1 Samuel 17:1-11 KJV Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim.  And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines.  And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them.  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.  And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass.  And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders.  And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.  And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me.  If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us.  And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.  When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.
I. INTRODUCTION—SPIRITUAL WARFARE
William Gurnall—The Christian’s armor is made to be worn; no laying down, or putting off our armor, till we have done our warfare, and finished our course. Our armor and our garment of flesh go off together. . . in heaven we will appear not in armor but in robes of glory. . . but here it has to be worn night and day. We must walk, work, and sleep in them, or else we are not true soldiers of Jesus Christ.
-We are involved in spiritual battle! Whether we are willing to admit it or not, there is an assault by hell on your soul! We have to keep our armor on!
-The Bible is a spiritual book as well as an orderly, concise and well-programmed book. However, God not only intends for us to see His Word in the manner of a doctrinal and devotional view but also as a manual for helping us to see what a spiritual battle looks like.
1 Corinthians 10:11 KJV Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
-The context of that passage is dealing with the failings and fumblings of the children of Israel in the wilderness. In their unbelief and confusion they did not enter in to the Promised Land. However, Paul notes that this example was to serve as an example for the New Testament church. Because of this, we must be given to the conclusion that many of the Old Testament stories were given to us as examples or pictures of what a spiritual battle looks like.
-The story of David and Goliath is no different in giving us an idea of what spiritual warfare looks like. There are others that can go along with that one also to show us the face of spiritual battles and the prevailing power that God has in mind for His church.
-Since I am focusing in on the life of David, there are multiple examples that we may take to heart in this issue of spiritual warfare. Consider:
• Fleeing from Saul (1 Sam. 19). We soon discover that in serving the Lord there will be times that we learn we have to trust dark in the storms just as we trusted Him in the sunshine. Saul became an enemy on the inside. Far more ominous than the Goliath on the outside was the Saul on the inside. There will be internal spiritual battles as well as internal spiritual battles.
• Becoming a leader will take you to Adullam before you get to the palace (1 Sam. 22). God while putting David in the position to flee from Saul, linked him up to some of the biggest misfits of life in that cave. You may think you are running from an enemy but God designs it in such a way that you are running to a greater purpose than what you may realize.
• Worship being mocked by Michal (2 Sam. 6). The world will tolerate a small degree of religion until it makes them uncomfortable. This is what took place with Michal. She saw David worshipping in the streets and it convicted her. There will be a constant spiritual attack from people who are convicted by your worship, your lifestyle, and your devotion to godliness and holiness. In fact, it very well could be that if you aren’t being criticized by someone or somebody, there is not enough of God in your life!
• Ittai the Gittite who was loyal to David (2 Sam. 15:19-22). All men need someone that they feel like will be loyal to them in the worst of circumstances. Ittai was willing to be a servant and in his position as a servant, God elevated him in the David’s kingdom.
• Abishai who came to David’s aid (2 Sam 21:17-18). We take from this that we are to watch over one another. Refuse to fall into the trap of criticizing the failings and feeling triumphant when he falls. Help him up if he falls and it is possible do something to prevent him from falling.
-There are many more examples we could find in the life of David. You can particularly see the spiritual battles taking place when he comes into contact with people who help him or hinder him. You also get glimpses into the spiritual battle by seeing some of the battles that he has to fight.
II. MUSTERED FOR BATTLE
1 Samuel 17:1 NLT The Philistines now mustered their army for battle and camped between Socoh in Judah and Azekah in Ephesdammim.
-The Philistines mustered or gathered themselves for battle. They grouped up at Shochoh and Azekah. The Hebrew meaning of these words gives us an indication of how those spiritual battles are often organized against us.
• Shochoh—From the root word that means entwined, shut in, restrained, or hedged up.
• Azekah—From the root word that means grubbed over and fenced in.
-This is exactly what the devil seeks to do with every one of us. He wants to surround us and confine us because it hinders us in our relationship with God and our purpose intended for the Kingdom of God.
-Perhaps we even recognize what he is up to. We have the ability to spiritually discern and see what is taking place. In our heart, we know what we ought to do in response to the enemy’s armies that are lining up against us.
-More and more we have to realize that the greatest battlefield is not a geographical location but instead is a psychological location called our mind. The devil so desires to set up an attack that will work to destroy our mind. If he can take your mind, he can take your soul!
-But Jesus left us some encouraging words:
John 16:33 KJV These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
-There are other passages that cross-reference from His words that will give us faith for the fight!
Romans 8:37-39 KJV Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 John 4:4 KJV Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
1 John 5:4 KJV For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
-Yet the challenge with most of the battles that we face is that we often know what we ought to do but instead we do what Saul did.
1 Samuel 17:2 NLT Saul countered by gathering his troops near the valley of Elah.
-We have a tendency to want to counter what the enemy is doing with fleshly means that will never work. You can never use unspiritual solutions to fix spiritual problems.
• We think money might fix it.
• We think working harder might fix it.
• We think getting a new job might fix it.
• We think that buying a new house or new car might make it better.
• We think that a change of career might help.
• We think a new circle of friends might change it.
-While there is an importance to respond to the attack of the enemy, we can read through this passage and throughout the rest of the chapter and see that Israel had lost their ability to respond to the defiant giant.
• Saul had lost his anointing because of his disobedience and poor leadership (1 Sam. 13:7-14; 14:44-45; 15:10).
• The armies of Israel forgot their God and lost their identity and let the Philistines intimidate them (1 Sam. 17:16, 23-24).
• The fear in David’s brothers caused them to criticize David’s faith in God (1 Sam. 17:28-29).
• Saul wanted to send someone else to take care of his responsibility (1 Sam. 17:37).
-There is power in the Word of God so that we can see how that we can approach our own spiritual battles! To counter against all the things that Saul and his men did not do can help me to see how I ought to fight.
• Be careful to be obedient! Obedience has much bearing on our anointing and leadership ability.
• Be careful not to forget God! You cannot afford to let the voice of the giant drown out the promises of God.
• Be careful that you don’t fall to criticism! God has a lot more resources than just what we may perceive.
• Be careful to do what God has called you to do! There are some giants that could have been knocked down a long time ago if we would just shoulder our responsibilities.
-It is quite a note to remember that one of the very reasons that the children of Israel wanted to have a king was so that he could lead them into battle (1 Sam. 8:20). Saul miserably failed at the main thing the people wanted him to do.
III. DEFIANT GIANTS
-We all have our share of giants to face. We will probably never descend into a valley of Elah to face a shouting, sweating, cussing giant named Goliath but the shape of spiritual warfare is going to place us in close proximity to giants.
• Nine feet and nine inches tall.
• A coat of mail weighing 126 pounds.
• Head, chest, and legs encased in bronze.
• A huge spear with a head of iron weighing 15 pounds that was probably 8 feet long.
• An armor-bearer who carried a massive shield for him.
-Goliath is described as their “champion.” The word translated literally means “the man of the between.” That is a very vivid way to describe the fact that Goliath wanted to fight the battle somewhere between the right and the wrong.
-Shade it with gray so that confusion is created in the mind of the people of God. A massive amount of that kind of warfare is going on in our times. Not really right but not really wrong either.
-There are a ton of smooth questions forcing the hand of the church in our times by asking, “Is it a heaven or hell issue?” I have a feeling that if there is that kind of reasoning going on, it probably is not going to be healthy to my soul.
-He yelled at them. In 1 Samuel 17:10 he told them that he defied the armies of Israel. That word defy is too weak. He scorned them, he mocked them, and they responded by running to their tents. Forty-days this intimidation went on.
-Defiant giants such as:
• Death that wields a sword and mocks all of us.
• Sin that threatens to beset us and bring us down.
• Satan roaring and seeking whom he may devour.
• Temptation at every turn in life.
• Prayerlessness that wants our life of power choked out.
• Religious tradition that seeks to stifle the very life of the Spirit.
• Dead and formal worship that is lifeless.
• Resistance to holiness because of accusations of legalism.
-There is a host of other giants that are doing their best to destroy us personally and corporately as a church.
-They really long to control us with fear. Saul and his armies had been controlled by fear for the whole forty days before David ever got there.
IV. THE POWER OF THE NAME!
-The solution for defiant giants is found when David spoke up to the giant.
1 Samuel 17:45-47 KJV Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.  This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.  And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands.
-On that day, David set the two powers that faced him into perspective. The Philistine side of destruction was limited to weapons of destruction such as swords, spears, and loud intimidating lies.
-Then David puts the Lord’s side of the matter in front of Goliath, “but I come to you in the Name of the Lord of Hosts!” If you look carefully in the Bible you will find that this is the first instance of anyone coming against the enemy in the Name of the Lord.
-The apostles used that name in their ministry. In fact notice the phrase in 1 Corinthians 1:2:
1 Corinthians 1:2 KJV Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
-In those days the believers met together to call on that Name! There isn’t an ounce of inherent power in any believer until he engages the Name of Jesus!
-But it has always been met with opposition. In fact when you read what Ananias said regarding Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:14), he said, “He has obtained authority from the Chief Priest to bind ALL THAT CALL ON THY NAME.” If you want to find great encouragement, I would encourage you to go home and do a study just in the book of Acts and look up the word “name” and see what you discover about the power of the Name.
March 25, 2012