A Stoney Heart and a Zealous Heart Have a Conversation
1 Samuel 17:31-40
Review 1 Samuel 17:1-30
Vision happens when you see something wrong and want to make it right again.
Saul’s Response to David – When you look outward (vv. 31-33)
When the words that David spoke were heard, they repeated them before Saul, and he sent for him. 32 And David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.”
(v. 31) “When the words that David spoke were heard” – earlier in the chapter David happened to show up when the soldiers are congregating on the front line, and he heard Goliath make his threats, and David asked, (v. 26) “And David said to the men who stood by him, including his own brothers, “What shall 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 defy the armies of the living God?”
Word gets back to Saul that there may be one guy willing to fight Goliath, so Saul wants to meet him. But once Saul sees David, Saul tells David, what seemed to be obvious to him – “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him”
But what Saul does not understand is that Goliath never stood a chance. The battle had already been won, before David even stepped out on the battlefield. On the outward appearance of things, David looked vulnerable, weak, and outgunned. Goliath looked strong, impenetrable, and well equipped.
But, David was the Lord’s anointed – 1 Samuel 16:1 “The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” Was David king yet? David is looking at the world through the eyes of faith in what God has told him about himself and what he would become.
We don’t defeat the enemy of this world if we don’t understand who we are.
What has God said about you?
Romans 8:15-16 “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,.”
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
So when David hears “you are only a boy” or “he has been a fighting man from his youth” these comments have no effect on him because David trusts God’s Word. God’s plan for David was that he would eventually be king. God has a plan and calling for your life, this plan involves you changing to become more like His Son Jesus Christ.
David’s Response to Saul – When you look upward (vv. 34-37)
34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, 35 I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36 Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied 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 will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!”
David responds to Saul’s doubt by sharing his ability to have victory in two other mortal combats. One with a lion and one with a bear. “When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it” – As a shepherd he could have run. He is unlike all the other soldiers on the battle line, including his brothers, in that when things get difficult he holds his ground. He grabs the situation by the mane and takes care of business. He doesn’t run from his problems, he runs toward them!
David’s boldness comes from believing that God is with him. God was with him the past when he fought loins, and bears, and God will be with him now as he faces this giant soldier. Romans 8:31 “If God is for us, who can be against us? . . . (v. 37) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
John 10:11-13 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.” David like Jesus is willing to lay his life down for the sake of the sheep. Jesus died for people like me, and people like you – people who need to change.
Is there a difference in Goliath’s prideful remarks (1 Samuel 17:10) “This day I defy the ranks of Israel!” or Saul’s pride of choosing to obey some of God’s instructions and not others, even building monuments in his own honor (1 Samuel 15:12-14), and David’s remark “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him?”
David’s confidence is not pride in his own ability, but it was the “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.” It is not pride to say that we can do the things that bring honor to the Lord – if we depend completely upon him to bring us victory. David recognizes that it was God who delivered him.
David was chosen by God, anointed by Samuel, and empowered by the Holy Spirit – who can stand against him? The predators of this earth can’t stand against him, and the predators of the enemy army can’t stand against him. It was God within his life that made David different.
David is wise not to bring this up to Saul, but in 1 Samuel 16, Samuel the prophet had anointed his head, symbolizing the presence of the Lord in his life, and setting him apart as the next king. God was done with Saul, and David knew it.
(v. 37) “Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you.” The Lord was not with Saul (16:14), but here he prays that the LORD would be with David. Perhaps the reason that he allows David to represent the Israelite army in one-on-one combat was that Saul could sense in David what had once been in his own life – the Spirit of God.
But this was an incredible gamble on Saul’s part to place the future of the Israelite army, and God’s people into the hands of one shepherd boy. But what other choice does he have?
He knew that if he were to fight in his current situation, then he would fail. Without the Lord’s presence in his life, he knew he stood no chance against this giant. But he saw God’s Spirit working in this small shepherd boy.
But instead of getting right with God, turning from his selfish way of life – he would rather hold on to the pride and the sin and send out a shepherd boy to fight the battle. Are you content to send others to fight, while you hold on to your sin?
We don’t defeat the enemy of this world if our hearts are far from the Lord.
David Fights Like a Shepherd Not a Soldier – when you look at how God designed you to be (vv. 38-40)
38 Then Saul clothed David with his armor. He put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail, 39 and David strapped his sword over his armor. And he tried in vain to go, for he had not tested them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” So David put them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.
Saul is putting the future of the Israelite army, and God’s own people into the hands of one person, and so he would have given him the best he had to offer. Saul’s best advice is empty, worldly, and godless; “your victory is better armor.”
Saul as king would have had the best the Israelite army had to offer – the king’s own armor. Saul has all the equipment he needs to defeat the giant – but there is one thing that he lacks. The Spirit of the Lord had departed from him. He was tall and powerful in the outside but hollow and empty on the inside.
Being empty on the inside causes us to focus on the wrong things. David is Saul’s armor-bearer (16:21). The armor-bearer is supposed to hand the king his armor to fight the battles. Here the king is handing his armor bearer the armor. The roles and responsibilities seem to be all turned around.
Saul’s thinking, even after all he had been through, is still focused on the outside. Saul is trying to make David into something that he is not – a soldier like all the other nations. Saul hands David armor, because he thought this is how he would be protected. He looked at Goliath, a giant of a man and then looks a David a small boy.
He looks at Goliath’s track record – he was a veteran soldier. David was a young shepherd boy and had never fought in a single battle. Saul’s see this as an impossible situation, so if David is going to win, then Saul believed they would have to fight the same way – armor against armor.
We don’t defeat the enemy of this world by fighting according to his tactics.
David’s thinking, his perspective, on life was quite different. David thought that all he needed for protection was the Lord. God is my protection and my weapon is a sling. David fights with what he knows, a shepherd’s sling. He had tested the sling, he was good at the sling, he had killed before with the sling, but the armor, (v. 39) “for he had not tested them.”
David approached the giant not as a soldier clad in armor, but as a shepherd with a staff and sling. When we understand that we are to fight the enemy of God according to how we are designed, and not how someone else is designed, we will be comfortable, confident, and victorious. Zechariah 4:6 “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.”
The stick and stone and David’s heart were shaped by God. David would not use a sword or armor hammered out by man’s hands. Goliath is covered from head to toe in man-made armor – David holds in his hands that which was formed and shaped by God. You have been shaped by God’s hands for His purposes.
Ironically, Saul was putting the royal king’s armor on David, but it did not fit – it was too soon for him to wear the king’s armor. David would be king, but it had to be in God’s timing. If David had rushed the front line to Goliath, wearing this armor that was too big, he would have been defeated.
So, God not only works by shaping us a special and unique way, this shaping continues throughout our whole life. David would one day wear the king’s armor and he would sit on the king’s throne – but not yet. He would have to grow into it. God still had some years mapped out before David to prepare him to hold this position.
Saul wore armor, “like all the other nations,” (8:5, 20) He looked the part, he looked like any other king going into battle. But David wore no armor at all. This anointed future king looked very different than even the other soldiers on the battle line. This is a theme that runs throughout the entire Old Testament – believers and followers of God are to be different than the world around them.
Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
In both cases of lion and a bear he “went after it,” and “struck it.” Here David “approached the Philistine.” This is the first time in forty days that instead of men running as Goliath approached, one took the fight to the giant. God to deliver us from Giants has two parts. One part is relying on God, trusting Him to deliver us, and believing that He will be faithful.
The other part of the equation is going after the lion, striking the bear, approaching the giant with sling shot and staff in hand. We run to the fight, and God gives us the victory. We cannot sit in the tent on the hill away from the battle and expect the enemy just to give up on waiting for us to come out of our tents.
We don’t defeat the enemy of this world by sitting in our tents.
Why not just clear the Promised Land with disease or natural catastrophe? Why make Joshua and his army fight in pitched battle to clear the promised land? Why do we have the Great Commission in Matthew “Go and make disciples . . .?” Why does God want Christians to share their faith with others?
Because God desires to use us to fight the battles. His plan has two parts 1) a complete dependence upon Him and 2) taking the battle to the enemy.
I want to fight the enemies of God like David – but I know that I must change who I am if I am to be successful. This morning God desires to move you from shepherd to becoming a champion. God still desires to shape you into His image.
This shaping begins with a recognition that we are not pleasing to God. When we do things that go against God’s Word, the Bible calls this sin, and it separates us from Him. But even though we have turned from God and rebelled – God sent His Son to die for us, so that we can change. He did this as a free gift.
If you would like for your life to be forever changed, and you would like to receive the free gift of God’s forgiveness, then you can say a prayer to God something like this;
“Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I believe that You died for my sins. I want to turn from my sins, I now invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as Lord and Savior.” In Jesus’ Name.
 Robert D. Bergen, The New American Commentary, 1,2 Samuel (Nashville, Tennessee; Broadman & Holman Publishing, 1996) 194.
 Is it possible that Saul thought if David was able to win the battle, then later Saul could claim the victory over the giant as his own? Saul’s armor as the king’s armor would have been very distinct, and it would have covered most of David’s body, covering especially his face (Youngblood).