Summary: adapted from Steve Higgs at MCC
Learning to slay Giants
Eric A. Snyder, Minister, Farwell Church of Christ
June 23, 2002
I have always enjoyed a classic story of good versus evil.
In every story of good versus evil there is a hero.
Perhaps some of the greatest heroism came from our childhood..
I may be a little different than some of you I don’t care for some of the traditional heroes some of you may be thinking of.
For instance, there is nothing heroic about Superman (he can leap tall buildings in a single bound, he’s faster than a locomotive, all that stuff).
The only thing that can really stop him is Kryptonite which apparently only the truly evil can possess.
While some were focused on those mainline and traditional heroes I focused my attention elsewhere.
Do you remember a cartoon called "Underdog!"
If Superman is everything a superhero should be than underdog would be on the other end of the spectrum, he was awesome.
Underdog was such an opposite to Superman that they even chose to parody Superman in the opening scenes. Each show would start with Underdog flying over a group of people and they’d see him and say, "Look up in the sky: it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a frog?"
To which everyone would turn to the embarrassed man and say, "A frog."
But then Underdog would quickly correct all the observers, "Not a bird, nor a plane, nor even a frog, just little ol me Underdog."
Underdog was an unlikely hero, during the day he was a shoeshine boy, and at the call of the sweet and loveable Polly (she’d always say Oh where Oh where has my underdog gone Oh where Oh where can he be), and when shoeshine boy would here that call he’d run to the nearest phone booth and become underdog, and a few strikes of lightening, and claps of thunder we’d see "Underdog", and he’d shout his clarion call, "There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here.
You see what made underdog so special was that he also spoke in rhyme so he’d say things like, "When Polly’s in trouble I am not slow. It’s hip hip hip, and away I go."
Underdog was this scrawny looking mutt of a dog whose super powers would routinely fail he’s the last dog in the world you’d expect to be a superhero.
I think there is something in each of us that desires to root for the underdog, we all want to see the guy that doesn’t have much of a chance win.
Did you watch the Olympics a couple of years ago? Every montage NBC did was what a horrible time someone had had, and how they worked through it to get to the Olympics, we eat that stuff up.
I think that’s why everyone loves the story found I Samuel 17.
The story is that of David and Goliath, and let me kind of walk you through the text and then we’ll actually read a portion of it.
The story starts in vs. 1-3 with kind of a standoff between the Philistine armies and the army of Israel (God’s army).
As you read the Bible you’ll see that the Philistines and the Israelites are two powerful nations that fight each other on a pretty regular basis.
But the story starts with the two armies one on one hill and one on the other.
In vs. 4 Goliath happens on the scene and he’s a mammoth man, about 9 foot tall and had weaponry to match. He was a force to be reckoned with, and he issues a challenge in vs. 8 saying that he will fight anyone from Israel hand to hand. It’s a winner take all to the death, the winner’s nation will become master over the losers. A fight that Don King and mike Tyson could have made millions on if they had only put it on pay per view.
The problem is that no one wants to fight Goliath, and every day, twice a day Goliath comes out and issues the same challenge. Vs 24, "When the Israelites saw the man, they all ran from him in great fear."
Then we find our unlikely hero in vs 20
David was a shepherd boy, probably a young man who had brothers in the army. David’s father sent him to the battle site to take food to his brothers, he’s also the future king of Israel. When David arrives he’s talking to his brothers and Goliath comes out and issues the daily challenge.
David is outraged and goes in to talk to the present King, his name is Saul. Let’s pick up the story in vs. 32.
Read 1 Samuel 17 vs. 32 through 51
32 David said to Saul, "Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him." 33 Saul replied, "You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth." 34 But David said to Saul, "Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you." 38 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. "I cannot go in these," he said to Saul, "because I am not used to them." So he took them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. 41 Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. 42 He looked David over and saw that he was only a boy, ruddy and handsome, and he despised him. 43 He said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 "Come here," he said, "and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!" 45 David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands."