David and Goliath – The Battle of the Gods

1 Samuel 17

When reading this favorite story, we generally focus on the human drama: David, a young shepherd boy boldly confronts Goliath, an experienced warrior, and kills him with a stone. But the contest was really between the gods of the Philistines and the LORD God of Israel.

It wasn’t uncommon in the ancient world for military “champions” to represent their armies in one-on-one combat. Victory was awarded to the side of whichever man prevailed. Goliath stood for the Philistines as well as for the gods of the Philistines. Likewise, David represented both the people of Israel and the LORD, the God of Israel. David knew better than anyone it was the LORD who would enable him to win the fight and put to flight the enemies of Israel and their false gods.

You come to me with a sword, 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. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand…for the battle is the LORD’s.