Three Cheers for the Underdog

 from Lynda Lindsey

David to Saul: Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him. I Samuel 17:32

David to Goliath, the Philistine Giant: 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 of Israel, whom you have defied. I Samuel 17:45

Who doesn’t love a story where the upstart and bully is put down, the underdog wins, and courage and bravery overcome cowardice and fear? The account of David overcoming Goliath has it all!

Two armies sit atop two hills, each facing the opposing side with a valley in between. King Saul and the Israelites, terrified and dismayed, are facing Goliath’s jeers and insults. Goliath, a Philistine champion and giant over nine feet tall is strutting in full battle array, taunting and defying Israel’s God. Goliath, wearing more than 140 pounds of armor, is carrying a shield, spear and javelin, and he is preceded into battle position by his own armor bearer.

David, newly anointed in private as Israel’s next king, filled with power from the Holy Spirit, and the youngest of any of his brothers fighting in Saul’s army, visits his brothers seeking after their welfare. David is accused of abandoning their father’s sheep and being an “ambulance-chaser,” or thrill seeker. Shocked that Goliath should go unchallenged after defying the Army of the Living God, David volunteers to go into battle against the Philistine. David rejects both Saul’s objections and Saul’s weapons, wisely relying on his shepherd’s staff, his slingshot and stones. As a shepherd, David knew how to defend his sheep from predators, and David understood that it was God that brought deliverance, no matter what weapons were employed.

And the rest, as they say, is history! The bully, defiant to the end, is incredulous that a boy is running to attack. And the boy, who placed 5 stones into his shepherd’s bag, only needed one to fell the giant to the ground. The disbelieving Philistines turned and fled with the Israelite army in hot pursuit. David is brought before Saul for commendation, still holding the dripping head of Goliath! David knew it was unwise to taunt the Lord God Almighty. Do we?