Today (Sunday, July 15, 2012) I preached on 1 Sam 17. Here was what I intended to say. [chuckle] Some time early this week, the audio will be available. [Here's a link to the audio version] It went really well, and since I had this all prepared, and some folks like to read; I figured I would put it out here.
If you are not a reader, I suggest you wait for the audio later this week.
Note – the blue text below is the actual text of the NIV copied from BibleGateway.com.
We are going to look at possibly the best-known Bible story in the world today. The Story of David and Goliath is used as a metaphor everywhere, in sports, in business, in politics. Everyone knows this story. I don’t want to just tell you the story today though, I would love to actually read most of it to you. For most people it is a 30 second sound bite story. Little guy kills big guy, but today I want to get down to some of the how and why he was able to do it.
The superhero thing comes from the fact that I was looking for a word that we would all understand that meant Killer of Champions. And this worked nicely since we probably all know what a superhero does – he solves BIG problems.
The first 4 verses of the text set the scene – in short the Philistines were on one mountain, the Israelites on anther, and there was a valley in between.
4 A champion named Goliath, [Boooo] who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span.
That’s 9’6” – add boots and a helmet and you have the height of this cross, (a 10 ft cross) and his shoulders – probably about like this cross bar as well.
5 He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels[b];
His armor weighed about as much as David, fully clothed and soaking wet.
6 on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. 7 His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels.[c]
His spear head weighs (guys) about as much as 2 sledge hammers (ladies) or a medium sized turkey! (I know that was a bit sexist – sorry folks)
His shield bearer went ahead of him.
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?
Everybody say “Servants of Saul” (that’s important write that down)
Choose a man and have him come down to me. 9 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.” 10 Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel!
Everybody say “The Army’s of Israel” (that’s important write that down)
Give me a man and let us fight each other. ” 11 On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.
Everybody say “dismayed and terrified”
12 Now David [Cheer!] was the son of an Ephrathite named Jesse, who was from Bethlehem in Judah.
Jesse had eight sons, and in Saul’s time he was very old. 13 Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab; the second, Abinadab; and the third, Shammah. 14 David [Cheer!] was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, 15 but David [Cheer!] went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.
16 For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand.
Forty days! Can anybody think of any other 40 periods in the Bible?
Death of Jacob
Moses spent 40 days fasting waiting on the Lord for the law – twice!
Spies spent 40 days checking the wilderness, and Israel had to spend 40 years wandering – one for each of those days.
Elijah traveled 40 days and nights on one meal to get to Horeb, to hear from the Lord.
Jesus Fasted 40 days and nights
40 days is always a time of testing
17 Now Jesse said to his son David, “Take this ephah[d] of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. 18 Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance[e] from them. 19 They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines.”
20 Early in the morning David left the flock in the care of a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry. 21 Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other. 22 David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and asked his brothers how they were.
Sometimes when you think you need a superhero, what you really need is a servant!
This is the starting point with God. No man can have a relationship with the Lord until first he has bowed his knee and become the servant of God.
The apostles had this identity. There is a word – Doulos in the Greek, and many of the writers of the New Testament called themselves by this name.
Ok –back to the story
23 As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath,stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. 24 Whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear.
25 Now the Israelites had been saying, “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his family from taxes in Israel.”
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
Everybody say Uncircumcised Philistine – we will be back to this in a minute.
Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
27 They repeated to him what they had been saying and told him, “This is what will be done for the man who kills him.”
28 When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”
29 “Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?” 30 He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before.31 What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him.
32 David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”
33 Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”
34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep.
Sometimes when you think you need a Superhero what you really need is a Shepherd
A shepherd is the most despised of men. They are thought to be uneducated, unsophisticated outcasts. So it is today. Pastors and full time ministers of every sort are mocked at every turn by our society.
However, when you face a lion or a bear, or a giant you need a shepherd on your side.
You are not intended to walk though this life alone. God has put you in a body in your area, and has put people in your life. We have a good shepherd here, Chet, who cares for this flock well. I stand with a group of men, who love the Lord deeply, and I have often seen them weep over your souls, and your needs.
When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”
Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”
38 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them.
“I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
41 Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David.
The original indicates this means he was coming up – One thing about our enemy is that left unchecked, he will continue to take ground
42 He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. 43 He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals! ”
I want to take a few minutes here and talk to you about The Power of Words
Paul says in Eph 6:16 - In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
I want you to understand that he best weapons satan has are his words. I am not talking about some fuzzy spiritual warfare theory here, I am talking about the real world. How did satan nutralize the entire Israeli army in our story. Some big guy stood up and started distorting the truth. Let’s go back to those important things we wrote down before.
Servants of Saul
The Army’s of Israel
Goliath puts a spin on the truth that distorts it just enough to cause terror, or total discouragement.
But David knows how to talk as well. When confronted with a lie, or half-truth David recites the actual truth. And in his words we will find the next characteristic of a superhero.
Remember what he said above
Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
In this one phrase we learn David’s main superpower –he calls Goliath an uncircumcised philistine. What’s the point you ask?
Circumcision is a sign of covenant. David knows that he has a covenant with the Lord God – the Ruler of the Angel Armies, The King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And this giant does not have any such ally.
Sometimes when you think you need a superhero, what you really need is a Son
David knows he is a son. He has a covenant with God, and he knows this from experience as a shepherd. He walked in his son-ship every day.
Let’s get back to the story – pay attention to the way David talks to this giant.
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. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 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.”
In my mind – that is the best part of the story right there. David is not intimidated by the words of the enemy. He goes on the attack – and set’s the proper groundwork for this battle.
It is not between a giant and a little boy, it is between a giant and the Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Eternal God of the Universe. And suddenly the Giant doesn’t look so big. [Tweet This]
I love that David who is standing there with a shepherds crook, a sling and a few small stones has just told the giant he was going to cut off his head.
David – get real – you don’t have anything sharp in your possession – You can’t even reach his head –could you please be a little more realistic?
I love this – let read on.
48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him.
Do you see this – David is running toward his enemy!
49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. [Big Cheer]
50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.
51 David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword.
Sometimes when you think you need a superhero, what you really need is a Savior
When David cuts off the giant’s head, he demonstrates his total mastery of this battle. This day David is a savior to Israel.
When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran. 52 Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines to the entrance of Gath[f] and to the gates of Ekron. Their dead were strewn along the Shaaraim road to Gath and Ekron. 53 When the Israelites returned from chasing the Philistines, they plundered their camp.
54 David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem; he put the Philistine’s weapons in his own tent.
There it is – no big surprise today, David killed Goliath. But how does it help today.
How do you know a giant when you see one?
Well – know for a fact that there are giants in the land. They may not have the name Goliath, but perhaps you have seen giants around. You know how you can recognize a giant. When you hear it talk you get afraid.
Maybe you have run into a giant – Unemployment, Recession, Cancer, Fibro Mialga,
They use words like Hopeless, Incurable, bankruptcy, foreclosure.
We here these words, and we loose hope. We sit on the hillside and sharpen our swords, polish our shields and shake in our boots.
You say – Ben, you don’t understand. This is not a storybook, this is real life. How do I deal with this HUGE stuff in real life?
Let me tell you something. Aa long as you treat the Bible – even the story of David and Goliath like a story book, rather than a testimony of God showing up on the behalf of his own people, you will be stuck on the hill side shaking in your boots.
We must run to the battle – we must take the promises of God to His New Testament Children and Run to the battle.
Big brave words from the pulpit, but I could not be more serious. The enemy wants to shake us to our core, and rob us of any impact we might have in the world, and he uses his words to shut us down.
We must rise up and fight this battle.
I want you to see how each of these 4 characteristics is in Jesus life, and then I want you to hear a call for you to walk in this same anointing.
Jesus came as a servant (Phil 2:5) He is the Good/Great Shepherd, He is the very Son of very God, and clearly He came to save us from our sin.
You need to:
Be a servant!(it take your eyes off the fear for your own life.)
Be a shepherd(get in a relationship with someone you can help and you will see God show up for you in the small ways)
Realize you are a son(don’t see your self as an outcast, but as a son or daughter of the King)
Understand that you have Savior DNA– ok – you are not The Savior but you are hooked up to The Savior and His name is JESUS.
Thanks for reading today. Keep your eyes open for the audio copy - it's better!