“This is a David and Goliath situation!” I heard this often during Louisville Colorado’s 2022 special election campaign. The tone was always apprehensive. An investment firm had purchased a 400 acre parcel in Louisville with  the  goal of  making as much money as possible.  After our council approved a sprawling and destructive development, I organized a referendum petition to challenge the decision. Getting those signatures meant that we would have a citywide vote to approve or deny the council’s decision. 

I had never run a campaign, but volunteered  because no one else wanted the job. Also, the Mayor and a council member promised to support me. Their help never materialized as I was put in charge the same morning the “Marshall Fire” occurred. The city  had to devote all their time for the next several months to fire recovery. 

The David and Goliath story seemed like a good way to describe our situation, especially when the developer invested $96,000.00 in their campaign and we had $3,000.00. When people started to worry, I’d always respond: “Every day’s a good day to be David! I’d sure hate to be Goliath right now!” I’d remind them that “David and Goliath” was an important cultural reference because It was different from what normally happens — rather than getting beaten, the underdog had triumphed.

It’s really interesting to look at how David saw himself and how he had the faith to stand up to Goliath. Our group leaned into our challenge in a very similar way.

  • David was the youngest of several brothers. Even his own family disrespected him  because of his youth and inexperience. Nevertheless, he had the confidence and courage to speak up and to challenge Goliath, He didn’t let others’  judgements make him doubt his abilities and mission.  

When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.” “Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?”  He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before. What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him. David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”
I Samuel 17: 28-33

  • Being a shepherd was a low status job, but David excelled at his work, and it was quite dangerous and difficult. He had certainty that God had used the work he had been doing to prepare him for this moment and that his work was a calling from God:

But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock,  I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.  Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”  I Samuel 17:34-37

  • David trusted God to help him and did not rely on the armor that warriors customarily used.  He had the confidence that the Lord had been with him in other dangerous situations and that the tools he needed to win came from God, not what men normally thought of as strong protection:

Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them.“I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.  I Samuel 17: 38-40

Re-reading the David and Goliath story a couple of years after we won that special election has been really helpful. I’m thinking how our victory depended on trusting God to provide a path for us  and how we ran our best race without worrying about how powerful the other campaign was or how we lacked experience. 

I really like what Alex said in his last message: “Who you are and what you are depends on whose you are.”  May we all pray for strong  grounding of our identities in “whose” we are this year in whatever challenges we face. 

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