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EBUP52: The David-Goliath Syndrome

Eric Butterworth Unity Podcast #52

Eric Butterworth Sunday Services — The David-Goliath Syndrome

We’re going to deal with one story of the Bible today. Seeking to get a metaphysical, personally symbolic interpretation of the story of David and Goliath. This is one of the most well-known stories, to all persons. Even those who have little truck with Bible teachings.


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The teachings of truth that we share here on Sunday are Bible-based and Christian oriented, nondenominational, non-ritualistic, non-proselyting. That’s a mouthful, isn’t it?

The Bible is an amazing work. We’re told that it’s the most widely read book of all times, and the most misunderstood. I’m sure that many of us grew up under the injunction that we should read the Bible every day. Chances are likely that if that was your teaching, you may now feel somewhat guilty.

Because unless you’re highly imaginative, and have studied the inner meaning of the book, you probably have long since bogged down and given up in confusion over the thees and thous, and the begats and the begets. And the picture of an angry, vengeful God, and the rampant temptation of the devil.

Judge Thomas Troward makes a comment that is very relevant here. He said, “the Bible is the book of the emancipation of man. This means man’s deliverance from sorrow and sickness, from poverty, struggling uncertainty. Of ignorance and limitation. And finally, from death itself. This may appear to be a tall order. Nevertheless, it is impossible to read the Bible, with a mind unwarped by unacceded conditions, derived from traditional interpretations, without seeing that this is exactly what it promises. That it professes to contain the secret, whereby this happy condition and perfection may be attained.” Dr. Thomas Troward.

The Bible is the story of your life and mine. In a personally symbolic way, it has many vital messages for our contemporary experience. The Bible was written in poetic symbolism. Elizabeth Barrett Browning writes, “Earth’s crammed with heaven in every common bush of fire with God, but only he who sees, takes off his shoes. The rest sit ‘round it and pluck blackberries.” Many students of the Bible are blackberry pickers. Dealing with the literal and the superficial, missing the inherent divine wisdom.

So, we invite you, significantly, symbolically, to take off your shoes, and remove the beliefs that are custom-made. And sense meanings that will mirror and give directions for your soul unfoldment.

We’re going to deal with one story of the Bible today. Seeking to get a metaphysical, personally symbolic interpretation of the story of David and Goliath. This is one of the most well-known stories, to all persons. Even those who have little truck with Bible teachings. I’m sure you remember it.

There was a war going on between the Israelites and the Philistines. Each held a hilltop, with a valley in between. In the Bible, somehow it seems that the Israelites and the Philistines are always at war. It has great significance. Remember, these two nations represent poles of consciousness within us. The spiritual aspirations on the one side, and the material thoughts, full of inquisitive instincts, on the other.

The two armies of 1st Samuel:17, represent two aggregations of thoughts in the mind of every person. Those that know and strive to follow the truth, and those that are in open enmity and violent opposition to everything God-like. These conscious tendencies are presently in us, all the time. But they take different empathies, one way or the other.

Remember, the Philistines had a hero. A giant, named Goliath. He was so big, so massive, that we’re told the whole Earth shook when he walked. He cried out to the Israelite forces, encamped on the opposing hillsides, “I’ll make you a proposition. If you have a giant that defeats me, we will be your slaves.” If we beat him. If he beats me, we’ll be your slaves. I’m going to say that again, you might have missed it. I’ll make you a proposition. If you have a giant that defeats me, we will be your slaves. If he beats me, we will be your slaves.

Of course, there was a catch. The Israelites didn’t have a giant. So, for 40 days, the giant Goliath came forward and set up the challenge. No one accepted it. Every time he strode upon the battlefield, the Israelites quaked. Up in the hills, there was a young shepard boy named David. His father had asked him to take some provisions to the armed camp. He set off on the journey. He arrived just in time to hear Goliath make his proud boast, and witness the terrifying effect on the Israelites.

He watched grown men run away. Cringe in fear, when they saw the giant. David asked about this. “Who is this heathen Philistine, that he should defy the armies of God?” They told him, “It’s not your affair, little boy. Go back to your sheep.” Now, David represents the urge for spiritual growth in the individual, which is sometimes, like a little person, not very powerful, in many of us. Keeping his father’s sheep means the centering process of spiritual thoughts. It’s our greatest source of power. But most of us, it’s usually off in the hills, or in the depths of our innermost self.

He means we have basically potential for overcoming, that awaits the calling forth. Now, David went to King Saul, pleased with the opportunity to engage Goliath in battle. Of course, they all laughed at him, at first. Saul represents the will, functioning at the level of personality. At first, he’s hung up on, and borders on enslavement to, materiality. David represents the entrance upon the equation of understanding and love.

When the will is supported by understanding, it becomes a mighty force. David finally convinced King Saul to let him take on the giant. Saul was in tight spot. He was in no position to quibble. So he dressed David in his own armor. A bronze helmet on his head, and on his body, a heavy coat of mail. The result, it was so heavy that the slight youth couldn’t even walk.

This could have been the end of the story. With many of us, it is an end, or a pause, in the growth of our life. For hobbled and restricted, David, the spiritual potential, is totally frustrated. Materially-centered Goliath taunting, strutting, crying out. Money and position is where it’s at. This is the consciousness stalemate that prevails at the heart of any person in the quest for truth. I call it the David and Goliath syndrome.

David, representing the spiritual aspirations. Goliath representing the relentless tug of the human. The attraction of materiality, the aquisitive instinct. It often winds up in a stalemate. The David consciousness, bogged down in heavy chain of armor. But here we find the will to confront the giant of materiality within us, and here we can see Goliath for what he is, the bullying, materialist taunts that say, “Your idealist aspirations have no relevance, in our society.” Money and power is where it’s at. Did you ever get that sense? You remain spiritually impotent.

Emerson reflected realistic appraisal of the human condition, and he says, “Things are in the saddle, and ride mankind.” That’s probably true in our day, too. We’ve seen dramatically changing values in recent years. Where the good job has come to mean the high salary. And career success is judged by the bottom line of net worth, rather than spiritual growth, and the degree of self worth.

We’ve become a materialistic and gadget-conscious culture, which requires more and more money to provide an expanding list of necessities. And the job is the place to earn it. This may lead to job-hopping, for jobs that pay more money. Or a person will often leave a job he likes to take a better-paying job he hates. In the past days, from Pennsylvania, Goliath has been taunting people with the vision of a $100 million windfall in the form of a winning lottery ticket.

You see the spectacle of millions of people being drawn into the web of greed and materiality, staking their personal wellbeing on the wheel of chance. To me, this is an unfortunate thing, that the states are co-conspirators, in this Pied Piper’s lure of millions into the clutches of speculation and downright gambling. It’s not to infer that games of chance are immoral. To preach against the sin of gambling is to miss the whole idea.

Important thing is, the self-delusive trap, because in an orderly universe, there’s simply no way in which one can get something for nothing. Under divine law, you receive as you’ve given. No more, no less. Your fortune always begins with you. Not with a winning lottery number. With any kind of lucky break.

There’s really only one way that you can change your luck. That is by altering your thoughts. The great lotto jackpots dangled before the glassy-eyed public are a no-win situation for society. Let me quote you from some lines I wrote some time ago, from my book, Spiritual Economics.

“How inadvertently and yet surely we corrupt the ideas of a child, when by precept and by example, we teach him that life is to be found and experienced out there in the world. Thus, when he arrives at the age of responsibility, he is urged to go out into the world and make his fortune. He’s progressively introduced to the idea of getting the breaks, and expecting success to come in one great stroke of fortune. And he sets a veritable minefield of traps for himself. So that the career frustrations, the layoffs, or the investment failures, are all the result of bad breaks.

How blessed is the child that early on in life is taught that his fortune begins with him. He will grow into a spiritually mature adult who is confident that he has the potential in himself to set into operation the fundamental process which will cause all things in the world to work for his good. He will know that his fortune is not something to find, but to unfold.”

To me, it is a sad thing that the metaphysical movement has been mired in the David and Goliath syndrome. It is often rationalized that taunting, crying Goliath is representing the quest for spiritual growth. The result is the widespread sickness called affluenza. We all know what that’s about.

In the world, we’ve come to accept this emphasis on money as the goal of life. But to me, it’s very sad to see the growing emphasis on money and things as the object of the study and practice of truth. I agree with John Ruskin, who wrote, “What right have you, to take the word wealth, which originally meant wellbeing, and degrade and narrow it by confining it to certain sorts of material objects, measured by money?”

Now of course, prosperity is the spiritual right of every person. As you work with truth, we should have a picture of abundance in all our affairs. We should be prosper. But we pervert the spiritual process, if we make the acquisition of money or things the goal of our spiritual quest. The key, as Jesus put it, is to seek first the kingdom and its righteousness. And all these things should be added on to you.

The kingdom is the divine pattern within you. Your potential to reach your imprisoned splendor. And the things of life; the money, the possessions, the jobs, the success, will be added on to you. Not by chance. By earning the right and consciousness to have them. Earning the right and consciousness to have them.

I could say that they are Goliaths in David’s clothing, among teachers and teachings of truth. Who have adorned the covers of books on prosperity with dollar signs, to suggest that the metaphysical quest for amassing wealth is a kind of spiritual growth. As you can imagine, I’ve not always been popular among my peers in the field of truth teaching, when I say that this thing-centered emphasis in truth is a gross materialization.

That’s a beautiful spiritual realization. Often, the “all things are possible with the promise of Jesus” is met with a covetous gleam of dollar signs in the eyes. Techniques are offered by which to work for the high-powered job, luxurious condominium, an expensive foreign car. Whatever you want, just treat for it, and you’ll get it. Often it’s the crassest kind of materialism.

Again, let me say that in the whole universe, there is abundance for all. I believe that in truth, you can unfold and experience prosperity and you should. But if I can wag the parental finger, don’t indulge in fantasies and magic demonstrations. Don’t delude yourself that your money problems would be solved by simplistic solutions. Don’t pin your hopes on the stroke of good fortune, such as winning the lottery.

Your prosperity is not a matter of luck. Emerson said, “Foolish people deal with luck. Wise people deal with cause and effect.” Life is consciousness, remember? How easily we forget. There is a condition of lack in your affairs, in some ways, you’ve been projecting the focus of the lack of mentality. To take charge of your life, by assuming the responsibility for your thoughts. Change your thoughts. Become centered in the universe of flow of substance from within.

This will lead you into a new level of relating to life. Things will begin to happen. Investments will show greater growth. Salaries may increase. Pregnant ideas will pop into your mind. Doors of opportunity will open to you. All things will be added unto you, when you seek first the inner kingdom of faith in the universe and abundance. This is the truth, and the truth works.

The drive for success, for achievement, is basic to every person. Essentially, there’s a spiritual urge to grow. Unfortunately, it’s often perverted by the call of Goliath, and your thirst for power, and hunger for things. There’s another side of this relentless urge for success. I call it the success syndrome. It is a factor that is at once the key to success, and the reason for an awful lot of failure.

The success urge is basic in the American Dream. Here, anyone can be on top of the economic heap. It’s where most persons want to be. And feel guilty, because they think they should be want to be. One who has been on the same job assignment for years may be asked, “Are you still on that job?” The implication is, why haven’t you progressed? Actually, that person there would be quite happy and fulfilled. In what to him is perfectly stimulating work. And he may have continuously found new and creative ways to do his work. It brought fulfillment to himself and success to his company.

But progression is not measured alone by the title on the office door. More important is what the person has done with himself. Yet, when viewed to this success syndrome, this person should be satisfied, is dissatisfied with his work. Any person is influenced by this pressure shall be unable to put their full effort into their work. Feeling that they should be climbing, prospering. Succeeding, in the worldly sense.

There’s a slogan, of a now troubled airline. Instead of earning their wings every day, they yearn for a bigger airplane. Listening to the call of Goliath instead of seeing this inner feeling as a cosmic urge to be more, is normally interpreted as the desire to have more. Under the success syndrome, which is the David and Goliath syndrome, the condition to feel that we must be always getting ahead, there can be no rest until we reach the top. Because there’s not enough room for everybody in the highest echelons of business, most persons harbor a secret sense of failure.

Even the vice president of a corporation thinks he should be the president. There’s always something ahead, and causes us to feel that we’ve never quite made it. So now, back at the ranch, as they say, back at the encampments of the Israelites and the Philistines. Where Goliath is hurling insults and challenges across the canyon, there’s an immobilized David. Struggling to walk under the heavy armor of Saul’s. This was in evidence of Saul, symbolizing the will that which understanding becomes willfulness.

That’s the thing that David, the spiritual aspirations of every person, must fight the giant on its terms. But David wisely lays aside the traditional armor and spear. He went to a brook, and selected five small pebbles, symbolizing powerful affirmations of truth. He put them in a pouch, hanging from his waistband. With his slingshot in hand, he’s ready to do battle. As he drew near, Goliath hurled remarks to the youth, such as, “Come to me, and I’ll cut you into little pieces and feed you to the birds.”

This symbolizes the resistance to change. For the sudden conscious and deeply entrenched thoughts of materialism. We misunderstand ourselves in the process involved, unless we realize that there’s this subconscious resistance. It’s an inertial force. It seeks to hold us back in our spiritual quest. But David was not afraid. This keeper of the sheep of spiritual thoughts cried out, “You come to me with sword and spear. But I come in the name of God, whom you defy. This day, Jehovah will deliver you into my hands, and I will take your head away from you.”

Now remember, this is an inner struggle between the urgent spiritual nature of you, and the entrenched thoughts of life in the circumference of being within you. Essential, material thoughts. Now, laying aside the coat of mail given David by Saul, symbolizes the important realization that every person must wear his own armor. He must be clothed and protected by his own thoughts.

No one can grow for you. No exempt men forget it, no one can do your praying for you. This is why I always insisted in the final analysis, achieving, overcoming or healing, or prosperity, cause for the smooth stones of words of power, selected from your own inner book of inspiration. Many folks says they seek to grow in truth, forget that the growth must come from within.

It’s not finding a new teacher. Or finding a new, exciting book, or a new course of study. These may be steps along the way. Ultimately, it’s finding the depth within ourself. David took one of the five stones, placed it in his slingshot, and hurled it at Goliath, striking him in the forehead. He fell on his face, whereupon David took the giant’s own sword, and cut off his head.

So, we can destroy the giants of human consciousness that often lord it over us, the belief in physical deterioration and illness, the bugaboo of fear and lack, the experience of job insecurity and unemployment. Don’t take the heavy armor of Saul, the custom-made treatments and affirmations of truth, as the last word. Don’t lean on the prayer efforts of others, and let down your own disciplined effort of becoming conscious of the truth yourself.

Be willing to face the fact that much metaphysical effort to find healing and prosperity in overcoming is rooted in what we’re calling the David and Goliath syndrome. The battle is not yours, but the Lord’s. Turn within at the place where the universe streams into you, select five smooth stones of well-developed ideas of truth, and hurl the stone. Which means speak the word, and we’re told that the word will go forth to accomplish whereto it is sent.

Browning has a classic poem called Saul. David exclaims, “I believeth! ‘Tis thou, God, that givest, ‘tis I who receive. In the first is the last, in thy will is my power to receive. All’s one gift. Thou canst grant it moreover, as prompt to my prayer. As I breathe out this prayer, as I open these arms to the air.”

We're all believing in something, the same power by which you believe in the Goliath is the power to control your life with what I call affluenza. It’s the power to believe yourself equal to life. It’s not enough to affirm, as sometimes we do, God is great, God is good, God is wonderful. Instead, you should say, “I am great. I am wonderful. God is wonderful, and I am wonderful. God is great, and I am great.” You can’t have one without the other.

Many persons have all sorts of exciting, positive things to say about God, but they fail to attribute these same ideas and realizations to themselves. Faith in God is faith in yourself. Faith is the stone that actually slays Goliath. When we truly believe in ourselves, the specter of insufficiency loses its head. And to believe in yourself is to believe in God.

To really believe in God, you must come to a great sense respect for, and faith in yourself. So remember, the story of David and Goliath is not simply a Sunday school tale gleaned from the Bible. It’s something that happened 3000 years ago. It has a message for you and me today. Even as the Bible is irrelevant, as it becomes a part of your life, becomes your story of unfurlment. To this particular story from the Bible, is irrelevant, unless you put yourself in the picture.

Reread this story from the Bible. 1st Samuel, 17th chapter. 1st Samuel, 17th chapter. But put yourself in the picture. That’s what metaphysical interpretation of the Bible is all about. It’s the story of your consciousness. Your life has been corrupted by the lure of materialism. Things and possessions and power. We’re all involved in this corruptible situation. An influence that the world has upon it constantly.

All the way from the advertisings we see in the paper, to the things that are coming to us through television and the various forms of media. And certainly things that come from pulpits, in the preachments of religion. Deep in your innermost being, your David self is busy tending the sheep of powerful spiritual ideas. In all persons. There’s not a person in the world that does not have this David consciousness, tending the sheep of his spiritual ideas.

The important thing is, as Paul said, “You must stir up the gift of God within us.” You must awaken the David for us, call David forth into action. He will carry the battle right to Goliath, for your life, perhaps even your truth studies, have been sullied with the giant-like thoughts and urges of materialism. Armed with the vital words of truth that flow forth from within your own spring of universal power, go forth and confront beliefs and rationalizations that justify the material-centered focus of your consciousness.

Know for yourself, that you’re a spiritual being, living in a spiritual world, guided by spiritual law. The giant of the ego, in the sense person, befall on any space. Your whole life will be blessed with a new image and new direction. New consciousness, new awareness of who you are. That’s good. I’d like to advise you to be still for just a moment.

I want you to use your imaging power of mind. Following the symbology of our Bible story, putting ourselves in the picture. Get the vision. The David, representing the spiritual drive, the urge for awakening and unfurlment and faith, standing on one side of the canyon. With the Goliath, the material, the limited, gadget-conscious center of human mind, resisting one another. Caught in the stalemate. Bogged down in the feeling of impotence. Nothing is done, nothing is accomplished. Get that picture strong in mind.

Not to be negative, but to be realistic of where we need to take steps to overcome. And remember the David consciousness represents the spiritual drive, the spiritual forces of your own inner nature. Remove from David the heavy mail, and helmet, and the sword. Lay it all aside. Just feel good about the fact that you come, not with armor and sword and spear, but you come in the name of the Lord of your being. See for yourself that you have within you, the capacity to rise up. To be the strong, vital, spiritually motivated person that you can be.

So to the taunting words from Goliath, they’re telling you money is where it’s at. Power and possessions is the goal of life. You ward off this influence of the Goliath force, and the realization that you come in the name of the Lord of your being. See yourself going to the spring. There’s a point within you where the whole universe rushes and streams and pours into you, from all sides. The stream of living water. Peace and power.

Kneel down at the spring. Dig up stones of affirmation, the realization of the truth. Calling forth the greatness within you, and go forth to meet the Goliath of material, intellectual, materialistic thoughts within you. And as Goliath stands boastfully before you, as your subconscious attitudes of materialism tend to resist inertia like the growth of your consciousness, take one of the stones. A great, powerful realization of truth. Then be with such an ideas, and one with the power of God. And I can do all things, through this power.

Take this stone in your sling. Throw it forth, strike Goliath, which falls on its face, loses its head. And you’re free. Get the picture in mind. This symbolizes not so much freedom from lack in the world, but freedom from the consciousness of lack. Not freedom from the forces outside, but freedom to be bogged down by them. Freedom to express the truth about yourself. Freedom to grow through all experiences. Freedom to be the person that you can be.

And let’s make a commitment, now. We will symbolically hold up to ourselves the vision of victorious David that defeated Goliath. Breaking the stalemate that has existed between these parts of our being. We will resist the temptations, and the tendencies of the human, put all our emphasis on getting things, getting money, reaching for power. We’ll put the emphasis on the center of our being, where it belongs. And the truth of ourselves as spiritual beings. And we’ll go back to work, back to our affairs in the world.

Not idealistically, saying that problems don’t exist, but affirming that in spite of problems, the power of spiritual forces within me, I can encounter and overcome any obstacle. I can know the truth and be free. Just feel grateful, now. If something is working in your consciousness, an erosion of the limitations, and a building up of positive power. Feel grateful that you’re open and receptive to new and wonderful ideas, leading to new and wonderful expressions of substance and prosperity.

In the commitment, that you’ll always keep centered, and seek first the kingdom. The center of your own being, which is God seeking to express himself fully through you, as you. And be grateful that all these things, in terms of the jobs, the houses, the positions, the power. All these can be added onto you, because you’re inwardly centered. And we’ll all make the commitment. That you’ll no longer let the belief in chance or luck stand in your way. But you’ll always know that the good that you seek so fervently to achieve in your life is not a matter of the lucky break. But of earning the right and consciousness to be there, to have those experiences, to demonstrate that good.

So this is the story of David and Goliath. It’s personally relevant, in its metaphysical import. As we put ourselves in the picture. You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. So be it.