1 Samuel 17:51-58 Christ, our Champion
1 Samuel 17:51-58
When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they turned and ran. 52 Then the men of Israel and Judah gave a great shout of triumph and rushed after the Philistines, chasing them as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron. The bodies of the dead and wounded Philistines were strewn all along the road from Shaaraim, as far as Gath and Ekron. 53 Then the Israelite army returned and plundered the deserted Philistine camp. 54 (David took the Philistine’s head to Jerusalem, but he stored the man’s armor in his own tent.) 55 As Saul watched David go out to fight the Philistine, he asked Abner, the commander of his army, “Abner, whose son is this young man?” “I really don’t know,” Abner declared. 56 “Well, find out who he is!” the king told him. 57 As soon as David returned from killing Goliath, Abner brought him to Saul with the Philistine’s head still in his hand. 58 “Tell me about your father, young man,” Saul said. And David replied, “His name is Jesse, and we live in Bethlehem.”
The demise of the Philistine champion immediately put all Philistines in flight mode. Israel had overwhelming victory on that day because one man decided to put his trust in God. As David’s victory brought freedom for the whole nation of Israel, Christ’s victory (in resurrection) brought salvation and abundant life for all who love Him.
When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they turned and ran – Goliath’s offer of representative combat reflected where the Philistines placed their confidence; the death of their champion spelled death for their morale. The sight of their champion’s demise spontaneously triggered a flight response. Likewise, the victory of David triggered a fight response for Israel: Then the men of Israel and Judah gave a great shout of triumph and rushed after the Philistines. The Israelites had an overwhelming victory that day because of the courage of one man.
David took the Philistine’s head to Jerusalem, but he stored the man’s armor in his own tent – David took the Philistine’s head to Jerusalem to proclaim the victory of the God of Israel over foreign gods. As for Goliath’s weaponry, he kept them in his tent as a reminder of God’s power and faithfulness in rescuing him from the Philistines.
His name is Jesse, and we live in Bethlehem – Jesse’s family and clan is considered lowly as David said in self-effacement: “My father’s family is nothing!” (1 Samuel 18:18). Yet, Jesus is described as a member of David’s tribe, which is the tribe of Judah. And the birth of Christ in the home town of David is no small coincidence. One important reason why Christ’s birthplace and genealogy is so closely associated with David is because he exhibits a heart like that of Christ.
- Christ struggled as he weighed His decision to fight in representative combat on behalf of humanity against the powers of darkness. His struggles are not physical in nature (flesh and blood), but spiritual in denying the corrupted urges of the human flesh. Christ as human incarnate not only had to strip Himself of His divinity and immortality, He must deny His desire of earthly possessions and His right to life. David had to face that struggle before taking on Goliath. Even with his god-like confidence, he had to reckon with the possibility of failure. Similarly, Christ weighed the possibility of eternal condemnation in hell should His sacrifice fall short of God’s righteous standards. The bulk of the battle is fought in the realm of the spirit, in overcoming the dark passions of self-centeredness, greed, pride and lust.
- Christ’s victory over Satan has made all demons slaves under the sons of God. Just as the victory of David had made all Philistines slaves, the victory of Jesus has made us masters over evil. Hence, we no longer fear the sudden onslaught of evil against our family or career, but only what God has allowed in His perfect will. By walking in truth and love, and being committed to God’s kingdom’s work, we will perpetually put evil in flight mode.
- We must not put our confidence in man-made authority, but only in God. The Philistines upon seeing the demise of their leader went immediately into flight mode because they put their trust in a human authority. However, David put his trust not in his skillful use of the sling, but in God and the heavenly armies. Today, as we exercise inter-dependence on one another, our ultimate trust is nevertheless in God who alone is perfect and immovable. Are you putting your trust in your finances, such that you could not stop gathering wealth? Are you afraid of losing those who are important to you, such that you became insecure and needy? Are you afraid of losing your health while you are approaching old age? Therefore, we should live life free of anxieties because we have placed our complete trust in our champion, the Lord Jesus Christ.
- God blesses the descendants of the righteous and lifts them up. Those who live righteously in selfless love for others will cause their descendants to inherit the riches and blessings of God. Psalm 112:1-3.
How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, Who greatly delights in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.
God saw what was in David’s heart and made Him the ancestor of His Son. Christ’s birthplace (see Micah 5:2) and the fact that New Testament verses call Jesus the son of David (see Matthew 1:1) attested to God’s overwhelming approval of David’s works and the legacy he left behind. Therefore, we can make great contributions to our descendants by the way we live our lives today. Those who do not have children of their own could “adopt” other children by being their teachers and caregivers. Some even became “grandfathers” overnight by discipling other fathers who had children of their own.
- What areas of weakness are you struggling with? If you are struggling with greed, you must learn to release all earthly possessions to God and seek Him alone. If you are struggling with insecurity, you must put your trust in God alone who will never betray you. If you are struggling with the lust of the flesh, you must learn to resist it and enjoy the pleasures of the Spirit. Your victory over these weaknesses will usher in a life of abundance and influence you could never imagine.
- Are you having a situation in your family where your children exhibit disrespect towards you? The problem may not solely rest on your children, but in the parents as well. As children learn by observation, your behavioral patterns become to them a model and blueprint to live life. Hence, as parents display their respect for one another through their words and demeanor, children will in turn learn to respect others. Blessings for future generations are handed down not through bank accounts but through the virtues and legacies of their forefathers.
Dear Lord, I have decided to place my complete trust in you concerning my finances, my relationships and my health, for you are my champion and my salvation. I take authority over my situation and come against the evil one that seeks to destroy my family. Cause me to be the face of Christ to my children and to my disciples. Bless them for they are my descendants. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.