David & Goliath: Moralizing the Bible

Saw a picture of David and Goliath which had a written rebuke on it. It said, these two are an analogy for Christ defeating sin and Satan. It then implied that it is moralizing (which is supposedly bad) to take this text and use it for one’s own life to fight their Goliath (besetting sin, or cancer -for example). Is this correct? Is this truly a God-centered view, or is it a man centered viewpoint of what God-centered means?

I would agree that in a limited view of a “redemptive historical” reading of the Bible, the story of David and Goliath is a great portrait about Jesus vs sin and Satan. This way of reading the Bible does give some fantastic pictures of Christ.  On the other hand, the Bible moralizes itself for the believer like there is no tomorrow. There is an issue where, (we will call it shallow preaching)—some modern preachers will harp on moralizing a text, while Christocentric themes, context, Systematic Theology and Christian ultimate questions are forgotten. There is some truth to this. Yet, it would be a rebellious response to this, to disparage the act of moralizing a text. Why? Because the Bible does so to itself. What this means is that there is a correct way to do it, and so, do this the correct way.  First, do it the right way, then secondly, do not over or under emphasize it. Done!

Joshua entering the Promise Land? Is there a gospel theme, or Christ-centered theme to collect from this? Of course there is. One of which is that Joshua being baptized in the Jordan is paralleled to Jesus baptizing believers in the Holy Spirit for power and mission.  However, Hebrews chapter 13 takes the promise God gave Joshua, “I will never leave you,” in the Old Testament, to be applied to Christians in the New Testament looking to fight the temptations of marriage unfaithfulness and covetousness. Hebrews moralizes Joshua rather boldly.

Chapter 13 also does the same with David in Psalm 118,” The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Again, King David? This is in context talking about God protecting him from the “nations” that surrounded him, moralized by Hebrews for New Testament believers fighting to keep the marriage bed pure and fight covetousness.
Paul in 1 Corinthians 10 speaks of the Christocentric theme of the Wilderness Experience of the Old Testament (10:4) “That Rock was Christ.” However, Paul them proceeds to moralize this same story for fighting sins, verse 7-11, “There all these things happened to them as an example, ….written for our admonition.” Moralizing and moralizing.

TBN, no I am sorry, James moralizes without restraint in chapter 5 of his Epistle.  Job is first moralized to encourage endurance. Vincent Cheung comments that Religious fanboys usually like this and so do not mind moralizing if it matches their bias.[1] Next, Job is applied in a general way that God is merciful and compassionate. In context, this “mercy and compassion” is defined as double health and wealth, because what God gave Job was more health and wealth than before. Seriously, why does one man need all those donkeys, and to live that long? Why don’t the fanboys applaud this?

Next is Elijah. Elijah? Here is an Old Testament prophet. Is there a gospel theme for Elijah? Yes, but James does not go there. He takes the story of Elijah praying for rain 7 times (a natural miracle) to be applied to New Testament believers to pray for healing and miracles in general: completely different categories and situations. If your theology does not use this, then you need to repent of your rebellion against God’s Word, and then included it. If you are a ministry, then you should be excommunicated. This is reading the Bible 101.

The Bible has already moralized David for New testament believers in Hebrews 13. If the Bible hijacks Elijah, Job, Moses, David and Joshua to be applied in very different ways for New Testament believers, then how much more with David and Goliath?

The true context is if one is a Christian. If not, then no application.  A reprobate does not get the Christian privilege of applying God’s word, only meant for His chosen ones with faith, to himself.  The one exception is applying relevant passages of God’s condemnation and judgment to himself.  If one is a believer, then as Paul shows in 1 Corinthians 10, we are to moralize the text for us: (1)Rock they drank from is Christ and because of this (2) their story is moralized for the Christian. If you are a Christian Moses is for you, David is for you, Joshua is for you, Christ is for you. All things are yours. The promises are for you, even promises given to Joshua, “I will never leave you,” which was for a different context, different persons and different time, is now FOR YOU today.

The issue of saying “I am of Paul, or I am of Apollos,”(in addition to being petty and argumentative) is that their desire for greatness and blessings was too small. Paul turns around and says the whole world, past present and future belong to you in Christ, (2 Corinthians 3). That is, Paul and Apollos are already yours; yet, so is the world, and so is the gifts of the Spirit. All the mighty promises of God are yours for the taking, by faith in Christ. All the moralized stories are for you oh Christian, even David and Goliath. Do not let the religious fanboys take this from you, because it is already yours.

Picture: Guillaime Courtois. David_and_Goliath.

Picture Guillaime Courtois. David_and_Goliath


[1] See Vincent Cheung. All things Are Yours. From Sermonettes Vol. 9. 2016. Chapter 3.