Arcola United Methodist Church

David & Goliath: An Underdog Story?


I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well


-Psalm 139:14 NIV

Our sermon series on Sacred Characters brings us to the story of David and Goliath. An overall summary of the story goes something like this: Young David volunteers to fight the giant Philistine named Goliath but not many believe David can win. David approaches Goliath with five stones and a sling as his weapons; meanwhile, the giant is outfitted with all the latest military armor. David and Goliath confront each other, David hits Goliath between the eyes with one of his five stones, and Goliath falls to the ground. And, the winner is David!

Often-times I have heard this story presented in a manner that portrays David as being the most unlikely candidate that God or anyone else would choose to fight against a giant. Yet, as Christians we know that God is capable of choosing the weak to shame the strong. Yes, indeed God can do this. However, I look at this story much differently. I consider David to be the best candidate for the work God called him to because David possessed the talents and skills God needed for this particular giant.

We know by reading the story David is a shepherd boy tending a flock of sheep. Day in and day out, David faithfully looks after his sheep. This is the mundane simplicity of life we live on most days. This shepherd work required David to use his sling to strike down bears and lions or other predators who occasionally threatened his flock. Although David may have been unaware, I can see that God was preparing David for bigger things.

Goliath is portrayed as an enormous giant of whom everyone lived in fear. Goliath was tall, he used his words to threaten and evoke fear, and he was heavy-laden with all the latest armor. To the reader, Goliath certainly sounds like someone worthy to fear. Just when I am convinced to think there is no way David can win, David goes one step further in his refusal to wear shields and swords, and instead chooses to carry his sling and five smooth stones in his shepherd bag. What was David thinking?!?!?!

Two main points stand out to me in this story. First, I am most impressed with the part of the story in which David says no to carry armor he is not skilled in using. David does not try to fight a battle using skills he has not been given. Worded differently, David did not pretend to be someone he was not. I admit there are times in which I wish I had other talents and gifts and could do the work of another because other talents look more appealing sometimes. Yet in this story I hear God saying to me that I am equipped with everything I need to defeat my giants and to do the work God has called me to do.

Second, Goliath is certainly a big talker; however, he fails to bring God into his conversations and chooses instead to fight his own battles. David fully relies on God for deliverance and strength. Scripture credits David as saying “I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts….” (1. Sam. 17: 45) This suggests to me that many times, my giants may not be as big as I make them out to be, especially if I have relied upon God as my source of strength.  

In a world that portrays giants to be undefeatable, I can look to God, who gave David the most appropriate skills to defeat Goliath and be empowered with God-confidence. In a world that competes for status, wealth, and power as markers of success, I can look to this story and simply say, “In God’s eyes, I am enough because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”


Holy God, give us the wisdom to know we are capable just as we are to defeat giants. Fill us with Your confidence so that good overcomes evil and we are able to see glimpses of the Kingdom of God. Amen.  

Written by Tianna Durbin. Tianna is the Minister of Worship and Arts at Arcola Church. She recently graduated from Wesley Theological Seminary and looks forward to living out all she has learned there. Besides her work, she and her husband Chris stay busy keeping up with their two very busy teenagers.   
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