In the story of David and Goliath, there is the usual theme of God using ordinary people to do extraordinary things. As you dig into the story and the context and the history, it becomes clearer how God uses His ordinary people.
In 1 Samuel, we find Goliath ready to fight the Israelites. He is seeking revenge for the last battle during which Jonathan and his armor bearer essentially took on the whole Philistine army by themselves—and won. The book goes on in Chapter 17 to describe Goliath’s armor and his weapons. We find that Goliath had clothed/armed himself in brass. Throughout the Bible, brass is used as a symbol of judgment. Basically then, Goliath has clothed or armed himself in judgment. He has sought to avenge the deaths of his people with judgment.
Next we find David (who was earlier in the palace playing his harp for King Saul) being sent home to tend to his sheep. He is told by his father to head back to the battle to take his brothers (who had been passed over for the anointing of the throne earlier) food and refreshment for the battle in which they were fighting for Saul. David follows his father’s orders humbly, and when he arrives to the battlefield, acts like any other annoying little brother would by asking a ton of questions. Through a series of events, David gets upset: upset that the name of his God is being defamed. Inside of him grows a passion to fight for God, and he believes through God, he can defeat the 9-foot giant, Goliath.
Word of David’s confidence (or stupidity) makes its way to Saul, and Saul calls on David to find out what is going on. Saul tells David there is no way; he is too young and small. David goes on to explain to Saul that he has killed a lion and a bear with his bare hands and that this Philistine ogre who has defamed the name of David’s living God would be just like that lion and bear. Saul finally agrees to let David fight but first gives him his own helmet: made of …brass. David tries it on and says basically, "this does not fit me, I cannot fight in this brass helmet." He takes it off, grabs his sling and five stones. In Jewish/Hebrew tradition, the number five is the number of grace. The word "stone" in I Samuel is the same Hebrew word David uses in psalms when he prophesies Christ as the "stone which the builders rejected."
Are you with me?
David has shrugged of fighting with judgment (brass) by saying it does not fit him and has picked up a handful of grace, of Jesus’ grace (five stones). The Bible says that Goliath talked some trash, and David responded with his own trash talking, all the while proclaiming his motivation: Goliath has defamed God! But how does David fight the battle? Does he fight in judgment of goliath’s attitude and lifestyle? No, he fights with grace. He first discredits judgment and fights with grace.
How many times do we fight "for God" with judgment? How many times do we judge people for not believing what we believe? Maybe we are trying to witness to someone, and they just won’t listen or transformation has not happened so we judge them.
Maybe what really impacts lives is grace. Maybe God’s battles are only won in grace.
Historically, traditional Philistine armor covered most of a warrior’s body … all but the forehead. David’s stone hit Goliath in that one place where he was vulnerable.
God’s grace is that one thing that can work past all the armor, all the judgment a person has. Grace and grace alone.
Maybe it is time we shrugged off our brass armor … after all, judgment does not fit us. Maybe it is time we fight for God with grace.
1 Samuel 7