Mike Gerhardt, 6-16-19, David's Passion, 1 Samuel 17:1-58. David and Goliath. Intro: What is at stake? The NBA Title, the Stanley Cup, the $5 million purse in golf (Yes! that's men's' golf). In sports contests, announcers are always trying to dramatically say what is at stake. This is a must win for Golden State tonight against the Raptors, the Bruins need to score now if they want to stay in the game against the Blues, Scot McCarron needs to make this put if he wants a piece of that $2.5 million purse. What is at stake for the believer: simply stated, the Kingdom of God!!
First and second Samuel were originally one book divided by translators of the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew text). Reference is made to the book of Jashar in 2 Samuel 1:18, so the compiler used other resources that mention the divided kingdom of Judah and Israel which were known only after the death of Solomon. Other books the compiler may have used were the annals of King David, the records of Samuel the Seer, the records of Nathan the Prophet, or the records of Gad the Seer, mentioned in the Chronicles. The writer under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit compiled specific events with specific details to speak to generations about Jehovah God who cares for His people. First Samuel explains the founding of the monarchy (by kingly rule) from the structure of a theocracy (God rules through judges and prophets). First, it tells of the miraculous birth of the prophet Samuel, and the defeat of the Philistines by the hand of God through Samuel's leadership. But the people wanted an earthly flesh and blood king to give them a unified monarchy. The Lord had given them peace, but a theocracy was not like the other nations. So, King Saul reigned & then disobeyed God's direct command. Last week we studied the anointing of King David by Samuel to replace Saul. David, just a boy, was the youngest son of Jesse. At the end of chapter 16, David was employed to play his harp for King Saul to rid an evil spirit that tormented the king.
The battle lines were drawn. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Verse 3: The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them. A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; on his legs, he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and it's iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him.
Goliath is probably the world's most famous giant. This warrior stood 9'9" (six cubits & a span). Today the tallest man alive is Sultan Kosen from Turkey 8'3". The tallest in recorded history is Robert Wadlow from Illinois who died in 1940 was 8"11". Both had difficult health issues. But Goliath wasn't just tall, he was a warrior. His armor of bronze weigh 125 pounds, the point of his spear 15, pounds, attached to a 12" rod. This guy rivaled even the Hulk of comic book fame. The reason for the detail reveals David's courage & faith in the greatness of his God in facing this giant without fear.
Verse 8: Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.”
God wants His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven (we pray for that in the Model Prayer) and He invites us to build it, to be involved, to make it happen. He asks us to use our gifts, talents, treasures, and time in obedience to His call. Forty days the Philistine took his stand. Jesse had three sons as soldiers in God's army. David went back & forth from Saul’s service to watch the sheep of his father. David brought food to his brothers and overheard the men talking about Goliath. Verse 26 David: Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” David knew the importance of this battle. When Joshua entered the land, Israel had a mission from God to push out and cleanse the land of all people groups whose sinful practices & diseases had become epidemic. Their incestuous ways, child sacrifice, prostitution, venereal diseases infected everything, so that God ordered Israel to purge the land. But the Israelites didn't obey God. They allowed the Philistines to stay near the Mediterranean coast and it became a menace for centuries to God's chosen people. So, this challenge and this battle shouldn't have happened in the first place. It is hard to preach on this topic since most know that David defeated Goliath. But over the years some have jokingly tried to explain why Goliath lost to a shepherd boy. Here are some excuses I've heard: Goliath was personally hurt and disoriented by David calling him an uncircumcised Philistine. Goliath misunderstood and thought David was bringing him a snack of five smooth scones. Goliath’s mentor in warrior school left out the defense against slingshots. Goliath had bad mutton for lunch and was feeling woozy.
Back to the battle. David's brother Eliab didn't want him there: Verse 28 Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.
Verse 32 David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him."
After rejecting Saul’s sword and armor and picking up 5 smooth stones, David went into battle. Verse 43 Goliath said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. My god can beat up your god. “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!” David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” The battle is the Lords. You know the rest. David who is just a young man verse 33, maybe 12 - 16 years, slew Goliath the giant. In spite of Israel's sin, lack of faith and disobedience, God still had a plan to save.
God still has a plan to save. Go and Make Disciples. The task can seem overwhelming. We must celebrate the victories big and small, every one of them. Know that with God's help it can be done. There will be those who will criticize, like Eliab in verse 28. We must act as David with great courage. Winston Churchill: Without courage, all other virtues lose their meaning. You can have the nine fruit of the Spirit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control yet without the courage to put yourself in the battle, these attributes will be wasted.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn: (Harvard Commencement June 8, 1978) must one point out that from ancient time a decline in courage has been considered the beginnings of the end?
People who have personal peace within their personal property gained by personal affluence have little time to be courageous for anyone else. Note to fathers, I do hope you are teaching your kids to be courageous: whether it‘s the courage to attack the ball in soccer, or the courage to keep your stance in the batter’s box when a fastball is going by, or the courage to get up and finish the skating routine… courage is something that we must teach our children. Though these are good lessons, we also need to teach and practice courage in sharing our faith with others, to not be afraid to speak the truth in love, to stand up for the gospel of Christ when appropriate. This is the courage of David. To fight for God’s Kingdom. Teach your children well. Most think Goliath was too big to hit; for David, he was too big to miss. When it comes to Kingdom work, what is God asking you personally to do? What are you afraid of? What is holding you back from doing your part for God’s Kingdom? Have courage.