The Bible doesn’t teach about hidden secrets that the enlightened few can understand via secret codes or mysterious charts. That’s science fiction, not reality. Yet, there are things in Scripture we miss because we have an incorrect mindset. (We are blind to the truth: Matthew 13:10-17.) There is a huge, mind-blowing, life changing, theology-shattering, secret in the Bible. We can see it perfectly in the story of David. In my life I have heard hundreds of sermons about David vs Goliath. I have discussed it many times with many people. Yet, I have never heard this “secret” spoken of even once.
Self-centered reading vs Christ-centered reading
There are two ways to read the Bible. The first way, the most common way, is where we look at every tale and ask “how can I be heroic, like this Bible hero?” We go over their characteristics, skill, lifestyle, and formulate a battle plan to be like them. We place ourselves in their shoes. We assume the story was written specifically for us in our situation, to teach us how to be better people, to be heroic,to be victorious. The second way, though far less common, is the way God intended us to read his Word. In this way every story, every idea is not written about us, but about Jesus. The Bible stories we read are not moral tales that tell us to try harder, be wiser, do good things, but they truly and literally about the Person of Jesus. Christ-centered reading places Jesus at the center of Scripture and recognizes all of it is about Him. We do not ask “how can I also become a hero?” instead we ask “how is Jesus the true hero of that story?”
A bad hermeneutical approach to David & Goliath
Hermeneutics is often called the art and science of biblical interpretation. Everyone does it, though perhaps without knowing the “official word.” Here is the wrong way to interpret and apply this story. David is a weak lad who is facing a large giant. You too, are facing a giant in your life. Perhaps it’s a sickness, a bad habit, or even a money problem. Goliath is bigger than David, and the poor little shepherd has much to be afraid of, but he isn’t because he has faith. You too, should learn to have faith that is so strong that you wont be afraid. David picks up 5 small stones. You too should get your weapons of war (I’ve heard the five stones are the five-fold ministry, or small seeds of faith.) And Goliath is destroyed, because David had a strong faith, tried hard, and was clever enough to have God on his side. At this point you hear: “The larger they are, they harder they fall” and “You too can do this, God is on your side, don’t give up. Slay your giant.” Applause!
Umm. This is awkward, but, that is bad. Very bad.
The amazing secret of David & Goliath
Now, let’s stop focusing on our selves, and stop thinking everything is about us being a hero that slays giants. We will see the story in a different light. The people of God are besieged. They are a frightened and cowardly people; hiding from a giant who oppresses them. They cannot stand against Goliath, even the greatest among them quiver in fear, and this surely means lifelong enslavement and death for all. David is sent by his father to the battlefield. He offers to fight, but he is scorned, rejected, and mocked by his own people. Yet he persists and eventually he becomes a substitute for his people, though they scorned him. David is a gentle Shepherd. He is not a full grown man but a vulnerable boy. Because of this, when David stands before Goliath, he appears almost like a sacrificial Lamb. Yet God uses this apparent weakness of David, to destroy the giant. David, in his weakness, becomes the champion-redeemer of all Israel, he saves the people of God. David’s victory is fully imputed to every person of the household of God. By his work, all of Israel is literally saved. In this shepherds tale we see the foreshadowing of a greater Shepherd, who likewise interceded for his people, and secured a victory for them. David is a glimpse of Christ, who also become weak, taking on the form of man, and by his weakness defeated sin, satan, & death. Here is the greatest part:
We are not the hero. We are not the David. We are the people cowering in fear. Hiding in the ditches from Goliath. Unable to do anything to prevent our destruction. Jesus is the hero of this story and every story. We should stop seeking to become the hero and simply worship Him.