Under the circumstances, David was more than glad when his father asked him to make a short tour to the front. Carrying fresh provisions to his brothers, he was to return with a detailed account of their situation and the progress of battles.
His older brothers' cool reception couldn't dampen David's mounting excitement at the prospect of seeing some real battle action. Even as he was arriving at the front line camp, the daily marshalling of opposing forces was under way.
Imagine David's surprise when, rather than plunging into
a furious melee, the two sides merely faced off and waited. All the
while in full view of each other.
David watched closely as an oversized and powerful soldier stepped forward from the enemy ranks and contemptuous ly challenged any of David's countrymen to meet him one-on-one.
The custom stood in that day and time that sometimes an armed conflict would be resolved by each army sending a single man to represent them in a one-on-one combat with the enemy representative. The winner took all, with the losing side retreating in ignominious defeat. But the formidable nature of the challenger had, in this instance, so cowed David's countrymen that no one had ventured forth to accept the challenge.
After David learned these particulars he happened to hear
some soldiers talking:
"The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage, and will exempt his father's family from taxes."
David can scarcely believe his ears! As the magnitude of the reward fires his imagination, the terror of the enemy losses its force. But perhaps he misheard? So he inquires:
"What will be done for the man who kills this enemy?And the answer comes:
"This is what will be done for the man who kills him . . ."And again the reward is recited.
After confirming the details of the reward a third time, not even the scoffing of his brothers or the reluctance of the king can deter David from rushing to the challenge of an enemy who has been dwarfed by the greatness of the promised reward.
With no special training and the most rudimentary of weapons David rushes the raging challenger. Every eye is riveted on the impending clash. Steeled by a single purpose and calmed by the unshakable conviction that God is with him, David felled Goliath with a single blow.
And great was the victory of David that day . . . And great was the victory of Israel that day! For though one man fought, the shout of triumph swelled from the entire camp. Every man whose eye was fixed on the clash participated in heart and soul. They experienced the battle and victory through their hearts and minds; and then celebrated both in fact.
Our victory over death and the grave is like that. The shades of eternal night menace us. Death shouts a challenge to all mankind. And where is a champion to meet the challenge of the giant?
There was one who, like David, got excited about the reward, "the joy set before him", the prospect of peace, the end of death, unending life with prosperity and justice. And for this he entered violent and deadly combat. And seized victory from the jaws of defeat.
For just when the enemy felt the battle was over and won, He cried:
"Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, . . . I will rise." (Micah 7:8)And with power Jesus burst from the tomb. Victory! . . . Victory! His over death is mine and yours over death. When our champion wins, we win. And with the victory comes the spoils of a glorious and abundant life. An abundant life so great that:
"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived . . . what God has prepared for those who love him."Today we celebrate the victory and enjoy the beginnings of the good life ahead. Tomorrow our Champion returns and we receive our full inheritance. And we know full well that should we stumble and fall now, like him, we shall rise again!
Your friend, Herb Sorensen