David and Goliath (3)

Jon Brown

READ : 1 Samuel 17

Saul said to him, “whose son are you, young man?” (v. 58 NRSV)

Goliath comes out taunting. David goes out slinging. Goliath fell. David stood proud. The Philistines run. The Israelites chase. And then this strange conclusion: “Saul said to [David], `whose son are you, young man?’” (v. 58). It is a strange conclusion because supposedly Saul already knew who David was and from whom David came. As 1 Samuel 16 nears its conclusion we read, “Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, `send me your son David’” and later, “Saul loved [David] greatly” (vv. 19, 21).

Could it be that Saul’s second inquiry of David was less for information and more of an interrogation? Was it the beginning of his hatred for David and insecurities about
himself? Saul became more interested in remaining king than acting like one, and now he saw David as a threat.

It is easy to find fault with Saul, though not as easy to acknowledge the same tendency in ourselves and in our churches. When God’s gospel purposes are being furthered in and by someone else, do we celebrate or question? When the church down the street is experiencing a season of harvest, do we celebrate or question? When one of our colleagues does well, do we celebrate or question? And when we question, do we really mean to criticize?


Forgive us when we are more interested in our own accolades than your purposes in the world. Amen.