Goliath roared blasphemy and all of Israel held their breath. Well, not ALL of Israel. Not David. David was screaming, a barbaric yawp that only young boys can unleash as they plunge into an adventure. He screamed not in fear but in defiance and in faith. And he ran. He ran right at that giant. Screaming and sprinting, he dropped a stone into his sling and began to twirl it over his head.
Now David hadn’t arrived to fight in a battle. He didn’t show up with armor or weapons; he had brought bread. And cheese. He’d pulled up to a war armed with snack food. He was the youngest in his family and had come to deliver food to his three oldest brothers. But he had heard the mammoth Philistine mock Israel and belittle their God. Before long, he was not only involved in the battle, he was the hope of Israel… screaming, and running.
Goliath was just beginning to lift his spear, expecting to skewer this child and end this war, when David let the first rock fly. It turned out to be the last rock as well. It struck the giant between the eyes and dropped him dead.
David ran up to him and drew the giant’s own sword. He’d never seen anything so huge. Even in his make-believe battles he acted out while watching the sheep, he had never imagined a weapon like this. It took all his strength to lift it over his head and let it fall down. Gravity did the rest of the work, slicing the giant’s head from his not inconsiderable body. Only then did the army of Israel rush the field and rout the Philistines as they fled.
I heard this story my whole life. Every VBS, we heard about David and Goliath. Every new Sunday School teacher made sure we learned two stories: David and Goliath, and Noah and the ark. Because somewhere along the line, someone decided that God wiping out the entire world with a flood was a children’s story. But back to the point, we always heard about David and Goliath. It was especially used as an inspirational talk at the end of camp. They are trying to get us fired up to take over the world for Jesus. The speaker would yell, “It’s a war out there!” And we would yell back, “It’s a war out there!” Of course, we would have yelled whatever they said, because we were hyped up on sugar and no sleep. We weren’t exactly discerning theologians at this point. He would yell, “You’re David!” We would respond, “I’m David!” “Your sin is Goliath!” “My sin is Goliath!” “You’re going to go home and kill your sin!” “Yeah! Kill it!” They passed out little stones and Sharpies. We wrote our shame on these rocks so that we would remember to kill them when we got home. And I believed them. I went home fired up, ready to conquer these sins that had owned me. I took out my rock and prepared to defeat my lust, my anger, my tongue. I screamed, and ran, and threw that rock as hard as I could, just like they had said. It struck dead center. And then, my lust got back up and beat the crap out of me. Again. I had failed.
I was so ashamed. I thought I was the only one who had failed to defeat their giant. You know what that turned me into? A liar. I thought I was alone because no one ever talked about it again. I thought I was the only one languishing in defeat. So I lied. I pretended that I had won my battle as well.
But I’ve learned something. It started with a different camp sermon by a friend of mine, Ben Stuart of Breakaway Ministries in College Station, TX. What I learned was summed up in four simple words: I am not David. It seems simple. I’m not David. I mean, obviously I’m not David, I’m Todd. But even in the story, I am not David.
I’m not the brave little boy who goes out to fight the giant. Do you know who I am in the story? I’m Israel. I am in the army, sitting on the sideline of the battle I am supposed to be fighting. I’m terrified of the giant I know I cannot defeat. And I am in desperate need of someone to fight this battle in my place.
At its heart, David and Goliath is not a story about a brave little boy; it’s a story about a substitute. I wanted it to be a story about a brave little boy because then it could be a story about me. I would be the brave little boy; and I would conquer for the glory of Christ. The problem is that I misunderstood the story. Most every great story has a main character, and then has many minor characters. I always thought I was the main character and it was my job to make God the priority in my life, in my story. But what I am coming to understand is that God is the main character and I am the supporting actor. The story is about Him. And that greatly changes how you interpret the story.
If the story is about me, then it can be a story about a brave little boy who defeats a giant. But my problem was I was only slightly brave and my giant had kicked my tail. So where did the story go now? But in truth, I was not the star of the story. In the Bible, Christ is always the star of the story. God is always the centerpiece. And when I read it like that, I realize the David represents not me, but Christ. This is not the story of a brave little boy; it’s the story of a substitute. And Jesus is the substitute. He takes my place in the battle. He won the victory for me. The entire nation was victorious because of His triumph. He is the star.
When I thought I was the star, my defeat was the tragic end to the story. But in truth, it’s merely a set-up for His victory. If I am the center, my giant is the grand villain who just might win the war. But when Christ is the star, my giant is just an itty bitty subplot. My giant offers no real resistance to the march of the glory of Christ.
In my life and in my study of the Bible, I have often misinterpreted the meaning. I have misunderstood the plot because I have misplaced the characters. My life is not a story about me, it’s a story about God that has me as a character and my life as part of the plot. And the Bible is not a story about me, although I have spent years trying to apply it to my life. It is a story about God and what it reveals about Him is much more important than what it reveals about me.
15 thoughts on “The Story of God”
YES!!!! and AMEN!!!! and Thank you! Strong ministry, Mr. Agnew
One of the best I’ve read so far. I’ve tried so many times to label my rock (my sin) and cast it away only for it to find it’s way back to me, or really, my way back to it. And the reason I find myself is sin is because I’ve taken my focus off the Lord and put myself in the spotlight. You are so right. I am NOT the star. Thank you for putting me in my place today!
WOW, powerful stuff, thank you for taking the time to share it!
Wow! Like you, I’ve pondered the story for many years. Not sure that I’ve ever thought of it this way. You are exactly right! Jesus is our champion who has already defeated all the Goliaths in our lives!!
Todd, this is good! God’s Word is so rich there is a primary interpretation and also secondary applications. It’s so complex, but so simple.
During my struggles the past 2 years, I’ve thought much about leaning and rescue and relationships. As I thought recently about the story of the Good Samaritan I came to a conclusion much like yours. People have wounded me, betrayed me, let me down in a stunning fashion. I felt like the guy in the ditch who had been robbed! My mistake was looking to other people to be my rescue. But that’s not it. Jesus is my Good Samaritan! And we Christians are the so called minor players in the story. We are merely the innkeeper. The innkeeper took care of the wounded man through means provided by the Samaritan! I’m not the preacher…I’m just his wife 🙂 I’m going further with this, going to look into other stories anew…Thanks Todd!
I LOVE being reminded that it’s not about us, but Christ. It kind of takes the pressure off, don’t you think? Thanks for sharing, Todd, this was awesome.
Fantastic! I can almost hear the barbaric yawp and and see the gestures you did onstage when telling this story. The only thing missing is the “Gouda for Judah.” What I love about your storytelling, even more than the creativity and humor, are the profound truths that emerge in the realigned plot where God is the main character. Excellent writing! More, please.
I just read a new perspective on the parable of the treasure hid in the field (Matthew 13). The author interpreted the “man” in the parable as God himself and the treasure as mankind. It made God the main character as one who loved us so much that he gave up everything he had to buy the field so he could have the treasure. Wow! Makes me want to dig back in to the other stories (parables) of Jesus to read them with a new perspective.
Great perspective! Thanks for sharing your insight in God’s Word. Also, in telling your own story about pretending to be winning the battle against sin in your life when you were really failing you show us how important it is to be HONEST with our Christian brothers and sisters about our need for Christ. Way too often we pretend to have everything under control when sin has US under its control. When we trust another Christian to pray for us and to hold us accountable to God we really see growth, because, just like you said, it’s all about Jesus.
What a great revelation of Truth! A telling lesson on God’s grace a perfect substitute. Thanks for sharing from another angle, it made my day.. So many times we try and cowboy up to save ourselves from sin, when of course that can only be done by the Savior of the World. As we see David grow we see his sin and of course he needed a substitute as well. I have been praying this week for some additional text and or more insight into the Armor that is found in Ephesians six, this was it!
Well, I agree that the story, the Bible, everything, is about Jesus.
But in this story, I don’t see our fight against the sin. What I see is:
1) A simple boy rejected by his family (his father and brothers didn’t care about inviting him for the meal while the most important man/prophet in Israel was at home);
2) A simple boy that was in love and close to God and was singing, praising him with his whole heart in his youth and writing Psalms;
3) A young boy that grew in God by remaining close to Him;
4) A young boy that was faithful in small things (risking his life to protect the sheep and see/experience God’s fidelity) and ready for the next step in his life;
5) A young boy that understood the problem for what is was, an affront not to Israel only, but to God Himself;
You see, in my opinion, sometimes, we have to stop to be always using everything to illustrate everything we see fit and we need to just take what we read for what it is.
David had a good intimacy/relationship with God (which most people in Israel didn’t have) and defeated lions and bears and Goliath was only the next normal step for him. Goliath or a lion, it was all the same for him because he learned that God was with him.
God prepared David for this battle long before he had to face it (lions/bears -> Goliath), like He prepares us for what He knows we will have to do/face later on (how many times I was amazed when I understood how something I experienced in the past prepared me for what I have to do/face right now?).
David grew in trusting God and knew that if He is faithful enough to give him victory over lions and bears, He WILL be faithful enough to protect him against that giant insulting God;
So in my view, David simply saw the problem for what it was (an affront to God) and was the only one prepared/ready to face it (because he was the only one mature enough/close enough to God to be prepared for this fight).
Remaining close to God allows Him to shape us for what’s ahead and use us when He needs us because we’re ready for it!
Thank you Todd. How refreshing is to remember He is always there and He wins the battles we are ment to lose.
Wow! This blessed my heart. Lots of meat in this one Bro. Todd! Be blessed and keep doing what you’re doing!
Wow. This is the 2nd time today I’ve gotten this message. Thank you for putting this story into perspective because I, too, am exhausted trying to be David.
Wow! I had never thought of it that way…I think that is one of the problems when we read the bible…it’s a story that seems to become unrealistic b/c we make ourselves the main character, putting ourselves in “their shoes”…forgetting it is all about God and that those people were just people who God used to reveal Himself to us.
I have experienced that same defeat. Even went to the same camps, got all pumped up believing I could over come my sin…then reality hit! I’m still learning every day that it’s not about me but Him. It’s not about MY circumstance but how HE will over come them, for His Glory! I’ve got to stop trying to be a “David” or a “Ruth” and realize I am Melissa, another character that God is using to reveal even more of Himself to me, us. Thank You!
P.S not sure you remember me from PPBC in Irving Tx, but wanted you to know it has been a blessing to see God using you & working in your life!
I am not much of a commenter. I just wanted to let you know that I am reading what you write and it make me think and consider my relationship with the Lord. Keep it up!