“I cannot show up to fight Goliath in Saul’s armour.”
This one thought has been doing the rounds in my head for a while. I’ve recently been re-reading the account of David’s duel with Goliath in 1 Samuel 17.
This is a classic bestselling, ‘cinema sell-out’ thriller of a battle where the underdog topples the villain.
We love to be on the side of the ‘little guy’ don’t we? We watch with utmost glee and satisfaction when the ‘bad guy’ (as my son loves to call them) who has been talking smack for over an hour finds himself horizontal, face down in the dirt! Get in there!
After David (an unskilled shepherd boy) convinces a reluctant King Saul to let him take a shot at Goliath, we get this exchange in 1 Samuel 17:38-40 where Saul offers David his armour. I guess Saul was thinking the armour will at least buy David five minutes before the inevitable happens – he gets pummelled by Goliath.
Fair play to David – at least by trying on the armour, he respectfully acknowledges Saul’s good intentions. Saul didn’t want him to die – you’ll agree that’s a good thing, right!
What stands out to me is David’s courteous but courageous decision to not proceed with the armour. I imagine the conversation to have gone something along these lines:
DAVID: Long may you live King. Thank you for your kindness and generosity. Who is your servant that I should even be considered to wear your armour? However, sir, I’ve tried it and the fit is not quite right. It is too heavy, and I haven’t had the time to practise fighting in such a majestic armour and we don’t have time to order one in my size. May I on this occasion kindly decline your request and instead wear something I’m comfortable with?
SAUL: [looking bemused] Are you sure about this son? This armour is made from the finest steel in the land. I wore it in my last battle against the Amalekites six weeks ago where we totally annihilated them.
DAVID: Yes king, I am sure. I need to wear something more suited to me. Something tailor made for me.
SAUL: [with a resigned look] Very well son, do as you please. Your blood is not on my hands. God go with you.
David takes the armour off, walks off stage and takes his shepherd’s staff and selects five smooth stones from the brook which he put in the pocket of his shepherd’s pack.
DAVID: [with his sling in his hand, approaches Goliath and mutters under his breath] God, who delivered me from the teeth of the lion and the claws of the bear, will deliver me from this Philistine.
Did you notice the transition?
By declining a good offer, David moves from being acted on to being a participant in his destiny. He takes his shepherd rod. He chooses the five smooth stones. He takes ownership of his destiny.
Even if Goliath ended up making a ‘double-stack David burger’ out of his body parts, at least David would have died knowing he stayed true to himself instead of blaming Saul’s armour.
Maybe some of us like morphing into what people expect of us so we can point accusing fingers at them when we fail. I don’t know. It’s just a thought…
Truth is even if you fail because of other people’s well-meaning but ill-suited suggestions, you have to share in the blame too. You chose to stay mute and let someone else’s (good) idea erode your identity.
At some point, we all need to learn to pass on a good deal for the sake of remaining true to our core values/beliefs/identity in Christ.
A Good Idea or a Liability in Waiting…?
Saul’s armour is good. But it’s not for you.
Saul’s armour is good. But it’ll slow you down.
Saul’s armour is good. But do you really want to face Goliath without knowing who you are?
In 2022, declining Saul’s armour for you and I might mean ripping up the mask of pretence or the stifling garment of people pleasing. It might mean saying a few more ‘nos’ so you can say yes to one tailor-made (though unglamorous) opportunity. It might mean decluttering your heart of people’s expectations, stripping life back to basics and for once owning your decisions.
You’re not being rude when you say, ‘thank you but respectfully this does not work for me.” You’ve simply figured out that the only way to survive out here in these rough streets call life is to show up as your authentic self.
It’s important we get this right as we set out on this journey called 2022.
I don’t want to get to the middle of year and within a few feet of Goliath only to pass out from the stifling heat of an armour that seemed like a good idea back in January (because it was trending and I was too afraid to say no) but now in June, in the middle of the battle of my life, the armour is a liability.
The Race is not to the Swift…
It’s perfectly fine to show up to the battle of your life in your raggedy shepherd-boy clothes and dusty feet to match. In the end, the race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong (Ecclesiastes 9:11) because greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
When you put the armour down, the stage is set for onlookers to witness through your life that indeed God is on the side of the underdog, that He doesn’t save by means of sword or spear (1 Samuel 17:47). When you embrace authenticity, you set the stage for an epic miracle.
Authenticity will save your life.
P.S. Subscribe to my email list and you’ll receive my latest blog posts straight to your email!