Deeper Insights from the Story of David and Goliath



These days, I find immense inspiration in reading biblical stories. I'm not trying to come off as religious or saintly, but there's something deeply motivating and uplifting when I delve into the nuances of these narratives. I apologize in advance if you don't subscribe to any faith or if you hold the belief that the Bible is less than genuine. 😄 Before passing judgment, take a moment to read this article to the end, and then decide whether it was motivating or not.


The story of David and Goliath is chronicled in the book of 1 Samuel 17. While many of us are familiar with the tale, it's worthwhile to provide a brief background for those who may not have heard it. The Philistines were gearing up for war against the Israelites, assembling their forces and preparing weapons. They had a formidable champion named Goliath, whose intimidating appearance was described vividly. To better grasp Goliath's size in modern terms, I asked ChatGPT for a comparison:


"To provide a modern context, one cubit is generally considered to be about 18 inches (45 centimeters). So, Goliath's height of 'six cubits and a span' would be roughly 9 feet 9 inches (about 3 meters). This is indeed a formidable and imposing height, especially in the context of ancient warfare. In today's terms, a person of such height would be exceptionally tall, as the average height for men in many parts of the world is considerably shorter."


Okay, so I got a sense of his height: 9 feet 9 inches! That's very tall; I'd need to look way up to see the face of that guy. GPT didn't provide an estimate of his weight, so I asked another question: Is there a comparison for his weight given the weight of his armor and spear iron shaft? GPT gave this response:


"The Bible provides specific details about Goliath's armor and weaponry, which can be used to make an estimate of his weight. In 1 Samuel 17:5, it mentions that Goliath's coat of scale armor was made of bronze and weighed 5,000 shekels. Additionally, his spear had an iron point that weighed 600 shekels. While the exact weight of a shekel can vary depending on historical and regional factors, a common estimate is that a shekel was roughly 11 grams. With this estimate, Goliath's armor would weigh about 55,000 grams (5,000 shekels * 11 grams/shekel), and his spear's iron point would weigh around 6,600 grams (600 shekels * 11 grams/shekel). Adding these weights to Goliath's own body weight, which is not explicitly mentioned but can be inferred from the description of his size, would give an overall estimate."


If you've ever been to the gym and tried to lift some weights, you'd realize how strong Goliath must have been to wear such heavy armor and carry a spear that weighs that much. By estimates based on what was recorded, this guy is remarkably strong: a giant who could send shivers down your spine just by his mere presence.


I understand you might wonder why I'm describing Goliath this way, but it's crucial to grasp how formidable his appearance and strength were to appreciate the rest of the story.


Goliath, the Philistine, taunted the Israelites, challenging them to send a man to fight him. He was supremely confident in his own strength and even pronounced that if anyone could defeat and kill him, the Philistines would become subjects of the Israelites; otherwise, the reverse would be the case. This proclamation likely had the full approval and support of the Philistines.


Upon hearing these pronouncements, the Israelites were terrified and dismayed. This part, when I read it, revealed to me the power of words and sight. The Israelites were dismayed and terrified because they had seen this massive giant and had likely made a reasonable estimate of how strong he must be. Goliath's appearance was, indeed, speaking volumes. Coupled with his challenging words, it showcased the significant impact words can have in instilling fear and terror.


As the Israelites grappled with their fear of this formidable adversary, the narrative introduced us to David. David, the youngest of Jesse's eight sons, was an Israelite. The three oldest sons of Jesse were on the front lines with Saul, while David, responsible for tending his father's sheep in Bethlehem, moved back and forth from Saul to fulfill his duties.


Jesse sent David to check on his brothers' welfare, deliver food, and report back to him. This part of the story provided profound insights. David entrusted the sheep he was responsible for to another shepherd, showcasing his sense of responsibility. While fulfilling his father's request, he encountered Goliath defying the Israelites.


David didn't merely observe; he asked questions about what he had witnessed. He said, "What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?" The insights here are clear: David was not afraid to ask questions to understand the stakes, and he allowed his powerful emotions to spur him into action (asking questions). Whether angered by Goliath's arrogance or motivated by other reasons, David acted upon his emotions and inquired. Never be afraid to ask questions when you're motivated to do so!


After receiving responses about the rewards for defeating Goliath, including wealth, marriage to the king's daughter, and exemption from family taxes, David had a clear understanding. However, an obstacle arose in the form of his elder brother, Eliab, who was furious with him for asking questions. David's response demonstrated two critical qualities: he didn't let his elder brother's comments dissuade him from seeking the confirmation he needed, and he recognized the power of verifying information for certainty. Instead of being demoralized by his elder brother's rebuke, he turned to someone else and asked the same question. Two lessons emerge: don't let discouragement hinder you from taking sustained action, and understand the importance of verifying information for certainty.


David's attitude in this part of the story was noteworthy: he didn't disrespect his elder brother, he only demonstrated a recognition of his right to speak or ask questions. Often, we fear authority to the point of silencing our voices. Speaking up when you feel the need to, as long as it's not offensive, is crucial. This is an important distinction to grasp.


After David obtained confirmation of the promised rewards from someone else, something interesting occurred that showcased David's excellent choice to continue asking and not be discouraged by Eliab's comments. It was recorded that what David said was overheard and reported to Saul, the king, who subsequently sent for him.


Imagine if David had remained silent after witnessing Goliath's challenge. He would likely be remembered as the last-born son who dropped off food for his brothers and disappeared from the war front. But why was he overheard? Because he kept asking questions and spoke as his spirit moved him.


Another insightful aspect is that David might not have been overheard the first time he asked that question. More likely, it was the second time after his elder brother rebuked him. This shows the importance of continuously taking action toward what inspires you. You may not be overheard the first, second, or even third time, but sustained action is crucial. You may never know who overhears you, but you'll never be overheard if you don't keep trying!


So, David was overheard, and he had an audience with King Saul. David's words to the king exuded confidence: "Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him." It is important to speak with courage and confidence when within the corridors of power. David didn't wait to be asked; he offered to go and fight himself. Saul, however, responded with discouragement: "You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth." This sounded discouraging, even from a king. If you're genuinely inspired and motivated, expect discouragement from people; even from your own family, friends, mentors and even leaders. Your response and attitude in such discouraging circumstances can trigger a chain set of reactions that align in your favor!



David's response to Saul's discouragement was exceptionally confident: "Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine."


This powerful response showcased David drawing strength from his past and acknowledging that the same God who had rescued him from the threats of a lion and a bear would rescue him from the hands of a menacing giant. Remembrance of your past victories over challenges and why you had those victories is important when you are about to face a new challenge. You must keep the memories fresh everyday and update them with new victorious memories to sustain you for any other challenge you may face now or in future.


David's words were more than sufficient to convey to Saul that the young man before him was ready to take on this seemingly impossible task. Essentially, David presented his CV through his words. That was his job interview, and he passed with flying colors, with the king now saying to him, "Go, and the Lord be with you."


I know the article is getting longer, and believe me, as I write this now, I did not assume it would be this long either. But I strongly feel it in my spirit to write this, and I am happy I am doing so. Hang on; the rest part is more interesting 😄😎.


So, David got the job and is ready to go! The next verses tell us that Saul dressed David in his own tunic, put a coat of armor and a bronze helmet on his head. It is said that David wore the tunic, fastened his sword to it, tried to walk, but couldn't because he was not used to them.


This part is very insightful and symbolic. For King Saul to dress David in his own tunic, that is already an announcement that David was the king of Israel. That is the subconscious meaning, and I believe in that moment his future kingship just began. That is not the main insight, though. Here, many things came to my mind. Saul was giving David his tunic to protect him, maybe. As the king of Israel, I would assume his armor and helmet would have been designed with the best state-of-the-art technologies if it were in modern times. He really wanted them to defeat Goliath; that would have been one of their biggest security threats at the time, and that is why he could promise such high rewards to whoever killed Goliath.


So, he gave David his own tunic because he really wanted the boy to survive. He has seen how convinced the boy was about getting victory from his short interview, but he still felt a need to give him the highest levels of protection, so he stands a chance at least. 😄 However, David could not walk in them! Now it is important to note that David did not refuse them. That is a show of respect and honor to the king. He would have been like, "I do not need your armor and helmet and all that military gear," because he did not actually need them, but that may have been interpreted as pride! So an insight here is to know when to accept help when offered, and if you must refuse help and support from superiors, you must have a good reason for that which they have to also recognize when they see their help may not be as helpful as they intended.


So, he took them off and explained again to the king that he cannot go in them because he is not used to them. It is worthy of note that he tried it first in the presence of the king before saying he couldn't. That is respect of authority. And so he took them off. He took five smooth stones instead from the stream, put them in his shepherd's bag, and held a sling in hand, approaching Goliath.


This is the part most of us have been focusing on since we heard this story. It is important to highlight a few things that came to my mind as I read this part again. Goliath, in his usual way, despised the boy and made threatening statements at him like "I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!", his usual technique of putting fear in the minds of Israelites. But David was not dismayed or discouraged by these words; he already demonstrated that with his responses to Eliab and Saul that he knew how to respond to statements designed to intimidate, overpower, and discourage him, so he said back at Goliath:


"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. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”


David, in those words, reiterated his confidence in the power that enabled him to defeat lions and bears as a shepherd. Those words also threatened back the enemy in specific terms that he will strike him down and cut off his head, this very day! He also acknowledged here that his trust was not in the swords or spears because he knew for sure that was not where he put his confidence to win. So, his words reinforced his belief. And it is this kind of belief and faith in what we want to do that makes things happen!


The next verses recorded that after that, he took out one of those smooth stones, slung it at the Philistine, and it struck him on the forehead; he fell facedown to the ground as the stone sank into his forehead. You can think about what are the odds of that happening. A stone being so accurate, hitting Goliath on the forehead and even sinking in. Of course, that can be likened to a guided missile 😅. But even David, based on his words, knew that what he achieved with a single slingshot was not really in the efficiency of the slingshot or quality of the stone used or in his ability to throw slingshots. There was a power behind the accuracy and precision of that stone, and that is the power that gave David victory.




What is important is how David acknowledged this power, did not let himself be discouraged, spoke back at discouraging statements with confidence, and did what he could with the little he had. That was all it took for the power to make use of what David had and accomplish the mission. Of course, the success is credited to David by the people who saw that happen, and rightly so because it takes a lot to overcome all discouraging barriers and allow supreme power to work through you. David played all his part excellently well, and the only thing left was for the power to move!


David could have used something else and achieved the same outcome. It didn't matter the level of sophistication of what he had. Whatever he had in his hand at that point would accomplish the same mission because David had already passed all the tests as a human being who believed in the power of the supreme being. It takes that level of confidence against all odds, all fear, all defeating statements to allow the power of the supreme to work through whatever little thing you have. That is faith that moves mountains. Faith that leads to precise and accurate actions! That is the kind of faith that gives you relentless motivation and guarantees to accomplish anything regardless of how impossible things seem.


Your work is not really to focus on the most sophisticated tools and mechanisms to accomplish your goals. Some businesses have the best websites, but poor sales. Some have poorly designed sites but outstanding revenue. I am not saying mediocrity or incompetence should be acceptable. I am saying that there are some principles, mindsets, and attitudes related to faith that make things very possible for us all to accomplish regardless of how well-prepared or poorly prepared we may think we are. With the right attitude, faith, and state of mind, we can accomplish anything with anything!


The story ends with Saul asking David whose son he was. And that is how his recognition and journey to kingship began.


I know it is a long one, but I am glad you stuck through!


Would love to know your thoughts on it.


Have the right mindset and perspective and keep winning!


-Ike


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