"This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand. . . that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel" (I Samuel 17:46).
The Philistines had been one of Israel's greatest enemies throughout much of their history as they established their kingdom in the land of Canaan. Historically they are believed to have come from the sea and settled on the coastlands, and they were indeed of larger stature.
Now in this story the Philistines brought forth their greatest warrior, a giant who was said to be around ten feet tall. He was huge, awesome, a man of battle. He was well armored and equipped for battle. His spear was said to be like that of a weaver's beam. And he defied the Children of Israel to send someone out to fight against him. Now the Children of Israel were greatly distressed over this. They were all men seasoned for war but this Goliath was too much for the best of them. They were afraid. Who could go against such a monstrosity? They would lose the battle and suffer permanent defeat.
Well, there was a youth at that time named David who had a strong belief in the Lord and His power, who was ready to go and fight against Goliath. I'll go. Send me," the youth exclaimed. At first his brothers were indignant. "What are you doing here? You should be back tending your sheep. Why do you come up here?" his brothers replied. He answered, 'The Lord will give us the battle. If the Lord is on our side, and He always has been when we've done His will, He will give us the battle. We will win.
Well, Saul heard of this young man and sent for him. And we can imagine this youth coming to Saul, a man of war, the king, and saying, "Yes, I can go up and fight against this giant." Saul's first reaction was, "But you are just a youth. And this man has been a warrior from his youth. How can you fight against this giant?" And David explained that he had killed a lion and a bear while he was protecting his sheep. If he could kill them, maybe he would have a chance at this Philistine.
Now we don't know what it was for sure, whether it was in David's voice or whether it was a perception given to Saul by the Lord, but for some reason Saul believed this young man. He said, "Go, and may the Lord be with you."
Saul prepared the boy for war in the traditional way. He got out his armor to put on the boy. David had never worn armor before and it was too awkward for him. After David had put on this heavy armor and finished buckling his sword, he realized that he couldn't move. He was not used to it. He said, "I have not proved this armor. I can't wear this." So he took it off. He got his sling and his staff and set off to the brook, a place that he had gone many times before, and he carefully selected five smooth stones from the brook to use with his sling. He knew exactly where the stones were. He probably collected them every day to protect his sheep. And then with his five smooth stones, his sling and his staff he went off to the battle.
We can imagine Goliath out there defying the Children of Israel, cursing at them by his gods, and out walks this boy. Of course Goliath was indignant at this. "What is this? Am I a dog that you come against me with sticks for battle?" He shouted, "Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air to eat." But then David, standing firm, made his declaration of faith. "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord. And today all the earth will know that there is a God in Israel."
In what happens next, imagine you are one of those Philistines upon the mountain watching your champion. And there's this boy facing him, and all of a sudden you see this youth run forward, pull out a stone, sling it around, let go, and it hits your champion right in the forehead and he falls dead. Your giant, your champion is no more. David runs up and cuts off his head. The Philistines were completely surprised, completely frightened. There is a God in Israel. They fled for their lives, and the Children of Israel ran after them. There was a great battle, and Israel was victorious.
Now this drama is such a drama in the literal meaning. But also in the deeper, spiritual meaning this is a Divine drama, which teaches us something about our lives and how the Lord works within our lives. Saul, David, and Goliath each represents a part of us. The drama in this literal story represents a drama that goes on in our own minds and hearts as we try to do the Lord's will.
We all have spiritual enemies inside of us. People like the Philistines, the Hittites, the Hivites, and all the enemies of Israel, represent evils within us which we must fight against. They rise up against us from time to time and cause turmoil in our lives.
In this particular story, Goliath represents an immense evil in our life, something that really looms over us, fills us with fear. Maybe you can think of something in your life that every once in a while looms up within you, and you wonder, "How am I going to beat this? It's too powerful. How can I fight it?" With some, especially the young and single, these Goliaths which emerge from time to time have to do with the opposite sex. Unclean thoughts and feelings emerge and you wonder how you could ever have conjugial love with such terrible feelings within. Perhaps you have a loose tongue from time to time talking about people and saying things that shouldn't be said. You might be working on it very hard but sometimes the evil looms up within and defies you to beat it. It seems you can't help but say bad things about people.
Each one of us has some monster that rises up within us occasionally. And it is like a Goliath, an evil that defies us to challenge it. We can become filled with a certain sense of fear. "Will I ever be able to change? Will I ever have peace in my life? Will I ever be able to do the Lords will?"
Now Goliath was heavily armed. And we are told that this armor represents in us all sorts of different false beliefs which we use to cover over our evils, to make excuses for ourselves. For every evil there are a hundred excuses. And these false reasonings, like armor, pad evil so it is protected, so it cannot be easily destroyed or removed from our life. For example, if we were going to be stealing something from our place of employment, some of the armor might be, "Well, the company's always cheated people out of money, so I'll just take a little bit from them. It's just evening the score." That's putting armor on that evil. "That person has cut me up before. I'm going to get him before he gets me this time. It's right. I'm only trying to be just. He deserves it." That's armor that we put on. "I'll change tomorrow." That's another set of armor we put on our evils.
Well, that's Goliath with his armor on him, strong and powerful, an evil in our lives that looms up within us which has all kinds of excuses for its right to exist. At this time we, like the Children of Israel, become afraid and don't know how to deal with this. We are dismayed and even fearful because we don't know what to do. But when this happens, there is another part in us. There is a David within us that is volunteering to come forth. David, strictly speaking we are told, represents the Lord's Divine truth. In us he represents our love for what is right, that simple love for the Lord, that simple youth-like obedience which wants to do the Lord's will. Have you ever had that feeling, in temptation when an overpowering evil rises up, of a little voice inside, chirping, saying, "Don't do that. You don't have to do that. You can conquer this evil"? Well, that's the David within us, that simple belief in the Lord which really wants to do the Lord's will, that part of us which hopes, that part of us which knows we can beat this evil. It may be a monster, but if the Lord is on our side, we can conquer it. That's the David within us speaking.
Now, in our lives we've got to recognize that there is a part of us willing to fight against our evils. We must try not to be afraid, not to run away from the evil but to listen to that part of us which wants to fight. Saul, after hearing David's story, was willing to give David a chance. And we remember David told his story: "I can fight against this person. Back when I was a boy I fought against the lion the bear, and I conquered them." This represents, in our own minds, our recognizing that those simple teachings, that simple love for the Lord, have helped us through other temptations. We think to ourselves, "I remember. I just held onto what the Lord told me was right and I was able to beat these things." And we think, "If I can beat these other things, why can't I beat the big evil in my life? Maybe I can." So Saul agreed that maybe David could and gave him a chance.
We remember that Saul then put his armor on David and it didn't work. Now armor, in an evil sense, represents falsities or knowledges which protect evil. Armor, in a good sense here, represents knowledges or doctrines which protect good. This armor represents all the doctrinal knowledges we have learned about religion, what it means to live a good fife, all the things we know about heaven and hell, all the things we know about why the Lord works in this world and how He operates. These are like armor that protects good. But what happens so often in temptations, in really grievous temptations? We can't rely on that doctrinal knowledge, not if it hasn't been proved or experienced in life. This armor hasn't been proved. If we are being tempted to lust, it is going to do relatively little good to know all about heaven and hell and the different degrees of the mind, and this and that. If we are tempted to steal something, it is going to do relatively little good to know how the Lord operates in this world, or what happens to our limbus after death, and so on. That armor is useless because it hasn't been proved, used in life and understood.
In grievous temptations such as this we have to rely on the basic teachings from the Word which we have lived by and experienced in our life. We have to rely on those simple, basic teachings the Lord has given us in His Word. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. These are the teachings that will pull us through if we hold onto them and use them.
Where does David go to get his weapons? He goes to the brook. Water in the Word represents the Lord's Divine truth. It represents the Lord's Word, for us to go to the Word to learn these knowledges that are going to fight against these evils. The David within us must go to the Word to find his stones.
What do these stones represent in themselves? They represent simple knowledges from the Word: smooth, refined things that we have learned and used in our life, the basic teachings. They will pull us through this battle. They will give us the victory over the enemy. And so David collects these stones and goes off to war against Goliath.
When Goliath sees David come out to him, he is indignant that this boy has come out to fight him. In the same way in our minds, sometimes we can become indignant with what we're hearing inside, with what these simple truths are saying. "What do you mean you shouldn't commit adultery? I'm in love. My case is special. Don't give me that Sunday school stuff." There is an indignation there. "What do you mean, don't steal? I'm not really stealing; I'm just signing the piece of paper a little differently. Everybody does it." We are indignant when we hear this conscience within us telling us, "No, thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not commit adultery. It does apply to you."
And then David gives his declaration of faith. "You come to me with all these weapons. I come to you in the name of the Lord. And today all the earth will know that there is a God in Israel." If we will only listen to the David within us, that simple basic belief in the Lord, to let that fight for us, to hold onto those basic teachings in time of temptations, we will pull through-that giant will fan. David ran forward, pulled out one of those stones, swung it and let go, and it hit the giant right between the eyes and he fell. This represents with us that when we actually do hold on through that temptation and use those basic truths, the enemy will fall. We come to the instant realization of the truth of the matter. We might say, Im so glad I didn't do that. I must have been a fool to think I could do that. Thank the Lord I didn't follow that path." The truth hits us right between the eyes. When the enemy falls we can see so clearly again. The monstrous evil with its armor of falsity is no more. That terrible enemy is vanquished, and peace returns to our conscious lives.
There are going to be many times in our life when giants loom up within us. That's why the Lord tells us this, so we can be ready for those giants. When we feel those temptations within us to do what is evil, and we become afraid, believing that we will never change, let us remember that there is a faith within us that is volunteering to come forward and fight; that simple, basic love for the Lord wants to come into our lives. Give that boy a chance and he will prove to be right and true. Turn to the Word and follow those basic teachings in times of temptations and that giant will fall. The temptation will end. We will be free. And there will be peace. And everything inside of us will know for a fact that there really is a God in Israel. Amen.
Lessons: I Samuel 17, AE 781:12
Presented in Chicago, Illinois, April 30, 1989
Apocalypse Explained 781:12
The bear that David smote has a like signification; this is described in the first book of Samuel: "David said unto Saul, Thy servant was pasturing his father's flock and there came a lion and a bear and took away a sheep from the flock; I went out after him and smote him; and when he arose against me I took hold of his beard and smote him and killed him. Thy servant smote both the lion and the bear. Therefore this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, because he hath reproached the ranks of the living God" (17:34-37).
Power was given to David to smite the lion and the bear that took away the sheep from the flock because "David" represents the Lord in reference to Divine truth in which those who are of His church are instructed; and a "lion" signifies the power of spiritual Divine truth, and in the contrary sense, as here, the power of infernal falsity against Divine truth, while a "bear" signifies the power of natural Divine truth, and in the contrary sense the power of falsity against that truth. But a sheep from the flock" signifies those who are of the Lord's church.
And as this was represented, the power was given to David to smite the bear and the lion, to represent and signify the Lord's power to defend by His Divine truth His own in the church from the falsities of evil that are from hell. David's taking hold of the beard of the bear involves an arcanum that may be disclosed, indeed, but can scarcely be comprehended. The "beard" signifies the Divine truth in ultimates, in which its essential power rests.
This truth also the evil who are in falsities carry indeed in the mouth but they misuse it to destroy; but when it is taken away they no longer have any power. This is why he killed the bear and smote the lion... But "Goliath," who was a Philistine and was therefore called "uncircumcised," signifies such as are in truths without good [which] are truths falsified, which in themselves are falsities. "The uncircumcised" signifies those who are in filthy corporeal loves, for the foreskin corresponds to those loves. From this it is clear what the victory of David over Goliath represents.
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