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30 DAY STORY OF THE BIBLE #13


1 SAMUEL 17:12-58 – DAVID AND GOLIATH

Israel demanded a king to fight their battles for them. God gave them what they wanted: Saul, son of Kish, who stood head and shoulders above all the people. Such a man should indeed be able to lead them into battle.

Initially, Saul was humble. Soon, however, he showed a different spirit. When Jabesh-Gilead sent to Saul for help against their Ammonite besiegers, Saul responded. He cut his oxen into pieces, and sent them to each tribe, demanding that they come with him to Jabesh to rescue it – under threat of their oxen being cut in pieces. The people responded; Jabesh was rescued, but Saul showed he would rule with threats, not lead with love.

In 3 other recorded incidents, Saul showed he was unfit to be king. First, he impatiently took to himself the function of a priest (1 Sam 13). Result? Samuel warned him his kingdom would not continue. Second, a rash command while routing the Philistine led to confrontation between Saul and Jonathan, his son. Jonathan had unknowingly disobeyed Saul’s order by eating a little honey while chasing the Philistines, which began after Jonathan left camp to do some reconnoitering on his own. He defeated a large group of them with his armorbearer, yet Saul was ready to kill Jonathan for his ignorant “disobedience” to the foolish order not to eat. (1 Sam 14). Third, God told Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites as retribution for an unprovoked attack on Israel while in the wilderness. He said they all should die,  men, women, children, and even the livestock. Instead, Saul spared King Agag and brought the best of the animals back. When Samuel accused him of disobedience, he made excuses, blaming the people. At this, Samuel told him the LORD had rejected him from being king of Israel (1 Sam 15).

Then David comes into the STORY. Samuel was sent to anoint David as the next king of Israel while he was a shepherd boy in his father’s house (1 Sam 16). Soon after this his encounter with Goliath took place.

Saul and his army were camped across the Valley of Elah from the Philistines. A 9 1/2 foot giant, Goliath, came out challenging Israel to send a man to face him in single combat to decide the battle. Morning and evening, he came out making this challenge for 40 days, terrifying Saul and the army.

Jesse sent David to take a “care package” to his brothers who were with Saul. When David heard the giant’s challenge, he was mortified. Could no one face “this uncircumcised Philistine” who would “defy the armies of the living God”? When the soldiers took David to Saul, he said “Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine!” And he did. And he won – because he went with a giant faith in God.

Saul, had he been the right kind of king, would have met Goliath himself. Instead, he sat in his tent waiting for someone else to do what the people wanted a king to do: fight their battles for them. A young shepherd boy, untrained in battle, but strong in faith and courage did what the king should have done.

The rest of 1 Samuel is the STORY of tension between David and Saul. David was a humble servant; Saul was a jealous king. David won the hearts of the people; Saul feared David because of his lust for personal adulation. Having a king was not enough. Israel needed the right king if they were to bless the nations.

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