David was able to face Goliath with confidence in God – “The Lord will deliver me” (1 Samuel 17:37). Saul, then, said to him, “Go, and the Lord be with you” (1 Samuel 17:38). Jesus’ disciples were able to go forward in their mission with confidence in God, since Jesus had said to them, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last” (John 15:16). With the Psalmist, we must learn to affirm our faith in God as the One who will give the blessing both to us and through us: “God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear Him” (Psalm 67:7). However great the task may be, God is greater. There is no ‘Goliath’ too strong for the Lord, as He makes His “salvation known among all nations” (Psalm 67:2).
At the heart of David’s triumph over Goliath, there is this great testimony: “it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands” (1 Samuel 17:47). When we face ‘Goliaths’ in our own experience, Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). “May God arise, may His enemies be scattered … may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God” (Psalm 68:1,3).
In the story of David and Jonathan, we have a great picture of human friendship. In Jesus’ prayer (John 17), we learn so much about our friendship with God. When we have been with God in the place of prayer, as Jesus was, we are empowered for service: “The Lord announced the Word, and great was the company of those who proclaimed it” (Psalm 68:11).
David was delivered from his pursuer, Saul. David became the king of Israel. Jesus was delivered into the hands of His enemies. Following His resurrection, Jesus was declared to be the King of kings. “The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death” (Proverbs 13:14). There is a way that leads from death to life. Jesus leads us in this way. He went to death for us. He rose to life for us.
“The Lord … has appointed David leader over Israel” (1 Samuel 25:30). Christ’s Kingship is far greater than David’s – “My Kingdom is not of this world … My Kingdom is from another place” (John 18:36). Our God reigns (Psalm 68:16). His reign is seen in His work of salvation: “Praise be to the Lord our God … Our God is a God who saves …” (Psalm 68:19-20).
To be “the King of the Jews” was a great honour. David recognized this when he said, “But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed” (1 Samuel 26:11). Pilate didn’t. He sent Jesus “to the cross” with this “notice … Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews” (John 19:19). Psalm 68:24 speaks of “the procession of our God and king into the sanctuary.” When we understand the divine Kingship in the light of the Cross, we see Jesus, “carrying His own cross, He went out to the place of the Skull …” (John 19:17). This is the inner sanctuary, the Holy of holies – Jesus Christ, “the King of the Jews”, going to the Cross for a world of lost sinners.
The contrast between the death of Saul, the first king of the Jews, and Jesus, the true King of the Jews, is striking. Saul’s death was a tragedy. Jesus’ death was a triumph. The contrast is the difference between a man who said, “it is enough” (Saul had had enough of life, and he wanted to live no longer) and the Man who said, “It is finished” (Jesus completed all that the Father had given Him to do). 1 Samuel ends with a burial (1 Samuel 31:13). John’s Gospel goes beyond a burial to a resurrection. Psalm 68:35 – “You, God, are awesome in Your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to His people.” Those who meet God at the inner sanctuary – the Cross of Jesus Christ – discover the power and strength of the Christ who is no longer dead, the Christ who has risen from the dead.