Summary: There is an "x" factor thorughout history, and in our lives, whose presence is the difference between success and failure, blessing and cursing, life and death.
Passage: 1 Samuel 17:1-58
Intro: A favorite sermon style at this church is when PJ does math!!
1. don’t worry, I checked it all out with the coach of the State champion Math Counts team.
2. going to look at this familiar story of David and Goliath, but add this mathematical twist.
3. because in this story something is being taken away, something is being added, and when you do that in an equation, things change.
4. we are going to see that there is an “x” factor throughout history, and in our lives, whose presence is the difference between success and failure, blessing and cursing, life and death.
5. this is the transitional event between the kingdoms of Saul and David, the critical test.
I. For Saul, Fear Had Replaced Faith
1. looking at Saul last few weeks, see that God gave him the Holy Spirit, some success.
2. consistently, Saul got frightened or impatient, (another form of fear) and disobeyed.
3. his fear led to the permanent departure of Samuel, and the departure of the Holy Spirit, replaced by evil spirit
4. in other words, his capacity for faith had been replaced by it’s opposite: fear.
5. so in that context, let’s join Saul and his trembling army on the hills of Judah
6. twice every day Goliath came out and challenged Israel to fight,
7. v11, twice every day Saul and his army were “terrified” and “dismayed”
8. and their fear manifested itself in action. V24 “they ran from him”
9. we tend to think of fear as a neutral, the lack of faith.
10. mathematically, we might view it like this:
PP 1 + 0 = 1 (man alone)
11. fear, we believe, adds nothing, nor does it subtract.
12. but I would suggest that, because it causes negative action, (running, disobedience), it is more like this:
PP 1 + -10,001 = -10,000
13. when Saul removed God, all he had left was fear; faith’s opposite
14. and neither he nor his followers had any answer for Goliath, only running in terror, in spite of the bribes Saul offered.
15. fear is not just the absence of faith.
16. it is an actively negative response that produces actively negative results.
17. fear is not just bad, it’s dangerous!
18. fear is afraid of what obedience might result in.
19. but fear guarantees a bad result.
II. Faith Overcomes Fear
1. you’ll notice that the situation that David faced is exactly what Saul faced.
2. Goliath did not shrink, still feisty and profane.
3. but David had a completely different reaction, and one that irritated those paralyzed by fear.
4. how did this happen?
5. he looked beyond the physical to the spiritual.
6. Goliath defamed the armies of God, (v26) and so that put him at odds with the Almighty, a dangerous place to be
7. he also took into account God’s intervention in the past. (vv34-37)
8. this required that he recognize that God had done it, not him.
9. he also factors in the honor of God’s name, which is clearly a motivating factor for God. V45-47
Il) when Israel disobeyed God by refusing to go into PL, and God was going to strike them down, look what Moses said.
10. how can we tell that it is faith that David had? There was action!
11. he took his staff and his sling, and ran down to face Goliath.
12. just like fear produces a negative reaction, faith produces positive action.
13. here is the equation:
PP 1 + 1,000,000 = ?
14. why? Because faith introduces the God-factor, what fear leaves out.
15. when we leave God out of any equation, we enter very dangerous ground, where fear is the only factor.
16. when we add God, something amazing happens.
III. Faith Releases God’s Power
1. now for the results of the faith equation.
2. David acted on his spiritual understanding, placing God in the equation.
3. and that faith compelled action, seemingly foolish action.
4. a young shepherd, perhaps 16 years old, running joyfully down to meet this seasoned, well-armed giant.
5. Saul had predicted disaster because his equation was wrong. V33
6. and in the power of God, the result was swift and decisive.
Il) one shot kill, and off comes his head!
7. but that was only a part of the result!
8. the action was demoralizing to the enemies of God v51b
9. their “faith” had been misplaced, and quickly became fear.
10. the people of God were energized, because their fear had just been replaced by faith.
11. here is the equation:
PP 1 + 1,000,000 = 8 (on it’s side, infinity)
11. brothers and sisters, here is the bottom line for us.