Several months ago, in reading the story of David and Goliath, I was struck by several things that I never noticed before. Perhaps, I had simply never spent enough time of careful study of the old testament traditions and the kings and all they did wrong. But I was particularly struck by the fact that Saul is there at the battlefield and in I Samuel 17:19 we find the situation:
Now Saul and they and all the men of Israel were in the Valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.
So, all the men of Israel are there. Preparations for battle, campfires and tents, cooking and roasting to feed all these men. I can only image a rather large temporary city has sprung up. But this time when I read, there was something missing, a glaring oversight. How had I not noticed before? How had Saul not included the priests? Why were there not hourly sacrifices to God, requesting His favor? Where was Israel’s God? Truly, did not one person ask and finally bring this to Saul’s attention?
It is not until verses 36-37 when David draws God into the battle:
“…he [Goliath] has defied the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”
And Saul replies with this short encouragement to David. Yet, Saul still doesn’t think about asking God to go with him, or the Israelites or to pave the road to victory. He hands everything over to this ‘boy’ David. Where is God? We know He is present and very aware of the situation at hand, yet He has not been invited to participate or go before the Israelites. These are the same people who drove out so many in the promised land, with God; but they do not invite intervention at this so pivotal a battle.
I also really love that David has such an intimate relationship with God that He is ‘the living God.’ Our God is living and cares and wants to be involved in everything. This statement screams to me that David knew God: a shepherd and now-warrior. He has the firm belief that God is with him and on his side.
Have we invited God to our side? Asked Him to join us today? Sacrificed at the altar of prayer?