1 Samuel 17:26 – Defying the Armies

While David was yet a youth and Saul was still king, the Philistines were a powerful force that constantly oppressed Israel. In those days, the two armies gathered on opposing mountains that stood above the Elah Valley.  For forty days the Philistines taunted Israel with their superior might.  During this time of testing their champion, Goliath, would come out every day and shout obscenities at the Israelites.  What was worse is that he would curse the Name of Yahweh, and all the Israelites would do in response was shrink in fear.

David’s father sent him from the fields where he guarded the sheep to the battleline in order to bring refreshments to his brothers.  Upon his arrival, he heard Goliath challenge Israel and blaspheme Yahweh.  This incensed David, and in 1 Samuel 17:26 we learn:

And David said to the men who stood by him, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

Look at the indignation David had for this man – giant though he was – at his attitude toward God.  It outraged David that this mere human would defy Israel – God’s Chosen People – the armies of the living God.

This isn’t the only time David expressed this sentiment.  He went to Saul and offered to confront Goliath, despite his being so young (perhaps around sixteen?).  In that conversation David explained how he had taken on more fearsome enemies than Goliath in the form of wild beasts while protecting the sheep.  Here again, in 1 Samuel 17:36, David declared what was on his heart:

“Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.”

Goliath was a pagan who despised God.  In his opposition and defiance of Israel, he dishonored Yahweh’s Name.  This grieved David, and he wouldn’t let that stand.

In confronting Goliath, David took five stones from the brook that runs through the valley.  It is thought the reason he picked up five stones was that Goliath was one of five giant men – perhaps his brothers – in Gath (2 Samuel 21:15-22).  Perhaps he knew of them and wanted to be ready in case they came out against him.  Once more, as David faced Goliath, we see the third time he expresses his indignation in 1 Samuel 17:45:

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with 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 defied.

David simply wasn’t going to allow Goliath to take the Lord’s Name in vain and attempt to humiliate those whom He had chosen to be His inheritance (Deuteronomy 32:9).

Consider David’s faith and trust in God.  It was absolute.  As he came before Goliath, he had no doubt that he would prevail because he knew without any hesitation whatsoever that his confrontation was a righteous one, and that God would enable him to prevail.  Of course, He did.

David’s incredible confidence came from this understanding that he declared in 1 Samuel 17:46-47:

“… that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.” 

He knew that when he operated in the will of God, it was His battle to fight and win.  David was simply God’s instrument in the flesh, and he understood this.  It is for this reason we see and understand how God considered David a man after His own heart.  He believed absolutely in Yahweh as the God of all creation above every other god.  His faith was such that he never turned away from this belief and trust.  His believing loyalty to Yahweh alone was unshakeable.  Because of this, God blessed everything that David did because His favor was upon him.

What would happen if today we had the same attitude as David?  What if when someone spoke against the Name of Jesus, we would rise up in indignation and proclaim Him as our Savior and Lord regardless where we were and whatever the circumstances?  What if we didn’t cower in the fear of man for our faith in the Lord and weren’t ashamed of the Gospel?  What if the church over the years had taken this stand rather than desire to accommodate the culture and become part of the world?

We can only surmise as to the latter question.  The church of Jesus Christ has become compromised and has little strength or respect.  Scripture tells us this would happen in these latter days.  However, we as individual believers can still make a difference.  We can personally stand against the tide of unbelief that is sweeping the world.  We can understand that, just as Jesus said, we will face persecution.

However, in these tribulations that we encounter, if we hold fast to what we have in Christ, God will honor our perseverance and love for Him.  He may not deliver us out of these difficulties, but he will bring us through them with His presence.  Just as with David, the Lord will bless and favor our efforts.  We can count on that.

As the world grows darker and the faith of many is shaken, if we stand firmly for God and declare our believing loyalty in Christ, He will make our joy complete and strengthen us in our trials.

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