I Samuel 17
Our current series is “Surviving Quarantine – Discovering 40-Day Episodes in the Bible.” The word “quarantine” comes from two Italian words quaranta giorni, which means “40 days.” The Bible has several instances where God used the period of 40 days. So we are entering the forth week in our own 40-day journey through the Scripture looking at 7 episodes where God used 40-days to help us survive quarantine.
Today we come to another familiar story in the Bible actually one of the most famous stories in the Bible, the story of David and Goliath. The story of David and Goliath is recorded in I Samuel chapter seventeen. The story takes up the entire chapter – fifty-eight verses! Of course, we don’t have time to read the entire chapter this morning so allow me to share a brief summary to get us to the main points for today. But I do want to encourage you to read chapter seventeen for yourself.
During this time Saul was King of United Kingdom of Israel. Chapter seventeen begins by telling us that Saul and the men of Israel were gathered in full battle array to fight against their archenemies, the Philistines. (17.1-2) The Philistines were an aggressive, warmongering people, who worshipped false gods. The Philistines were camped on a mountain on one side while Israel was camped on a mountain on the other side with the valley between them. (17.3)
But the Philistines had a secret weapon – a man by the name of Goliath. Goliath was a giant of a man who stood nine feet tall! (17.4) The armor that he wore weighed 125 pounds and the tip of his spear alone weighed 15 pounds. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some NFL and NBA players and on those occasions I felt like a child standing next to some of these guys. I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to stand next to Goliath.
But it wasn’t just Goliath’s size that was intimidating. It was his attitude. Every morning and evening Goliath come down to the valley wearing his full armor and taunt the army of Israel saying, Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us.” (17.8b-9) When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine giant they were dismayed and greatly afraid. (17.11) And can you guess how many days this taunting went on? You guess it – 40-days! (17.16)
During this time young David was sent by his father Jesse to bring his brothers who were part of Saul’s army some food and supplies. David was the youngest of the family and was only 12 to 15 years old when he was sent on this “Uber Eats” mission. When David arrived at Israel’s encampment behold, the champion, the Philistine named Goliath, was coming up from the army of the Philistines, and he spoke these same words; and David heard them. When all the men of Israel saw the man, they fled from him and were greatly afraid. (17.23-24) Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him, saying, . . . “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” (17.26)
When the words which David spoke were heard, they told them to Saul, and he sent for him. David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail on account of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” Then Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you.”
Saul clothed David in armor and a sword to fight the Philistine giant but David took it off. David took his shepherd’s staff, chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s bag, and put his sling in his hand, and approached the Philistine. (17.38-40)
When the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, and ruddy, with a handsome appearance. The Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. The Philistine also said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.” Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.” . . . David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine . . . And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead . . . so that he fell on his face to the ground. Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone . . . When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. (17.42-51)
Defeating Doubt and Fear
These familiar stories of Scripture are “comfort food for the soul.” If you all are like Barbara and I we have indulged in certain foods during the pandemic that we don’t normally eat. One day we actually cooked a turkey and had a Thanksgiving meal! It was great – real comfort food. And those turkey, lettuce, and mayonnaise sandwiches for the next few days were delightful. Well, the story of David’s victory over Goliath is comfort food for the soul because in it we see spiritual traits for defeating doubt and fear.
Of course, we all are praying for those who have lost loved ones and who suffered sickness during this time. We all are praying for those who have lost there jobs or businesses and now we are praying that our ecomony to get back on track. But COVID-19, according to public health experts, is sure to trigger widespread mental health consequences, like anxiety and depression. Severe schedule disruptions, school closures, and social isolation have put a strain on everyone. It’s like the enemy has been taunting us every morning and evening for more than 40-days.
So, what can we learn for David’s victory over Goliath that help us defeat doubt and fear? Like Saul and his army it is easy for us to give in to fear. As we saw last week, the enemy can become so overblown in our minds to the point that we feel like grasshoppers in its sight. (Num.13.33) So how can we defeat the giants in our lives and overcome fear?
Have Confidence in God’s Power
By having confidence in God’s power! Goliath was a huge dude! He wasn’t figment of the imagination. He was big, and strong, and cocky. There was no ignoring him. And the enemy we have been facing the last couple of months cannot be ignored either. But I believe that we can overcome the enemies in our lives by having confidence in God’s power.
There was no denying that reality that Goliath was a huge overgrown man and David was just a ruddy young boy. But David told Saul, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (17.37) David wasn’t living in “la-la land.” David could see Goliath’s strength and size but David didn’t trust in his strength to kill the enemy. He was trusting in “the Lord.” His confidence was in the Lord. Deep in David’s heart he knew that God’s power is made perfect in weakness. (2Cor.12.9) David isn’t worry about his weakness because he has confidence in God’s power. Yes, Goliath was a big guy but God is much bigger!
David’s confidence grew out of his past experiences. “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (17.37)
Moses told the Israelites just before they entered into the Promised Land, “You may say to yourselves, ‘These nations are stronger than we are. How can we drive them out?’ But do not be afraid of them; remember well what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt: the great trials which your eyes saw and the signs and the wonders and the mighty hand and the outstretched arm by which the Lord your God brought you out. So shall the Lord your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid.” (Dt.7.17-19) No one enjoys times of trials but the Lord can use those times to build our faith. We’ve all seen the interviews with the World War II vets and those who went through the polio epidemic telling us that we will survive COVID – 19. Why do they have such confidence because they have gone through tough times and survived? How much more should those in Christ have confidence in God’s power during difficult times? I love the way the Apostle Paul encourages us saying, But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” (2Cor.4.7-10) So let us as God’s people manifest our confidence in God’s power. He has been faithful in the past. He will be faithful in the now. And He will be faithful in the future.
Utilize God’s Weapons
Brothers and sisters, we defeat doubt and fear by utilizing God’s weapons. Saul insisted that David wear his armor and carry his sword. I imagine David looking like little boy dressed up in his father’s suit, sporting his father’s hat, and wearing his size eleven shoes stumbling down the hallway. But David wasn’t going to rely on Saul’s armor to defeat the enemy. He was going to put on God’s armor by standing firm against the enemy having the belt of truth buckled around his waist, putting on the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel, taking up the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Eph.6.14.17)
The weapons of our warfare are not worldly but are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses, destroying speculations, and every lofty thing rises up against the knowledge of God and Goliath was definitely rising up against the knowledge of God. (2Cor.10.3-6) David will use the weapons that have been tested. And I’m here to tell you that God’s weapons of truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and His word have been tested over and over again throughout the ages and we can count on them to eliminate the enemy. The giant utters insults, threats, and cursing but none of these things would deter David because he knew that the battle is the Lord’s. (17.47) David would later write about this day saying, In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? (Ps.56.11) David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword and spear and a javelin but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts.” (17.45) So, as Goliath marched forward David did not cower but ran quickly towards the battle line to meet the Philistine.
Stand in the Victory of the Lord
And with one stone slung from David’s sling the giant falls face first to the ground.
As A.W. Pink wrote, “One stone in [the hand of faith] was worth more than all the Philistine’s armor on the giant of unbelief.” Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his (Goliath’s) sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.
Cutting off the head of the enemy was an accepted practice in those days. But it is also a perfect picture of what Christ Jesus has done for us. In the book of Genesis God issues the first promise that Christ would defeat the enemy for us. (Gen.3.15) Christ will crush Satan’s head! Christ has defeated all of His and our enemies having triumphed over them through the cross. (Col.2.15) The Apostle John tells us, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (IJn.5.4) I love what Moses wrote in Deuteronomy, The Lord
shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways. (Dt.28.7)
Brother and sisters, we need to stand in the victory of the Lord. David knew that the battle is the Lord’s. (17.47) And Solomon tells us the victory belongs to the Lord. (Pr.21.31) David submitted himself to God, resisted the enemy, and the Philistines fled. Well, the Apostle James tells us, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (Js.4.7)
During this time it is easy to become defeated by doubt and fear. The enemy can taunt us morning and evening for 40-days but by following David’s example we can enjoy victory over the giants in our lives. David’s example can be tremendous benefit to us to survive quarantine. During these days lets have confidence in God’s power knowing that God’s power is perfected in our weaknesses. Lets utilizes God’s tested weaponry such as truth, prayer, trusting in His righteousness, and claiming the promises of His Word. Lets stand in the Lord’s victory knowing that the battle has been won through Christ and the victory belongs to the Lord. “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (Js.4.7) Thanks be to God.