The Physical Victory vs. The Spiritual Victory


Victories that we believe God for come in many different shapes and sizes.Sometimes a victory we see as grand is actually smaller in the eyes of God, and vice versa.I am going to outline two different victories that occurred in King Davidís life.I will then show how Godís view of these victories is comparably different than our own.†††


When David fought Goliath and killed him, his victory was not only important for himself, but also for all of Israel.The victory also gave God much glory.


1 Samuel 17:32-37


And David said to Saul, let no manís heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.And Saul said to David, thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.And David said unto Saul, thy servant kept this fatherís sheep, and there came a loin, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him and slew him.They servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. David said moreover, the Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.And Saul said unto David, Go, and the Lord be with thee.


David did fight Goliath that day and defeated him.After David ďsmote the Philistine with the rockĒ he then proceeded to use Goliathís own sword to cut off his head.David then carried the Philistines severed head with him as a sign of victory.†† In the passage above David believed that his God would deliver him in this physical battle.Many people quote this battle in the bible to personify a manís faith in God as well as Godís faithfulness to man.This battle has long been considered Davidís greatest victory.


In this next passage David was on the run for his life.The current king of Israel, Saul, wanted David dead.David was escaping from Saul and at this time he was scared and needed some help.It is also worth mentioning that this next passage takes place long after his victory over Goliath.†††


1 Samuel 21:1-9


Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the Priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said unto him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee?And David said unto Ahimelech the priest, The king hath commanded me a business, and hath said unto me, Let no man know any thing of the business whereabout I send thee, and what I have commanded thee: and I appointed my servants to such and such a place.Now therefore what is under thine hand? Give me five loaves of bread in my hand, or what there is present.And the priest answered David, and said, there is no common bread under mine hand, but there is hallowed bread; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women.And David answered the priest and said unto him, Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel.So the preist gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the shewbread, that was taken from before the Lord, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away.Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord; and his name was Doeg, an Edomite, the chiefest of the herdsman that belonged to Saul.And David said unto Ahimelech,And is there not here under thine hand spear or sword?For I have neither brought my sword nor my weapons with me, because the Kingís business required haste.And the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom thou slewest in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if thou wilt take that, take it: for there is no other save that here.And David said, There is none like that, give it me.††


In the passage above David did something that went against the Levitical Law (Law of Moses).It was not right for any common man to eat the priestís shewbread; this bread was consecrated and separated for the descendants of Levi alone.


Exodus 29:32-33


And Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram, and the bread that is in the basket, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.And they shall eat those things wherewith the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them: but a stranger shall not eat thereof, because they are holy.


Even Jesus Christ himself makes reference to the above text and explains how it was not lawful for David to eat this shewbread (This text will be inserted below).


But David did accept the shewbread.He not only accepted it for himself, but also for his companions as well (Matthew 12:3).If David was sinning against God by receiving this bread then he was not only wronging himself, but all his companions as well.So why did David take this shewbread if he knew he was sinning against God by doing so?Because David believed God would forgive him.


When David fought Goliath, David believed God for a physical victory.But here it is the exact opposite.David does not believe God for anything physical, but for a spiritual victory.David taking the shewbread and receiving it shows that David believed God was a merciful God who would forgive him.David basically won a spiritual victory simply by receiving the bread.This act (James 2:21-26) shows that David believed in Godís faithfulness to cover over his transgressions (Psalm 32:1).Whereas defeating Goliath was a huge physical victory, accepting the shewbread was a huge spiritual victory.It is a big deal to believe that God will deliver you from a giant, but it is an even bigger deal to believe that God is loving enough to cover over your transgressions.In the eyes of God, this spiritual victory is far more profound than Davidís physical victory.


Below Jesus Christ commends David for his spiritual victory, and shows all of us that David believed in Godís mercy over manís sacrifice.


Matthew 12: 1-7


At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the Sabbath day.But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was a hungered, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the Sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?But I say unto you, that in this place is one greater than the temple.But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the guiltless.††


Here Jesus is saying that David was guiltless.This is because David acted on faith (Romans 14:23).David was starving, lonely, and afraid.He was in a horrible place both mentally and physically.When David came to Ahimelech the Priest at Nob, he believed that it was far more important for him to get some food and some peace, for both himself and his companions, than it was for him to sacrifice.In other words, David said to himself ďWeíre hurting, weíre cold, and weíre hungry.I cannot believe God wants us to walk away from this place hungry just because we are not supposed to eat this consecrated bread.I believe in a God who will have mercy on us right now, not on a God who is about to jump down our throats for eating this consecrated bread.ĒAs soon as David acted on this faith (James 2:21-26), he showed by his actions that he believed God would forgive him and his companions their transgression.Jesus not only backs Davidís faith filled decision to eat the consecrated bread, but he also uses Davidís faith as an example of how everyone should be like David and believe in Godís mercy before manís sacrifice.This was a spiritual victory for David and it was huge.


There is one more poetic treasure lingering between these two texts.Both victories include Goliathís sword. I donít think this was a mere coincidence.When David defeated Goliath, he was on a high.He was living the mountaintop experience and he was so full of faith that he didnít even need any kind of reminder of his past successes.Basically David was secure and extremely confident when he killed Goliath.In the second text, when David came to Ahimelech the Priest at Nob, he was experiencing a physical and mental rut, or valley.He was hurting and did not have much confidence at all.David needed reassuring.I do not think it was a coincidence that as soon as David received the Shewbread by faith, trusting in Godís mercy, that low and behold, Goliathís sword reappeared.I believe God did this for a reason.This was Godís very personal message (reminder) to David to always trust in his heart and to believe God in his circumstances.God was also poetically rewarding David for the spiritual victory he had just won.When David defeated Goliath in the valley of Elah, he took the Philistines armor but not his sword (1 Samuel 17:54).God was now saying to David, ďthe first time you won the physical victory, you received the armorÖ but this second time you have won the spiritual victory, now take Goliathís sword.ĒThis was a poetic way in which God reminded David of not only who he was, but where he had been and where he was going.If you re-read the text it doesnít make much sense for Goliathís sword to be in that place.The sword was in Nob, with a priest, wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. What on earth was it doing there?The sword was there for a reason.Because at the Valley of Elah, David won a grand physical victoryÖ but at Nob, before the priest of the Lord, David won a grand spiritual victory.†††††