Summary: Each Christian will face battles throughout the life they are called to live. There will not be one battle, but each of us will face multiple battles, and the situations we face may appear overwhelming as we face our own giants. But God will send a deliverer just when we need that deliverer most.

“There was war again between the Philistines and Israel, and David went down together with his servants, and they fought against the Philistines. And David grew weary. And Ishbi-benob, one of the descendants of the giants, whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of bronze, and who was armed with a new sword, thought to kill David. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah came to his aid and attacked the Philistine and killed him. Then David’s men swore to him, ‘You shall no longer go out with us to battle, lest you quench the lamp of Israel.’

“After this there was again war with the Philistines at Gob. Then Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Saph, who was one of the descendants of the giants. And there was again war with the Philistines at Gob, and Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, the Bethlehemite, struck down Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. And there was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number, and he also was descended from the giants. And when he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimei, David’s brother, struck him down. These four were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.” [1]

Joel Gregory is one of the great preachers in this generation, in my estimate. Doctor Gregory is a master at making what has been written relevant to this present age. A few years ago he preached a sermon with the title I chose for this message at Kensington Temple in the Notting Hill area of London. [2] The title of his message was simply too good not to appropriate for our own people. I shamelessly appropriated the title. The message Doctor Gregory presented was pertinent and prescient.

You will remember that the Apostle has written, “These things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction” [1 CORINTHIANS 10:11]. It is a reminder that we must not read so fast that we skip every other verse as we read. God has included even what we imagine to be obscure and unimportant pieces of information for our benefit. Our responsibility is to allow the Spirit of God to instruct us, guiding us as we read these pericopes so that we will be strengthened and encouraged.

The passage in which the text appears is easily dismissed by the average reader. It contains the names of individuals that lived long ago; and those names are hard to pronounce for those of us who speak English as our native tongue. Moreover, the incidents described could easily be seen as incidental. They failed to make the top ten list of events in Israel’s history. In fairness, had things worked out differently, and had those people with the strange names prevailed in their battles against the people of God, the events would have been far more significant, and their names would be much more familiar. However, they lost the battles against David and his men; and thus, they don’t seem all that important to us.

The people named in this passage are not well-known, but the incidents provide some vital instruction for our benefit. The enemies of God were helped by some powerful men—men who were fierce, ferocious, formidable foes who opposed the people of God and threatened David and his armies for many years. You will recall that David killed a giant. David’s father sent him with provisions for his brothers who were serving in Saul’s army. At the camp, David learned that the Philistines had a giant fighting in their army; and this giant was ridiculing the armies of God and even demeaning the LORD God of Israel! The more he learned, the more this young shepherd was incensed, and he began to openly express his disgust that no one would fight this giant to shut his mouth.

The king heard what was said, and David was summoned before the king. Perhaps he was full of youthful bravado, or just perhaps God was working in this young shepherd’s heart, but when David appeared before the king, he said, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine” [1 SAMUEL 17:32]. Saul responded, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth” [1 SAMUEL 17:33].

This teenage boy pointed to God rather than merely boasting of his own strength. David responded, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” Emphasising his confidence in God, the shepherd boy then testified, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” It was enough for the king, because Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you” [see 1 SAMUEL 17:34-37]!

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