David, though apparently ignored by his father and his brothers, had a secret history with God. He had an insatiable appetite for fellowship with him. While Samuel had looked on Eliab’s appearance, God had seen David’s heart and had enjoyed fellowship with him.
David was hungry for God’s approval alone. Maybe in his loneliness on the hillsides with the sheep he looked up at the sky and the stars and began seeking God. ‘I want to know you, God. You’re my exceeding joy. You’re my light and my salvation. In your presence there’s fullness of joy, and at your right hand there are pleasures forever more. I want to know you.’
This young man had a passion for God, and God loves people like that. They might be weak and despised – ‘nobodies’ in the world’s eyes – but they want God. These are the people whom God actually delights to commend. Jesus said, ‘How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?’ (John 5:44).
God commended David. Does he commend you? Do you want God’s approval? It’s so easy to say that you do, but then find yourself manipulating things to gain recognition and praise from men: ‘If only I could get into that setting, be acknowledged by that person, get to that situation, that job, that party, that meeting, that platform, it would be to my advantage. I’d be known, recognised.’ God delights in people who are indifferent to such strategies, who say instead, ‘Father, have I walked with you today? Have I pleased you?’
God said about David, ‘I have found a man after my own heart.’ If you want God’s praise, tell him, ‘I want your approval more than anything else in the world,’ and mean it. Then, when one day you stand before him, God’s ‘Well done’ won’t be foreign to you. You’ll have sensed it many times before.
When, after forty days, David slew Goliath, the defeated army of Israel suddenly became totally victorious. Without lifting a finger, they became the beneficiaries of David’s courageous one-man exploit. By his victory their situation was totally changed. Now they were on the winning side.
This contest reminds us of another battle in which losers became winners through the triumph of one man. Jesus, who stood in our behalf to destroy the works of the devil, fought a lonely battle to conquer our enemy. Initially, Jesus’ death completely devastated his disciples, who scattered and didn’t know what to do with themselves. Then suddenly they realised that their master was alive. Jesus’ resurrection turned a band of despondent failures into an army of victorious soldiers who turned the world upside down.
How do defeated individuals triumph? They come into the fruits of Jesus’ victory. Jesus conquered the devil. He’s destroyed principalities and powers, triumphing gloriously over them in the cross. God wants us to stand David-like with full assurance of faith as we confront our enemies.
‘Thank God for the battle verses in the Bible. We go into the unknown every day of our lives, and especially every Monday morning, for the week is sure to be a battlefield, outwardly and inwardly in the unseen life of the spirit, which is often by far the sternest battlefield for souls. Either way, the Lord your God goes before you, He shall fight for you!’