Introduction: David, Goliath, and the Gospel

We all love a good underdog story. Young David defeating the mighty Goliath with only a measly slingshot is one of the most well–known and loved stories of the Bible. But what if it wasn’t meant to be understood as a single event? What if, instead, it was speaking to a much bigger, more important victory God had in store for all His children? In David, Goliath, and the Gospel: Living in Light of Our Savior’s Victory, author Ian Vaillancourt explores how this story isn’t just encouragement for us when facing life’s challenges. The story points to the overarching and life–transforming message of the gospel. Because of Christ’s ultimate victory, we don’t have to fight for victory for ourselves; we can live life knowing the victory has already been won.

The story of David and Goliath is a bit like a Hollywood movie that has it all. If we were watching it, our popcorn would likely sit forgotten in our laps. It’s hopeless opening scene of Israel’s defeat on the battle field is followed with twists and turns until (spoiler alert!) the surprise ending—an underdog–hero defeating the enemy in a dramatic showdown.

In stories like this it’s instinctive to cheer for the underdog—in this case, a small boy with a slingshot, who risks his life to defeat the giant (literally) enemy no one else had the courage to face.

But when we place this story in the grand story of the Bible, we will find that it is much more than just exciting and encouraging. God inspired the authors of the Bible to record this story for a much greater purpose than entertaining us or offering a bit of inspiration for “little–old–us” to face any challenge in life with God’s help. As we explore this story, we will begin to see that it does equip us to handle any challenge in life—but likely not in the way we expected. In light of the larger biblical story, the heroics of David against Goliath paint a clearer picture of the gospel. When, with the help of the Spirit, we soak in this chapter of Scripture, we are led to powerful, life–transforming gospel understanding.

If we are going to appreciate the full depths of how the gospel is represented in this story, we first need to understand this story’s place in the overall biblical story. Then we can zoom in on the story of David and Goliath and compare David’s incredible victory to the ultimate victory of Jesus. All of this can change our lives—that is, what it looks like to live in light of our Savior’s victory.