If you have been reading the Bible for a while now, you’ve noticed how often King David is talked about. In fact, his name is mentioned more times than any other person!
You’ve read about David, the second king of Israel, God’s choice for His nation, who reigned for forty years (1 Kings 2:11 NASB). Or about David’s relationship with his adversary’s son, Jonathan, which is clear model for biblical friendship (1 Samuel 18:1-4 NASB). You’ve also probably read about David the psalmist, who wrote around half of the book of Psalms.
Who was David? He was many things. He was a shepherd boy, a warrior, a king, a poet, and a musician. He was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22 NASB). He was a man quick to place his trust in the Lord (Psalm 27:1 NASB) and quick to repent (2 Samuel 12:1-13 NASB). In many ways, David is a model for all Christians to follow.
We are first introduced to David when he was but a shepherd boy, the youngest son of Jesse. In 1 Samuel 16 NASB the prophet Samuel appeared during the annual sacrificial feast in order to anoint God’s chosen. When David is first mentioned, he is described as having a ruddy complexion, a handsome appearance and beautiful eyes, highlighting the fact that he is still quite young.
After his anointing, David continued to live life normally until the servants of King Saul seek him out in order to calm the evil spirit terrorizing the king. That’s where David is when the famous David and Goliath narrative occurs. And that’s where we first hear David speak.
Of course, David isn’t mute or anything like that. But the first time Scripture actually has record of him speaking is in 1 Samuel 17 NASB. Perhaps you are familiar with the story, but in case you aren’t, let’s go through it.
In the beginning of the chapter, we find that an army of Philistines was encamped in Socoh which belongs to Judah. The Philistines were enemies of Israel and had a champion named Goliath who was over nine feet tall. In 1 Samuel 17:8-11 NASB, we read how Goliath issued his challenge to Israel, calling for them to choose a champion to fight him one on one. In the last verse of that passage, we read how Saul and all Israel were dismayed and greatly afraid.
What’s ironic is that’s exactly what Israel did in 1 Samuel 9 NASB! In that chapter, Israel chose a champion, a king who was to lead them into battle. Eight chapters later, we read how instead of fulfilling his role, he cowers in the back. This was supposed to be God’s champion but doesn’t even give God any thought. Fast forward to 1 Samuel 17:20 NASB, David has now entered the scene. We learn that David was given the task of bringing some food for his brothers and their commander, but verse 23 is where things get really interesting.
“As he was talking with them, behold, the champion, the Philistine from Gath named Goliath, was coming up from the army of the Philistines, and he spoke these same words; and David heard them. When all the men of Israel saw the man, they fled from him and were greatly afraid.” 1 Samuel 17:23-24 NASB
This already happened once before when Goliath first issued his challenge. But there was one who was not present at that earlier time and that was David. The response from the men of Israel was an expected one. Similarly in Deuteronomy 1:26-27 NASB Israel was unwilling to enter the land that was promised because they saw that the people and their cities were so large.
David’s response however is new and unexpected. He questions, “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” What’s amazing is that this is the first time in the narrative that God is even mentioned! The so called “armies of the living God” did not once ask this question. It took a shepherd boy to remind them that God was with them. And we know what happened next. He faced Goliath and defeats him.
“You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted… and all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:45, 47 NASB
What can we learn from this? We need to be like David who considered what God thought first, instead of like Saul who gave no consideration for what God thought. As Christians who are chosen by the same living God, we need to go to the ends of the earth with boldness and faith. Don’t be like Saul and all Israel who were fearful of man, fearful of what lay before them. Be like David, a man after God’s own heart and a man that was only concerned honoring God.