath is not our problems. We are in the story though. Look at verse 11:
When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.
Do you see us? We are the ones in the background, discouraged and terrified. We don’t stay that way for long though. Look at verses 51-53:
Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. And the men of Israel and Judah rose with a shout and pursued the Philistines as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron, so that the wounded Philistines fell on the way from Shaaraim as far as Gath and Ekron. And the people of Israel came back from chasing the Philistines, and they plundered their camp.
Do you see us? We’re not scared anymore. Why? Because David defeated Goliath. Because we have a champion. We didn’t do the work; someone else did.
If we were to look for Christ first, though, we would see that He is David. And Goliath is the sin and death that separates us from God. Remember who we are? The scared Israelites.
This is the story of redemption. We can’t do anything. We can’t defeat things on our own. Christ did the work that we were too scared – and unable – to do. He killed sin and murdered death!
I hope this has encouraged you to look for Christ in Scripture before you jump to applying it to yourself. This story is no longer about how we can defeat our giants, but how Christ defeats our giants for us. We need to stop trying to defeat things on our own and put our hope in the One who defeats them for us.
INPUT: What are the dangers of putting ourselves into the heroes’ roles in Scripture? How does seeing Christ as the champion change how you apply this story to your life?