Who Was the Underdog? – Sports in the Bible – Javelin – 1 Samuel 17

This installment of sports in the Bible takes us to the story of David vs. Goliath.  This is one of the most well known stories in the Bible.  Almost everyone, regardless of their knowledge of the Bible are at least aware of the story.  We often look at David as a hero in the Bible, and deservedly so – we can learn a lot from his actions and from his love for God.  But an amazing part of David’s story is that he was overlooked, even in his own family.  The story from 1 Samuel 16 shows that Samuel came to anoint the new king – He had been sent to anoint one of Jesse’s sons.  Jesse called his boys in and none of them seemed to be the one.  Then he remembered “There is still the youngest – he is tending the sheep” He didn’t even call him in with the other brothers.  Yet, he is the one that is anointed King.  Then, in the next chapter, David is sent to the battle lines, not to fight – he is too young for that – but to deliver food to his brothers.  While he is there, he hears Goliath bad mouthing his people and his God.  David is ready to take him on despite the warnings and pleas of the others in the camp.

Now Goliath was a giant – an intimidating presence and a feared warrior.  He had size, experience and reputation working on his side.  The Bible tells us that the head of his javelin weighed 15 pounds.  This was a big, scary man.  The odds certainly appeared to be in his favor.  Plus, and don’t miss the pressure of the situation,   David was representing his entire nation – if he failed, Israel would be the slaves of the Philistines. There is a lot riding on this battle.

But I believe that we’ve been reading the story wrong all these years though – this is not the ultimate underdog-winning story.  With how the sides were divided, it was an underdog battle but not in the way we think.  The truth is that there was absolutely NO WAY that Goliath could possibly win this battle.  He was up against the creator of the universe.  The one who holds the entire universe in the span of his hand.  The one whose mere words spoke all we can see,including Goliath,  into existence.

You see, in reality, it wasn’t even David who was fighting the battle.  He was the one God worked through, but David was not an amazing, superhuman man.  He was as Perry Noble writes in his book Unleashed   “An ordinary man who believed in an extraordinary God”  He had been overlooked by his own dad, dismissed by his older brothers and annoyed that this pagan would dare insult the God he loved. And he knew that God could do it, and so he trusted God and went forward.

The Point?

When we trust God, He can come through for us in a BIG way.  The hard thing, though, is that we are to trust God, even when the odds are stacked against you. Will he work it out the way we think he will?  Not always – we need to trust that His way is better than ours, even if it seems harder.

David knew that his God was more powerful than any foe he could face on this earth, so he trusted that God would be victorious.

Do you trust God in hard times?  Are you excited that He can do extraordinary things through ordinary you?



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