1 Samuel 17: A Boy Wins A Great Victory
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The story of David and Goliath is a Sunday School favourite. There is a problem (verse 1), a villain (verse 4) and an unlikely hero (verse 32) who wins the day (verse 50). We know the story of God’s people being under attack from the Philistines; taunted by a giant champion in Goliath; the boy, David, shrugging off King Saul’s armour because it was too big and heavy for him; David selecting five smooth stones from a stream and successfully confronting Goliath with nothing more than an unswerving confidence in the name of the Lord Almighty.
Some see this as an allegory encouraging us to overcome the giants in our lives. Some suggest David’s five stones each represent some essential key to success in life (but David only needed one stone for his victory!). That would be to trivialise the grand sweep of salvation history that we are following in these devotions.
Just one chapter earlier, the prophet Samuel anointed David as the next king of Israel and he was equipped with the Spirit of Lord that came upon David with power (1 Samuel 16:13). With God’s Spirit within him, David declared his trust in the name of the Lord Almighty, the Lord who saves (1 Samuel 17:45-47). On the basis of his trust in God, God’s people were saved from their enemies as David, then only a boy, won a great victory for them.
The great hope of first century Judaism was for the Messiah to come from David’s family and from Bethlehem, the city of David (John 7:42). In Jesus, great David’s greater Son has come. Jesus is the Spirit-equipped Messiah who came not to win temporal political and military freedom from oppressors but to achieve an eternal victory over sin, death and the devil for all of God’s people.
As we stand this side of Jesus’s first coming and look back at the story of David and Goliath, we see the shadow of the cross cast across the Valley of Elah. We don’t need five smooth stones to defeat the giants in our life. We need the Son of David and trust that God counts his victory on the cross as our victory. Specifically, that God allows his death to be the substitute for the death we deserve on account of our sins. Take a moment now to thank God for Jesus, that he who knew no sin became sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
We, too, have the Spirit of God within us. He works in us through the Word of God to equip us for every good work as we await the return of Jesus. What is this good work? It is for us to be witnesses to Jesus, his saving work on the cross, his resurrection and his coming again.
The story of David and Goliath reminds us that God can and will use anyone who trusts his name (his character, his promises)—even little boys! With our focus on ministry to youth and children, is there a young person in your life who you can encourage to maturity of faith in “the Lord Almighty…the Lord [who] saves” (1 Samuel 17:45-47)? Children and youth are not ‘Christians in waiting’ but can put their trust in God today and be used by him as his witnesses in the world, today. We have a great God and a great salvation and hope in Jesus. It’s worth telling the world about.
The Lift Up Your Hearts devotional series for the month of March 2021 are provided by Canon Craig Roberts, CEO of Anglican Youthworks in Australia and his colleagues. Today’s devotion was written by Craig who is also the leader of Gafcon's Youth and Children Network. You can find more of Youthworks excellent resources here.
Pray with us today's prayer request:
Later this year, the Rev Dr Bill Salier will commence as Consultant in the GAFCON Theological Education Network (TEN). Bill currently works for the Centre for Global Mission at Moore College, Sydney and will continue to be under their umbrella. Thank God for this appointment. Pray for the Lord’s guidance and help as Bill prepares for this new role.
To access daily prayer requests click here: