1 Samuel 17:37 - And David said [to Saul], "The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "Go, and the Lord be with you."
This devotion pairs with this weekend's Lutheran Hour sermon, which can be found at lutheranhour.org.
The epic battle between David and Goliath is an upset victory for the ages. Miraculously, the underdog wins over a much superior opponent. But some historians have suggested a different take on this well-known account. It may not be the miracle story we thought it was.
It's because of this daunting weapon known as the "sling." The sling was a highly lethal weapon. A seasoned slinger could hurl a baseball-sized stone as fast as a Major League pitcher can pitch, and no less accurate. The book of Judges in the Bible reports that ancient Israel had a regiment of slingers. And everyone of them "could sling a stone at a hair and not miss" (see Judges 20:16). An experienced slinger (like David) could kill a well-armed foot solider (like Goliath) from a football field away. Goliath, and almost everyone else present that day, was envisioning a close-quarters contest with swords and shields, where the nine-foot giant would have the clear advantage. But David changed the rules. He disrupted the system. He saw another scenario, one where he would have the overwhelming advantage. And as soon as he started slinging that sling, everyone else saw it, too.
So, what kind of miracle story is this? When people today hear the account of David and Goliath, they often focus on "how"—that is, how do we overcome the "giants" in our lives? Some people might say, "Wait for God and hope for a miracle—that's how." Others say, "Change the rules, disrupt the system—that's how." But, maybe the miracle goes deeper? Maybe it's not about "how"—how to beat the odds, how to overcome obstacles. Instead, maybe it's about who—who is with us in the battle and on the way.
David, for all his forthcoming faults and failures, knows Who is with him. "The LORD will deliver me," he says. The LORD, his God, "delivered him from the hand of all his enemies" (2 Samuel 22:1b). And Goliath was not the most challenging obstacle David would face. In fact, he was probably the easiest. If we keep listening to this story of David, we'll see that David's greatest enemy is the sin and evil in his own heart (see Psalm 51). And the LORD will be him in that battle, too.
God is interested—not just in clearing obstacles—God is interested in being with His people; so much so that He changed the rules. God disrupted the system and became a human being to be with you. He sent His own Son to become the eternal King promised to the family of David (see 2 Samuel 7:12). In the unexpected victory of the ages, Jesus cleared away every obstacle, even sin, even death. But the greatest miracle isn't "how," but Who. Jesus did it to be with you.
THE PRAYER: King Jesus, Son of the living God, stay with me. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Rev. Dr. Michael Zeigler, Speaker of The Lutheran Hour.
1. When have you faced a problem that required a different perspective to find a solution?
2. Read all of 1 Samuel 17. What in this chapter "gets" you or interests you?
3. How else is Jesus a great "disruptor" of the world's systems?
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"