David Pre-Goliath

When I hear stories of David and Goliath, I picture a near-child fresh from the field where he peacefully watches sheep. I picture a scrawny guy that people looked on saying, "Who is this kid? Did he get permission to be out there?" And I picture a naive adventure-seeker happily facing a giant knowing God would help him win.

There may be some of those images that shadow the truth, but reading the story again gave me fresh insight. Insight to the preparation David had before he met Goliath. Maybe some hints at the preparation we are in now, getting ready for the giants God wants us to face for His glory.

1 | Receive God's protection in the "lesser beasts."

When Saul was hesitant to let David go face Goliath, David explained his credentials. You see, he wasn't peacefully pondering life every moment he watched his father's sheep. There were predators out to get his sheep--predators he had to face. When a lion or bear took one of the sheep, he went after it. He took the sheep safely from its mouth, and when the animal turned on him, he "grabbed it by its beard."

Facing these beasts prepared David both in practice and in faith to face Goliath. And that was essential for his "resume" when he was convincing Saul he was qualified. God delivered him from the lion and the bear, and He would deliver him from Goliath. (I Sam. 17:34-37)

2 | Be upright and reliable in all tasks.

David and Saul first met before Goliath was a problem. Saul was distressed and was told a skillful harp-player would ease these episodes. They brought David in, and Saul loved him. He respected him and made him his armor bearer. This respect was the foundation for David being brought before Saul at the battlefield.

David was visiting his brothers and had bold opinions against an uncircumcised Phillistine defying the armies of God. David's words were reported to Saul, and Saul called to speak with David. It's possible Saul would not have cared about these bold opinions if David hadn't first won over his favor as his armor-bearer and harpist. (I Sam. 16:14-23, 17:31)

3 | Graciously accept "little brother" responsibilities.

David's father sent him to take food to his brothers and to see how they were doing so he could report back to his father. This seems less an act of valor, and more a little brother's busy work. But he did it faithfully. Obeying his father (and God) in the little things, led Him to be faithful and courageous in the much larger things for which he is most commonly known. (I Sam. 17:17-20)

conclusion | Don't rush it.

Sometimes I'm inspired by David facing his giant and want to jump in with the same faith and conviction against the giants in my life. But maybe, I'm still in the beginning steps. Maybe I need to first follow God's lead to do well where I am. Maybe I need to face the smaller obstacles in my life with faith and conviction that God will protect me. Maybe I need to first humble myself to be a servant.

And maybe that's a good thing. Because the admiration David got after defeating Goliath led to jealousy from Saul, and David had to run for his life. Maybe I'm not quite ready for that. (I Sam. 18:7-14)

Whether God leads me to slay a giant is up to Him. I'll never know if I don't start with what He's given me, moving forward in faith each step, each task, in His time.

Where do you see yourself in David's pre-Goliath story?