Missiology Through Scripture – 1 Samuel 17:46

“This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel,” – 1 Samuel 17:46

The tail of David and Goliath is one of the most frequently retold narratives in Scripture. It clearly shows an obedient youth who loved Yahweh so deeply, he could not stand idly by and listen while the Philistines hurled insults at his Lord. David accepted Goliath’s challenge of hand-to-hand combat, not because he saw his own abilities as great, but because he knew God was great. He did not view walking into battle with a giant as foolhardy or reckless. David knew he was fighting to advance God’s glory, and that was sufficient.

Young David wished to spread God’s name and expand God’s glory at any cost. He knew God was great and he wanted the Philistines to see that also. Defeating Goliath looked impossible in the eyes of the Philistines, and David’s insult of threatening to leave the defeated bodies of the Philistines was offensive. This was not a gentile evangelical message David was sharing with the Philistines. Walter Kaiser said, “The Philistines also had to come to ‘know’ this God and his power over all obstacles and forces. The only proper response would be to trust him, whether one was an Israelite or a Philistine.”[1] But, David was clear. The absurdity of his claim would certainly prove the power Yahweh, if indeed David could emerge victorious.

David’s preposterous and seemingly impossible boast could only be fulfilled by God’s hand. Certainly, the entire world has learned of God’s greatness from this battle. We do not serve a timid or week God. Like David, disciples of Christ should boldly proclaim God’s glory by faithfully attempting that which seems ludicrous to the rest of the world. We should live our lives knowing God will deliver the nations into our hands, not for defeat in battle, but deliverance from sin. Boldly proclaim Christ’s name and spread his glory.


[1] Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Mission in the Old Testament: Israel as a Light to the Nations, Second Edition. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2012), 21.