There is nothing like the NCAA tournament. In my opinion March Madness is one of the top three sporting events of the year, and due to the drama that continuously unfolds, I may even place it in the number one position on my list of annual sporting events.
It is absolutely incredible how year after year we witness some David vs. Goliath underdog triumph over the Giants of college basketball, even while those being pursued are well aware of the yearly risk that some “small time” mid major team from a conference most have never heard of, will rise up and triumph over the household names of the NCAA.
Among the list of unlikely victors were spoilers from the ever-present Ivy League, as Harvard triumphed in round one. Incredibly, as I write this article, the Dayton Flyers have advanced to the final eight with victories over the likes of annual powerhouses such as the Jim Boeheim coached, and multiple tournament winner, Syracuse Orangeman, as well as. Dayton’s latest victim, the mighty Stanford Cardinals.
Who saw that coming? Most likely no one, except the Dayton Flyers. Somehow this relatively obscure bunch from the great state of Ohio mustered up the courage, as well as, the faith to believe they could hang with the big boys.
If you think about it, isn’t that just like God? It seems that God has a habit of pulling out upsets when everyone around believes victory is well out of reach. How is it that a team like Dayton can pull off upset after upset while everyone else is crumbling around them? Even more important, how can we overcome the giants in our own lives that manifest as the daily troubles of life and threaten to thrust us into the chaos, suffering and pain that is so often experienced by a fallen humanity?
In all practicality, how did David defeat Goliath? How was a sixteen year old boy able to triumph over the gargantuan champion of the Philistines with nothing more than a few small stones and a sling shot? Have you ever related this to your own life? To find out, let’s visit what many have mistaken to be nothing more than a children’s story, or a long lost memory of your childhood Sunday school class.
Now the Philistines gathered their armies together to battle…And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders. Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels…. (1 Samuel 17:1-7)
Do not take this story lightly. Goliath was a big scary dude whose only purpose in life was to kill. My man seemed to suffer from gigantism and his physical presence was so immense that he carried a javelin in place of a spear. If you were unfortunate enough to face him, you either left the field in victory or they drug your carcass out of the way for the next victim. Up to this this point in history, the giant Goliath was undefeated. Not a single human being had ever left the battle field with the breath of life still in their lungs. Goliath was a monster!
Along comes this snot nosed little kid, who has spent the majority of his life in the fields guarding his family’s sheep, while writing and singing songs to a God no one had ever really seen face to face. He is the youngest and presumably smallest of his brothers, who happen to be in the battle being waged by Goliath and his Philistine cohorts against the armies of Israel.
Need I tell you that from a physical standpoint, David is among the least likely candidates wandering the face of the earth to take on the mighty warrior Goliath? Heck, Saul’s armor nearly collapsed David’s knees. He actually had to take it off and fight Goliath with no protection at all.
What could not be seen, however, was the spirit raging inside David’s heart. David had the look of a lamb, but the heart of a lion! Sound familiar? Think about the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, who just happens to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Let’s continue on…
Now when the words which David spoke were heard, they reported them to Saul; and he sent for him. Then David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”
And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.”
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.”7 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 17:31-37)
Unlike the world of sports, the key to David’s victory was never in the physical tools he possessed. His victory was in the Spirit in whom he both trusted and loved. David used an incredibly significant term when describing his view of the Philistine giant, Goliath. David did not see a champion in his opponent. In fact, what David saw stacked the deck so far in his favor that one may equate it to “the fix” being in. In truth, it was. The outcome had been determined before David ever set foot on the battlefield. Here is why.
When David described Goliath, he did not regard him as the mighty champion who was invincible. He saw him as “this uncircumcised Philistine.” What’s the significance?
Brothers and sisters, this is a game changer. Keep in mind that David had previously slain both a lion and a bear. Yeah, David was out in the field guarding sheep and singing songs, but at the same time he was doing something much more significant. He was communing with, and becoming intimate with the mighty Yahweh, the ruler and creator of all that exists. God was preparing him for the battle to come. Keep that in mind as you experience the trials of life. You are being refined to accomplish something greater.
When David used the term uncircumcised, David was declaring that he was not just in communion with, but that he was in covenant with God. Therefore, he completely understood and knew that God would never leave him on the battlefield, regardless of who the opponent was. Does your relationship with God parallel David’s? If not, you’ve got some work to do. Yeah, Goliath was big and Goliath was scary. Goliath may even have been mighty. The giant Goliath, however, was dwarfed by the presence of God that resided in David. That same God still resides in today’s believer through the circumcision of our hearts. (Romans 2:29) In Christ, we are in covenant with Almighty God.
David was so unafraid of Goliath that when the battle raged he declared, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” (1 Samuel 17:45) If that was not enough “when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:48)
In an amazing turn of events, the scrawny little champion of Yahweh could not wait to get his hands on this uncircumcised animal who blasphemed his God for forty days straight. Keep in mind that Goliath was in full armor with a helmet. The helmet of David and Goliath’s day left only a small opening for David to get his rock through. David not only ran after Goliath, but he had to get close enough to propel a rock through Goliath’s mask with such force that it crushed Goliath’s skull. That is trust and that is faith. Faith is the catalyst that propels the underdog to victory. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. (1 John 5:4)
As you continue watching the tournament, and even other sporting events throughout the year, keep David in mind. There is no doubt that we all experience trouble. When you do, know that you have the mighty Jehovah on your side in the name of our CHAMPION, the Lord JESUS CHRSIT of Nazareth!
In Him we are more than conquerors. (Romans 8:37)
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
Please take the time to check out John’s website for his book “God Culture” which is the first in the Understanding the Almighty series.