David: The Battle is the Lord’s‏

1 Samuel 17:17-53

One day, my father said to me: “Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance from them. They are with Saul and all the men ofIsraelin theValleyofElah, fighting against the Philistines.”

Early the next morning, I left my father’s flocks with a shepherd, loaded up, and set out, just as my father had directed me to do.  I reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry. Israeland the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other.  I left my things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines, and greeted my brothers.  As I was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion fromGath, stepped out and shouted his usual defiance:

“Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.  This day I defy the ranks ofIsrael! Give me a man and let us fight each other.”  

When the men from our army saw the giant, they ran from him in fear.  “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defyIsrael,” one of our men said to those gathered near. 

I asked the men standing around me: “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace fromIsrael? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

“The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his father’s family from taxes inIsrael,” came the response. 

I could tell that my oldest brother was uncomfortable with my involvement in the matter; in fact, he was seething with anger.  “Why have you come down here?” he asked.  “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?” I exclaimed.  “Can’t I even speak?”

Apparently, I had been vocal enough to warrant the attention of King Saul.  It wasn’t long before I was notified that the king had summoned me.  I felt no shame in the words I had spoken, so I went before the king in confidence. 

“Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine,” I said to Saul.  “Your servant will go and fight him.”

Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth.”

I would not be discouraged.  “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.  The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”

In response, Saul said to me: “Go, and the LORD be with you.”

I was surprised when Saul had me dressed in his own tunic.  He put a coat of armor on me and a bronze helmet on my head.  I fastened my own sword over the tunic and tried walking around, but I was not accustomed to the weight of the armor and found that I couldn’t move freely. 

“I cannot go in these,” I said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So I took them off.  Then I took my staff in hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of my shepherd’s bag and, with sling in hand, approached the Philistine.

All the while, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to me.  He looked me over, his eyes glinting with hatred.  He said to me, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed me by my gods.  “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”

I said to the Philistine: “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies ofIsrael, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God inIsrael. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

As the Philistine moved closer to attack me, I ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into my bag and taking out a stone, I slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. I watched in satisfaction as the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.

I had killed him!

For a moment, I stood rooted to the ground, uncertain of what I should do next.  Behind me, I heard the footsteps of hundreds of men as the enemy was pressed back.  We had triumphed with God’s help, and He had been our protector— my protector— this day.  As the Israelites plunged forward and began to plunder the Philistines, I lifted my face and praised Him with incredible thankfulness.

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