Summary: When you study the event of David vs Goliath closely you gain some valuable insight: that the real giant that day was not the one big in stature but the one who was completely sold out to God.
DAVID AND THE DWARF
1 SAMUEL 17: 1-56
The story of David and Goliath is one of the most popular in all the Bible. It is undoubtedly one of the greatest incidents in the life of this Godly man that we have chosen to study. It was a contrast of incredible proportions. Anybody with any sense would of said that the winner of this battle would be the champ not the challenger.
That seems to be the way the majority always thinks. No way a rag tag bunch of revolutionaries can bring England to her knees! A self-educated, Bible-quoting, Kentucky "hillbilly" becoming President of the United States? Get real. Last years Diamond Backs over the mighty Braves... makes me want to cry! But that had to be the thinking that day in the valley of Elah. Frightened Israel vs the brutal Philistines. As Chuck Swindoll writes, "The odds makers would’ve laughed. Hands down, Goliath gets the nod. Place your bets on a sure thing folks. That little Bethlehemite scampering up the slope must have looked like a wart on a grizzly’s belly. A bee buzzing a behemoth. Who would of ever guessed the outcome? But who hasn’t applauded it down inside?"
It’s true! We love it when the underdog wins. Deep within us is a private chamber where loud celebration breaks out when the “favorite” bite the dust. That’s why we pay big money to see such movies as The Karate Kid or cheer when Rocky Balboa knocks out Apollo Creed in Rocky I & II, or takes down “Mr. T” in Rocky III, or the Russian, Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, etc., etc., or more recently why we applaud “The Rookie,” a 30+ year old who beats the odds and makes the major leagues. And so on that day I think we would of been cheering for David, but also, since this was no movie, putting our money on Goliath. But this incident is more than just one of the great “underdog wins” stories, When you study this event closely you gain some valuable insight: that the real giant that day was not the one big in stature but the one who was completely sold out to God. There are some timeless truths, some useable principles, that apply to us as we face the giants in our own world. Remember David’s life is a strength for our struggles. So, let’s focus on three lessons that we can learn from this incident.
I. ENTER THE BATTLEGROUND: - "Israel vs the Philistines"
Let’s first picture the battle scene. According to 1 Sam. 17:1 this crucial conflict takes place in a location with a lot of big names that is unfamiliar to us. But when you boil it all down you find out that the fight happened in a vast valley, called “Elah”enclosed by hill country on both sides. Here is modern day view of it. The thinking is that the Philistines are up on this hill and the Israelites along the smaller hills and on the valley floor. So you have both armies, huge in number, like blankets of humanity thrown across the shoulder of the hills.
Now Israel’s opposition, the Philistine army had a mighty warrior by the name of Goliath who paraded across his hilltop belching out blasphemies and taunting the Israelite soldiers to send out their champion to meet him. Goliath was awesome! The Bible describes Goliath’s imposing stature. Vs:4 tells us that he stood over 9 feet tall! He would stand almost two feet taller than the 7’1" Shaq! Not only was he gigantic, but he appeared to have no vulnerabilities. Vss:5-7 describe all 9+ ft of him as being armored and weaponed to the hilt. His armor included a bronze coat of mail that weighed 125 lbs. He had a solid iron spear, a big bronze helmet, a club, bronze leggings, some boots and apparently an ugly snarling face. Man, would he have made a defensive end the Bronco’s would die for.
But Goliath, the pride of the Philistines, was not only frightening in looks, his words were mercilessly threatening. In fact, Goliath may have, right here, invented intimidating trash talk! This is what he says in vss:8-10. “Do you need a whole army to settle this? Choose someone to fight for you, and I will represent the Philistines. We will settle this dispute in single combat! If your man is able to kill me, then we will be your slaves. But if I kill him, you will be our slaves! I defy the armies of Israel! Send me a man who will fight with me!” And he not only issued this challenge once but vs:16 says that he called out to the Israelites in this manner twice a day, for 40 days! And where was this mighty nation of God? Paralyzed in their tents. Vs:11- “When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified and deeply shaken.” The moral of the Israelite army was at an all time low. They were down and discouraged. But I ask you, how many of us would of jumped right up to fight this Giant? That brings us to important principle #1: Facing giants can be a discouraging experience!