THE BOOKS OF SAMUEL | Week Fourteen

Where is Your Courage | 1 Samuel 17

1 Samuel 17:1-51 - The Philistines now mustered their army for battle and camped between Socoh in Judah and Azekah at Ephes-dammim. 2 Saul countered by gathering his Israelite troops near the valley of Elah. 3 So the Philistines and Israelites faced each other on opposite hills, with the valley between them. 4 Then Goliath, a Philistine champion from Gath, came out of the Philistine ranks to face the forces of Israel. He was over nine feet[a] tall! 5 He wore a bronze helmet, and his bronze coat of mail weighed 125 pounds. 6 He also wore bronze leg armor, and he carried a bronze javelin on his shoulder. 7 The shaft of his spear was as heavy and thick as a weaver’s beam, tipped with an iron spearhead that weighed 15 pounds. His armor bearer walked ahead of him carrying a shield. 8 Goliath stood and shouted a taunt across to the Israelites. “Why are you all coming out to fight?” he called. “I am the Philistine champion, but you are only the servants of Saul. Choose one man to come down here and fight me! 9 If he kills me, then we will be your slaves. But if I kill him, you will be our slaves! 10 I defy the armies of Israel today! Send me a man who will fight me!” 11 When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified and deeply shaken. 12 Now David was the son of a man named Jesse, an Ephrathite from Bethlehem in the land of Judah. Jesse was an old man at that time, and he had eight sons. 13 Jesse’s three oldest sons Eliab, Abinadab, and Shimea had already joined Saul’s army to fight the Philistines. 14 David was the youngest son. David’s three oldest brothers stayed with Saul’s army, 15 but David went back and forth so he could help his father with the sheep in Bethlehem. 16 For forty days, every morning and evening, the Philistine champion strutted in front of the Israelite army. 17 One day Jesse said to David, “Take this basket of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread, and carry them quickly to your brothers. 18 And give these ten cuts of cheese to their captain. See how your brothers are getting along, and bring back a report on how they are doing.” 19 David’s brothers were with Saul and the Israelite army at the valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines. 20 So David left the sheep with another shepherd and set out early the next morning with the gifts, as Jesse had directed him. He arrived at the camp just as the Israelite army was leaving for the battlefield with shouts and battle cries. 21 Soon the Israelite and Philistine forces stood facing each other, army against army. 22 David left his things with the keeper of supplies and hurried out to the ranks to greet his brothers. 23 As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, came out from the Philistine ranks. Then David heard him shout his usual taunt to the army of Israel. 24 As soon as the Israelite army saw him, they began to run away in fright. 25 “Have you seen the giant?” the men asked. “He comes out each day to defy Israel. The king has offered a huge reward to anyone who kills him. He will give that man one of his daughters for a wife, and the man’s entire family will be exempted from paying taxes!” 26 David asked the soldiers standing nearby, “What will a man get for killing this Philistine and ending his defiance of Israel? Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?” 27 And these men gave David the same reply. They said, “Yes, that is the reward for killing him.” 28 But when David’s oldest brother, Eliab, heard David talking to the men, he was angry. “What are you doing around here anyway?” he demanded. “What about those few sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of? I know about your pride and deceit. You just want to see the battle!” 29 “What have I done now?” David replied. “I was only asking a question!” 30 He walked over to some others and asked them the same thing and received the same answer. 31 Then David’s question was reported to King Saul, and the king sent for him. 32 “Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!” 33 “Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.” 34 But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, 35 I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. 36 I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! 37 The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” Saul finally consented. “All right, go ahead,” he said. “And may the Lord be with you!” 38 Then Saul gave David his own armor—a bronze helmet and a coat of mail. 39 David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before. “I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off again. 40 He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine. 41 Goliath walked out toward David with his shield bearer ahead of him, 42 sneering in contempt at this ruddy-faced boy. 43 “Am I a dog,” he roared at David, “that you come at me with a stick?” And he cursed David by the names of his gods. 44 “Come over here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!” Goliath yelled. 45 David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! 47 And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!” 48 As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him. 49 Reaching into his shepherd’s bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground. 50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with only a sling and a stone, for he had no sword. 51 Then David ran over and pulled Goliath’s sword from its sheath. David used it to kill him and cut off his head.

I. What David and Goliath Is Not About

A. Many think David’s defeat of Goliath is a story of personal courage in the face of overwhelming odds. 

  • They see David as the archetypal underdog, an Old Testament Rocky Balboa, standing up to an arrogant, powerful enemy. 
  • They see him as a self-confident, independent young man who was brave enough to fight for what was right.

B. Is that what this story is about?

  • It’s true that David was courageous, and courage is an essential, glorious virtue. 
  • When he faced Goliath, David’s courage was being empowered by something else.
  • He was a highly trained, experienced massacre machine. 

C. The men lacked courage because they lacked faith.

  • Despite all the stories and past experiences, Goliath looked bigger than God. 
  • Each man believed Goliath instead of God. 

II. David’s Confidence in God

A. What fueled David’s courage was his confidence in God’s promises and God’s power to fulfill them.

  • David knew that God had chosen him to be the next king of Israel (1 Samuel 16:13). 
  • And he drew additional confidence by remembering how God had helped him in the past 

B. David’s courage came from his perspective. 

  • He was not self-confident; he was God-confident.
  • David believed that God would never break his promise, and if Goliath set himself between God and His promises, God could flick him out of the way with a pebble.  And He did.
  • He went out to fight knowing that God would give him victory over Goliath — and when he did, the victory would demonstrate God’s power and faithfulness, not David’s courage 

III. What’s the Source of Your Courage?

A. Courage is not an autonomous, self-generated virtue. 

  • Courage is always produced by faith, whether our faith is in God or something else. 
  • For the Christian, courage come from their faith in God. Faith in who God is. 

B. Lack of courage, what the writer of Hebrews calls “draws back” or “shrink back.”

Hebrews 10:37–38 - For yet in a very little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. 38 But My righteous ones will live by faith; and if he draws back, I have no pleasure in him.
  • “Drawing back” Is always evidence of a lack faith in a promise of God. In our perspective, some “Goliath” is looming larger than God
  • David is such a helpful example for us, not only because he fueled his confidence and courage to face Goliath from God’s promises, but also because he so frequently felt fearful and needed to encourage his soul again by remembering God’s promises.

IV. Changing your perspective brings courage

1. Take God’s word over the opinions of others

  • His older brother Eliab said everything he could to discourage David
  • No one can discourage us like family!
  • Saul pointed out everything that was lacking. But David took God’s word over others no matter who they were.
Psalm 71:5 - O Lord, you alone are my hope. I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood.

2. Measure the size of your obstacle against the size of your God.

  • We tend to measure our obstacles against our own strength and abilities.
  • I am not suggesting that if we measure our obstacles against God they will be effortless.

3. Get Angry at Fear

  • Faith made David more than courageous. It made him mad!
  • When he heard the Philistine defy the living God and his army, it made David angry. 
  • Such should also be our response to every fear and “high minded thing” raised against the knowledge of God” 
2 Corinthians 10:5 - We demolish arguments 5 and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ.
  • Our fears are not primarily about us, even though they feel that way. Our fears are primarily about God.

In the new covenant, we are not to battle flesh and blood.

Ephesians 6:12 - For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.
  • We are to love our human enemies.
Luke 6:27 - But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.
  • However, we are to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). 
  • And we are to wield warfare weapons against them (2 Corinthians 10:4), including the shield of faith and the sword of God’s word (Ephesians 6:16–17). We are to aim to kill.

Summary

These giants, who are bigger than we are and very intimidating , will be slain just like David’s was — by faith. And our courage to face them will not come from our self-confidence. It will only come from confidence in God. You see, it was David’s God that made David great.

Where are rich in what gods wants for us but His Holy Power within us can’t be wielded for our own gain. When you stand for Christ. God can wield you like he wielded David. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is in you. It is released by faith. Faith comes by hearing and believing the promises of God. Paul said it like this to the Ephesians.

Ephesians 1:19-20 - I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.

I pray that your perspective will change and you will see your Goliaths from the all-powerful, infinitely wise, always loving and all knowing eyes of God.

If you need courage change your perspective!