The story of David and Goliath is one of the most well known of the Bible probably because it is taught in every Sunday school classroom and used as the primary example of courage in the Old Testament. David’s battle with Goliath was really not so much about courage as it was about faith. David believed that God would protect him if he went up against a giant because he had already been delivered from a lion’s mouth and had rescued a lamb from a bear that was about to eat it.
David’s explanation for defeating Goliath was that he had defied the armies of the living God. “David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of the Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with you” (1Samuel 17:37). The reason David was able to defeat Goliath was that the LORD was with him, but what is more important is that the LORD was with him because David was carrying out God’s will which was for the Israelites to drive out their enemies from the Promised Land.
The Philistines were hard core warriors and Goliath was not the only giant among them. When the Promised Land was spied out while the Israelites were still living in the desert, the giants in the land had caused the spies to give a bad report and basically caused the Israelites to have to spend 40 years wandering in the desert because of their lack of faith in God. Fear was the main thing that kept the Israelites from taking on the Philistines and Saul was just as reluctant as the rest of the people to face Goliath in a one on one encounter.
David’s defeat of Goliath not only made him famous, it made him courageous. After defeating Goliath with a sling and a stone, all the Philistines fled from David. The table had been turned and David was the one instilling fear in his enemies. The word defy or châraph (khaw – raf´) in Hebrew means to pull off and by implication to expose or defame (2778). When Goliath defied the armies of the living God, he exposed their fear, but he also exposed their lack of faith. David was the only Israelite who truly believed God was greater than any man that would stand against him. He not only was willing to put his life on the line, but David testified to God’s faithfulness before he took on Goliath so “that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel” (1 Samuel 17:45).