Not As They Appear

Ruins in Rome. Even the great Empire fell. 


  The Philistine came on and drew near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him.
(1 Sam. 17:41 NRSV)


We come to the high point of the story of David and Goliath. They stand, facing one another, prepared to do battle. Goliath is participating in the usual theatrics, calling out jeers and taunting the young shepherd who stands before him. Dressed in the finest armor of the day, it’s believed that Goliath had relationships with foreign countries, as the description of his gear would indicate. Not only was he a skilled warrior, but he was armed with mass weaponry and defenses. 

Part of Goliath’s defensive armor was his shield-bearer. This man provided an extra layer of defense as he provided a barrier between Goliath and the one he would fight. This would leave Goliath free to use his arms in battle. 

This is the vision of the enemy who stood before the simple shepherd. David appeared to have no weaponry, nor defensive armor. He had no shield-bearer and instead, came armed with all that he knew. David was armed with the knowledge of God and the inspiration to use the skills God had given him. God doesn’t waste anything, and the lions and bears that David had faced in the past were simply times in which to hone his skills for the real battle. He was fully prepared, only no one could see it. 


Again we have to see the application of the role of David to that of the Messiah. Just a week ago we remembered Jesus’ death and crucifixion. He faced the enemy of the Roman government and the religious officials. They were armed to the hilt with the weapons of their day. Jesus was nailed to a cross, suffering the most horrific form of execution in the day. There he was, on the cross, looking as if he had no weapons. The enemy taunted our Savior, thinking he had nothing to offer. 

But then God let loose his mighty power and the stone hit home! Or, in Jesus’ case, the stone was rolled away. In that moment, David experienced a victory that no one anticipated, and Jesus became victorious over sin and death. 

As a little footnote, I find the shield-bearer an interesting character in this story. I think he’s probably often overlooked. However, with all of Goliath’s height and weaponry, why in the world did he think he needed a shield-bearer when facing David? It seems that Goliath was pretty stuck in his way of thinking and used the traditional modes of fighting. However, the shield-bearer must have been there the whole time. What was he doing when David went over and cut off Goliath’s head? Did he just stand there in awe and watch? Did he run away? Why didn’t he do something? Maybe it’s because so much of what Goliath had was just for looks. There was no real power there, only the ability to scare people. The enemy is still employing the same tactics today. 

Look around! Things are not as they appear. When we focus on the things of this world and the ways in which they can affect our lives, we forget that we are servants of the most high God. David trusted entirely in the weaponry that God had given him and believed that it could be more powerful than anything the world could throw at him. 


Lord, please help me to listen to you and follow your direction. Give me patience with all those whom you place into my life and pathway. May the love of Christ overflow in all that we do. Amen. 


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