The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
We are in the midst of a study of the life of David, seeking to better understand why God would call David—who was most definitely a sinner in need of a Savior, just like you and me—“a man after my own heart”(Acts 13:22). Last week we looked at David’s repentance and reverence; on Monday we saw his heart of thanksgiving. Today we will see that David was so trusting in the goodness of his God that when fear came knocking at his door, David’s faith would always answer.
Perhaps the best example of David’s total trust in God is his famous confrontation with Goliath of Gath. You’ll recall that God had sent the prophet Samuel to Jesse of Bethlehem to anoint one of his sons as king of Israel. Although David was the youngest son (Jesse did not even initially think to present David to Samuel, certain that one of the older boys would be selected), God chose David because of his heart, for “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
Not long after that, Israel and the Philistines were ready to do battle. David was still too young for military service, so David’s father sent him to take supplies to his older brothers in the Israelite camp. When David arrived there, he heard the Philistine champion, Goliath, taunting the Israelite army and challenging them to send out one man to fight him. In the ancient world, an army would often opt to avoid the high human cost of battle by pitting its strongest warrior against the strongest warrior of the enemy. The man-to-man combat would determine the winning side, thereby avoiding much bloodshed.
The stage was now set for David to demonstrate his “giant” trust in God. David heard Goliath’s mocking challenge, and he watched in amazement as his fellow Israelites, including King Saul, shrank back in fear from the towering Philistine. David went to King Saul and said, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him” (1 Samuel 17:32). Saul flatly rejected the idea; after all, David was merely a shepherd boy and Goliath was a seasoned man of war.
David persisted; he told Saul how God had protected him when both lions and bears had sought to attack his father’s sheep and declared that “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:37).
Some 400 years later, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would exhibit the very same trust in God when they stood before Nebuchadnezzar and said, “We do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king” (Daniel 3:16-17).
Saul finally agreed that David could represent Israel, and when Goliath mocked David and cursed him, David declared, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head” (1 Samuel 17:45). And that is exactly what happened!
At the deepest level, this story points to a greater King: Jesus, who conquered an even more terrible enemy—Satan. But that is a discussion that I will reserve for my “Surprised by Jesus” sermon series. I hope you’ll join me—either in person or online—to learn more about how Jesus is revealed in so many Old Testament passages. Today I simply want you to see how completely David trusted in his God. David recalled how God had delivered him in the past, and he was sure that God could be trusted to deliver him in the present.
You and I can and should have this kind of confident trust in God as well. Take a minute and ask yourself: What “giants” has God delivered you from in the past? Can He not be trusted to deliver you again today, regardless of the difficulties you face?
Remember that the same Nebuchadnezzar who sentenced Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to death would one day raise his eyes to heaven and say of the sovereign Lord, “He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: ‘What have you done?’” (Daniel 4:35). Never forget, Christian, that the power that is at work within you is infinitely greater than any power that can ever come against you. No giant, no pagan ruler, no coronavirus . . . nothing in this world is greater than He who holds the universe together by the power of His word (Hebrews 1:3). And that means, as Charles Spurgeon once said, that you can completely trust God’s heart even when you cannot trace His hand.
Is total trust in God the confession of your life today? This was one of the marks of David’s heart, and it is a mark of the man or woman who truly has a heart for God.This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!