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Author:Rev. Stephen 't Hart
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Congregation:Free Reformed Church of Baldivis
 Baldivis, Western Australia
 frca.org.au/baldivis/
 
Title:The LORD confirms David's anointing in his battle with Goliath
Text:1 Samuel 17:45-47 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:Spiritual Warfare
 
Preached:2011-05-15
Added:2011-05-16
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Psalm 33:1,5

Psalm 33:6 

Psalm 80:1,3,7,8.

Psalm  68:1,2 (after sermon)

Psalm 68:8,12

Read:  1 Samuel 17.

Text:  1 Samuel 17:45-47

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Stephen 't Hart, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


Beloved congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

There comes a day when most of us find that we have met our match.  There comes a day when we look at something or someone in the face, weigh up our track record and perceived strengths and decide, “I think I’ll have to pass this one.”

In 1 Samuel 17, King Saul had met his match. 

The people of Israel had asked for Saul to be their king because they wanted a king like all the nations around them, a king to go out before them, lead the way, and fight their battles.  (1 Samuel 8:20)  The people of Israel had been pleased with their choice of king.  Saul had come from a line of warriors, he was handsome, and he was a giant of a man: taller than any of the people from his shoulders up.  (1 Samuel 9:1-3).  But now Saul had come face to face with a man who was bigger and tougher than he.  A real giant of a man.  Goliath.

There he stood, between the army of Israel and the army of the Philistines.  Nine feet tall.  The incredible Hulk.  The Terminator on steroids.  A human tank with armour weighing 57 kg, and holding a spear the size of a weaver’s beam, its tip a 7 kg sharpened lump of iron.

And Goliath mocked Saul and Israel’s army:

“I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.”

But Saul and all Israel with him had met their match.  Verse 11 of 1 Samuel 17 says “they were dismayed and greatly afraid.”

For forty days Goliath boomed out his defiant challenge.  And for forty days Saul and his entire army felt their legs turn to jelly, turned their tails and scurried for their tents.

And then along came David.  A strapping young lad, good looking, fresh from the farm.  A likeable boy perhaps, but with no track record in the art of warfare.  No battle scars to show off.  Untrained in spear and sword.  But David said to Saul,

“Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”  (1 Samuel 17:32)

And David’s brother Eliab, and then Saul and no doubt the rest of Israel’s army were taken aback and no doubt somewhat offended.  And they were left asking the question “Who does David think he is?  Hasn’t he seen Goliath?  Hasn’t he had a glimpse of his size, his muscles, his armour, his strength?  Who does David think he is to imagine that he has even a chance  to conquer Goliath?”

But for David that was not the question.  He did not ask who he was, nor who Goliath was, but for David the question was, “Who is the One whom Goliath is defying?  Who is the LORD, the God of Israel?

And therefore in David we see what God was looking for in a man who would be king over His people.  In the David we see a man who possessed the Holy Spirit of God.  And so this morning I preach to you the Word of God concerning Saul, David and Goliath under the following theme:

The LORD confirms David’s anointing in his battle with Goliath.

1.    David’s concern.

2.    David’s confidence.

3.    David’s conquest.

1. David’s Concern.

Goliath might have been a giant, but he was not the first giant to confront the nation of Israel.  In the book of Numbers, when the people of Israel had been redeemed from Egypt and were on their way to the Promised Land, Moses had sent out spies to check out the land of Canaan and its inhabitants.  These spies came back with a report saying that although the land was good, the inhabitants were too strong.  In Numbers 13:32,33 they said,

“The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature.  There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

At that time the Israelites were so afraid that they decided to turn back, surrender to the Egyptians and ask if they could become their slaves once more.  The LORD then became angry with His people and told Moses that he would destroy them all and make a new nation out of Moses.  But Moses pleaded with God saying, “What will the nations say?  They will say you killed Your people Israel because you did not have the power to give them the land of promise.  They will say that the giants of the land were stronger than You.”  (The exact words of Moses can be found in Numbers 14:13-19.)

Moses was concerned about God’s Name and what the nations would say about Him and His power.  And the LORD listened to Moses’ plea.

Forty years later, Joshua was about to lead God’s people into the Promised Land.  And as he reflected on the task that lay ahead of him, the LORD encouraged Joshua saying,

“Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”  (Joshua 1:9)

In Joshua 4 the people of Israel crossed the River Jordan on dry land, and then Joshua commanded that they set up a memorial of 12 stones

“… that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever.”  (Joshua 4:24)

And then, by the power of the LORD, the people of Israel proceeded to conquer the land of Canaan.  And Joshua 11 also notes that Joshua and the people of Israel also conquered the Anakim, the race of giants who had made the Israelites so afraid forty years earlier.  Verse 22 of Joshua 11 says,

“None of the Anakim were left in the land of the children of Israel; they remained only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod.”

These remaining enemies in and around Israel were left there, Judges 2 teaches us, so that through them God might test Israel, whether they would keep the ways of the LORD or not.

And now in 1 Samuel 17, from the Philistine city of Gath, there came one of those last descendants of the Anakim, Goliath.  And Goliath gets up and he taunts, Israel, he ridicules them, he defies them.  And knowing what we are told about the past history of Israel and these Giants who descended from Anak, we are amazed at the audacity of Goliath.  Didn’t Goliath know his own history?  Didn’t he know that in years past the God of Israel had displayed His power in the destruction of almost all the giants in the land?  Didn’t Goliath realize that he was one of the last of a dying race of people?  How could it be that instead of hiding in a hole in the ground somewhere near the city of Gath he was strutting around like a boxer in the ring, challenging, even defying, anyone from Israel to fight him?

But knowing what we are told about the history of Israel, what is an even greater question is, What about Saul and the people of God?  How could they stand by and listen to this uncircumcised Philistine defy the armies of the Living God?  Didn’t they know their own history?  Didn’t they know that the LORD God is the Almighty One?  Didn’t they know that He was jealous for His Name, that He expected His people to live in the confession that He alone is God?  How could it be that to a man, the men of Israel were dreadfully afraid and fled before that one giant, Goliath?

And that is the difference between the concern of Saul and the people of Israel and the concern of David.  David was not concerned about the strength of Goliath.  David did not ask questions about Goliath’s pedigree, his military might, or his past conquests.  And David most certainly was not afraid of losing his own skin to the point of running from Goliath in terror, making a hasty retreat back to his father in Bethlehem, back to the relative safety of the sheep pen.  David’s concern was for the name of the LORD! 

The glory of God’s Name, the hallowing of His Name by all people, was the great concern of David.  By defying the army of Israel, Goliath was blaspheming the name of God.  And by running from Goliath in fear, Saul and the men of Israel were also guilty of causing God’s Name to be ridiculed.

But David had been anointed to be the new king over Israel.  And while the Holy Spirit had left Saul, causing Saul’s heart to melt like water and his legs to turn to jelly, 1 Samuel 16 tells us that the Spirit of the LORD had come upon David.  And now, just as Moses and Joshua before him had been concerned for the Name of the LORD, so David presented himself as ready to fight Goliath so that God’s Name might receive the glory.

2. David’s confidence.

 At the time that Saul and the army of Israel were squared off against the Philistines, David had been back with his father Jesse in Bethlehem, tending the sheep.  But then Jesse sent David to the battle front to bring food for his older brothers and some cheese for their captain, and to find out how things were going.  No doubt the battle was drawing out longer than expected with the stand-off entering its 40th day. 

In obedience to his father Jesse, David travelled the 20 km from his home to the battle front and he arrived there just as the two armies were lining up for the day.  And then David ran down to the army in order to greet his brothers and see how things were going.

When David came to the battleground in that place called Ephes Dammim, he would have realized that this was an important battle to win.  The winning side would have the best access to both the hill country and the coastal plain where they could find food and water for their flocks and herds.  Also, if Israel won this battle they would have access to the Trade Route, the Way of the Sea.  They would then have better access to iron and other important commodities.  But when David came to the battlefront he was confronted with that dreadful challenge of the giant Goliath.  He heard Goliath shout,

“Why have you come out to line up for battle?  Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul?  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 be your servants.  But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.”

And then David knew that at stake was more than a piece of grazing land:  at stake was the future of the kingdom of Israel.  And even more, at stake was the glory of God’s name!  If this Goliath was allowed to continue defying the armies of the living God, and if the armies of the living God were to be defeated through Goliath’s challenge, Saul would no longer be king, but instead they would be ruled by the Philistines.  Even worse, they would be ruled by Goliath.  The giants, the wicked, godless men who had descended from Anak, would return to rule the land. 

And David knew that this simply could not be.

And so David began to ask questions saying,

“What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel?  For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”  (1 Samuel 17:26)

David’s message to the men of Israel was this:  “We can not take this lying down.  We can not accept the defiance, the godless mockery of this heathen.  He’s not mocking us, he’s mocking the armies of the living God!  He’s mocking the Name of the LORD!”

But then his brother Eliab got to hear of it.  Eliab, the one whom God had passed over when He anointed David saying

 “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”   (1 Samuel 16:7)

 

Eliab became angry with David and said,  “What do you think you are doing, David?  Who do you think you are?

“I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.”  (1 Samuel 17:28)

Eliab heard what David was saying and thought that David was getting cocky, was showing off, was acting like an immature little fool.  But perhaps Eliab’s response revealed more of what was going on in his own heart rather than in David’s.  Eliab was running scared just like everyone else in the Israelite camp.  Eliab was not concerned for the glory of God’s Name, but only for himself and his own skin. 

 

Eliab got it wrong.  David was not being immature, nor was he trying to assert himself, to present himself as an alternative to Saul, as Israel’s new king.  What motivated David was that God’s Name was being defied.  And unlike Saul and the rest of Israel, David did not look to his own resources, to his own strength and skill to kill Goliath:  he looked in faith to God, to the One who had revealed Himself as the True Commander of Israel’s army, to the One who was concerned for the glory of His Name, to the One who did not even need a sword or spear to win the battle.

 

David’s faith in the God of the Covenant, the God of Israel, was his confidence in the face of Goliath.  He told Saul that just as God had been with him when he faced lion and bear in the wilderness, so the LORD would give him the victory over the one who had defied the armies of the living God.  David was confident of this for he believed that the LORD who had displayed His power in the past would, for the sake of His Name, show His might again in the killing of Goliath.  It was by faith and through the Holy Spirit who had been poured out upon David, that David was confident that the LORD would deliver Goliath into his hand, that he would strike Goliath dead and cut off his head. 

David’s found his confidence not in himself but in the LORD who had shown His power and might in the past, and who would show the people again that there is a living God in Israel.  David believed that the God who had acted for the glory of His Name in the past would do so again in the present.  And so when David came out to meet the Philistine and Goliath cursed him by his gods, David responded and said to Goliath,

“Goliath, are you out of your mind?  Don’t you remember your history?  Do you really think you can attack me and kill me with nothing more than a sword, a spear and a javelin?  Don’t you understand what you’ve done, Goliath?  You’ve aroused the anger of the living God, the LORD of heaven and earth!  You have defied the armies of the God of Israel.  And now I’m coming to get you not with sword and spear, but in the Name of Almighty God!  And you are going to die!”

 

And isn’t that the way we should all face our giants?  There are times in the lives of each one of us when we are faced with the greatest of obstacles, when we are opposed by an enemy that appears overwhelming.  There are times when we weigh up our track record and evaluate how strong, how weak, we are and we conclude, “I can not do it.  I just can not do it.  And we cry out, “Oh, what would I do to have the kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant with just a sling and a stone?  What would I do to have the strength, to have the desire, to get up when I’ve failed so many times before?  Sometimes it all becomes too hard.  The devil calls my name and he laughs at me.  The devil calls my name and he defies me.  He reminds me of all the times I’ve tried before, and of all the times I’ve failed.  He tells me that if I ran in fear from the battle line forty times in the past, why should I think that today will be any different?  He laughs and he tells me that I’ll never win.

But is that the voice we should be listening to?  Is that the faith that we confess?  Is the devil stronger than our Savior?  Is there ever a time that we can lay down our weapons and give up the fight?

Where does your confidence lie?  If it lies in your own abilities, if it lies in the strength of your army, if it lies in the latest therapy, then the time will come when you will meet your Goliath, when you will meet your match when you will give up and cave in.  But when your confidence rests in the Living God, when your confidence is in Jesus Christ and the power of His resurrection, then you are going to get up and try again.  In Philippians 4:13 the Bible says,

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

All things.  It was true for David, the man anointed to be king.  It is true for you too.

3. David’s Conquest.

The battle between David and Goliath was 40 days in the making.  For 40 days Goliath had defied the armies of the living God.  For 40 days this uncircumcised Philistine had blasphemed the Name of the Lord.  But when the end came, it came fast.

David picked up his shepherd’s tools, his staff, his bag and his sling.  He went to the brook that was in the valley between the two warring armies and selected 5 smooth stones (rocks, really, most likely between 5 and 7cm in diameter).  Then, as Goliath came to meet David then David, in contrast to the rest of Israel, ran towards Goliath, took out a stone, slung it, and struck Goliath in the forehead.  Goliath fell to the ground and was dead.  The giant’s head was cut off and it was all over.  Just as David had foretold, the LORD did not save with sword or spear, but He gave Goliath into Israel’s hands.  Goliath was killed and then all Israel regained their courage and they set off after the fleeing Philistines.

God’s power was made perfect in human weakness.

Which reminds me of another victory.  The victory of Christ on the cross.  The devil told Him to give it up also.  The devil told Jesus that it wasn’t worth it, that the cost was too great, that it would all be for nothing.  “He saved others; He cannot save Himself!”  He’s met His match!  “He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him.”  But Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the author and the perfector of our faith had the trust and the faith needed to accomplish the ultimate victory over sin and over the kingdom of Satan.  His death and resurrection compel us to give the shout of victory that our God reigns.

And now we may live, we may face our giants, those things that attempt to pull us down, that try to weaken our faith and resolve, that laugh at our confession of faith in Christ, and we may declare victory in the name of the LORD.

David could be sure of victory against Goliath because he was anointed by the Holy Spirit to be king over Israel.  But the good news is that the same Spirit who was at work in David has been given to you.  As Christians we are anointed by the Holy Spirit.  And we confess that as Christians we have been anointed to be prophets, priests and kings.  And as kings, in the power of the Holy Spirit, we are called to fight with a good and free conscience against sin and the devil in this life, and we look forward to the sure victory, that we will reign with Christ forever over all creatures.

And that is more than lovely sounding words.  It means that you do not have to, in fact you may not give up on the fight against sin. 

What is the giant that challenges you?  What is the trial, the sin, the struggle that you are tempted to give up on?  Are you still fighting the fight against every kind of sin in your life?  Or are there sections of your heart that you’ve given up on, are there sins that are just too big and too complex to fight?  We can not give up the fight and we may not give up the fight.  In Ephesians 3 the apostle Paul wrote that we might be strengthened with might through Christ’s Spirit in the inner man (verse 16).  And then in verse 20,21 He wrote,

20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.

 

That’s the confidence that we may have of victory.  “To Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us!”  That almighty power rests in you by the Holy Spirit and by that power you will have the victory.  And 2 Peter 1:2,3 says something similar,

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.”

His divine power has given to us all things, that is everything, we need not just for life, but also for godliness.

I wish I could tell you that for me it is easy.  I wish I could tell you that I’m never afraid, that my shoulders never slump, that I’m always ready to pick up my sling shot and throw a rock at whatever Goliath comes my way.  I wish I could tell you that my fight against sin and the devil in this life is always instantly victorious and I keep on moving onwards and upwards with never a faltering step.  But it is not like that.  1 Samuel 17 convicts me that I am often more like Saul than David.  It happens too often that I depend on my own strength and abilities rather than on the power of God’s Holy Spirit. It happens too often that when I’m confronted with Goliath that my heart sinks, that I’m afraid, and that then I want to fight in my own strength, and then that I want to run.  But then I am reminded that God’s Holy Spirit dwells in me.  And in His strength we will have the victory.

The Lord confirmed David’s anointing in his battle with Goliath.  He confirmed that His Spirit rested upon David and that through Him David had the strength to defeat Goliath and uphold the Name of the Living God.  And the good news is that this same Holy Spirit is given to you and to me.  Through Christ we too are anointed kings so that in the power of Christ we too may win the battle.  Amen.




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Stephen 't Hart, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright 2011, Rev. Stephen 't Hart

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