On Mondays through the summer, I will be running a series of devotionals based on the stained glass windows at Covenant-First Presbyterian. These devotionals originally ran in the Covenant Courier newsletter, and we are editing them for re-issue as a devotional later this summer. All the photos are by our member, nature photographer Jerry Fritsch. We invite you to come by the sanctuary and see the windows in person.
Covenant-First’s David and Goliath window is nestled in obscurity on the Eastern lower wall, in front of the narthex. This positioning means that it doesn’t get the brilliant sunlight. When it is backlit, it is usually dim. This is a shame, for it is a fine window.
The scene takes place mere moments after young David’s victory over the giant Goliath (I Samuel 17:50). True to the story, the artist has portrayed David as unarmored and bearing only a sling and a bag of stones for weapons. David is depicted in motion, running to the body of the slain Goliath. David has eyes of steely determination, for the battle is not yet over. The Philistine army still looks on, and at this point of the story, they have not yet fled. This David is portrayed as running to meet the next challenger.
Of course, David, who was anointed as the next king in I Samuel 16, prefigures Christ. The story of David and Goliath is not about how we can overcome our personal giants, but about how God provides for us a ruler and defender in his Son Jesus Christ. Like David, Jesus does not fit our idea of the strong deliverer. Neither was much when considered through the lens of power and position. And yet David became the ideal king, presiding over a golden age in Israel’s history. Jesus’ dying, rising, and ascending was the most important era of history – Jesus broke the curse of sin and heals the hearts of millions who follow him. Not bad for a peasant carpenter.
Our passage for reflection reminds us that God’s persistent pattern is to use the humble and weak as His chosen instruments. God consistently confounds our pride, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Let us then place our trust less on our own plans and fix it more firmly on Jesus. Let us consider more deeply the humility that God is working to build within us. Certainly, let us be ready for action. In the David and Goliath story, the army of the Israelites took off in hot pursuit of the fleeing Philistines – they were ready for action. However our action is the clean up operation that takes place after our Savior, Christ, has already won the glorious and decisive victory.
Soli Deo Goria