Who is the hero in the story of David and Goliath?

“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” -Luke 24:27

I am going to be preaching from 1 Samuel 17 this Sunday which is all about David and Goliath. There is a sad irony when it comes to the story of David and Goliath. It is one of the most famous stories in all of Scripture and simultaneously it is one of the least understood.

The traditional understanding of the story of David and Goliath goes like this:

  • David is the hero. I’m kinda like him.
  • The Israelites are dopes who lacked faith. Glad I’m not like them.
  • Goliath represents all the problems that we face in life. Armed with courage I can defeat all my problems in life.

Perhaps you are wondering what is the problem with this traditional understanding of the story of David and Goliath. Here is the real problem. This interpretation only scratches the surface behind what is really being communicated in 1 Samuel 17. Here is what we need to know, Jesus is the hero of this story!

Skeptical? Let’s examine 5 ways that this passage points us beyond David and towards King Jesus.

  1. David and Jesus are both from Bethlehem. Not convincing enough? Keep reading.
  2. David is a literal shepherd, Jesus is referred to in Scripture as the good Shepherd.
  3. David and Jesus were sent by their father.
  4. David and Jesus were rejected by family and friends.
  5. David and Jesus both functioned as representatives. David represents the army of Israel. If David wins then the Israeli Army is kept from becoming slaves to the Philistines. Jesus represents the human race. When Jesus wins, through his death and resurrection, he makes a way for all men and women to escape the slavery of sin and death.

The truth is that I could go on and on but Scripture is abundantly clear that David is a type, a foreshadowing regarding the true King of Kings, Jesus Christ.

Uh, so what? Is it really a big deal if we fail to see Jesus as the hero of this story?

Where do I even start to answer this question? When we fail to see Jesus as the hero we lose sight of where all of our power for living comes from in the first place. It is only through Christ that we are empowered to live out our day-today life. “You can defeat your giants” sounds nice but without Christ it’s an impossibility.

If you speak about David and Goliath and leave out the gospel you have a TED Talk, not a sermon. It is void of anything that has the power to change the human heart.

I have noticed something else insidious about failing to properly understand this story. When we divorce 1 Samuel 17 from Jesus we end up twisting Christianity into a moralistic religion. “Look what you can accomplish if you just have enough faith!” Both the prosperity Gospel and the American Dream feed off of this water-downed version of Christianity and turn it into an inspirational story about overcoming your problems and having your best life now. If you doubt this actually occurs then read THIS.

What kind of application for everyday life can we draw from the fact that Jesus is the hero?

  • We can live with a deep sense of GRATITUDE. Jesus did for us what we could never in a millions years do, defeated sin and death.
  • Since our greatest enemy has been defeated we can be BOLD. If we don’t need to fear death is there anything on earth that should keep us from tirelessly, courageously working for the kingdom of God?
  • We can live life knowing that we are deeply LOVED because of what Christ did for us. Everything that Jesus sacrificed (leaving heaven, dying on a cross, bearing the wrath of God) was done because of his great love for us.
  • We can DROP THE SPIRITUAL PRETENSE of acting like we have it all together. Jesus is the hero, not us. Take a deep breath and relax. We were dead in the trespasses of our sins when Jesus rescued us (Romans 5:8). We are not saved by our own efforts and we do not remain saved by our own efforts. Salvation from start to finish is based on the work of Jesus Christ. Rest in this truth.
  • We need to know that our problems or circumstances are not our greatest enemy. Our greatest enemy is our LACK OF FAITH in what God has done and what He wants to do through us. The Israelites in 1 Samuel 17 were paralyzed with fear and refused to fight the Philistines because they failed to believe that God would help them to be victorious. Unbelief in God is our greatest enemy.

I believe that those sermons which are fullest of Christ are the most likely to be blessed to the conversion of the hearers. Let your sermons be full of Christ, from beginning to end crammed full of the gospel. As for myself, brethren, I cannot preach anything else but Christ and His cross, for I know nothing else, and long ago, like the apostle Paul, I determined not to know anything else save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. People have often asked me, “What is the secret of your success?” I always answer that I have no other secret but this, that I have preached the gospel,–not about the gospel, but the gospel,–the full, free, glorious gospel of the living Christ who is the incarnation of the good news. Preach Jesus Christ, brethren, always and everywhere; and every time you preach be sure to have much of Jesus Christ in the sermon. You remember the story of the old minister who heard a sermon by a young man, and when he was asked by the preacher what he thought of it he was rather slow to answer, but at last he said, “If I must tell you, I did not like it at all; there was no Christ in your sermon.” “No,” answered the young man, “because I did not see that Christ was in the text.” “Oh!” said the old minister, “but do you not know that from every little town and village and tiny hamlet in England there is a road leading to London? Whenever I get hold of a text, I say to myself, ‘There is a road from here to Jesus Christ, and I mean to keep on His track till I get to Him.’” “Well,” said the young man, “but suppose you are preaching from a text that says nothing about Christ?” “Then I will go over hedge and ditch but what I will get at Him.” So must we do, brethren; we must have Christ in all our discourses, whatever else is in or not in them. There ought to be enough of the gospel in every sermon to save a soul. Take care that it is so when you are called to preach before Her Majesty the Queen, and if you have to preach to charwomen or chairmen, still always take care that there is the real gospel in every sermon.”

-Charles Spurgeon

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