In the previous “blog study” we looked at David as an example of a person who had faith in God and lived out that faith in his everyday life. At times David took great risks of faith with God. The key is “with God” and from his “relationship” with God.
Keys that characterize David’s faith:
- David knew God through the scriptures. David discerned God’s character and heart for men as he read the word of God. David believed what he read about God and took that into his heart and mind. David spoke these truths to himself and integrated these truths into his life. It is knowing and believing truths about God that made David able to take risks of faith.
- David valued and esteemed God. David was in absolute awe of God. David’s heart was set to honor God. Read Psalms 63:1-3 and 27:4 to get a glimpse of David’s genuine heart for God.
- David had an acute awareness of God’s presence in his life. David was able to discern God helping him, supporting him, training him and protecting him in various situations in his life. David took these things to heart, remembered them and connected them to his present circumstances. These experiences fueled David’s faith.
An example of this is in 1 Samuel 17:34-37, David tells Saul that God helped him to kill a lion and a bear when they went after the sheep. He connects that experience with facing Goliath and believes God will do the same with Goliath.
Risks – Living Faith
David had a deep relationship with God. He valued God. He esteemed God. He feared God and was devoted to “do life with God.” Because of the strength of David’s heart for God, he lived out of his faith in God and took risks that honored God and helped others.
A Personal Reflection: I have to stop here and think about my life and my relationship with God. Is my relationship with God really a “relationship?” Or am I going through a series of “spiritual activities” that give me a false sense of a relationship with God? Do I know truths about God’s character? Do I believe those truths and bring them into my daily consciousness and use those truths to uphold me in difficult situations?
Risking Life – Come from Personal Connection
In 1 Samuel 17, we read of the encounter between David and Philistine giant, Goliath.
1 Samuel 17: 10, Goliath brazenly, with no fear, states that he “defies” the armies of Israel. It seems he postured and railed thus for 40 days (v.16). David’s heart picked up on the fact that this man was railing against God, as well as His people. David personally felt the insult and disrespect of Goliath for God and God’s people.
- A Personal Reflection: I have to ask myself: Do I personally connect with God, am I insulted on behalf of God by the “railing” of the world against God and truth? Or is my faith more just in my head, but not my heart?
Goliath defied God and Israel. In this context the word “defy” means: to hold in contempt, to scorn, to belittle, to denigrate, to shame and to blaspheme.
David was insulted on behalf of God. He took a stand and asked, “Who is this pagan Philistine anyway that he should be allowed to defy the armies of the living God,” 1 Sam. 17:26
To David, Goliath was not a giant, but a man without faith or fear of God. David steps forward in faith, without armor or supporting troops. Looking at David in that moment, he is mismatched, vulnerable, outnumbered, alone, and exposed.
Fighting Words – Faith Words
David knows God. He has truths embedded in his heart that he learned from the scriptures and from his experience with God. David spoke these truths about God to himself, to all the people watching from a distance, and to Goliath as he stepped forward to encounter him.
“…I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.” (1 Sam. 17:45-47)
David was not alone, God was with him. David’s armor and shield was God. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why we see so many references in David’s psalms to God as his Shield, his Champion, his Rock, his Strong Tower, and so on.
A Relatable Faith
I read this account of the faith of David and I am in awe. I am enamored and star struck by David’s faith.
Then I think: I can’t relate to this. David is a super spiritual hero in the scriptures. I cannot have this faith. I have struggles and serious flaws in my character. I have made many mistakes in my life.
As I read further in the life of David, I see he was not a perfect man. He did not do everything right. God described him as “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14), yet David was flawed; he sinned. One might say that David made a royal mess of things. He lusted. He committed adultery (2 Sam. 11:2-5). He arranged for the death of a man who was loyal to him, and then tried to cover up both the adultery and the murder (2 Sam. 11:6-17).
David’s track record with parenting his children was not the best. His son Amnon forced himself on his sister (2 Sam. 13:1-15). His other son Absalom killed Amnon. (2 Sam. 13:20-32). Absalom then rose up in insurrection against King David his father and attempted to take the throne. (2 Sam. 15:1-14).
God Sees Something I Don’t
Even many years after the truth of David’s life is known, God continued to describe David in the scriptures as a “man after God’s heart,” Acts 13:22.
- After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ Acts 13:22
While I am impressed with the stand David took for God with Goliath, I am honestly more drawn to the type of intimate relationship that David had with God. This relationship was born of God’s love for David as well as David’s love for God. It is a mutual relationship.
As I read further in 1 and 2 Samuel and the Psalms, I see that I can have a relationship with God like David had. It is a matter of the heart, not of perfect performance. I don’t have to be perfect, just faithful.
I can, like David, make my heart’s home in God and let my life flow from that. The Message version states this in an impressive way.
- “God, the one and only—I’ll wait as long as he says. Everything I hope for comes from him, so why not? He’s solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, an impregnable castle: I’m set for life. My help and glory are in God —granite-strength and safe-harbor-God—so trust him absolutely, people; lay your lives on the line for him. God is a safe place to be.” Psalm 62:5-8
Jesus – Makes It Reality
Jesus, the ultimate hero in the story of God has made it possible for me and you to have a deep personal relationship with God. In fact, such an intimate relationship has always been God’s heart and will for us and Him.
“In Christ, he chose us before the world was made. In his love he chose us to be his holy people—people without blame before him. And before the world was made, God decided to make us his own children (relationship) through Jesus Christ. That was what he wanted and what pleased him.” Ephesians 1:4-5 (NCV)