The other things I noticed in reading about Saul, Goliath and David (1 Samuel 17)
I realized the phycological impact that Goliath must have had, not just by his size and the challenge that he made. In fact, I think the challenge was made in order to spare an annihilation of life on the battle field. Clearly Goliath was an impressive guy, absolutely huge. But this too takes away from the fact that when David arrives to provide refreshments for his brothers, Goliath has made this declaration already 80 times. 1 Sam 17:16: For forty days the Philistine came forward and took his stand, morning and evening. Forty days, twice a day this was yelled in their faces and no one had responded. I wonder how long it was before Saul offered the reward. And what was he thinking- would a reward guarantee them victory, or merely push them into certain slavery? I see such a lack of leadership here in Saul that it is not surprise that from here he begins to lose his throne. We are never told that he sought the Lord or even asked the prophets and priests to intervene. God can bring about the change in perspective that Saul required. He could have taken David’s faith as a beacon to change what he was doing or at least how he was doing it.
Then of course there is the image that Malcolm Gladwell provided about how David essentially ignored the rules of war that were in place at the time, thereby offering the idea that David cheated by not approaching with a sword and shield. The rebel in me wants to point out that the challenge never stated any limits other than to chose one man to fight him – no comment on the time, weapons, style, etc. But I know that we are in fact bound by all kinds of limitations in our minds that culture and circumstance have placed there. For truly, I do not see any cheating here, what I see is an alternate perspective. God’s perspective. For man was thinking in confines, but God was not. Isaiah 55:8 ‘"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.’ (Isn’t the NLT version just fantastic at the end phrase?) His ways were in David’s mind, not human thoughts: not fear and not despair. We can imagine that fear and despair dominated Saul and all his army. But God can change our perspective – He is the Living God and the God of Angel Armies. How could we not win?!?