David and Goliath Sermon Notes

Text: 1 Samuel 17

The Setting

1 Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle; and they were gathered at Socoh which belongs to Judah, and they camped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim.

2 Saul and the men of Israel were gathered and camped in the valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array to encounter the Philistines.

3The Philistines stood on the mountain on one side while Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them.

·        There may have been some good games of Maijon or poker, but there was no actual battle taking place! The two armies were just staring at each other across the valley.

·        Israel likely had the superior force. Only 3 chapters earlier is the account of Israel’s limited slaughter of the Philistines.

1 Sa 14:30-31

30 “How much more, if only the people had eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies which they found! For now the slaughter among the Philistines has not been great.”

31 They struck among the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon. And the people were very weary.

Height 289.25 – 336.7cm
Armor 57kg
Spear Head 6.84kg

An Awesome Warrior

 4 Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.

5 He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was clothed with scale-armor which weighed five thousand shekels of bronze.

6 He also had bronze greaves on his legs and a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders.

7 The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and the head of his spear weighed six hundred shekels of iron; his shield-carrier also walked before him.

·        Being described as a champion, he had obviously been victorious in many battles.

·        Well equipped

·        Extremely powerful

·        Experienced in battle V33

Biblical Measure

Metric Equivalent

1 Cubit 44.5 – 51.8 cm
1 Span 22.25 – 25.9 cm
1 Shekel 11.4 gm

The Challenge

8 He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel and said to them, “Why do you come out to draw up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and you servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me.

9 ” 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.”

10 Again the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.”

·        We observed earlier that Israel probably had the superior force. So, why didn’t they launch an offensive to defeat the enemy? They didn’t attack because they let the enemy dictate the terms of engagement. When in war, if you can decide the timing, the location, the weapons, etc., it gives you a decided advantage.  Assuming the Philistines were indeed weaker, it would make good sense for them to have two individuals represent the two armies in battle, especially since they had Goliath who was such a formidable warrior.

·        The most obvious application of this strategy of dictating the terms of an engagement is found in the surprise attack. The timing of your attack and your tactics are carefully planned whereas the enemy is caught off guard giving you a decided advantage.

·        1 John 4:4 states that “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world”. God is on our side. Therefore, like Israel, we have the more powerful force. Yet, we sometimes give our enemy Satan an advantage by allowing him to dictate the terms of battle.

·        Yes, the Israelites fell for it hook, line, and sinker. Just look at their response to Goliath’s taunts.

Israelite Reaction

11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

16 The Philistine came forward morning and evening for forty days and took his stand.

·        How could it be that the entire Israelite army was trembling with fear for forty days because of this one guy’s challenge? Not a single man would show courage. Not even Jonathan, who had recently successfully attacked and defeated an entire Philistine garrison with only his armor bearer at his side, not even Jonathan was willing to accept this challenge. Why not?

·        Two problems can be observed in the Israelite’s failure to respond:

1.      Their faith was small. They were looking at the enormous stature of Goliath rather than at the proven strength and faithfulness of their God.

Apparently their scripture memory was a little rusty. They should have recalled the Lord’s exhortation to Joshua.

Jos 1:9

9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

2.      Secondly, they could not rest on past victories. Sometimes, following a great victory is when the enemy counter-attacks with the greatest effectiveness. No, each day brings its own battles. Fighting the Lord’s battles is ongoing. Neither reveling in past victories nor grieving over past defeats will help to win today’s battles. We are required each day to exercise faith for the new battles to be fought that day.

·        Because they didn’t respond in faith, the Israelite army was discouraged and demoralized by this ongoing humiliation. Satan seeks to weaken and discourage us with his relentless attacks.

·        How about you and me? How will we respond in the face of the enemy’s relentless assault?

·        2 Co 2:11

11 so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.

As Christians, we should definitely be knowledgeable of Satan’s tactics. God supplies us with all the information we need to know about his ploys. With that information we are to always be ready for an attack, because it is never a question of “if” Satan will attack. It is simply a question of “when” he will attack.

1 Pe 5:8

8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

·        That brings us to the question of how we can always be alert and prepared for Satan’s attacks. This answer, of course, is very simple and basic. God has given us His Word, which among other things is His handbook on enemy engagement We need to devote ourselves to knowing it inside out. Then we will be prepared for Satan’s attacks.

Now, we turn from the confrontation of the two armies to David’s home where his father is sending him on a mission.

David Sent with Provisions and to get News

17 Then Jesse said to David his son, “Take now for your brothers an ephah of this roasted grain and these ten loaves and run to the camp to your brothers.

18 ” Bring also these ten cuts of cheese to the commander of their thousand, and look into the welfare of your brothers, and bring back news of them.

19 “For Saul and they and all the men of Israel are in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.”

20 So David arose early in the morning and left the flock with a keeper and took the supplies and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the circle of the camp while the army was going out in battle array shouting the war cry.

·        Every home with a soldier on the battle field is eager to get word from the front lines, so Jesse sends his youngest son David with a basket of goodies for his sons and instructions to get an update on the battle.

·        Though we aren’t given his exact age, we know that David was a youth, probably about 15 or 16 years old.

·        Notice that David was obedient to his father. He didn’t argue or complain, but rose early the next morning to do exactly as his father requested.

·        For children who are here today, take note. God specifically gives children one command in scripture to remember.

Eph 6:1

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

Be like David. Don’t argue! Don’t complain! Simply follow instructions quickly, with a good attitude and to the best of your ability.

And parents, don’t train your children to wait until the 2nd or 3rd plea to obey. Don’t allow bad attitudes to go uncorrected. Don’t teach them that “NO” is maybe. Don’t be slack or lazy, but be consistent in disciplining sinful behavior. God is pleased when children enthusiastically obey their parents. You want your children to be wise and faithful servants of our Lord? Nothing complicated about the formula.

Pr 29:15

15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.

You might say that if a young child is taught to faithfully tend the sheep, then when he grows up he’ll be prepared to face any of life’s battles with faith. Childhood is essentially God’s training program for a lifetime of obedient service to Him. Parents, before it’s too late, train your children to obey you from their heart so that as they grow up they will likewise obey the Lord from their heart.

This is an issue close to my heart, but let’s get back to David and his upcoming battle.

David Assesses the Situation

21 Israel and the Philistines drew up in battle array, army against army.

22 Then David left his baggage in the care of the baggage keeper, and ran to the battle line and entered in order to greet his brothers.

23 As he was talking with them, behold, the champion, the Philistine from Gath named Goliath, was coming up from the army of the Philistines, and he spoke these same words; and David heard them.

24When all the men of Israel saw the man, they fled from him and were greatly afraid.

25 The men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who is coming up? Surely he is coming up to defy Israel. And it will be that the king will enrich the man who kills him with great riches and will give him his daughter and make his father’s house free in Israel.”

·        David’s running to the battle line indicates his zeal to carry out his assignment as well as his keen interest in the progress of the battle.

·        Upon his arrival, he heard Goliath’s challenge firsthand and observed the fearful response of his countrymen.

David inquires of the reward for killing Goliath.

26 Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him, saying, “What will 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 taunt the armies of the living God?

27 The people answered him in accord with this word, saying, “Thus it will be done for the man who kills him.”

Learning of David’s courage, Saul sends for David.

Saul’s lack of Faith

31 When the words which David spoke were heard, they told them to Saul, and he sent for him.

32 David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail on account of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”

33 Then Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth.”

·        Saul’s assessment of the situation was entirely worldly and consequently concluded that David had no chance of victory. When God is left out of the equation, difficulties appear insurmountable.

Contrast that with David’s evaluation.

David’s Experience and Faith

34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock,

35 I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him.

36 “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine 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.” And Saul said to David, ” Go, and may the LORD be with you.”

·        David reasoned that the same God who enabled him to defeat the lion and the bear would also give him victory over this uncircumcised Philistine.

·        That is how we grow in faith. It is a dynamic process. As we trust God and He gives us victories in life, our faith grows. He brings larger tests into our life allowing us to exercise our increased faith. Victory brings increased faith and so the cycle repeats itself.

·        That’s where David was. God had been preparing him over the years by giving him larger and larger victories in faith. Though Goliath was perhaps the most formidable warrior of all time, God had increased David’s faith so that he could face him with boldness and confidence, David looked at the situation through the eyes of faith.

Worldly Defense

38 Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with armor.

39 David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” And David took them off.

·        Here’s another contrast between David and Saul. David’s trust was solidly in the Lord, but Saul’s confidence was in the weapons of the world.

·        David had no experience with such weapons and armor, so he wisely set them aside.

So, if David would not use the armor that Saul offered, what would he use to fight one of the greatest battles of all time.

David’s Weapons

40 He took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine.

·        David didn’t want or need any fancy new weapons. He took with him the weapons by which God had granted him victories in the past.

·        They were simple yet had proven effective against the lion and the bear. David believed God would also use them to give him success over Goliath.

The Rhetoric

41 Then the Philistine came on and approached David, with the shield-bearer in front of him.

42 When the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, and ruddy, with a handsome appearance.

43 The Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.

44 The Philistine also said to Davi