Imagine this scene: two hills with opposing armies facing each other. They had been squared up like this for days, neither army budging. In the field between them stands the Philistine champion, a nine-foot-tall, killing machine shouting his insults at the Israelite army on the opposite hill. Who would the Israelites send to face him? Do they have a warrior mighty enough in their ranks? Then into the ring steps a shepherd; oh no, what is Saul doing? This kid doesn’t stand a chance! Saul tried to make David at least look like a warrior. He dressed David in his own tunic and armor. And, David, with every eye on him, could have entered this battle looking like a mighty king but instead he told Saul, “‘I cannot go in these because I am not used to them.’ So he took them off. Then he took his staff in 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” (1 Samuel 17:39-40).

This was David’s chance; he could have recreated his image from a shepherd with but a few sheep to a warrior who took down a giant. He chose instead to be who he was, and, with God at his side, he knew it would be enough.

We’ve all met posers–pseudo-athletes, pseudo-geniuses and others–guys who you wish would just be real. They create a false façade so they can look good for the crowd. But, the outer skin doesn’t change what’s underneath. We are who we are.

Jesus pointed this out to some Pharisees who were trying to look good for the crowd: “Woe to you teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which, look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness” (Matthew 23:27-28).

What if David did go into the fight wearing the kings armor; would he have won? We don’t know. We do know he won without pretending to be someone he wasn’t. We don’t have to recreate our image to be of value. God told Gideon, “Go in the strength you have” (Judges 6:14). That’s good advice for all of us.




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