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Pastor James May
GOLIATH’S ARMOR BEARER
On the hills of Judah stood two powerful armies facing one another across a valley. For forty days Israel had shook in fear twice a day as Goliath of the Philistines stepped up to the front of his army and defied the soldiers of Israel to attack.
1 Samuel 17:4, "And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span."
No one dared accept that challenge, not even King Saul who stood head and shoulders above all the men of his army. He was hiding in his tent just like the rest of his army. Even across the valley they could see that Goliath was a giant of a man.
Just who was this Goliath and where did he come from. Goliath was a very large man, standing somewhere around 11’ 4” tall. He made Shaq look like a midget. If he had played B-Ball with today’s teams, there’s no question of who would be the MVP of every game he was in. He could stand flat-footed and look down into the net. How would you like to be assigned to guard him? It’s no wonder that the Philistines were the championship team until they met with Israel. Even Israel didn’t seem to be very much of a threat right now.
He had come from the city of Gath in the land of the Anakims where a lot of the people grew to very large size. The Anakims were left alone when Joshua had invaded the Promised Land and now Israel was paying for that mistake. Joshua was commanded to wipe out every enemy but didn’t.
I think that we should take note here that whatever sin, whatever disobedience we allow to continue on right now, may well become the giant that stalks and threatens our eternal soul down the road. We can’t afford to leave any giants laying around, we have to allow the Lord to clean them all out.
Goliath was like a walking Abrams tank, covered in hundreds of pounds of highly polished brass armor. He almost appeared as an “angel of light” when the sun shone upon him. He had power, size and mighty weapons at his disposal but he rarely had to use them because of the fear that he struck into the heart of his enemy.
I am reminded that Satan appears as an angel of light when, in reality, he is nothing but a self-centered, egotistical, fallen angel who cannot tell the truth and is never as big, bad and nasty as he appears to be.
The one thing that I want to key on, more than anything else, in this message, is that even though Goliath may have been the Biggest, Baddest and Ugliest man around, he was still fearful of defeat. He somehow knew that his loud blustery voice and his tremendous size and power would not always keep him from being defeated. He was still vulnerable and the right man, at the right time, in the right place, could easily kill him.
Therefore, when he was going into battle, he would force an armor bearer to walk in front of him carrying his gigantic shield. It was if he was saying, “God ahead boy, block those spears, arrows and rocks for me, I’m right behind you all the way.” It was Goliath’s armor bearer who bore the worst of the battles for him.
That armor bearer, even if he was the tallest man of the Philistines, still had to carry a mighty big shield of brass. It was so heavy that he likely could not carry any other armor for himself or weapons to defend his own life. He had to hold that shield up high for his “champion” so that the champion could stay hid. After all, what was the army without its champion? While he held up the shield he was totally exposed under it. He was willing to take the sword, arrow and spears while his “champion” stayed protected.
That’s how Satan uses those who serve him. They are nothing more than cannon fodder! The devil may have them duped into thinking that he is their champion and their protector but, all the while, he is using and abusing them and gives no thought of their safety. After all, his ultimate goal is to kill, steal and destroy every living soul, even those who are on his team right now.
Then, upon the scene comes a small, young lad by the name of David. This was long before David was to be the anointed King of Israel but today was going to be the day that he made a giant step in the direction of Israel’s throne.
He had left the sheep in the fields and brought food to his brothers who were in the trenches. They had dug in and waited for the attack that never came.
Sometimes the devil just wants to torment you, to oppress you, and to make you think that he is stronger than he is so that your own doubt will destroy you. It’s amazing how many Christians have quit going on the offensive and attacking the strongholds of the devil. Instead, they have dug in, built their defenses and are praying, “Lord help me hold out to the end.”
It’s as though they are expecting the devil to win and they are just hoping to get out just before the battle is over. Let me tell you that my Bible still says that we Christians win in the end because our God has never lost a battle and he won’t lose any in the future.
God’s church is a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle; and it’s a glorious church whose royal banner is held high; whose Commander in Chief is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords; and that church will never be defeated and isn’t worrying about digging in and hiding out. God’s true Bride is getting ready to move on and pushing the powers of hell back on every side.
The devil may stand there bragging and boasting of what he is going to do to you, but he is really shaking in his boots because he knows that he can’t win!
David comes skipping into the camp and notices that something strange is going on. Where is everyone? I thought this was a battle. Instead, the entire army was in hiding.
David asked, “What’s happening, why are you hiding?”
1 Samuel 17:25, "And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father’s house free in Israel."
I wonder if David thought, Wow, I can be rich and free and famous! I can marry the princess too. I have often wondered if Saul’s daughter could have really been that bad looking that no one would marry her unless they beat Goliath. Perhaps that was another reason not to go fight. They might win and look who they would be stuck with. Even if she was a nice looking girl, she probably had a lot of her daddy’s bad habits and would be hard to get along with, kind of like a spoiled brat who was born with a silver spoon in her mouth.
But seriously, the world does have a lot to offer to draw the Child of God off course. If we aren’t careful the riches of His grace will be replace with the riches of this life and the power of the Spirit will be replaced with earthly armor that won’t even fit to protect us.
Now King Saul was head and shoulders above all the men of Israel but he was a coward because he had lost his faith in God and the Spirit had departed leaving him with no anointing to fight the battle. He could only depend upon the arm of the flesh that is no match for the power of the devil.
Suddenly into his command tent ran several of his officers. King Saul, King Saul, there’s a big strapping young boy out here who says that he will fight Goliath for us! He’s a nice looking kid too.
1 Samuel 17:26, "And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?"
1 Samuel 17:28-29, "And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle. And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?"
Have you ever faced your “older brothers” in your walk with the Lord? I’ve seen the times when young Christians would walk into the church, bouncing off the walls, excited about Jesus and perhaps being just a little too rowdy to suit some of the older folks. They didn’t dress the same, act the same or have the right manners in the church. After all, this is the “Sanctuary”.
Now I believe in being very respectful to the House of God and keeping people from damaging or demeaning what we have all worked for and what God has given us stewardship of. But, I also believe that this House of Prayer is God’s house and somehow I don’t think that God gets upset when his newborn babes in Christ aren’t always perfect little gentlemen and ladies.
I’ve been to homes where the children were forbidden to touch things, or play in certain rooms and where the children had to obey such rigid rules that they couldn’t enjoy their own home. I never want God’s children to feel that restricted in their Father’s house.
David’s older brothers became angry. This impudent, braggadocios, little kid had made them look like cowards and they didn’t like it one bit.
That sounds like some Christians I know who won’t do anything for the Lord and then complain when someone else rises to the challenge and makes it all seem so easy, leaving the elder with “egg on his face”! In other words, it made them look and feel foolish.
But they weren’t about to take the blame, no sir! It wasn’t their fault that they were in hiding. They were just doing what everyone else was doing. Why should they take a chance on failure when no one else would?
King Saul was more than helpful in “allowing” David to go face Goliath in his stead. In effect, David became Saul’s armor bearer too.
1 Samuel 17:41, "And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him."
So, out into the valley walked David from one side of the valley, while from the other hill came the giant rumbling down the hill with his armor clanging like the treads of a tank, his giant spear, the size of a 12-foot long 4X 4, with an 18 pound polished brass point gleaming in the sun, following his armor bearer carrying Goliath’s shield above his head to protect his champion.
There’s one thing I will commend Goliath for – at least he went to the battle behind his armor bearer. Saul, the religious king, sat in his tent in safety and let someone else fight for him. He was nowhere on the battlefield with David.
A man who stands up against the powers of Darkness must stand alone, but God is with him. No other man can help you in some of the battles you face. Your brothers and sisters in Christ may pray for you, encourage you, or shout for you, but they can’t fight for you and most are having a hard enough time fighting their own battles so they don’t have time to help you fight yours. The battle is yours alone to face the devil on his terms. But remember, that God is still on your side and he always wins.
1 Samuel 17:42-44, "And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance. And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field."
Now doesn’t that sound like the way Satan screams in your ear that you aren’t going to make it? He loves to remind you of how big and powerful he is. Satan loves to tell you that you are no match for him. His threats of failure - threats that create doubt and fear fill your heart and mind in an all-out effort to kill your faith and trust in God continue to flood over you in a constant barrage.
Goliath’s words remind me of a something that I heard long ago. It was a farcical retelling of this same story where Goliath looks down at David after getting his armor bearer to lower the shield so he could see David and said to him, “Son, I’m going to hit you so hard, you’re going to hum like a ten penny finishing nail hit with a greasy ball peen hammer!”
That didn’t scare David one bit. He let the words of Goliath go in one ear and out the other without taking root in his mind because his mind was stayed upon the Lord God of Israel. He knew that God was on his side. He knew that he couldn’t lose. God was going fight for him and God made Goliath look like a bug to be squashed.
What made David a champion? What was it that made him face Goliath against such terrible odds and still come out the victor? It wasn’t his power or even his skill with a sling. That rock was a guided missile with a guidance system that could not fail. The rock that came from David’s sling and hit Goliath right between the eyes was guided by a GPS. That’s not a Global Positioning Satellite but a God Positioning Slingshot.
- The rock that flew from that sling was representative of that same rock that fell on the feet and crumbled the statue that Nebuchadnezzer say in his dream in the Book of Daniel. - That rock was the same rock that Jesus talked about when he said to Peter,
”…upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
- That rock is representative of the Rock that becomes our foundation when we are lifted out of the miry clay of sin. That rock is Jesus Christ.
Jesus fights my battles. His aim is sure and his power is overwhelming. He is not bothered by the size of my enemies because they are all under his feet. He has all power in Heaven and in Earth and he is my elder Brother, my Lord, my Mighty God, my Savior and my Friend. Whom shall I fear, and of whom shall I be afraid?
Like the radio announcer, Paul Harvey, says, “And now it’s time for the rest of the story.”
David killed Goliath just as surely as God will destroy the devil when the showdown comes. Satan knows that he is a defeated enemy so don’t allow him to make you shudder in fear. If he is under Jesus’ feet, then he’s under your feet too. Stomp a mud hole in him and then stomp it dry. The devil cannot stand against the power of God.
I’d rather be God’s armor bearer because God goes ahead of me and fights the battle for me. Satan’s armor bearers are put to the forefront of the battle while he sits back and watches them be destroyed while he finds a new armor bearer.
Whose armor are you bearing, God’s armor or the armor of the Devil?
Let’s put on the armor of God and go out and whip the devil, bring down those giant Goliath trials in life and let God fight the battle for us.