1 Samuel 17
Sometimes I am surprised by the things that come to my mind when I am reading my Bible. I see things I have never seen before and think thoughts I’ve never thought before. At times my ideas seem so outlandish that I’m afraid to talk to anyone about them. I recently read 1 Samuel 17, the account of David and Goliath.
Goliath was challenging and opposing the army of Israel on a daily basis. Saul and his army sat behind their front lines and listened to the challenges and did nothing. They were afraid. No one was willing to stand up and fight this enemy. They waited and waited while not knowing what it was they were waiting for. And so the church has stood behind the lines for generations while the opposition has strengthened its position and hurled its challenges. The American church has stood on its history while waiting for something to happen. It has become increasingly isolationist and irrelevant as the years have passed.
David arrived on the scene at the front lines and began asking inconvenient questions. Surely older experienced warriors resented his questioning. He showed no fear of the Philistine and wondered aloud why nothing was being done. But David was attacked by his brother for being conceited and wicked. And so some Davids arose in the church and began asking inconvenient questions of church leaders and denominations. Why isn’t the church engaging the culture? Why are we living separately? Shouldn’t we advance in the name of Jesus and listen to what the society has to say and enter into dialogue? But the church criticized the Davids and implied they had become liberal while they were the ones who were holding onto the truth. Suddenly, the opposition was no longer the culture but the church itself.
Saul gave David his armor. “Here, son. Take my armor. I’ve always worn it against my enemies. All the warriors wear armor. It’s the way we’ve always fought.” But David could not feel comfortable in the armor. He was not used to the way the warriors of Israel fought. This was a big problem for the church. The young Davids did not fight in the same way they had always fought. They had their own weapons. They actually wanted to go out and meet the giant without the old armor!
David went forth in the name of the LORD Almighty and confronted Goliath. He went forth in faith. He believed that the battle was the Lord’s and the Lord was going before him to fight for him. It was not the sword or spear that would save him. It was not the weapons of the old ways that would protect him. And so the church has to deal with Davids who fight the battle with different weapons. Perhaps the old warriors shake their heads and sit back to watch thinking the young Davids will be destroyed. Or perhaps they fear that the young Davids will fail because they have abandoned the old ways. They may even believe that the young Davids are not fighting for the church anymore because of the way they fight. But David killed Goliath because the Lord was with him and things were never the same in Israel again.