In this corner, standing nine feet tall is a goliath of a giant, armed to his yellow teeth with armor and his personal armor bearer to play human shield. He’s the pride of Gath, the champion of the Philistines. He’s never lost a battle, and he’s not going to lose this one. Let’s hear it for Goliath of Gath.
In that corner, standing maybe five foot six is a red-headed shepherd boy from the boonies whose own dad didn’t think he was good enough to meet the preacher. He’s gone to battle with a lion and a bear, but never against another man. Odds are he doesn’t even show up, but if he does, it will be his first and last fight. Let’s give a sympathy clap for—[what’s his name again?]—David of Bethlehem.
That’s how the first David vs. Goliath battle felt because it actually was David vs. Goliath. Goliath marched onto the field with battle scars and stories, and David marched onto the field with unflinching faith in his unfailing God. At the end of the battle, the scoreboard read:
And David was on top of the world.
From there, David won one battle after another, and he heard the women sing, “Saul has slain his thousands; David has slain his tens of thousands.” Israel loved him, and Israel followed him. David lived on the mountaintop where the sky seemed bluer, the grass seemed greener, and coffee almost tasted good. David discovered when he was on the mountain, God was there.
When King Saul heard the women laud David more than him, jealousy wrapped its green weeds around his heart.
David discovered when he was on the mountain, God was there.
David felt the sudden jolt of a fast fall the first time Saul tried to pin him to the palace wall with a javelin. And again. And again. And again. Finally, David fled as a fugitive from jealous, maniacal, homicidal King Saul. Saul’s Israelite army hunted David over hill and dale. That’s a fast fall. Suddenly David, who could do no wrong, could do no right.
He hid in caves and among the rocks, just trying to outrun Saul and his jealousy. He even had to run out of his own house and leave his own wife just to save his own life. David left everything behind. He hid in caves. He hid in houses. He stayed with family. He stayed with friends. He stayed with strangers. But no matter where he stayed, King Saul found him and sent an army to arrest him. He couldn’t go to the police; they reported to King Saul. He couldn’t stay with his wife; she was King Saul’s daughter.
As long as he was in Israel, David was one step from death. Life was so dangerous that David fled Israel and ran to King Achish of Gath. It was safer to fall into the hands of his enemies than to fall into the hands of his own king. That’s sad. Maybe this is the story that caused him to write, If I take the wings of the morning and settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me” (Psalm 139:9–10).No matter where we are, God is even there. When we’re so high up we have to look down to see Heaven, God is there. And when we’re so low, we have to look up to see Hell, we will find out our God, who is forever faithful, is even there. Click To Tweet
David did the unthinkable. He pretended to be insane. He clawed at the door of the palace and drooled all over his beard. King Achish commanded, “Get this madman out of here. We don’t need any more here.” David was wanted in Israel but not like he wanted to be wanted, but he wasn’t wanted in Gath like he wanted to be wanted. Then he found himself sitting in the damp cave of Adullam where he found himself all by himself, but he was not all by himself. In that cave, after running from Saul and pretending to be insane, David found out the Lord was even there.
David squinted inside the dark cave and was pleasantly surprised to find God was even there.
This was as close to hell as David got on this side of eternity. David was so low, he could sit on a shekel and swing his legs. But even after losing everyone and everything he held dear, even after losing his safety and now his dignity, David squinted inside the dark cave and was pleasantly surprised to find God was even there.
No matter where we are, God is even there. When we’re so high up we have to look down to see Heaven, God is there. And when we’re so low, we have to look up to see Hell, we will find out our God, who is forever faithful, is even there.
Resources and Links by LJ Harry
Ten Words: A Practical Look at the Ten Commandments – Originally etched on tablets of stone, the Ten Commandments have been the bedrock of righteous living for thousands of years. These commandments, sometimes referred to as the “Ten Words,” can be summarized in two simpler ones, love God and love your neighbor. In this book, LJ Harry provides us with practical instruction on following these principles today.
Simplify: 52 Weekly Devotions – Life gets increasingly complex. Sometimes we just need to slow down and purposefully simplify. In this weekly devotional LJ Harry calls us to stop and reflect on the Christian Life—to see the humor and to enjoy the simple pleasure of life. And in the process, we see God at work in the everyday world. Read. Pray. Reflect. Repeat.
God’s Word for Life Podcast – Hosted by LJ Harry, the God’s Word for Life Podcast serves to encourage adult disciples to think deeply about God’s Word, further develop their personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and make a greater commitment to the purpose and plan of God for their lives. Subscribe here.
Simplify podcast – a weekly devotional to help us walk closer with Jesus.