Summary: One author has suggested that Goliath reminded him of the cross-eyed discus thrower. He didn’t set any records…but he sure kept the crowd awake! (Swindoll, Insights Newsletter, April 1995).
Opening Statement: Psalm 78 is a Historical Psalm that summarizes Israel’s history in a poetic way. The Psalm does have some sad elements in it, but it concludes somewhat abruptly on a positive note with their national hero, King David, from Judah, the founder of the dynasty that would rule in Jerusalem for over 350 years. The Psalmist chose to summarize David’s life like this: Psalm 78:70-72: “He also chose David His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds; from the care of the ewes with suckling lambs He brought him, to shepherd Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance. So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them with his skillful hands.
Transition: In order to see how a summary like this could apply to David, we’ve looked at two key events taken from his life.
Review: The FIRST EVENT was when David was confronted about his sin with Bathsheba and against Uriah, her husband (2 Samuel 11:1-27). We saw that he was willing to face sin. Integrity is willing to face sin. At some point in your life, all of you will face an experience that God will use to surface sinfulness within you. Your response to that experience will determine your integrity. Will you stand as an entire unit, an integer to face the fact that your behavior did not match your belief? Or, will you fractionalize or compartmentalize or cover the stumble and act like it didn’t happen. You see, people who pursue excellence in integrity do mess up, but they come clean and that makes all the difference with God.
The SECOND EVENT from his life that demonstrated his integrity was when he was in a dark cave and could have taken King Saul’s life but chose to leave that up to God (1 Samuel 24:1-22). David learned how to worship and love God in spite of being constantly pursued by an assassin like Saul. David’s Psalms were written in excruciating circumstances! In his time of waiting, God taught him how to wait and worship. We must all learn to do this otherwise; we sacrifice the ultimate on the altar of the immediate.
Key Word: There’s a THIRD EVENT in David’s life that further reveals his integrity. It’s when he faced the giant Goliath. One author entitled his chapter about David and Goliath as “David and the Dwarf.” David proved to be the true giant.
Series: I have been talking to you about Leadership and Service Excellence. Today, I want to wrap-up my nested mini-series about Integrity. You see, integrity is a leadership essential. As a leader, integrity of heart means that even though you may be small and the odds are stacked against you, your heart is big with God’s agenda.
Definition: The idea of completeness or wholeness is at the root of the Hebrew term for integrity. And the reason I state that is because our text is found in the Hebrew Old Testament today. The term “integrity” has within it the idea of an integer. What is an integer? Within the realm of mathematics, it is one whole number. It is not one number and part of another number. It is not fractionalized. Rather, an integer suggests completeness or wholeness.
Application: When we apply this concept to our lives, we understand that we are considered whole or complete people when our beliefs have been integrated into our behavior. A person of integrity is not fractionalized with duplicity or hypocrisy. A heart and life of integrity is consistent in one honest direction. If a person of integrity begins a job, they finish it. If they make a promise, they keep it. If they commit a huge mistake, they admit it. If they believe something, they support that belief with their lifestyle. In this sense, they are whole and complete without a fractionalized life. David, while not perfect, was complete, whole in that he always was God-responsive.
Recitation: "But now your kingdom [King Saul] shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you."
Text: 1 Samuel 17:1-54
David’s Battle with Goliath – He Was Willing to Face a Challenge (1 Samuel 17:1-54).
Opening Statement: One author has suggested that Goliath reminded him of the cross-eyed discus thrower. He didn’t set any records…but he sure kept the crowd awake! (Swindoll, Insights Newsletter, April 1995). We all pretty much are familiar with this story. It’s a childhood favorite. Young David uses his sling to eliminate a giant, cross-eyed or not, who was defying the armies of God.
Summarization of Story: Day after day, Goliath paraded along the slopes of the Valley of Elah threatening and blaspheming the armies of Israel. And they were all afraid of him. He was 9 feet tall. His armor weighed 200 pounds. Goliath had a basic strategy. INTIMIDATION! And it worked! No one would fight him. Every morning and every evening for 40 days Goliath came out to taunt God’s people. The dawn of the 41st day though was the beginning of the end for Goliath. There was a young shepherd boy sent on an errand by his father that took him into the vicinity where this insulting Goliath was parading his strength. David stopped and stared in disbelief when Goliath pulled this shenanigan that day. Something happened within David at that moment. “No giant should ever be able to intimidate the armies of God in this way. He’s going down.” You know the outcome. David introduced Goliath and these Philistine hordes to the Lord of Host, whose name they had blasphemed long enough (Swindoll, Killing Giants, Pulling Thorns). 1 Samuel 17:50: “Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David’s hand.”