Beginning June 10th, we will continue our ongoing look at some of the most familiar and well-loved passages/stories in the Bible with a short series focusing on the story of David and Goliath from 1 Samuel 17. Like the other passages we have examined like the story of Jonah and the 23rd Psalm, the story of the young shepherd David taking on and defeating the giant Goliath is one that is very well-known to persons both inside and outside the church. In fact, the use of David vs. Goliath as a metaphor has become synonymous with any seemingly uneven contest in sports, politics, business, or anywhere else such confrontations occur.
What is clear is that for all of us, it is much easier to identify with David in the story. After all, who doesn’t love an underdog? Didn’t we all cheer when #16-seed Maryland-Baltimore County slayed the giant #1-seed Virginia in the recent NCAA basketball tournament? And the truth of this story is that this contest between the shepherd boy and the 9-foot behemoth represents a contest that should have been even more lopsided than a #16 vs. #1 matchup in any kind of tournament! And so in those times of life when we feel like the underdog, this story speaks to the reality of God’s presence and power with us when some “Goliath” is making us fearful or miserable for whatever reason.
But here’s another way to think about the story that we will be exploring as well: Living as we do in a culture that promotes power and in a place where we have so much compared to the vast majority of the rest of the world, it is hard to argue that we 21st century American Christians are in any way “underdogs”. And so like it or not, in the big picture we may have more in common with Goliath than David. And so the question becomes how do we use our power to reach out to those beneath us in positive and responsible ways?
So it will be these issues and others that we will be pondering in this story. Because like all good (and familiar) stories in the Bible, there is always more than meets the eye, or more to them than we may have learned in Sunday School!