David, a shepherd boy, has called out Goliath, a 9 foot tall Philistine warrior, and agreed to fight him based on his faith in God, who has protected him from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear (1 Samuel 17:34-37).
Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them (1 Samuel 17:39).
David has no earthly preparation or protection for this battle with Goliath. He was not a trained and skilled warrior. He did not have body armor or a shield carrying front man, like Goliath did. So Saul dresses David for the battle, suiting him up in Saul’s own tunic and a coat of armor and bronze. But David stumbles around in these items because he isn’t used to them.
Remember the first time you put on roller skates? Trying to stay upright, trying to move forward, feeling like your feet and legs might betray you at any time. Now imagine going in that same condition to run a marathon. It’s ridiculous. And that’s that situation David was in.
Saul likely rattled off a host of “what if”s: “What if Goliath tackles you?” “What if he hits you with his club? Or his hands? Or kicks you with his enormous feet?” “What if you get pummeled by his shield carrying front man?” “What if, what if, what if”. And David answers with a resounding “So what”. “So what if Goliath comes at me, I am armed with the armor of the Lord”.
Saul believed that David needed this earthly protection, but David knew better. David knew that earthly protection is not needed in a battle fought by God. David takes off the worldly gear and decides to be himself.
“I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine (1 Samuel 17:40).
Those that aim at things above their education and usage, and covet the attire and armor of princes, forget that that is the best for us which we are fit for and accustomed to; if we had our desire, we should wish to be in our own coat again, and should say, “We cannot go with these;” we had therefore better go without them (Matthew Henry).
Tomorrow we’ll read about the conflict between David and Goliath, and then we’ll wrap up this first part of the “What if” series with the resolution of this conflict and see how God uses a shepherd boy to slay a giant. Shepherds slaying giants, in a battle that is larger than life, wearing the armor of God, is a central theme in the Bible.
After we wrap up with David and Goliath we’ll move on to Hagar, one of the most interesting women in the Bible (she decides it is better to be a slave in Sarah’s house than a princess in her own kingdom and the giants she battles, well…we’ll get there but suffice it to say that she is pretty amazing!). We’ll come back to David in this series, in his later years, because Goliath is not the only giant that David faces, and this conflict is not his only trial.