David and Goliath

by Roby Ellis

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32).

On March 19, 1966, the NCAA Division I basketball championship was played between the perennial powerhouse University of Kentucky (led by legendary coach Adolph Rupp) and little-known Texas Western University (led by rookie coach Don Haskins). Texas Western (now UTEP) had won its previous two games by a total of three points over Cincinatti and Kansas to make it to the championship game. In the end, Texas Western was crowned national champions after a 72–65 win. Their victory has often been compared to that of David over Goliath 3,000 years ago on the western slopes of the Judean hill country.

Let’s contemplate the odds in this battle between David and Goliath. The latter’s advantages are obvious. The first thing mentioned about Goliath is his size—“six cubits and a span” (1 Samuel 17:4). The most conservative estimates put this warrior near 10 feet tall, and some think he may have been more than 11 feet in height. It is likely that his armor alone outweighed David, a “youth” (vs. 33) whose only knowledge of war had come during his time as Saul’s armor bearer (16:21). Saul told David very plainly, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him” (17:33). Goliath said confidently that he would feed David’s flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field (vs. 44). To the eye of every common man, David did not stand a chance, but David assessed the situation quite differently.

Without sword, shield, or even one piece of armor, David approached the giant armed with a sling, five smooth stones he had chosen from a nearby brook, and (most importantly) the name of the God of Israel! When Goliath cursed David by his gods, David confidently proclaimed what he had already told King Saul: “This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you” (vs. 46). David had no sword in his hand when he made this bold assertion, but seeing the Philistine’s sword (vs. 51) he trusted that it should serve his purpose very well. It should be learned that David’s victory over Goliath was not an upset of any proportion, for the odds were set squarely against the Philistine from the very beginning. David had the Lord on his side, and with His aid, no one could defeat him!

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