Monday 16 February 2015

Some notes on 1 Sam 17

I love the David and Goliath narrative and have preached it a few times, always learning something fresh. Here’s a few notes that have helped me get a grip on the passage:

1 Sam 17 is a temptation scene: God’s people fail to trust in the Lord, tempted by a scale-armoured snake until his head is crushed

1 Sam 17 is an abdication: Saul won’t fight for his people despite the fact that
-       it’s his job to go out before his people and fight their battles (8:20),
-       he’s their own giant (9:2)
-       God has promised to strengthen the king (2:10)
And so he hands over his armour to David the way a cowardly sheriff hands over his badge in a Western.

1 Sam 17:26 is a turning point. Before that everyone think it’s a fight between Philistines and Israelites. David knows it’s a fight between the Philistines and the living God. Remembering that makes our enemies a lot smaller. After 17:26 Goliath isn’t called Goliath anymore. He’s just “the Philistine.” He’s been cut down to size.

1 Sam 17 is a slow story. The Israelites and Philistines faced each other for 40 days, morning and evening (17:16). That means the Israelites stood there listening to Goliath’s taunts 80 times. And every time “they all ran from him in great fear” (17:24). Forgetting the Lord hands us over to fear.

Notice the shouting. The Israelites give a battle cry every time they march to battle (17:20). I bet that sounded good on Day 1. Not so good on Day 30, Day 39…

Notice one more shout in 17:52. I bet that one sounded good. God’s people see the Lord powerfully deliver them through an apparently weak king, they celebrate, and do battle with an already defeated enemy. That there’s the Christian life.