It’s a small point in a giant story. In fact, I overlooked it many times when reading the account between David and Goliath. After Goliath fell, we’re told:
When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran. (1 Samuel 17:51)
Of course they did, what else could they do? Well, for one thing they could have honored the agreement that Goliath had made on their behalf. During the 40 days leading up to the encounter with David, Goliath had taunted Israel’s army and made this offer:
Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us. (vv. 8-9)
This was supposed to be a man-on-man, one-on-one, winner-take-all proposition. However, when their man lost, the Philistines fled. Should it surprise us? No, not really. But it does serve as a good reminder that we shouldn’t expect the sworn enemies of God to keep their promises to us! People without a fear of God have little incentive to keep their promises once those promises become inconvenient or costly to them. Lost people are going to behave like lost people – we should expect no different.
Sadly, the Philistines would have fared far better had they kept their promise. Once they decided to run, they gave up far more than their freedom – Scripture tells us their dead soldiers were strewn throughout the land. The second lesson this part of the story teaches is that keeping our promises is the better path to travel.
Are you surprised when people without Christ behave like they don’t have Christ? Are you diligent to keep your word? –Dave
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