The following study is based on Hebrews 11:32, “And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:”
There are too many stories to choose from regarding the life of David. But of course the most famous of all stories that we hear about David that we find in every children’s story book is David and Goliath. We will focus on that, as that is probably the earliest story in the life of the faith of David. That story is found in 1 Samuel 17.
The background of the story is this. David, at this point in time, leading up to his battle with Goliath, has already been anointed king by Samuel the prophet in secret. Samuel had gone to David’s town pretending that he was on some mission, but in fact it was to choose the next king as Saul had already been rejected by God. Samuel had to do it in secret because it was obvious to everyone by this time that Saul was a rash man capable of doing very mean and evil things because of his temper. As a result, an evil spirit had come upon Saul because of his continual rejection of God’s protecting care, and so a skilful player of music was sought for and David was the man chosen to come and play for Saul – which would give him temporary relief from the harassment of the evil spirits.
And so we now pick it up in 1 Samuel 17.
- 1 Samuel 17:1-4
1 Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim. 2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines. 3 And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them. 4 And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.
- The Philistines have come looking for trouble with the Israelites. They are pitched one against another and out comes the Philistine champion Goliath. He is six cubits and a span. 1 cubit is about half a meter. 6 cubits is 3 meters tall! That’s about 9 feet tall! He was a giant!And he wasn’t just any ordinary giant You know tall people, they usually are deformed a bit. Too tall. So they are tall and skinny. But Goliath was tall and muscular! He was tall and BUILT!
- Look at what the Bible describes about his armour and weapons.
- 1 Samuel 17:5-7
5 And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. 6 And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. 7 And the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.
- His Coat of mail was 5,000 shekels of brass! That’s equivalent to approximately 41kg or 91 pounds! He was not some skinny person. He was a man of war! And that doesn’t include his helmet of brass and the greaves of brass (of leg armour) on his legs! On top of that his spear head alone weighed 600 shekels which is equivalent to 7kg or 15 pounds! And he also carried a shield and a sword! We can understand why Saul would be trembling in his boots!
- He represents the mother of all problems, the trial of all trials. This is the sort of problem that comes into our lives that is ready to crush out our spirit and make us lose all hope of life and victory.
- Have you experienced such a problem in your life before? Problems come to you seeming to crush out all your hope and life and spirit, and you feel like giving up on God, tempted to give up on God?
- Saul wasn’t ready!
Goliath comes out with a challenge. If you defeat me, the Philistines will be your servants, and if we defeat you, you will be our servants.
- 1 Samuel 17:10-11
10 And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together. 11 When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.
- Why was Saul so afraid? You see, he was the first king of Israel. And he was good at first, but then began walking in his own ways. The last straw was when God instructed him to kill all the Amalekites – EVERYTHING! Yet he kept the flocks alive and basically disregarded the will of God.
- As a result, what happened?
- 1 Samuel 16:14
But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.
- God had rejected him from being king and had chosen someone else – and we all know who that is – David of course!
- So that is why the whole host of Israel was trembling. God wasn’t with them because God wasn’t with king Saul, their leader.
- It just goes to show how important it is being a leader, or being the man of the house. Great blessings or great curses can come on the rest of those under us as a result!
However, David has already been secretly anointed as king already. Yet he would not be king until God would remove king Saul first. Yet God is in control, orchestrating events according to His will and the best timing too. God was training David!
- 1 Samuel 17:12-18
12 Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehemjudah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul. 13 And the three eldest sons of Jesse went and followed Saul to the battle: and the names of his three sons that went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next unto him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. 14 And David was the youngest: and the three eldest followed Saul. 15 But David went and returned from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem. 16 And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days. 17 And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to thy brethren; 18 And carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge.
- David at this time was not in the king’s army. He was not present when Goliath is taunting Israel and trying to find someone to fight him. David is just at home and following what his dad wants him to do. And now the dad wants David to bring food to his brothers that were in Saul’s army.
1 Samuel 17:19-24
19 Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines. 20 And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle. 21 For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army against army. 22 And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren. 23 And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them. 24 And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid.
- David came in just as Goliath is coming out to taunt them again! He sees everyone is afraid. So he gets curious – at least that is what it seems as we look at the big picture. A young boy, never been in battle before, curious to see what the battlefield looks like. But God had other plans. He was stirring David’s heart! He was moving upon David to do something bigger! So David asks what’s going on. And this is the reply for his oldest brother.
- 1 Samuel 17:28
And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.
- Eliab, his older brother thinks that David is just wanting to see what the battle is like and being a curious younger brother. Eliab tries to reprimand David and asks him to go home. But look at David’s reply!
- 1 Samuel 17:29
And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?
- Isn’t there a reason why this is all happening? David could see that this was not chance. He could discern the moving’s of providence. He could see God’s hand in all of this. He somehow knew that he was there for a reason for God sending him, more than just delivering food to his brothers and bringing a report back to his dad about how they were.
What the world looks at as chance, it really isn’t. It’s God’s providence. They are very close. It’s not the difference in act though. It is how the individual looks at it. It is how it is perceived by each person. You see, to David’s brothers, they just thought that David was wanting to play, to see what the war was like, his curiosity got the better of him. He was just being a young boy and being a busy body. Surely God wasn’t bringing HIM (David) of all people to come and fight and be part of Saul’s army. Why, he was too young. He was too inexperienced. He was, he was their younger brother! But to David, he saw that he had been brought there for such a time. For a purpose. Wasn’t there a cause?
Friends, do you see when God guides your life?
- Can you tell the difference between providence and chance? Do you recognise when God is trying to lead you in a certain direction that can change the whole tenor of your family’s life or your work, or studies, or even relationships?
- David understood and could see it because he had faith! He had been walking in the providence of God up to this point, God had seen his heart and saw that He could trust him to be king in the future. And so when he arrived at the scene of battle, he could discern God’s leading.
This would not be the only time that God would guide David’s life so clearly.
- When David was a fugitive running from Saul, there were 2 times that David had opportunity to kill Saul with his own hands.
- Once when Saul was resting in the same cave where David was hiding and David cut of part of his robe. His men told him – this is God guiding!! Kill him. It’s God’s providence!
- Another time when Saul was asleep and David crept into the camp and took his spear. His soldier that went with him told him, just one shot is all I need to kill him. God’s providence!
- What would you say then? Would you be able to discern God’s guidance when everyone around you and the circumstances at hand seem to indicate that?
- This is why we need such a close walk with God to be able to understand when to move forward or not. The circumstances all seemed favorable and it seemed that God was the one that orchestrated it to be this way, yet it was not God’s will for Saul to die by the hand of David. It was not for David to lift his hand against the Lord’s anointed.
But coming back to the story of David and Goliath. By and by, Saul hears of David’s courageous words and he is brought in before Saul.
- 1 Samuel 17:31-37
31 And when the words were heard which David spake, they rehearsed them before Saul: and he sent for him. 32 And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. 33 And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. 34 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: 35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. 36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. 37 David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the Lord be with thee.
- David began to rehearse to Saul how he had saved the sheep from a lion and a bear! David could really and clearly see God guiding in his life. Now he understood why God had brought him up as a shepherd. It was training to fight against Goliath! It wasn’t because he was the youngest. It wasn’t because his brothers didn’t like to be a shepherd. It wasn’t because they all thought that he would not make anything of himself. It was because God was training him for THIS MOMENT! And David saw that!
So what does Saul do?
- 1 Samuel 17:38-39
38 And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. 39 And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.
- Saul gives David his own armour. But David doesn’t like to use it though. You know in all those kids bible stories, you see David not fitting into Saul because he’s this little kid. Look, David was not a skinny little boy with no muscle or height. He was built! He was built to be a man of war. But he didn’t take Saul’s armour because the Bible says he had not proved them.
- He had not tested the armour of Saul for himself. He wasn’t being arrogant. But he could only go to battle with what he was familiar with.
- And so it is with us. We can’t walk in the path of another man’s faith. Everyone has a different path to walk that God has mapped out for them. We have to prove for ourselves that God is true and that He can be trusted. We can’t use the experience of others to be the example of how to live our lives.
- The Bible tells us:
- 1 Thessalonians 5:21
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:21
- We must know by personal experience how to move forward. Too often we like to ask this person and that person. And we spend so much time asking humans, taking counsel with sinful erring humans, what we think God wants for our lives. We got to learn by our own personal experience with Jesus how God wants us to live.
- David had his personal experience with God. When he was alone win the wilderness with the sheep and a bear came and a lion came, he knew that God had delivered him. He knew that it was God’s protecting care that he stood to tell those stories. He had had a personal encounter with Jesus.
1 Samuel 17:40
And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.
- Why did David take 5 stones and not just one? If David had so much faith, shouldn’t he have taken just one?
- Absolutely not! We have to do our best, and then we can let God do the rest! God will not do for us what He’s left for us to do. Walking by faith does not mean sitting around in idleness waiting for God to lift our arms and feet. It is putting our lives in the path of providence so that God CAN use us!
- We have to prepare to the best of our ability. When we have an exam, we pray! But we still have to study the best that we can! Yes, rest on the Sabbath and trust God that He will make up that lack. But during the other 6 days? We must labour! We got to work to the best of our ability and then, and ONLY THEN, can we expect that God will help us.
- David took 5 smooth stones. But little did he know that he would only need one.
1 Samuel 17:45-47
45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. 46 This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.
- The name of the Lord is probably the most powerful weapon that we can use in our warfare with Satan and his host.
- Acts 4:12
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
- We are saved by the name of the Lord.
- Proverbs 18:10
The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.
- The name of the Lord protects us!
- David came in the name of the Lord. Goliath wasn’t just defying the armies of Israel when he came out against them, he was defying the God that stood behind that nation.
1 Samuel 17:48-49
48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.
- David had such great faith in God that if he had thrown that stone in the opposite direction to where Goliath was, it would have curved around and still hit Goliath in the forehead! Of course he didn’t do that. But it was faith that wrought for him the victory. It wasn’t his talent, it wasn’t his past experience. It was his trust in God, trust in His name, that God had brought him here for such a time as this, that gave him his strength to face Goliath.
Friends, are you facing a Goliath of a problem in your life today? Has life knocked you down low? You were minding your own business, but trouble came looking for you. This is the time to start exercising your faith in God. This is the time to hold on the tightest to Him who never fails!
But maybe some of you have no idea what I’m talking about. Life is fine, life is good, there hasn’t been any problems you can’t handle. It’s time to start building your faith. Time to start experiencing God’s providence in your lives at an intimate and personal level. Because it’s only a matter of time before Goliath rears his head and comes looking for you.
And I know that God never makes mistakes. He will use every situation to refine our characters. For David, it was as a shepherd boy in the wilderness that he prepared him to face his Goliath. And today, right now where you are, maybe all is peaceful and happy… I know that right there God is preparing you to face the giants in your lives. Let’s not take that time for granted. Let’s not waste it away. Let’s make sure to prepare for the time of trouble in the times of peace and prosperity.
Today, many people are suffering because in times of peace, they thought that was the time to enjoy life even more. Buy more toys, buy more gadgets, go travel more, eat out more, enjoy life!
- Through this pandemic, I read somewhere that more people are saving. You see, that’s the problem. For some it’s too late. It’s too late to start saving. This is the time to rely on the savings. It’s when times are good, we have to save. Make it a habit right?
- And so too from the spiritual standpoint. Today, we got to seek God with all our hearts. Today it’s time to really take our faith seriously and start building it. Regret is just that… it’s too late.
- But Jesus, He’s waiting right now. He wants to be your Rock, your Refuge, and your Redeemer and Saviour today. Let’s build our faith today in the times of peace and prosperity. May God help us to that end today!