Things Are Not As They Appear
1 Samuel 17:41-58
Review of Last week.
When Things Appear Simple – They Usually Aren’t (vv. 41-44)
And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. 42 And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. 43 And 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 said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.”
(v. 41) It wasn’t until Goliath drew close to David that he truly got a good picture of his opponent, “And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David.” Goliath despised David because the defeat of a boy, would not sound very good on a veteran champion’s résumé. What an insult to Goliath to send a young lad with no armor and a stick! Is this how seriously they take him? Do they think so little of his ability that they would send him someone like this? Goliath is mad about how this is obvious easy victory is going to make him look.
Out of this anger, Goliath then begins to insult David. He makes fun of his shepherd’s staff saying it was only fit for hitting dogs. Then he cursed David by his philistine gods. Then he says that he would feed the animals with his body.
David on the other had is mad that this “uncircumcised Philistine” would dare to curse God or his people. Leviticus 24:16 – “Whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.” Whoever curses or blasphemes the name of God was to be stoned. This may be why David chose to attack the giant with the weapon that he did. David choose the sling and a stone for two reasons. One, that was the weapon that he was used to using. Secondly, he just may have remembered this passage of Scripture.
When Things Appear Insurmountable – A Solution Will Appear (vv. 45-51a)
Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47 and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.”
(v. 45) “Then David said to the Philistine” – David’s words are not just for the Philistine, but for all the army to hear – they are missional words. It is a renewed call to depend upon the name of the living God. It is a proclamation that there is a God in Israel. It is a reminder that God has been faithful in the past, and He will be faithful today – for He does not change.
Acts 3:6-7 “But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.”
David knows if he fights armor against armor, brute strength against brute strength, he will fail – so David allows a champion to go before him, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts.” There will never be a time when the world can unveil anything stronger than “the name of the LORD Almighty.” The world may have the spears, the javelins, and the shield-bearers but these are nothing compared to God who is over all things.
David says, “This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head.” All he is carrying is five stones, a shepherd’s staff, and a sling. What is he going to cut his head off with? David doesn’t have so much as a pocket knife – God would provide what he needed.
David’s goal is not to defeat Goliath, but to defeat Goliath and the entire Philistine army! “Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth.” David’s vision for his life goes beyond the giant that he is running towards, and sees the thousands standing behind the giant. God has the giant before, but our battles don’t stop.
(v. 47) “the LORD saves not with sword and spear” – There is still a God who saves, but He does it His way. The church cannot compete with the world, but the world cannot compete with the church. (Church and Disney Illustration).
David knew that while he would stand with only some stones and sling, he needed two others. “for the battle is the LORD’s.” David knew that in order to defeat Goliath and the entire Philistine army, he desperately needed the Lord to win the battle for him, David also needed the army standing behind him. “and he will give all of you into our hands.” (not my hands, but our hands)
We, like David, need these same two groups. We need God to guide us, to empower us, to strengthen us, to give us courage! And we need our church to fight alongside of us in order to beat the army.
It is in our grow groups that we are able to fight battles through reaching out to our neighbors, praying for each other and to share our life’s concerns. We need God’s people to surround us and help us to win the battle. You can find a list of our small groups at the welcome table and on the web site – get in one. We were not designed to stand alone.
David’s reason for defeating the whole Philistine army was so that “the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.” David’s victory over Goliath is known the world over, they have heard of God’s working through the weak to defeat the powerful.
48 When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground. 50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David. 51 Then David ran and stood over the Philistine rand took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it.
As the battle begins what we thought were advantages for Goliath actually are not advantages at all. Something prevented Goliath from clearly seeing David until he drew close to him (impaired vision). He simply stood (which meant he was resting or sitting); while David moved quickly around, Goliath moved slowly because of his heavy armor (over 100 pounds). Goliath even says, “Come to me.”
David’s sling (a leather strap with a pocket in the center) and a tennis ball sized stones gave him the ability to attack at great distances (up to over 100 yards) at a rotation of 6-7 spins per second; All of Goliath’s weapons are for close range combat. Our interpretation of the situation is all wrong.
In ancient times armies typically had three main sections. Cavalry, heavy infantry, and projectiles or slingers. It was like the game of rock paper scissors. The archers or slingers could defeat heavy infantry, but calvary moved too quickly for them to aim, up close heavy infantry beat archers or slingers, with long pike infantry can stand up cavalry, etc. we see an example of this in Judges 20:16 “Among all these were 700 chosen men who were left-handed; every one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.”
Goliath was prepared to fight a battle as he had always fought battles. He expected to fight one-on-one close quarters, as heavy-infantry, where he assumed he had the advantage. Goliath had won many battles fighting man-to-man in armor in close quarters, . . .
“he could no longer conceive of any alternate armament; and he believes that this armament was invincible. He feels assured that any Israelite who has the hardihood to accept his challenge will likewise be a spearman armed cap-a-pie, and that any such competitor in his own panoply is bound to be his inferior.”
But what happens if we change how we fight the battle? “Giants are not what we think they are. The same qualities that appear to give them strength are often the sources of great weakness.”
The story of David and Goliath is typically described as a small person fighting a big person, against all odds, overcoming the impossible. But it could also be a story of a zealous person, changing the rules, using his advantage (what he knows), and seeing the massive weaknesses of his enemy.
The enemy of this world is a defeated foe. He knows his days are numbered, and Satan eventually will be cast into a lake of fire – so he wants to pull as many people as possible with him. He has since the beginning tried to corrupt the creation of God. When this world seems overwhelming, and life is at its darkest – remember it may not always be as it seems. The hard road you are on now, may be your greatest strength tomorrow.
Go back to Saul sitting in his tent; he feels hopeless. He is the king of the Israelite army, “the army of the living God.” Yet he can’t see past his own armor. He is dependent upon something other that God’s protection. Ultimately, this is what it means to be a follower of God – either you depend upon yourself, or you depend upon God. When the problems come, do you reach for the armor to strap on, or do you cry out to God for your protection.
David already knew how the battle would, go “I will strike you down and cut off your head.” Vision can be defined as being able to see what should be done, developing a strategy, and having the courage to do it. Change to way things are done. Overthrow the tables. Do the unexpected. Turn the world upside down.
It was typical to prove the enemy was dead, the victor would strip the enemy of his weapons, and decapitate the opponent. David was giving undeniable proof that Goliath was dead.
When Things Appear Unbelievable – Stop “Going through the motions” (vv. 51b-58)
When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 52 And the men of Israel and Judah rose with a shout and pursued the Philistines as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron, so that the wounded Philistines fell on the way from Shaaraim as far as Gath and Ekron. 53 And the people of Israel came back from chasing the Philistines, and they plundered their camp. 54 And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his tent. 55 As soon as Saul saw David go out against the Philistine, he said to Abner, the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is this youth?” And Abner said, “As your soul lives, O king, I do not know.” 56 And the king said, “Inquire whose son the boy is.” 57 And as soon as David returned from the striking down of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. 58 And Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?” And David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.”
1 Samuel 17:20 “And David rose early in the morning and left the sheep with a keeper and took the provisions and went, as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the encampment as the host was going out to the battle line, shouting the war cry.” Do you think that the shouts were the same? No way, the first shout was a shout of going through the motions, the first shout was when they were standing still.
The second shout was one given on the run, chasing the enemy. The second shout was one filled with the excitement of a victory! A shout of God moving forward with them. They chased the Philistines for over 10 miles, shouting!
This morning when you worshipped the Lord in song, was your shout to the Lord one of going through the motions? Are you spiritually standing still or are you running forward. The two cries to the Lord are not the same.
When you have your quiet times, is your time just going through the motions – or when you lift your song to the Lord is it is a victorious cry, is your shout one filled with victory in the Lord’s name?
It was one little shepherd boy’s faith that drew an army forward and caused another army to run in fear. That whole battle was changed by one person. Don’t wait for someone to come to you to see what you could be doing in the church, you step out from the line and say “hand me a stone.” You step in front of the line and say “I will fight the enemy.” “In the Lord’s name I will defend his army!”
“and he put the Philistine’s weapons in his own tent.” If David looked silly with Saul’s sword around his waste, how much more with Goliath’s sword. But would you have said anything to him?
“The king said, “Find out whose son this young man is.” 57 As soon as David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with David still holding the Philistine’s head . . .” Do you remember Saul’s words to David? “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy.” The king had told him that he could not do it, but here David stands with Goliath’s head in his hand. David never said anything – he just held the head.
Later David will have to run from Saul because he desired to kill him, 1 Samuel 22:10 “Ahimelech inquired of the LORD for him [David]; he also gave him provisions and the sword of Goliath the Philistine.” David would carry Goliath’s sword for most of his life. The sword was bigger than life, and it would always be a reminder to David of God’s deliverance. Everywhere we went people would have seen the sword and known that this was the Giant slayer.
Saul asks “Whose son are you, young man?” in other words he is asking, “Whose are you?” This morning if someone were to ask “whose child are you?” What would you say? God created you, and He has a plan for your life. He desires to make you his child. But there is something that separates us from Him. It is our choice to rebel and turn form His ways – the Bible calls this sin.
It is like the Grand Canyon with man on one side and God on the other, no matter how hard to jump, you will never be able, in your own strength to get across. God in his love has provided a bridge across the divide. Jesus died on the cross, and God took sins penalty off of us and placed it upon His Son.
He did this as a free gift. This morning if you would like to receive this gift, to be forgiven of all of your sin, and to become His child you can say a prayer 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
If someone were to ask you – “whose child is this,” what would you say?
 Robert D. Bergen, The New American Commentary, 1 & 2 Samuel (Nashville, Tennessee; Broadman and Holman Publishing, 1996) 195.
 Bergen, 195.
 Walter Brueggemann, Interpretation, First and Second Samuel (Louisville, Kentucky; John Knox Press, 1990) 132.
 George Arthur Buttrick, The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume 2 (Nashville, Tennessee; Abingdon Press, 1982) 979.
 Malcom Gladwell, David and Goliath (New York, New York; Little, Brown and Company, 2013) 6.
 Bergen, 197.
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).