Becoming so heavenly minded that we are of some earthly good.

Without “David and the Bear” there Would Be No “David and Goliath” Story

The story of David and Goliath is one of the most popular Bible stories.

Even unbelievers know it and use it when referencing underdogs who defeat big enemies.

A young shepherd boy with a slingshot defeats Goliath, a 9-foot tall giant trained in combat.

In order for this story to have a happy ending God had to show up. It had to be 100% him, right?

…all God and none of David. That sounds very Christian-like, right?

We love to sing songs like:

“All of You and none of me…

I must decrease so he can increase.”

But is this way of thinking really how God wants us to operate?

I think there’s a better way.

But first of all, the point of this post is not to take away giving glory to God or to de-emphasize his role in this story.

No, the point is to gain a better understanding of how God really works in our lives to bring about stories worth living and telling.

Here’s the portion of scripture I want to focus on today:

“But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock,

I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it.

Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.”

Moreover David said, “The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!”

1 Samuel 17:34-37

Let me ask you this: if it’s all God and none of David then why is this conversation recorded in the Bible? Why did the Holy Spirit think it was important enough to be included in God’s Word?

It’s a story about David’s past battles and successes he had while working his old job as a shepherd.

If the story of David and Goliath has NOTHING to do with David, his abilities, experience or gifts and everything to do with God then wouldn’t it make more sense for David to fight Goliath without his past resume?

That’s how the I-Must-Decrease mindset would have us think…

…in order for God to “get all the glory” we should not mention or focus on our skills, gifts or past victories.

In other words, if we’re not talking about God we should just shut up.

Brother, I love your testimony. But make sure to keep the focus on God and not on your past accomplishments. Remember, without him we are nothing. 

Now let’s imagine David had stepped onto the battlefield that day with no prior fighting experience. Let’s pretend he never fought and killed a lion or bear before.

He steps on to the field and says, “God, I sure hope you know what you’re doing because I have no clue! I’ve never even used a slingshot before!”

See, doesn’t this sound like a better version of the story… one where God would HAVE TO come through? 

But there’s just one problem with this version of the All-God-No-David story: David would have been killed and his head would have been ripped off!

So what’s my point?

My point is God is not insecure about his glory. Yes, he deserves all the glory. Yes, without him we are nothing. But here’s another truth: if you’ve been born again you’re not without him!

And he is a good father… he trains us up so we know how to fight with him during our big battle. It’s not one or the other. It’s not 100% God or 100% us. That’s not even the right question to ask.

Instead we should ask things like, “Is God with us?”

“Do I believe I can fight this enemy and that God will give me victory?”

“Is there anything in my past history with God that I can draw on to strengthen my faith for this battle?”

Here’s what I’ll leave you with:

Whatever battle or challenge you face today — no matter how insignificant it may seem — is important because it’s a stepping stone to bigger, more important battles.

P.S. It’s ironic that when we sing about how “we must decrease so he can increase” or “all of you and none of me” that we’re actually still focusing on US! Crazy. Can we just get over the fact that God likes us and he doesn’t mind us growing in favor with himself and man? If we never win any crowns how can we cast a crown at his feet?

P.P.S. Yes, the other side of the ditch is that we would seek out our own glory and become prideful and egotistical. So there is a ditch on each side of this issue we have to make sure we don’t fall into. But remember, it’s better to respond to truth then to react to an error.

About Josh Monen

Josh is a Christian entrepreneur who lives in Central Texas with his wife and 4 kids.

1 Comment

  1. Jannine Groninger

    I came upon your site looking for a subject you do not write about. I will bookmark your site though, as I love your thinking and your approach to Church’s cultivation of personal and individual relationships with God and how it can limit instead of encourage sharing in worship and fellowship with love.

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