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David and Goliath Part 3 – 1 Samuel 17:31-39


Whose Armour are You Wearing?

Where David distinguishes between God’s Gospel and Mans!
Text: 1 Samuel 17:31-39. John 20:24-29

In this passage we see two versions of the gospel, David’s version and Saul’s version. One is right and one is wrong. One is man centred and one is God centred. Let’s return to our story, and see if you can pick out which is which…

1. The Gospel Conversation! V31
Saul soon heard what David had said! Saul responded quickly. ‘bring him up here…’ 31 and so now we find David standing before Saul, to explain himself, and an interesting conversation takes place:

a) David begins to speak. Let’s just listen to him, as he begins a conversation of witness and evangelism with Saul (for that is what it is) :-

  • Don’t be afraid! 32And David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. .Why would we fear? Why do men’s hearts fail with fear? Defeat pain, disappointment, death…
  • In what way does the Gospel address our fears? To all of those who face the uncertainty of life, there is a message from The Lord, and David grasps this wonderful message with simple faith and trust! Do not be afraid! He said it again in Psalm 23, cf Jn 14:27
  • I will fight! Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine. David will fight! He will walk down into the valley that lies between the armies of Saul and the Philistines, and he will not be afraid. I wonder why?

b) Saul replies:- And his reply is from the human perspective of mankind. Like Thomas he declares that he will not believe what he cannot see. John 20:24-29 Saul weighs up David’s situation from a purely human angle…

* Look at you! You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth,.
* Look at him! and he has been a man of war from his youth.

Saul is simply being honest, as he sees it -he is looking only on the material, earthly reality – David is a wee boy, Goliath is, well, to state the obvious, a giant!

c) David speaks back:
I too am a warrior! 34
This man is no better than a beast! and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.
The REAL difference between David and the Philistine! 37 “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” All those battles with the wild animals which he had won were nothing to do with his courage or his ability or his cunning, or his human strength or his battle strategy. IT WAS THE LORD who had delivered him! It was all God’s doing and not his. He was fully and completely trusting in the strength of the Lord.

Our God is far greater than the most fearsome giant that the Philistines or any other ungodly nation can call up. That is the good news! There is deliverance with The Lord. That’s really good news, for we can’t deliver ourselves, so deep is our sin, and so far are we from God, and so corrupt is our will.

d) Saul doesn’t really believe!
He prays for God’s protection and presence with David, And Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!” He acknowledges the Lord, and prays for God’s presence with David in the fight… But that’s as far as it goes! But then his true beliefs, or rather his underlying unbelief in the power and sovereignty of God begins to glimmer through his outward profession, and to subtly destroy it.
But he hedges his bets! 8Then Saul clothed David with his armour. He put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail, His underlying belief is that God is NOT really able to protect David, that David needs human help, needs to do something else, that simple trust in The Lord is not enough, – WE must add something to what the Lord has done (or in David’s case, promised to do). Some human element is necessary to David’s salvation and deliverance.

Do you know, that the very minute that you add something of man’s doing, man’s work, to God’s work of salvation in Christ, you destroy the very work of Grace itself. Theologians call this PELAGIANISM, Pelagianism simultaneously views man as fundamentally good and in possession of libertarian free will. With regards to salvation, it teaches that man has the ability in and of himself (apart from divine aid) to obey God and earn eternal salvation.
How many professing Christians, outward professors of religion, have been shipwrecked, because of such teaching in the visible church? So Saul offers David his armour, – his human contribution to God’s protecting grace and…

e) David says thanks, but no thanks! v39
What choice would David make? The untried methods of human wisdom, or the proven way of simple faith and trust in the God who is our Creator, our provider and our deliverer?

2. The Gospel Application!
What is the Gospel application of this conversation? Quite simply, you can never get to heaven, singing that modern hymn to humanism, ‘I did it my way.’ Proverbs 16:25 You can only be saved God’s way, or you won’t be saved at all. When we preach the Gospel, modern innovations have no place in the message. We are to preach Christ, and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 1:22-25

So, whose armour are YOU wearing? Is your trust in God – or in man’s ability? Are you believing and trusting in the finished work of Christ upon the cross ALONE or do you think you must add something, some religious activity, some good work, some human effort or obedience…

© Bob McEvoy

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