By Luke Johnson | November 21, 2017
Take some time to see how everyone is doing, and to pray for each other.
READ 1 Samuel 2:1-10
What does Hannah’s prayer have to say about strength and weakness?What about humility and greatness?
According to Hannah, who does the LORD support?
Why might Hannah refer to God’s anointed king right at the end of her prayer?
READ 1 Samuel 17
How is the strength and appearance of Goliath depicted? (17:4-7, 43-44)
(FYI - height: 6 cubits = 9 feet; armor: 5000 shekels = 155 lbs; spear: 600 shekels: 19 lbs.)
How do the Israelite’s respond to Goliath? (17:11, 24)
Do you remember how Saul was described earlier in 1 Samuel?
(9:2, handsome, good family, tall; 10:23, head taller than everyone else)
The giant Goliath wants to face off with a representative of Israel. Who ought to fight him? Israel rallied around Saul because he ‘looked’ like a king to them, one who would “go out before us and fight our battles” (1 Sam 8:20). A powerful figure, a head taller than everyone else -- a giant amongst normal people! Saul is the best match for Goliath: giant warrior king to take on giant warrior foe.
So what’s up with Saul? Why is he hanging back? He’s king of the Israelites whose God led them out of Egypt. Why would he be terrified like the rest of the Israelites? (17:11)
By contrast, how is David depicted? (17:14-15)
David’s three oldest brothers are mentioned. Do you remember where else we’ve seen them?
These three brothers are named when God sent Samuel to Jesse’s house to anoint a new king. Everyone (including Samuel!) thought Jesse’s sons were impressive, while David was left in the pasture with the sheep, unnamed and counted out. (16:4-9)
When the commanding firstborn Eliab saw his kid-brother David at the battle line, how did he react? How does he describe David? (17:28)
The author is taking every opportunity to remind us that David is young and small. Why?
Setting the scene! We’re about to watch YHWH display his power, and his supremacy will be all the more jaw-dropping when a fearsome giant is bested by a young shepherd boy.
Think about the ‘display’ of YHWH’s power in the death of Jesus. Do you see any similarities?
(Crucified Messiah reigns as King; ‘weakness’ of Jesus’ death → resurrection and kingship.)
God’s King: the man after God’s own heart
When David offers to fight Goliath, how does he describe him to King Saul? (17:34-37)
(How does David see Goliath?)
No more than a beast! In Hebrew, the same word is used for the “paw” of the bear and the “hand” of Goliath. David is equating Goliath with a wild animal. Did you notice: When the Israelites refer to Goliath, they call him “this man,” but David calls him a “disgrace,” and “uncircumcised Philistine.” David doesn’t see him as an unstoppable warrior -- he sees him as scum, as filth, as rancid garbage that threatens to stain the name of YHWH.
When Saul allows David to challenge Goliath, does anything seem odd to you in their interaction about arming David for battle? Why is Saul handing over his stuff to David?
Saul doesn’t know yet that David is God’s new anointed king. Do you see the irony of ‘king’ Saul giving over his tunic and weapons to anointed king David?
What about David’s rejection of Saul’s things? Why does David want to go into battle without proper armour? (Notice what David declares to Goliath in verse 47.)
Saul looks like a king and is armed like a king, but he quakes in the face of the enemy. David looks like a kid, and is armed like a shepherd, but looks in the face of the enemy and sees an easy battle for YHWH. Like God told Samuel, “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). As God’s King, David sees things like God sees things.
Take a look at John 18:33-37. Do you notice anything similar between David and Jesus in their ability to “see” differently?
As followers of Jesus, we’re invited into this way of seeing, too! Not to take on the thoughts and worries of the world around us, but to stand boldly, seeing the world like Hannah does.