I'm going to be spending the next few weeks on different aspects of the David and Goliath narrative. The first one clobbered me over the head, so I'll start with that one.
Now David was the son of an Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, named Jesse, who had eight sons. In the days of Saul the man was already old and advanced in years. The three oldest sons of Jesse had followed Saul to the battle. And the names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. David was the youngest. The three eldest followed Saul, but David went back and forth from Saul to feed his father's sheep at Bethlehem. For forty days the Philistine came forward and took his stand, morning and evening. (1 Samuel 17:12-16)
We have established Saul as the "old Adam" and David as the "new Adam" or Christ. Although David has been anointed king already, Israel still follows Saul, the old Adam, and David's brothers are included. These followers of Saul are metaphorically unconverted souls, just like all of mankind was at one time, including us before Christ knew us. Now, watch how the unconverted soul responds to Christ in David:
Now Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spoke to the men. And Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” And David said, “What have I done now? Was it not but a word?” And he turned away from him toward another, and spoke in the same way, and the people answered him again as before. (1 Samuel 17:28-30)
Woe to you who call good evil and evil good. Here Eliab assigns evil to David, just as the Pharisees assign evil to Jesus when he casts out a demon. They say it is by the devil that he casts out devils. Look at how Jesus' own brothers respond to him when he is with them:
After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him. Now the Jews' Feast of Booths was at hand. So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” For not even his brothers believed in him. Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” After saying this, he remained in Galilee. (John 7:1-9)
They know that he will be arrested and killed, and yet they encourage him to go and reveal himself loudly. Now, Jesus knows that his time has not yet come, but see how his own flesh and blood not only rejects him but desires his death. Doesn't this remind you of Joseph's brothers desiring his death, dropping him in a pit, and selling him into slavery? The point is, blood relations do not respond to Christ in the same way. We all have relations who irrationally reject Jesus outright. This cause us great pain, because we have been taught that "blood is thicker than water" and that "if you don't have your family, who do you have?" Well, listen to Jesus again:
While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50)
Who are your true family? Fellow believers! These are the ones to whom you can truly expose your heart. They will never forsake you, if they also believe in the Jesus of the Bible. Paul explains in Romans 6:
What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:15-23)
Conversion is a "setting free" from the old Adam, from following Saul. Now we are free to follow Righteousness, David historically, Jesus in actuality. What about our brothers and sisters of the flesh? Are we to reject them? No, we are to pray for them, because no matter what they have done, God can change their hearts, too. Remember, all of us were haters of Christ until God changed our hearts. Just because we were converted sooner, does not mean they cannot be converted later.
A fine example is Esau. He does not repent when he tries to get his blessing from Isaac in Genesis 27, and, according to Hebrews 12, he is too late to acquire the blessing. Romans 9 even says that Jacob was accepted but Esau is rejected. Does this mean Esau is destined for hell? Not necessarily. In Genesis 33, 20 years have passed since Esau and Jacob have seen each other. 20 years of being outside of the presence of God have broken Esau, and God has turned his heart in some way. Is it a saving faith that Esau has now when he embraces his brother in tears after 20 years? Perhaps. Has he repented? Perhaps. Is he saved now? Perhaps. Perhaps not. It is not our place to say, but this lies under the secret knowledge of God. What we do know is that Esau and Jacob buried their father together, which points to their reconciliation lasting. Our job as slaves to righteousness is to pray for the Esaus in our life and hope that Christ's blood is applied to them, too.