Pastor's Corner: The unfamiliar point of a familiar Bible storyBy JOHN CROTTS
Faith Bible Church
Well meaning kids’ videos, books and other materials take stories from the Bible and try to make them enjoyable for children.
In doing so, sometimes they change things in the Bible. While occasionally it is just a minor detail or two to make the story flow, sometimes the main message of the Bible is turned on its head.
Finally, it is important because kids grow up to be the adults and pass on those messages to the next generation.
I don’t even want the details of the Bible story to be modified. Why did the people that produced “The Prince of Egypt” several years ago make Moses be adopted by Pharaoh’s wife instead of by Pharaoh’s daughter like the Bible says?
I don’t like that – but I am more concerned as much as what has been done to David and Goliath.
The story of David killing the giant Goliath is a great story. You can read about it in I Samuel 17. Yet, even though the story is so well known, do you know the purpose of the story within the flow of the Bible’s bigger storyline?
A very popular kids’ DVD makes the main point of the story that little guys can do big things. Sadly, that is not too different than the way popular preachers deliver the message on Sunday mornings.
They say things like David and Goliath teaches us that by faith we can overcome the giants in our lives. Sometimes they even define David’s five stones as characteristics you need to have in your pouch!
It’s true that Goliath was a mighty warrior who was extremely tall – over 9 feet tall. It is also true that God helped teenaged David defeat that giant. But the message that Bible wants you to see is far more giant-sized than these details.
I encourage you to find this story in the Bible in I Samuel 17 and read it for yourself. Notice the words Goliath uses to taunts Israel day after day. He, the pagan, was defying God’s people, Israel.
When David approached, Goliath cursed him in the name of his gods.
David’s reply to Goliath is bold, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines that day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s and he will give you into our hand” (I Samuel 17:45-47).
God inspired David’s words to make sure we got the big message of the story. God would crush the giant pagan so that he would look great before all of the other nations on earth. God had a reputation, and the overgrown Philistine was defying it.
He’s dead now ... by one stone from a teenager and by his own giant sword.
If you have eyes to see it, there is another message in the story from the bigger storyline in the Bible. Back in I Samuel 15, God rejected King Saul as king of Israel because Saul had directly disobeyed God’s commands. In the David and Goliath story, we find King Saul just as scared as the rest of the men.
In I Samuel 16, the teenager David was handpicked by God and anointed by the prophet Samuel to be the next king over God’s people. So this wasn’t just any ole’ teenager that killed the pagan giant in the very next chapter in the Bible.
The bigger story even stretches further. In II Samuel 7, King David received incredible promises from God. God promised that one of David’s direct descendants would reign over God’s kingdom forever.
“When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a sonâ ¦” (II Samuel 7:12-14).
The ultimate offspring of King David being referred to is the Lord Jesus Christ. When we look back at many of the things that God’s anointed king in the Old Testament did, it reminds us of the picture of the future anointed king, Jesus would fulfill.
When you read about David and Goliath, who are you supposed to identify with in the story? Is it David? We can actually identify more directly with God’s scared people, Israel, watching on top of the hills on one side of the valley. You are watching as God’s chosen king fights and triumphs over God’s enemies.
This picture should draw your heart to Jesus.
You watch as God’s chosen greater king fights and triumphs over God’s enemies on the cross and in his resurrection. You respond in repentance for your part in the cross by your sins, and by faith you rejoice in his triumph.
Is the point of David and Goliath that little guys can do big things, or that you can overcome the giants of your life by faith? Not so much. The message of David and Goliath is that God is the greatest God of all, and that Jesus Christ is the ultimate Lord we should look to.
Our family has seen plenty of the books and DVDs about the Bible that sort of miss the point. It’s not bad to watch them carefully. But just make sure that you read your Bible yourself, so that you and your family get the message right.
Don’t ever take a tomato’s word for it. Check it out for yourself!