Just about everyone knows the story of David and Goliath. I will never forget the first time I heard it. I was probably eight or nine years old. Afterwards, I peered up at the ceiling at the bottom of the stairwell and tried to imagine myself confronting such a gargantuan. It would have been scary to say the least. But many years later I heard a sermon that got me wondering why Goliath got so much attention. The preacher had personally watched a lion drag a fully grown cow over a high fence like it was child’s play. He then talked about how awesome it was for David to have killed such a beast as a boy protecting his father’s sheep. And then it struck me: David killing the lion is much more impressive than David killing Goliath! So I couldn’t help but wonder, what’s so important about David killing Goliath?
I now know that the story of David and Goliath has nothing to do with a young boy killing a nine-foot giant, at least not literally. Like so many other topics on this site, the real message is about us, and more specifically, something “within” us. Let’s get down to business:
The giant Goliath has some interesting numbers associated with him. These numbers show us what Goliath really represents. Beginning in 1 Samuel chapter seventeen, we learn that Goliath is about six cubits high, has 6 pieces of armor, and his spearhead weighs 600 shekels. Now we have all the ingredients to make 666, the number of man! To put it another way, this number represents the ego, or the beast inside us! So there we have it; Goliath is an archetype of the human ego.
So what about David? Remember how David chose FIVE stones from the brook for his sling? Ever wonder why he chose five? The five stones represent different qualities of the ego. The ego can basically be broken down into the five components below:
1) Form (matter / body)
2) Feelings or emotions
3) Cognition (memory and thoughts)
4) Volition (free will / desire)
5) Consciousness (self awareness or “I”)
The five components above work collectively to make up our ego and give us the unique and individualistic experience we call life. This doesn’t seem so bad, right? Why would we want to slay the ego (like David did) if it enables you, or me, or your neighbor to have a unique existence? Shouldn’t we celebrate diversity?
The problem is not the ego itself. The problem is when the ego takes the driver’s seat of your soul. And it will. Every. Single. Time. Human existence was destined to be ego-driven. However, I also believe human existence is destined to realize that it is ego-driven and then have the greater realization that the ego is all an illusion. Let me explain…
When one is led by the ego, they can only see their unique world-view. They might realize they have faults, but deep down inside they believe they are right in their attitudes and judgments about life and other individuals. The illusion is that their world-view is not THE correct one. All world-views are merely experiences of the individual. At death, the world-views that we may or may not hold will fade, sort of like a dream fades when we wake up to another reality. The only true reality is the eternal nature that is the indwelling spirit (God) inside each and every one of us. THAT spirit is both eternal and unchanging. David confirms this in the scriptures when he says to Goliath the Philistine:
“…Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield; but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts…” (1 Sam 17:45).
The Lord of Hosts IS the spirit (God) which indwelled David. His name is representative of the authority of that indwelling spirit, and when we walk in the spirit by denying the ego, we can effectively say the ego is slain.
David did not come to Goliath thinking that HE would win the Battle. He knew the Lord of Hosts would win the battle. It is the same with us. We do not slay the ego by our own might or strength. That would mean the ego is driving again and it would never work. We need to simply realize (become conscious) of what the ego is through activities like meditation. Then the spirit within us will naturally take over. And this is where REAL life comes in! With the ego slain, we become conscious of a greater reality, one that is no longer bound by our beliefs about the world, God, and the universe. God cannot be limited by a belief. God is not a belief! The right words or the right belief system has nothing to do with God. Beliefs are only impermanent ideas that will fade with your ego at death (can anyone shout religion with me?). God is the unlimited potential of the entire cosmos and then some! And guess what? THAT resides within you as the LORD of hosts! Never believe that a belief can comprehend, explain, or understand God.
I want to go back to David and Goliath and make a few more points. While almost everyone is familiar with the story of David and Goliath, few know that there were four more Philistine giants which David and his men had to deal with later (2 Sam. 21:16-22). So David killed Goliath with one stone and had four left in his pouch, leaving one stone each for the four remaining giants. Remember the five components that make up the ego? Is this a coincidence? I think not! While it was ultimately David’s mighty men that killed the giants in David’s old age, you get the point; all of the collective components which make up our ego must be dealt with.
So what is the story of David and Goliath about ultimately? It is about the spiritual man (King David) who is spiritual because he didn’t allow Goliath (the ego) to taunt Israel.
It is my sincere hope that this article helped you in some way. Please don’t hesitate to let me know your thoughts.