2005 1 Samuel Message
DAVID, A WARRIOR OF FAITH WHO DEFEATED GOLIATH
1 Samuel 17:1-58
Key verse 17: 45
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 chapter is about the battle between the armies of Israel and those of the Philistines, the battle between David and Goliath. We are also fighting a spiritual battle. In that sense, the victor David gives many lessons to us who are engaged in this spiritual battle. I pray that we may learn about a good shepherd David and David who came in the name of the Lord so that we may know the secret of victory. I pray that we may put on spiritual armor like David and go to campuses and defeat our Goliaths like warriors of faith.
I. David who won the victory against a lion
(1) Goliath, a big threat
Look at verses 1-3. “Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Socoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim, between Socoh and Azekah. Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines. The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them.” In verses, we can see the Israelites and the Philistines that camped with the valley between them. How was the phase of the battle? These days, the victory of modern war depends on air-force that has high-tech weapon with accuracy and destructive power. But in those days champions who would likely represent their armies decided victory or defeat. First, Goliath bravely came forward. How did Goliath look? Look at verses 4-7. His height was twice taller than I and his belly and jaw were three times bigger than those of shepherd Inka. He might have been on the Philistine Guinness Book of Records as a giant. The coat of scale armor weighed 125 pounds and the iron point of his spear shaft weighed 15 pounds, like a bowling ball. He completely armed himself with a helmet, scale armor, bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin and spear from head to toe. And his shield-bearer went ahead of him boasting Goliath’s power. Goliath looked like Robocop or Iron Giant. His appearance gave great fear to anyone who looked at him. Furthermore he shouted to the Israelites with a thunder-like voice. Look at verse 8 & 9. “You, fool! You, stupid! Come on. Is there anyone who can beat me among you? Ha, ha, ha.” Goliath despised the Israelites and mocked them, saying that he would make them the subjects of the Philistines. Here, we can learn that the purpose of Goliath to fight the Israelites was to make them slaves. We must know that the aim of Satan is to make us slaves.
How did the Israelites respond? Verse 11 says, “...all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.” Suddenly King Saul’s heartbeat became faster and faster and he was sweating buckets. Goliath noticed that they were panicing. Goliath threatened them every morning and evening for 40 days. “You, cowards! Go home!” Goliath’s clever strategy was a psychological strategy to plant fear deeply in the hearts of the Israelites that they might give in even before fighting. Fear makes us lose our spirit and lose the battle even before fighting. As Christians, we are sometimes afraid to identify ourselves as followers of Jesus before worldly people. Our shepherds are sometimes afraid of opening our mouths to talk about Jesus or to mention the Bible or invite others to worship service or Bible study. When the Israelites saw Goliath, they were seized by great fear and they all ran from him. Satan also plants fear in our hearts indirectly in many ways. Through practical problems, sheep problems and our sin problems, Satan plants fear deep in our hearts. So when fear is planted, our thoughts are paralyzed then our hearts and later our bodies as well. Then we do not want to do anything and become powerless like paralyzed men. As a result we become the slaves of fear. Fear makes us slaves of Satan. The source of fear is unbelief in the living God.
(2) Angry David
What was David doing, while Saul and all Israel were trembling in fear from Goliath? David was a shepherd boy and the youngest among eight brothers. He was not in the army because he was too young. He came to the battle on his father’s errand. There he saw a big ugly man like King-Kong ridiculing the army of Israel and soldiers were fleeing from him. Even king Saul was trembling and only looking for a man to fight instead of himself, promising his daughter and great wealth as a reward. What did David do? Look at verse 26. “David asked the men standing near him, ‘What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?’” David was furious. But his anger was not just based on his personal emotion. He had faith in the living God, the God of Israel. In his eyes of faith, Goliath was just nothing more than an uncircumcised man under God’s judgment. The army of the living God was being insulted by this worthless uncircumcised man, and David could not stand the humiliation. Burning anger consumed him, like a volcano. He took the disgrace as his personal insult. Out of his spiritual anger, he committed himself to killing this enemy of God, and removing the disgrace of Israel and the insult against God. David’s challenging spirit came from his holy spiritual anger.
God’s people must have spiritual anger. Once, Apostle Paul was preaching the gospel to an important official who had a spiritual desire (Ac 13:4-12). But a sorcerer tried to turn him from the faith. Then Paul, filled with holy anger, cursed him saying, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right!”. Then the enemy of God became blind. Here we can see that if we truly love God and God’s flock, we come to have spiritual anger naturally. I pray that we also love God and God’s flock from the heart, and challenge the enemies of God with spiritual anger.
(3) David, a shepherd who rescued his sheep from a lion
What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him. David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” What a big encouragement this is to Saul! So far, there was not even one who talked of fighting against Goliath, and now a young boy was saying he would fight without any fear. It was shockingly surprising and like a joke in a sense. Saul looked at David’s appearance and ignored it. But David was serious and gave him his life testimony.
Look at 34 and 35. David had been keeping his father’s sheep. How was his attitude as a shepherd? One night, under bright moon light, David was tending sheep alone. It was in the middle of night and he was about to sleep for a little while. Then he heard a weak and strange sound from a corner. He jumped to his feet and went to the flock, and found that one of his small sheep which he knew very well by name and face, disappeared. Immediately, David started running after the sound. He ran 100 meters in 10.3 seconds. Soon, he could see a lion running with a sheep in his mouth. The lion sensed that David was following it and turned around to scare him away. David ran to the lion without any calculation and hesitation. He punched the lion on its jaw and banged it on the eyes with his head. Then he opened wide its mouth and took out the sheep from the mouth. Now, the lion got upset because he lost his food which was right in his mouth. It turned on David to devour him instead. David seized it by its hair and wrestled with it on the ground together. He struck it on its lethal spots with his small fists. The lion could not breathe with the attack and ran away. How could a young boy, David, do this? God saw David’s shepherd heart and faith and gave him power like Samson. So David could fight and win a victory over a ferocious lion.
Like Jesus, David was a good shepherd who could give up his life to protect and save his sheep’s life. He risked his life to protect his sheep from lions and bears. He didn’t lose even one freshman sheep. David’s shepherd heart for sheep developed into a shepherd heart for all the Israelites. Look at verse 36. David saw the Israelites as God’s lovely sheep. David couldn’t stay calm when all the armies of Israel were terrified, even king Saul. Even though David was only a boy who didn’t get an army draft notice. Still, he thought, “Who would protect this country and the people except me?” So he challenged Goliath risking his life. Saul was a useless, fearful shepherd, but David was a good shepherd for Israel. God called this David a man after God’s own heart. David understood God’s heart who loved Israel and who wanted to save Israel. David knew what God wanted and served God by faith. Later God raised David as a leader of Israel, a king of peace and a shadow of the messiah.
Look at verse 37. “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” David was confident of his victory. He firmly believed God’s help and love based on his experience of victory that God gave because he had had close relationship with God from teenager. He had 120% faith that God, who delivered him from the paw of lions and bears, would deliver him from the sword of Goliath. With this faith he challenged Goliath.
Saul was moved when he heard David’s confident and clear life testimony. So he let David go and fight and dressed him with his own tunic, bronze helmet and coat of armor. But since Saul was tall, his tunic and sword were dragging on the ground and David’s face was covered by Saul’s helmet. David took them off because he was not used to them. He approached Goliath in his usual blue jeans and football jersey. What was his weapon? Look at verse 40. David’s weapon was a staff, five stones and a sling. They looked too powerless compared to fully armed Goliath. Goliath had hi-tech weapons, but David had a primitive sling and stone. But his sling and stone were his secret weapon he used very often.
Here we can learn through David how to become an excellent shepherd. David did not come to have confidence of victory and faith in God over night. He did not come to have challenging spirit suddenly. When we depend on God and look after our sheep with a shepherd heart, we can become excellent shepherds. When we fight with shepherd heart a lion or bear that takes away sheep, we can grow into a warrior of faith who can fight and defeat Goliath. A shepherd’s daily life and training and personal experience are very important. We should get used to a sling and stone like David did. What is our sling and stone we should get used to? We have 1:1 Bible study, testimony writing, prayer (Eph 6:18) and the word of God (Eph6:17). We should exercise daily in slinging these. I pray that we may train ourselves in fighting against sin in ourselves and others through God’s word and prayer and win the victory over Satan.
II. David defeats Goliath
Goliath watched carefully as someone was coming out to fight him. When he saw a little boy with a sling, he thought the boy was planning to catch a bird. But the boy did not catch a bird but came toward him. Then he realised that he wanted to fight him. He despised David because he was only a boy, ruddy and handsome. But the more he saw this boy, the more he became upset. Why? Look at verse 43. It was because David came with sticks as if Goliath were a mad dog. Goliath was angry to see this boy and his sticks. He felt insulted by being treated as a dog. So he cursed David by his gods. Goliath threatened that he would give David`s flesh to the beasts of the field.
Now was the time most people would turn and run, if they had any fear or doubt? What did David do? Look at verse 45. ``You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty.`` What was it that David and Goliath depended on? It is a very important matter in the battle. Goliath depended on weapons like a sword, spear and javelin. He relied on his skill and experience. But David came against him in the name of the Lord Almighty. The Lord Almighty means ́All Powerful God`. He trusted in God who reigned over the whole world according to his will. He relied on the living, almighty God. And he believed that God would give victory to the Israelites. The staff in his hand was the staff of absolute faith in God .
David had a clear reason to fight Goliath. What was it? Look at 46b. ``and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.`` Goliath threatened and insulted Israel saying that he would make them the subjects of the Philistines. Yet it was actually defying God. The Israelites shivered in fear for 40 days. They did not believe in their living God and allowed their enemies to insult God. So they brought disgrace on God’s name. But David exploded in holy anger, eager to cut off Goliath’s head. He wanted to show the living God to the whole world by defeating the Philistine army. And he wanted to restore God’s honor and reveal his glory. So he came against them in the name of the LORD. He did not fight for his own glory but for God’s glory.
After David’s words, the battle began. David ran quickly toward Goliath taking out a stone, holding on to it, praying to God for the victory. And then he slung it with all his strength. The stone flew up rapidly and sank deep into Goliath’s forehead. He fell facedown on the ground. Seeing Goliath fall, Goliath’s shield bearer went faint. The stone was fast, pinpointed and powerful like a missile. It was because God’s almighty power was with David. David ran, stood over Goliath and cut off his head with Goliath’s own sword. David scored a knockout victory within 15 seconds. It was his great victory. It was a victory of faith and a victory of God.
What is our Goliath in our practical lives? What makes us fearful and stop living by faith? What is our enemy in our spiritual battle? We are living in 3 worlds: the audio-visual world created by radio and television; the cyber world created by the internet; and the practical world of daily living. Many Goliaths attack us secretly in these worlds. We must declare war on these Goliaths and fight them with faith in God like David.
For students it could be the burden of study. If they fail in their studies, they can hardly find motivation again. They have faith in their next failure. When our young Bible students decide to live as Jesus’ disciples, the first obstacle they often face is persecution from their parents and friends. They are persecuted because they can’t spend as much time with family and friends. Some parents threaten them, saying that they wouldn’t give any spending money if they don’t listen to them. This makes our young shepherds worried. Because of the spiritual battle they had to fight against their parents, they become burdened and fearful. Because of fear, they can’t say a word to their parents and become easily hard hearted. To our graduate student shepherds, their advisors or thesis writing can be another type of Goliath. To our lay shepherds, a demanding boss can be their Goliath. These days, on high school and college campuses, post-modernism, materialism and hedonism are rampant. Not only this, cult religions such as Moonies, Jehovah’s witnesses, Mormons or NEW AGE movement, and religious pluralism are the powerful Goliaths we need to fight against in our spiritual battle. Besides these visible Goliaths, the power of sin is another strong Goliath we need to fight against day by day. Pride, lust, jealousy, defeatism and inferiority complex makes us downcast. When we are defeated by the power of sin, we also can’t serve God wholeheartedly. When we tried to feed Bible students but had no fruit, Satan plants defeatism in our heart. At first, we may persevere. Yet, if that goes on, we can suffer from deep fatalism in disciple making. This fatalism can get worse even to the point of doubting God’s love. Then, every day’s life of faith can be so burdensome. Though we pray, we can’t trust whether God would really listen to our prayer. When we hear, “Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus”, we can be comforted a little bit. But soon afterwards, we become fatalistic again. Sometimes we want to go somewhere else to avoid the problem, though in reality we can’t. The challenge of finding a new Bible student and serving him or her makes us more afraid. Then, what should we do in front of these problems? Through David’s victory of faith, we can learn the secret of winning victory over the Goliaths we are facing.
First, we should have a shepherd heart toward our Bible students. David was a small boy, but he had a burning heart toward his sheep. His shepherd heart in fact enabled him to save all Israel. God is pleased with those who have this shepherd heart. He provides power, wisdom and courage that we need when we have a shepherd heart. God uses people with shepherd hearts preciously in His redemptive work. When we have shepherd hearts to protect our Bible students by all means, Almighty God is with us always and helps us.
Second, we have to have fighting spirit which comes from spiritual anger. Like David, those who love God and sheep have fighting spirit, which comes from spiritual anger. When we have the same fighting spirit and holy spiritual anger, we can also fight Goliaths in the campus and win the victory over them. We can also fight against all the obstacles which keep us from serving God and the mission He has given us. Then, God is surely with us in the battle and leads us to the victory.
Third, we have to have faith in Almighty God. Verse 47 says, ‘‘For the battle is the Lord’s. and he will give all of you into our hands.’ Also, Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the power of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” The owner of this battle is God. So, to win the battle, we have to absolutely rely on God alone. Our God is the living God and He is Almighty. Without exception, He gives victory to us when we trust Him alone. When we rely on Him alone and depend on His name, there is no Goliath which we can’t defeat. When we trust in Him, all the cult religions, persecution, defeatism – none of these can overwhelm us. Thank and praise God who enables us to fight the battle, in which victory is already guaranteed.
In conclusion, we have many Goliaths around us which make us fearful. There are many Goliaths which lead our Bible students to temptation and plant doubt. We have to protect them like David from the danger by faith. Furthermore, we have many inner Goliaths. Post-modernism, materialism and hedonism are the powerful Goliaths we need to fight against to serve our students. We have to protect and heal them from their sin-sicknesses and post-modern influences by the Gospel of Jesus. May God help us to fight against Goliaths in our generation and render glory to God!