The Philistines are first mentioned in the book of Genesis in connection with Abraham, but we don’t really see any conflict with them until Isaac had to re-dig the wells that Abraham dug because the Philistines had stopped up the wells by filling them with earth. The Philistines made themselves an enemy to the son of promise and remained at enmity with Israel from that time forward.
Saul was king of Israel when Goliath of Gath, a Philistine, issued this challenge:
1 Samuel 17:10 And the Philistine said, “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.”
The entire Israelite army was dismayed and greatly afraid for Goliath was a giant (estimated to be at least 9 feet and possibly over 11 feet tall). Day after day, for forty days, Goliath issued his challenge and it remained unaccepted. This was more than just the challenge of one man to another man, but it was the challenge of one people to another. The freedom of an entire people rested on the outcome of this battle. On one of these days David was present. I love his response to the words of Goliath…..” who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
And so, after being approved by King Saul to accept the challenge, David gathered his weapons for battle….
1 Samuel 17:40 Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine.
Nothing fancy or elaborate here. Nothing seemingly very powerful. He is so unimpressive that Goliath disdained him because he was only a youth (17:42). He was just a boy. We are familiar with the story from here – David’s mighty victory and the beginning of his fame. But as amazing as his victory was, there was always another battle to fight and another enemy to conquer.
The enemy demanded a man. Saul sent a boy. The victory was incomplete.
The enemy (Satan) is still demanding a man. For multiplied thousands of year, he has been demanding every man. And he has won so often because there was no champion to defeat him, and thus he makes slaves of men. Slaves to sin….slaves to depravity…slaves to lawlessness….slaves to self-will.
But heaven watched on…..a plan already formulated. A body was prepared for THE MAN who would defeat this powerful enemy for all time. No other battle would be necessary. The enemy raged…”give me a man”. And God did just that.
John 19:5 Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!”
And just as David, he chose no elaborate battle gear or wartime weapons. He defeated the enemy with a cross.
Colossians 2:13-15 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
The uncontested champion of time and eternity – Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Behold the Man.