Sunday, June 11, 2006

Christ in the Story of David and Goliath

One of the reasons I started this blog is to share what I learned in seminary with others. I'm getting such a wonderful education and I wish everyone had the opportunity to go to seminary and learn such great things about God and His word. But not everyone is called to do it, it takes a lot hard work and not everyone can dedicate the time but I really wish others could experience the joy and the pain of seminary so that they can see what the future pastors have to go through :-). They might have more respect for their pastor if they did. It really is a trial by fire.

But this is not a post about seminary, I want to post one of my answers to one of my finals and yes, I do remember the gist of my answer. Isn't it great that I can have a final in which I can write about David and Goliath? What could be easier than that? Who doesn't know the story of David and Goliath? But of course this is seminary and a Sunday School answer wouldn't satisfy my professor. The class was Hermeneutics and the question was testing our ability to look at the Old Testament story in light of biblical theology, which means we look at the Old Testament in light of what we learn from the revelation of Christ and His work in redemptive history. Why don't we look at the story so that you may see by example what I'm talking about?

Goliath was a Philistine, the Philistines had been in Israel since the time of the Judges and no one had defeated them and driven them from the land. Samson killed some of them but Israel was still oppressed by them at the time of the monarchy in Israel.

We start the story of David and Goliath with Goliath taunting the army of Israel:

1 Samuel 17:10 And the Philistine said, "I defy the ranks of Israel this day. Give me a man, that we may fight together."
David, the youngest of Jesse's sons brings food to his brothers who are camped against the Philistines. He can't believe that an uncircumcised Philistine would dare to taunt Israel:
1 Samuel 17:26 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?"
David knew that the people of Israel belonged to God, that God was the true ruler of Israel. He knew that God had given the land of the Canaanites to Abraham's descendants and these Philistines had no claim to the land. If the Lord choose to defeat Israel's enemies then the people of Israel would be victorious and they would not have to live in fear and David knew that God would hand the enemy over to him. Why? Because he was the Lord's annointed and he knew that he would one day rule Israel (1 Samuel 16:13). He also knew that in the past God had saved him from bigger dangers than a Philistine:
1 Samuel 16:34-37 But David said to Saul, "Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 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." And David said, "The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you!"
So David went up against Goliath with just a sling and five smooth stones. Goliath taunted David:
1 Samuel 16:41-44 And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. And the Philistine said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. The Philistine said to David, "Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field."
But David wasn't afraid, he knew that God was greater than a mere human, no matter how big and fierce he was, he knew that Goliath was going to face the judgment of God:
1 Samuel 16:46-47 This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, 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."
And just as David had predicted he slew Goliath with the weapons of a shepherd. A mighty warrior of the Philistines was killed by a youth. The author of 1 Samuel emphases this point:
1 Samuel 16:50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David.
God had given David victory over a superior enemy, an enemy that Israel had been fighting for years, an enemy that had oppressed his people since the times of the judges.

When we study this passage we think of our own application, what is the Goliath in my life that I must defeat, how can I trust in God to respond to troubles in my life, what tools have I been given to defeat the enemy. But we skip a few steps when we do that, where is Christ in those questions. The Bible says that all of Scriptures is about Christ:
Luke 24:25-27 And he said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Luke 24:44-47 Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
The human author of this story did know the details about Christ, His conquering of sin and death and His defeat of the enemy of his people, but the Divine Author did. We see the elements of redemptive history in this story. David sees that the people of Israel are oppressed by their enemies, he knows that God is mightier than the Philistines. Why don't the people do something about it? Why do they let their enemy defeat them? Why do we let our enemy defeat us? Why are we always like Israel, allowing our sins and the enemy to oppress us? Because we don't put our trust in the Lord. David came and conquered the enemy just as Christ came to conquer our enemy. He defeated sin and death, He defeated Satan to end his reign over God's people. Like David, He saved His people from their sin.

The devil taunted Jesus, just as Goliath taunted Christ in the desert and on the cross, daring to mock the provision of the Lord and in Christ’s sonship. Christ stood up to the devil and defeated his efforts just as David stood up to Goliath. And just as David defeated Goliath by humble means, Christ conquered sin and death and triumphed over the powers of darkness through death and the humiliation of the cross.

The language of judgment here sounds similar to the language of judgment at the second coming of Christ:
1 Samuel 17:46 This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel,

Revelation 19:21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.
In the story of David, we see the story of redemption, Israel's and our's. David saved Israel by defeating their enemies and in the process God was vindicated. And Christ defeated our enemies on the cross and in the process God was vindicated. In David we see that the enemies of God can't defeat the servant of the Lord and praise be to God that His Servant was able to defeat sin and death for our sakes.


  1. Paula said...
    I admire you for attending seminary! You go girl! I love how your brought out the life application at the end of your post. The whole time I read your story, I thought of Dave and The Giant Pickle (Veggie Tales). Great post! Thanks for all your hard work putting the Carnival together.
    michele said...
    Thanks! When I wrote it I keep thinking about the giant pickle as well.
    JenLo said...
    Great post! Guess those Veggie Tales do teach lessons to the little ones as well as us grown-ups!
    michele said...
    I like the angry eyebrow one because one of my daughters has an anger problem and I would tell her that she had angry eyebrows!
    Karmyn R said...
    Wow - great post.

    Thanks for putting on the Carnival...I just finished reading through everyone's. What a great collection of talent!
    Malissa said...
    I have a BS in Bible just from Bible college-- I can't imagine going to seminary and having a family!

    "you go girl";) I'm sure you're learning TONS!

    Thanks again for doing the carnival!
    The Blue Square said...
    Wow, seminary. I don't see myself doing that.

    That reminds me of what Tolkien said his main theme in LOTR was, poorly summarized by me: the young hobbit, Frodo, so weak and so innocent, could vanquish the strong. When the mighty sit and do nothing, God uses the little people to make a difference.

    I love that VT episode, too.
    Ron Goodwyne said...
    While I don’t find fault with your interpretation of this passage, your premise that all of the Bible is about Jesus seems to me to be flawed. Your basis in two passages from Luke is itself based on interpretation and I for one disagree with your interpretation of that passage. Rather than saying that the whole Bible is about Jesus, I think it is saying that Jesus went through the Bible and showed them where he was prophesied. Considering all we know about biblical prophesy concerning Jesus, that seems a much more sound interpretation of the Luke passages. So if I’m correct, your premise falls apart.

    I also took hermeneutics and the first principle I learned was that a passage cannot mean what it never could have meant to its author or intended audience. Except in cases where Jesus specifically reinterprets a passage, we are in grave danger when we apply specific meaning to a passage that its author would not have understood. The reason for the danger is that there is no measure to determine accuracy. If you can decide that the passage means something other than what the author intended, then everyone can make the same kind of decision and you won’t like many of their choices.

    An example from my hermeneutics class was an evangelist who was well known for doing just what you propose, finding Christ everywhere in the Old Testament. He preached a sermon on the tent pegs of the Tabernacle. His premise was that the tent pegs represented the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. That was so because the tent pegs were half in the ground and half out of the ground. Because of his basis assumption that all the Old Testament is really about Jesus he has to make up details to find a way to make this fit. The passage itself didn’t say much of anything about the tent pegs except that they existed. The evangelist assumed they were half in the ground and half out because that was his experience with tent pegs. In reality it is more likely that the tent pegs were deadheaded (completely in the ground) because it was a desert environment and you’d need to get the pegs deep for support. That would make his whole sermon fall apart. Of course I don’t know how the tent pegs were set anymore than he did.

    A New Testament example of placing our own experience to high in the process is how a preacher preached from Phil 3:10. the Greek for the word translated power is dunamin from the root dunamis which literally means power from within or the inherent power in something. We get our English word dynamite from this Greek word. The preacher decided that the passage was talking about explosive power! Of course, the apostle Paul would scratch his head and wonder what in the world that preacher was talking about since dynamite hadn’t yet been invented when he write Philippians. You can see how our assumptions and biases can sneak into our interpretation. We must always be careful that we know what our biases are as much as we can so we can work to counter then and listen to what the scripture are saying.

    When we begin with the assumption that all the Old Testament is really just about Jesus we miss much of the richness of it. The fact is, God is revealed to us through His actions. I think that much of the Old Testament is designed to reveal God to us. To be sure, Jesus is wrapped up in that. But the Israelites had to have God revealed to them slowly. If you follow the theological development of the Israelites from Genesis forward you find that their understanding of God by David’s day was much different from their understanding during and following the exodus. God didn’t change, of course, but what He revealed to them did change. He revealed Himself to them the way He did because He thought that best. If we short circuit that process by jumping straight to Jesus, how much do we miss of who God is?

    The individuals authors of the Bible had messages to convey. They were saying something to the audiences they wrote to. We need to look for that meaning first. Only then can we go farther and look for the bridge to us in our day.

    I hope I’m not coming off as harsh or overly critical. I love what you’re doing in this blog and the other with the reformed chicks. I’m just trying to give you some food for thought. You may come away deciding I’m all wet and if you do, that’s okay. But hopefully you’ll consider what I’ve said as you seek to better understand the scriptures and hear God speak to you through them.
    Anonymous said...
    I am writing this to answer the person who wrote the very long explanation of why they think the OT is not all about Christ. All scripture testifies of Christ, that is the point of scripture. To not see Christ within the scripture written by Him is just foolish. Who is Jesus? To take Him out of the OT in anyway is not understanding the fullnes of God and who He is. John 1:1 God is the Word, John 1:14 Jesus is the Word...The Holy Spirit is the Word...The trinity is the Word...the bible is the Word of God but the Word of God is even more than the book that we call the bible. His foolishness is wiser than any mans wisdom is it not? If you do not understand who Jesus is you will not understand the Second Coming when He returns. We cannot be like the religious leaders in the time of Jesus using our presumed knowledge to explain His Words. The bible explains itself. Not one verse lacks it's mate and it takes the Holy Spirit to gather them, not the historical and theoretical thoughts and accounts of mankind. Luke 4:21 as He spoke the scripture was fulfilled in their hearing...He is the scripture right in their midst, the Word in the flesh. John 5:39 The scripture testifies of Him....What more is needed? I hope you are open hearted...and humble as well so that you can see God for who He is.
    Anonymous said...
    The story of David and Goliath is in chapter 17...

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