Shepherding may appear to be a strange education to prepare a man for kingship. Indeed, nothing in David’s background suggests he will ever be a leader. God does not promise David He will make him king if he fights Goliath. Many overlook the fact Samuel has already anointed David to be King before he fights Goliath in the valley of Elah (I Sam. 16:13). God’s anointing is upon David prior to his epic exploit.
For forty days, the Philistine’s champion warrior taunts, intimidates and demoralizes the army of Israel (I Sam. 17:16). This imposing figure stands over nine feet tall (v. 4). His armor and weaponry correspond to his great height. His coat of iron is made of flexible metal plates which overlap each other like fish scales. Although this type of protection is common in ancient oriental warfare, Goliath’s armor weighs 140 pounds (v. 5). This giant holds a massive shaft topped with an iron spearhead weighing seventeen pounds (v. 7).
Upon hearing Goliath’s daily taunts, David inquires why this pagan has not been dealt with (v. 26). David’s eldest brother, Eliab, accuses him of neglecting the sheep (v. 28). But criticism does not deter those determined to kill giants. David goes forth to meet the behemoth, undaunted by the opinion of others. He does not compare himself with Goliath, but compares Goliath with God. This gargantuan blasphemer must be silenced (v. 36).
Saul attempts to dress David in his own armor, but David knows additional weight will be a disadvantage. He does not allow his equipment to be chosen for him. David searches for projectiles best suited for his sling. When you know you must face your biggest enemy, select your weapon and ammunition carefully. After explaining to Goliath that God will give him the victory, he runs to meet him (v. 48). David takes deliberate aim, believing God will guide his stone. The rock hurled in faith always finds its mark. He proves his prediction that God will triumph without sword or spear (v. 47). Although he stuns the giant, he is not satisfied until he is certain of his death. One must be thorough when assailing such an adversary. David does not need a sword to kill him, for he knows the weapon owned by this prideful adversary will be turned against him (Isa. 54:17). Unknowingly, the giant carries with him the instrument of his own execution, for David uses Goliath’s sword to cut off his head. When the Philistines see their champion vanquished, they flee and are pursued by the Israelites (v. 52).
David’s heroics are proof that a defining moment will occur in the life of every Believer. Little does David suspect when he goes to visit his brothers that day how God will use him. Although we do not seek battles, we should prepare for them with the equipment God provides for us. We must become familiar with the weapons of spiritual warfare and know how to use them. “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God” (II Cor. 10:4). Whatever God places in David’s hand, whether a shepherd’s staff, a sling, a sword, a pen, or a scepter, he uses it for God’s glory and not his own. Three thousand years after David’s victory, it is still true that those who defend the honor of God will always win the victory.