We Are the Champions
And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered, and encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in line of battle against the Philistines. And the Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.— 1 Samuel 17.2-4
The Bible is not the dominant structure in our society. Very few people quote Scripture in the mainstream media or in everyday dialogue. There are, however, traces of biblical residue in modern language. Some people still use the word scapegoat to refer to someone who takes the blame for another (Leviticus 16.10). I recently heard an individual say, “I have escaped by the skin of my teeth” (Job 19.20). But there is no other biblical motif that has lingered more throughout the years than that of David and Goliath.
Why has the story of David and Goliath withstood the test of time? First, everyone loves the story of an underdog capturing the victory. Many of us identify with David because we are either small in stature or do not possess financial or political power.
Second, mankind longs to be the champion. This is why our children like to compete—we like to compete. More importantly, we like to win. No one aspires to be a loser, and America is a greenhouse for cultivating champions.
Accordingly, how does the narrator explain the setting of David and Goliath? He starts with two groups of people. In the red corner we have the army of Israel. In the blue corner we have the army of the Philistines. The narrator says, “And the Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with a valley between them.” Historians place the Israelites on the northern side of the valley and the Philistines on the southern mountain. It was an exciting game of face-off.
Subsequently, who will make the first move? Why is it important who makes the first move? Well, in order to win you have to first become vulnerable. Running down the mountain into the valley leaves you open for attack and especially if you plan on running up the other side to engage the opposing army. It is a real-life game of King-of-the-hill.
So who moves first? The Philistines sent out a “champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.” The art of intimidation was alive and well in those days. The Philistines put on display their magnificent champion.
Will Goliath be the champion? Will he lead his people into victory? What about the Israelites? Who will they choose to be their champion to lead them to victory? I hope I have just begun to whet your appetite for the story of David and Goliath.
Tune in next week! Same bat time! Same bat channel!
Always remember that “in all these things we are more than [champions] through him who loved us” (Romans 8.37).