This is the most famous story from David’s life, and one of the most notable stories in the entire Old Testament. So much so that even today, if an underdog beats a more experienced and powerful opponent, we call it a “David and Goliath” story.
At the beginning of chapter 17, we find the armies of Israel and Philistia at a stalemate. Each army is camped on one side of a deep valley, and neither wants to go down into it first because then their enemy will have the high ground. Since the armies will not fight in open battle, the Philistine champion Goliath goes down into the valley each day to taunt the Israelites, daring them to come down and fight him. Each day, the morale in the Israelite camp gets lower, and more soldiers leave the camp to go home.
By the time David arrives to bring food to his brothers, this had been going on for nearly six weeks. Immediately, David begins to assess the situation. Remember - David was not just “some kid.” He knew that it was God’s plan for him to be king one day, and David enters this situation thinking like a leader. He saw that, if Goliath continues his taunting, that the Philistines will eventually defeat Israel without even having to fight. Someone had to do something, and if no one else was willing, then David was the man for the job.
Why was David so confident he could win when an entire army full of soldiers were shaking in their boots? Why was he willing to go toe-to-toe with a literal giant, when he had never so much as put on a suit of armor? David gives his answer when he talks to King Saul in verse 37: “The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” (NLT)
David was confident that he would be victorious because he knew that the fight was not between him and Goliath, but between God and Goliath. As big as Goliath was, he was no match for the Lord. This battle wouldn’t be won by skill at arms, but by faith.
But also notice that this isn’t the first time David has had to put his trust in God. His faith didn’t come from nowhere - he had faced danger before at the hands of lions and bears, and each time God had watched out for him. He didn’t just think God might protect him, he knew it from experience.
David was able to step out in faith when it mattered because he had prepared for this moment his whole life. He was an expert at relying upon God - first in the little things, then in bigger moments. When the big test finally came, when a nation hung in the balance, David simply did what he had trained to do.
What are you preparing for? Are you practicing relying upon God? Will you be ready for the difficult tests that life will bring your way? Or, like the soldiers in the camp, will you be caught off-guard, unprepared for the challenge?
Ask God to give you the faith to begin trusting him in the small struggles of life. Pray that He will help you to see those moments where He is at your side. Ask that He would prepare you for whatever life is bringing your way.\