The Wednesday night Bible study at Renfrew Baptist Church is currently focused on the life of David. So far we’ve covered 1 Samuel 16 and a section of chapter 17. The motif of ‘seeing’ in these chapters is an interesting study:
1 Samuel 16:6
The aging prophet Samuel sees the wrong things as he gazes at the impressive stature of David’s older brother Eliab. Samuel thinks Eliab must surely be the one whom Yahweh has chosen for anointing, because of Eliab’s commanding looks. But Yahweh says to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.’ Here Samuel is shown to have bad eyesight.
1 Samuel 17:4-7
A labored description is given concerning Goliath’s appearance: he is a seemingly impenetrable fortress of armored might. In giving such a detailed description, does the narrator want the reader to reflect back on 16:6? Perhaps the message is that despite Goliath’s rather terrifying appearance, all would be well: ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature.’
1 Samuel 17:11
Saul and the men of Israel cower in fear at the voice of Goliath. Goliath’s stature and his impressive bravado have paralyzed the king and his entourage. Why can’t they see the truth, that Goliath is a defeat-able foe?
1 Samuel 17:24-25
The men of Israel “saw” Goliath and became terrified. They cried “have you seen this man?!” Clearly they were undone by Goliath’s Bronson-on-steroids appearance.
In truth Goliath was entirely vincible for the person or persons who walked in the Spirit, but the men of Israel didn’t have such vision. They too needed strong corrective lenses.
1 Samuel 17:28-29
Eliab (the impressive-looking guy that Samuel had been enamored with) looks upon his brother David as something of a runt. Eliab is curt with David. Eliab doesn’t see David as being any kind of solution to the crisis. Eliab too needs corrective lenses.
1 Samuel 17:33
Saul (who was tall [see 1 Sam 10:23] and also the king of Israel, making him the most logical choice to face tall Goliath who defied Israel) also looks upon David as a runt like Eliab had. Saul sees poorly once again.
1 Samuel 17:42
“The Philistine [Goliath] looked and saw David,” and “disdained” David, “for David was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance.” Goliath sees nothing but a young weakling as he looks upon David. Goliath needs strong glasses also. He doesn’t see well.
1 Samuel 17:26, 36-37, 45-47
It is David who sees perfectly! Only David in this section of Scripture has 20/20 eyesight. David can see perfectly well that Goliath is but a pagan who had been defying Israel’s God. David’s eyesight penetrated into the folly of Goliath. Goliath had been trusting in conventional weapons, which would be no match for the Spirit of ‘Yahweh of armies’ who rested upon David.
So why could David “see well” when everyone else was so visually impaired? Perhaps the main (only?) reason is given in 1 Samuel 16:13: “The Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.” It was the Spirit who was giving David his 20/20 vision.
Part of the reason the Greater David (Jesus) came was to restore sight, both literally and spiritually. When a person comes under the regenerative influence of the Holy Spirit, that person’s spiritual eyes are opened. “I was blind but now I see.”
If you are a Christian with the vision of the Spirit, will you be like Saul or the men of Israel or Goliath or Eliab: seeing but not seeing? Terrified and perturbed for reasons of blindness? Focused on the wrong things?
Or will the focus of the eyes of your heart turn persistently and consistently to the God whose Spirit indwells you?
With Paul I pray for you, that “the eyes of your heart would be enlightened, that you may know what it the hope to which he has called you” (Ephesians 1:18).
Grace and Peace,