Below is the link and the transcript for my latest audio sermon on 1 Samuel 17. The title for the sermon is David & Goliath- A Story About Jesus.
Let’s pray. Good Morning everybody. I’m Rand one of the pastor’s here at Grace Valley Fellowship. The scripture we just read you’re probably familiar with. It might be the most well known story in the whole Bile. And if you ever attended Sunday School or Vacation Bible School growing up, my guess is that you had the great priviledge of being taught this story from a flannelgraph board. Does anybody remember the flannelgraph board?
I remember it and they always skipped the parts of this story that were rated R- for too realistic. And I’ve wondered if it was because the violent parts were theologically unnecessary or if maybe the teacher just didn’t want to go the extra mile and cut out a small flannel goliath head. I don’t know- but as a man in training growing up, I probably would have enjoyed the OT stories a bit more if the more intense parts weren’ taken out.
For me, this week while preparing the message on David and Goliath, I had a really hard time trying to get the images out of my mind of armless Veggie tales characters because I guarantee I’ve seen “Dave and the Giant Pickle” at least one hundred times.
And even though we’re all familiar with this story to a certain degree. I hope that this morning the Spirit will shed some new light on the text for you and that you will be engaged in mind and heart by the deep wells of truth in God’s revelation.
I’ll begin with the question: “What are the Goliath’s in your life?” What are the giant difficulties you face? We all have Goliaths in our lives don’t we? I’m sure you’ve heard these questions before. They’re the standard application questions for this story. Is this story not the story of the little guy overcoming the big bully. A story where the small and insignificant character overcomes what seems like impossible odds to become the hero. When we hear on the news about the underdog team defeating the perennial powerhouse it’s often likened to a David and Goliath like matchup.
David and Goliath is about overcoming life’s difficulties- isn’t it? I’m sure you’ve heard “Be a David!- Be brave and courageous like david and you too will conquer the giants in your life!” If we just try hard enough, trust God strongly enough, have enough faith, then we too can conquer the biggest difficulties that come our way- the so-called Goliath’s in our life. Such is the typical interpretation of this text.
And, of course, there is indeed some very profound truth in this interpretation of David and Goliath. The character of David is genuinely a good example of trusting God- especially when life’s difficulties seem overwhelming – But there is a problem with putting ourselves into the character of David- The problem is this- that God’s deliverance is removed and we forget that Jesus- the Son of David, is the Hero. We begin to talk more about our own acts of faith as though it were something meritorious- and we wonder whether we have enough faith rather than wonder at the glory of God and marvel at the Saviour and HIS work.
And so even though we can apply the life of David to our own lives- and at times should. I want to caution us to never forget that even if we live a life full of faith- that ultimate Victory in the spiritual life (which is all that truly counts in the grand scheme of mice and men) does not come through inner courage, or clever solutions, or a strong work ethic, or brilliant plans, or faith in our own power to conquer. Victory does not come from any earthly weapons or skills. Victory comes from the Lord and only the Lord.
The story of David and Goliath just like the entire Bible is not about the people and their great acts of faith. It’s not about David or Goliath and it is definitely not about you or me. It is about Jesus. Its not about our faith or ability, Its about His gift and His might. He alone is the focus, He alone is the our hero. And in the midst of our deep pain and difficulties- in the midst of our deepest doubts and worries- we can bow down and worship the Son, because of what He has done for us. And so in the words of one of my most favorite songs. When you’ve been broken, broken to pieces. And Your heart begins to faint. ’cause you don’t understand. And when there is nothing to rake from the ashes. And you can’t even walk onto the fields of praise. I bow down and kiss the Son
Today let’s bow down and kiss the Son as we look at this narrative text from its story perspective. And like every great story- this story has several elements: I’ve called them the five c’s: The Context, The Characters, The Conflict, The Climax, and the Conclusion.
We go to 1 Sam 17 to read of the true historical account of the epic battle between two men- David of Bethlehem and Goliath of Gath. And it is in this history where we will uncover His story- the story of our Savior Jesus Christ. Let’s begin with the context in verse 2.
1 Samuel 17:2-3
2Saul and the men of Israel were gathered and camped in the valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array to encounter the Philistines. 3 The Philistines stood on the mountain on one side while Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them.
And so here is our setting, our stage if you will: we find the armies of the Philistines and the Israelites on two opposing sides with the valley between them. The name for the valley “Elah” –refers to the “Elah” tree and means the leafless tree. It is the valley of the leafless tree that stands between the Israelites and the Philistines.
I found two other key references to the Elah Tree in the Old Testament that shed some light on this passage. In Genesis 35 Jacob buried the idols of his house under the Elah Tree. And In 2 Sam 18 Absalom, David’s son was caught by his head in an Elah Tree and there on the Elah Tree Joab thrust three spears into his heart to kill him. Sound familiar? Three spears thrust into the man hanging from the leafless tree where He would die.
The very ground upon which the battle took place was the valley of the leafless tree- which is in typical truth, a reference to the cross of Jesus Christ which stands between Israel- the Kingdom of God and the Philistines- the kingdom of darkness.
It is at the cross where this epic battle of good and evil for the souls of men will be decided. The cross is the theatre where these two foes would do their dance was.
Now let’s look at the Characters
Some of the characters have already been introduced: We’ve got two teams stepping onto the field.
The Philistines- which I thought about nicknaming the Phillies for short. But I didn’t think that it would go over too well in this crowd having the Phillies representing the kingdom of Darkness
And The Isrealites and Saul- who represent the covenant people of God
But let’s focus now on our main characters: David and Goliath.
The story escalates…
In verse 4 we read 4 Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.”
And through verse seven it goes on to describe this enormous man and His military armor- which was extremely heavy and much more up to date than anything the Israelites could dream of.
The text says that Goliath’s height was 6 cubits and a span- just over nine feet tall.
Historians have written accounts of other men throughout history in different parts of the world that have grown to this size- but it is somewhat of an anomaly.
Are any of you familiar with Yao Ming- the center for the Houston rockets? I think He’s like 7’5” and He was as tall as me in thrisd grade. He’s huge and he would have only come to Goliath’s chest. Goliath must have been an ominous presence for the Israelites who were typically rather short in stature.
What we learn about Goliath is that he is a type for the seed of the serpent found way back in Genesis 3. He’s a personification of si whose name means exile.
Are not the wages of sin…death (and is not death exile?)
Because of sin We die spiritually (i.e our souls are exiled from God)
Because of sin We die physically (i.e our soul is exiled from our body)
Because of sin Relationships die
Families die because of sin
Communities die because of sin
intimacy dies because of sin
Sin kills. Sin destroys. Sin causes exile and separation- death.
Goliath is also called the Philistine “champion” which in the Hebrew here means middle-man or mediator. He is the one who’s gonna step into the ring to represent the Philistines and in verse 8 He shouts out a proposal at team Israel for them to send their Champion out to fight…He taunts: 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.” “I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.”
He’s saying send somebody out already. He’s pickin a fight and says I will represent the Philistines as their mediator. Instead of our two armies battling- I propose a dual to the death. And whoever loses, their nation will serve the other.
Goliath- the man who taunts the armies of God- is definitely our evil villain in this story
Now lets look at- David
1 Samuel 17:12 We read that “David was the son of the Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, whose name was Jesse.
There is obviously much I could say about David… I think there is more material written about him in the Bible than anyone except Jesus. But this morning I wanted to point out that He had already been anointed to become Israel’s next King in chapter 16. And so it not so strange for us to see him be the one to step into the ring for the covenant people.
Let me say something real brief about covenant.
From beginning to end, the bible, is about God covenanting with His people and delivering them. He is the One throughout the Bible who has intiated relationship with, covenanted with and promised to pursue His people despite their unfaithfulness, treachery, and unbelief. And it’s in this context of covenant where God’s grace and love is best understood – His covenant with His people is virtually identical with my covenant with my wife and kids. For even if my children rebel against me and disregard my instruction and go their own way- I have purposed in my soul to pursue them to the end with an unfailing love, with an reckless mercy, to pour out upon my wife and kids unmerited favor, and to always love them.
I tell my sons regularly that there is nothing they can do to keep me from loving them and pursuing them. I often pick up my boys and whisper in their ear, “Daddy loves you and will never stop loving you and I will pursue you wherever you go to encourage you because I love you, you are special too me. I will always love you. And in essence I’m saying- “I will be your Daddy and You will be my sons.” And this is what God tells us over and over again in His written Word- “I am your God and you will be my people.”
And so even though David is in some sense the hero, It is only because He represents God’s gift of grace. He represents God’s deliverance fro His covenant people. He is the chosen One. The Saviour of Israel. He prefigures the Son of David- Jesus Chirst.
The whole point of this story is God sending a deliverer to His covenant people in their time of need ultimately pointing to God’s sending Jesus to deliver His people from the power of sin and death.
Some examples of this connection in the text:
In verse 12 we notice that David was from Bethlehem. So too was Jesus born in Bethlehem Just as the prophet Micah had fortold.
In verse 17 we notice that David was sent by his Father to his Brethren with blessings and encouragement at just the right time. So too our Lord Jesus the Son of David was sent by God His Father at just the right time to visit His brethren.
In verse 25 we find that the one to slay the Philistine giant was promised a bride. Has not our Lord Jesus, through his victory over death gained the loyalty and trust of you and I, His church, His Bride?
In verses 28-30 David was rejected by His own brothers. Was not Jesus rejected by his brethren?- “He came to His own and His own did not receive him”- for his blessings they gave him curses. And like David, Jesus was scorned because He did not meet the national expectations for the Messiah- the anointed King
And just like Goliath stood to represent Sin, so David stood for Israel as its Champion- So too Christ Jesus stood for us as our champion- The one mediator between God and sinful man- The representative warrior for the new Israel to destroy sin.
I could go on and on with many more typological connections between this story, the prophecies in the psalms, and the person and work of Christ. It is just amazing and deep, and unquestionably supernatural. But because of time, let’s move on to the conflict.
At this point the Israelites were shakin in their boots. Verse 11 says that “When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.”
We get the sense from the text here that Goliath is literally undefeatable. No body would step up to the plate. Not even Saul, who was supposed to be Israel’s champion. They must have really grasped the gravity of the situation. What was at stake was Israel continuation as an nation….If Goliath won, Israel was done and would become at best- the slaves of the Philistines, and at worst- wiped out as a kingdom and as a people. Who would take that kind of responsibility?
Well we know who would- God would- He could not let Israel be destroyed, because then His covenantal promises could not be fulfilled, right? His promise to David to be the next King would not come to pass and God would be made a liar?
And David new this because He had been anointed and believed that God’s promise could not fail.
In verses 36-37 Listen to what seems like over confidence in trying to convince Saul to let Him fight, “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine (ie this uncovenanted Paun) will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.” 37 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.”
How could David be so sure of victory? Because not only had David experienced the deliverance of God in His own life to defeat the lion and the bear, even more He had been anointed to be the next King. And I submit, that He knew He could not die. And that if he did die, God would still prevail for His people to deliver them and David would be resurrected to be King. He believed God.
This reminded me of when Jesus took a boat with the disciples across the water and a storm came and the disciples were greatly afraid. Jesus rebuked them and said I told you we were going to the other side…I didn’t say we were going to drown half way.”
Why didn’t you believe me?
Or what about Abraham who was willing to kill his own at the Lord’s command. How could he do that? I submit, that because He knew that God had promised that the blessing would come through Isaac, and so even if Isaac died, He knew God would resurrect Him. He believed God.
And now David stands in this long line of God’s covenant blessing as the one who God would use to save His people from perishing. He knew He could not lose. For God had told him that He would be King.
This is powerful stuff
So what is the real conflict here for us?
The Israelites needed someone to defeat Goliath to survive. They needed a deliverer. We need Jesus- because we need someone who will rescue us from our humanly undefeatable foe- Sin and death.
Our enemy is not merely marriage troubles or debt, or cars breaking down, or loss of jobs, or diminishing retirement funds, or cancer, or rebellious children, or any other difficulty in life. No our enemy is sin and death, and Evil. And the enemy that Goliath represents is a much bigger problem than Goliath ever could be and we are unable to defeat our enemy by our own strenghth.
Do you have the power to be right before God on your own and stop sinning and please a holy God with all your thoughts and motives, and words and deeds. Not a chance, and your enemy laughs at your attempts to try to make yourself good- through things like religion or morality. You need a deliverer- someone stronger than you who can do something about your sin problem
Do you have the power within yourself to escape the power of the Evil One who if you are apart from Christ has rights over your soul. No way, the bible says that unbelievers are under the power of Satan to do His will. You need a deliverer to rescue you from your slavery to that an Evil master.
Do you have the power to defeat death and to survive beyond the grave. No way, the punishment for sin is death and all have fallen short of God’s infinite glory, All sin and all deserve to die. You need a deliverer who has conquered death to make a way for your resurrection to infinite life so you can be saved from eternal death- infinite exile from God.
You and I, We need a deliverer. We need God’s mercy. Everyone of us. And many of you may have already trusted the Son of David to deliver you from your greatest enemy and come under His hand of mercy, and you’ve been transferred from the Kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of His marvelous light. You are no longer a philistine, but a member of the family of God.
And yet despite being part of God’s covenant we still tend walk in carnality like Saul and the soldiers. They were on God’s team as part of His covenant people but they didn’t expect God’s power to work in their midst
They were worthless soldiers because they didn’t know their God. How bout us? Do we know our God? Do we expect God to move in our life, Do we expect to see His power and presence at work with us and for us? Do we expect His Spirit to show up in the midst of our gatherings, our church life, in our homes, our families, and at work with us? Or Do we simply look the part?
Are we like the Israelites, knowing all the traditions, connected to the community but not personally experiencing the power of God? Are you standing as a proud soldier, but absolutely useless to God?
We learn from David, that If you are gonna be of any use to God, you must know God personally and not just believe in Him, but BELIEVE Him.
Story of Steve Phinney
Do you expect God to move with power in your life? In the this church? Do you believe Him when He says “He’s gonna reward those who seek Him. Seek Him, Seek Him, Seek Him! Seek God- Listen to God. Invite God to visit you and show you His power in your life.
Just about every night I will sing to and pray with my sons Brendan and Wyatt before they go to bed. Before I leave their room I will tell them that they can continue to pray on their own and to listen what God has to say to them. The other night Brendan said, Dad “How can I hear God when He doesn’t talk to us?”
I said, Son, God does talk to us but we don’t always listen and we don’t need ears to hear Him- seek Him and listen to Him with you soul. Normally He will go on and on with questions but he nodded and was quiet.
I encourage you this morning to seek God and beg Him to pour out Himself on you and your family. To put your confidence in God alone. Return unto God. Humbly come unto God again and let Him do what only God can do. And just as the prophet Hosea said it is time to seek the LORD Until He comes to rain righteousness on you.
Now what we’ve all been waiting for: The Climax
1 Samuel 17:48-50 48 Then it happened when the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 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. 50 Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David’s hand.
And so with a stone David bruised the head of Goliath the seed of the serpent. This violent action was undoubtedly a typical fulfillment of the prophecy in Genesis 3:15 where the serpent was told by God “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head.”
David had said to Goliath before He slung that rock at Him, “You come at me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts (the covenantal name of God)
David defeated Goliath with not merely a sling and stone but in the power of God and in His name. And in writing Psalm 144 which refers to this battle he cries out “Blessed be the LORD, my rock. And Jesus who is the Lord of Hosts himself- the Living God- He is thee rock upon which we stand. He is the stone which the builders rejected who has become the chief cornerstone and He is Thee seed of the woman…who has brusied the head of the serpent. There no other name under heaven except Jesus by which a person can be saved. He is the hero.
He is our deliverer. And “WHOsoEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”
For when our Lord hung from the tree to contend with Sin on the cross, He slung His atoning sacrifice as a stone to kill the power of sin and death. It is the power of God through Christ alone that took down the power of evil.
Will you come today to Jesus and be saved from that gigantic enemy of humanity?
Where else will you go to get the help you need? Only Christ has the words of eternal life.
And to conclude our story this morning we read that that
After David killed Goliath with no sword in His hand in verse 51 “David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath… and cut off his head with it.”
David took Goliath’s own sword and chopped his head off.
In comenting on this verse, the great Augustine remarked that “through death, he destroyed him that had the power of death.”
The cross from which Jesus Christ hung was intended, by the Evil One, to be the death of God’s Messiah, But with a remarkable twist in the plotline, the death of Christ on the cross was ultimately the death of sin.
In the words of Spurgeon, “Lo this day, I see in our conquering hero’s hand the grizzly head of the monster Sin, all dripping with gouts of gore. Look at it, ye that once were under its tyranny. Look at the terrible lineaments of that hideous and gigantic tyrant. Your Lord has slain your foe. Your sins are dead; He has destroyed them. His own arm, singlehanded and alone, has destroyed your gigantic enemy.”
The very weapon that Goliath had threatened to use against David, was the weapon by which his life taken away. So Christ on the cross, “death by dying He slew” And the Kingdom of darkness was ultimately defeated.
Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross… For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Fix your eyes upon Jesus, look full at His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.
With every need, every confusion, every doubt, every failure, every success, everything.
Seek Him, Seek Him, Seek Him, Fix your eyes upon Him, Call upon Him, Call upon Him, Trust Him, Inquire of Him. Believe him, Rest in him, Wait on Him
With every circumstance seek Him and let God alone be your deliverer. Let God alone humble you or exalt you. Dare not trust in your own strength, trust in the name of the living God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. Seek God, and that is all. It’s all about Him. It’s all about Jesus. To God alone be the glory.