“You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him for you are a youth and he is a man of war from his youth.”   1 Samuel 17:33

“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.  1 Samuel 17:37

“I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them. So David took them off”  1 Samuel 17:39

All’s well that ends well.  Life is what you make of it.  The more things change, the more the more they stay the same.  Conventional wisdom; besides the previous sayings I’m sure there are many that you can list as well.  They do sound good and I wouldn’t argue that there is the potential for wisdom in any of those statements.  Yet as best as I can tell, at least through the internet, each of these sayings is from a human source.  Thus each of these sayings can have a disabling liability to them as well.

David was the youngest of eight sons.  Tradition, sometimes another name for conventional wisdom, of that day was the oldest son(s) had certain greater responsibilities that could lead to greater family glory.  One of those responsibilities was going to war when called upon by the nation.  So David’s three eldest brothers had gone to meet the hated Philistines when they had come up to threaten Israel.

All war is costly but especially back in those times, there were very few standing armies of professional soldiers.  Therefore, an outright fight of two armies might kill so many men vital to the day to day existence of their respective societies that neither the winner nor the loser would be able to continue to function.  So, often each side would put forth a champion to battle to the death and the winner’s side would then be able to enforce their terms on the loser’s side but both would have the remaining manpower that their societies could continue.  Goliath was the champion of the Philistines.

Goliath was certainly a human champion’s champion.  Not only was he more physically massive and imposing in every way, stronger than any number of men let alone just one; but Goliath was one of the rare professional soldiers.  All he did was battle and train for battle.  Conventional wisdom was that Goliath was unbeatable.  So the Army of Israel cowered in fear to a man.  There was not one single warrior in all of King Saul’s Army who would rise up against Goliath.  No one that is, until David arrived.

David knew his place.  He knew he was the youngest and obediently carried out the orders of his father Jesse in bringing refreshment to his older brothers at the front.  Yet when David heard Goliath’s challenge to the Jewish Army, when David heard the insults of the hated Philistine, the wisdom that stirred in him was not conventional.  David did not see an imposing, unbeatable giant, he saw a lowly human being trying to stand up to the might and power of Almighty God.  David’s spiritual wisdom told him that this was not a battle between two purely human armies.  No, this was a battle between an unbelieving, evil creation trying to thwart the will of the All Powerful Creator.  In David’s wisdom this can not be allowed to continue.

First, David’oldest brother, Eliab, then even King Saul had a conventionally wise response.  David is too young, has no experience with which to go up against one so fierce as Goliath.  Conventional wisdom would say that David loses ever time and with his loss, all of Israel would lose as well.  However, David confronts their conventional wisdom with his spiritual wisdom.  Giving Glory to God, David recounts how he has killed both lion and bear by hand and if God will do that for David, God will deliver this gentile blasphemer into his hands.  Saul relents and allows David to become the champion of the Israel Army.

Now notice how “conventional wisdom” is not done yet.  Conventional wisdom says, if David is going to be the champion and go out against Goliath, he must have the best armor and heavy sword.  Also note that David does not initially reject the conventional wisdom.  He allows them to put all the armor on him.  Yet David does not allow conventional wisdom to sway his spiritual wisdom.  David knows he can’t defeat Goliath relying on the trappings of human power and might.  He rejects the conventional wisdom, takes his sling and stones from the stream and utterly destroys Goliath and with him, the Philistine Army.

So what are you and I fighting today?  What tests are there that conventional wisdom is telling us are too big for us to pass, challenges to imposing for us to attempt overcome, successes too large for us to even dream of achieving?  Even more so, where is the name and the word of God being impugned, where is justice being trampled and mercy being thwarted in the name of human judgement?  What is it that you believe in your soul that you are being called to do that the world would say is impossible or foolish?  When faced with the overwhelming weight of conventional wisdom; what will you or I decide to do?

David had it right for two reasons.  First, David was not striving for victory for his own glory.  David’s decision to act was not so that he could show up his older brothers or make a great name for himself.  No, the name that David wanted to glorify was God’s.  Secondly, he first listened to, and then relied on the spiritual wisdom given to him to overcome the argument of conventional wisdom and then go on to victory using that wisdom.

God, through His Son Jesus Christ has promised us that same spiritual wisdom.  Jesus promised that He would pray and that God would send the Holy Spirit to all who call believe on and call upon the name of Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit, with His wisdom resides within each of us.  Let us lay conventional wisdom aside, rely on that spiritual wisdom and fully experience the victories God has in store for each of us.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we humbly admit that we lack the wisdom to make righteous and just decisions on our own.  We thank you Most Merciful Father that generously supply us with The Holy Spirit to guide us to the correct courses of action.  Forgive us when we reject Your Spiritual Wisdom, relying on our human-made conventional wisdom.  Strengthen us Dear Father to resist the temptation to go our own way and be like David, fully trusting in the Spiritual Wisdom You freely supply.  We pray this in the Name of Jesus Christ.  Amen