Scripture text for Wednesday, February 17th, 2010: 1 Samuel 16:1-18:16
I cannot believe that I am about to admit this . . . it’s scandalous and some of you may never look at me the same way again. Today I came to the realization that I had never read the story of David and Goliath from the actual Bible. I knew the story, had read it in a zillion different children’s bibles, and had even seen a movie about it, but I had failed to read this story from the source. As I sat reading I felt ridiculous, idiotic, and most of all humbled. I had never realized how multi-layered the story really was.
In the beginning of our passage we find Samuel going to anoint a new King of Israel. We are again reminded that God regularly chooses the most unlikely people. I like how the Message translates verse 7,
But GOD told Samuel, "Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. GOD judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; GOD looks into the heart."
At the end of the chapter we also find out how Saul and David meet and begin to develop a relationship. You have to wonder whether or not Saul had any idea that this musician would some day take his place.
In chapter 17 we learn about Goliath and the battle between the Philistines and the Israelites. Until this point I had always pictured this encounter as a school yard fight where all the kids back up and the only one left to fight the bully is the little nerdy kid. It seems though that David wasn’t the only one left, he instead was the only one willing. David seems to be a fiery and eager fellow. We learn something about his character in this verse 28:
David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, "Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle." "Now what have I done?" said David. "Can’t I even speak?"
It appears that David might have been the type of young man that felt that he had something to prove. I found it interesting that in this whole passage we read, there is nothing about God telling David to go and fight. It seems that David makes the decision on his own in order to defend God’s chosen people. We all know the end . . . David wins. I wonder how much David realized God’s hand in all of this? Was David proud of himself or was he humbled by what God had done through him? In any case, towards the end of our passage we learn that the people are beginning to think David is a pretty great guy and this in turn makes Saul jealous. Wouldn’t you be worried if you were Saul? David seems to be the golden boy and Saul seems to be slowly loosing his mind.
All in all, I think today’s reading showed me how important it is to try and understand the Bible stories we know from childhood in a larger context. A lot of things led up to David defeating Goliath, and the aftermath of that defeat made David Saul’s number one guy to keep an eye on.
This story will forever serve as a reminder to me that a.) you don’t know it all until you have read it from the source (i.e. the bible) and b.) the people in the Bible were not just characters in a story called the Bible, they were REAL PEOPLE just like me.
Lord help us all try and remember that the people in the Bible had a past, present and future just as we do today. Help us be mindful that the events of our past have shaped us for the tasks you put in front of us this day, and that the things we do today will affect what you ask us to do for you in the future.
Devotion prepared by Dana Teefey