“David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” 33 Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 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.36 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.37 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.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.” 1 Samuel 17.32-37
Who would have thought that a young boy could defeat a mighty warrior? The text doesn’t tell us how old David is but some scholars suggest he is between the ages of 16-19 (See https://www.gotquestions.org/how-old-was-David.html). King Saul even said to David that “you are only a young man, he (Goliath) has been a warrior since his youth.” How could David defeat a giant? How could a teenage boy defeat a seasoned warrior?
When Saul told David how unqualified he was, David was prepared with an answer. He told about how when tending the sheep a lion or bear would come and take the sheep and carry it off. David “went after it, struck it and recused the sheep from its mouth.” David tells that when it turned on David, he “seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.” This, I don’t recommend to anyone! None of us should be grabbing lions or bears and killing them with our bare hands!
But this is who David is and who God was grooming him to be. God had already anointed David through the prophet Samuel and he was filled with the Holy Spirit. David compared killing the predators of his sheep to fighting Goliath. But then he turns his focus to God, the true source of his success — “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.”
In life, we face lions and bears in a figurative sense. Maybe it’s Covid, the political turmoil, illness or overwhelming odds and burdens. Perhaps the lions and bears that we face are just as daunting as David facing Goliath. But David didn’t see it that way and perhaps neither should we.
When we face uphill battles, no matter what that might be, why side with the world in fear, doubt and lack of faith? Why not be like David who recounted God’s faithfulness in the past, and his guaranteed faithfulness in the future? Then we hear from the faithful like Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”
“O Lord God, you are mighty. The story of your servant David is incredible. I would love to meet this man one day and learn his lessons of faith. Thank you for being so faithful to us and for giving us your Holy Spirit. No matter what we have done, who we are or where we have been, you are our shield and our protector. You are the God of second chances and you empower your people to serve you faithfully. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen