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David and Goliath – Part 1.

26/08/2014

David and Goliath – Part One.

Saul hides from a Challenger… But wouldn’t you?
Text: 1 Samuel 17:1-11. Hebrews 11:32.
David gets mentioned in the role call of OT Heroes in Hebrews 11 where the common factor in each case is THEY HAD FAITH IN GOD. So the story about David and Goliath is not about David’s courage, – it is about God’s merciful preservation of His people, about God raising up a deliver who would trust him enough to rely on him and him alone, to deliver his people from their troubles.

1. The Story! Representative warfare.

  1. The threat! V1Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle. The Philistines were a maritime people. They were a fierce people, – the aggressors in the story, – in fact one gets the impression that the Israelites were less than keen on this particular battle. The Philistines ‘gathered their armies’ (note the active verb), and the Israelites ‘were gathered’ (note the passive verb). They were each encamped on a hillside in a stand-off, for neither of them were willing to go down into the valley first, for strategically, that would be suicide. Once one of the armies had advanced into the valley, the other could then attack from the heights. You can see the problem.
  2. The tormentor! A man named Goliath – was sheer terror on legs Let’s try to get some idea of what this man was like:
    1. His place. there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion. This giant emerged from the camp of the Philistines, a man from the city of Gath. 1 Samuel 5:8-9
    2. His physique. a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. He was a ‘champion’. The Hebrew word indicates someone who ‘steps in between.’ He practised ‘representative warfare’ – His very appearance was intimidating. He was six cubits and a span. I’m told that equates to around nine feet, nine inches tall.
    3. His protection. V5. Obviously the helmet covered his head, but not his face, as we shall see later! But the rest of his body was completely protected! He was clad in iron. But that was just his defensive equipment.
    4. His weapons. and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders. 7The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron. And his shield-bearer went before him. Note all the metal he carried. – that gave him an instant advantage, for the Israelite were starved of metal! The Philistines had the regional monopoly on metalworkers. 1 Samuel 13:19 His shield was so heavy that he had to get a servant to carry it!
  3. The taunt. He taunted the Israelites. Look at the content of his mockery:-
    He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, What a voice! When Goliath spoke his voice boomed across the valley. It was so loud that the Israelites heard every word!
    “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? This is sheer terror inducing, scorn and mockery. I’m the Philistine! Goliath is not just any Philistine, he is the embodiment of the nation, he is THE Philistine. These Israelites? They are a bunch of little men, the slaves of Saul, who don’t even want to be there.
    Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. Who did he want to come out and face him? Their ‘chosen one’ – and that chosen one was none other than Saul! V22  1 Samuel 18
    9If 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.” If the Philistines were defeated would they really offer themselves as slaves in Israel? We certainly know that after their defeat by David, they ran away – but they didn’t surrender and offer themselves as slaves. Goliath was a LIAR.
    10And the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day. Give me a man, that we may fight together.” Defy? This is just total scorn! Is there anyone in the whole of the Israelite camp, who is a man? A real man?
  4. The terror. 11When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid. Where was Saul when all this was going on? He was cowering in the camp. Like the rest of the people of Israel, he was terrified. YET THIS SHOULD NOT BE SO! Cf 1 Samuel 2:10. The Lord’s anointed, Saul, should have marched forth in victory! He didn’t.

So here we are. The people are afraid and facing defeat, and their chosen champion, their leader, is hiding somewhere in the camp.

2. The Significance!

Now, what is the significance of of this story for us? We all have enemies! Those enemies are as real and as terrifying as Goliath was. Let’s consider some of them:

  • Satan is our enemy! The devil is the enemy of all men!
  • Sin is our enemy! Our sin – our own sin, the enemy that is within us, our sinful nature, that wars and battles with us every day of life. Like Paul, in Romans 7, we cry, ‘wretched man that I am, who shall save me from this body of death…’
  • Death is our enemy! The final enemy is death, and we must all face that enemy. To the unconverted soul it is the greatest enemy of all.
    Those are truly terrifying enemies.

3. The Saviour!
Now, in what way does this part of the story speak to us of Christ? Because he is THE ANOINTED ONE. Saul was a failure – he remained in the tent, cowering with the rest of the Israelite army. Now, consider Jesus. He is the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed Servant of the Lord – and he, unlike us, faced our enemies, did not retreat from them, and defeated them. And at the cross he defeated all our enemies for us. Why are our enemies defeated today? Is it because of us and our spiritual strength, because we are mighty men of valour? Not at all. It’s only because of Jesus!
© BobMcEvoy

From → 1 Samuel

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