1 Samuel 17:41-43
41 Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. 42 He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. 43 He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!”
Why did Goliath despise David? Verse 42 doesn’t read as if it is the fact that he is an Israelite, someone from the opposing nation. The implication is that it is his youthfulness, health and good looks. Why should Goliath despise him for that? It reminds me of Paul’s instruction as mentor to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12 which reads, ‘Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity‘ (NRSV). The NIV UK translation puts it like this: ‘Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young…‘ Sometimes, if we’ve been involved in something for a while, even church life, we can feel threatened by those that are young who come with fresh ideas, enthusiasm and creativity. We have a choice. We can dismiss them as naive, or even challenge them like Goliath, or recognise that they are part of the family, embrace and encourage them ,and even learn them like Paul.
Father, help us not to be precious about our own status and security, but look to embrace all, be willing to receive what they have to offer, and encourage them in their life of faith and service.