Summary: This message examines the example of David’s faith.
Leonid Stadnyk, a 37-year-old veterinarian from Podolyantsi in central Ukraine is currently the tallest man in the world. He began to grow rapidly at age 14, when an operation on his brain reportedly stimulated his pituitary gland. He is officially 8 feet 5 inches, wears size 64 shoes and believe it or not he is still growing. Mr. Stadnyk still has 6 inches to grow if he is to match Robert Wadlow the tallest man in modern history. In the Bible we meet a man from Gath by the name of Goliath and we are told that stood over nine feet tall. So he was probably close to a foot taller than Mr. Stadnyk. So you can imagine the courage that it would take to face someone as huge as Goliath. Goliath was not just tall, he was mean and he used his size to intimidate others. Goliath taunted his opponents in order to intimidate them. Goliath had successfully caused the Israelite army to cower in fear until a young shepherd boy stepped out and accepted his challenge. Today we are going to meet David whose great faith caused him to fight with courage despite overwhelming odds.
I. David’s experience in facing Goliath.
A. Every now and then the Philistines would invade Israel.
1. I Samuel 17 reports one occasion when they penetrated as far as Socoh, about fourteen miles west of Bethlehem.
2. Saul countered by calling up the army. The Israelites camped on a height overlooking a ravine (the valley of Elah) to block any further advance by the enemy. On the elevation across the valley the Philistines pitched their camp.
3. Each day a “champion” named Goliath would come out from the Philistine camp to taunt the Israelites. His size was intimidating. Goliath was a descendant of the tall Anakim race, the remnants of which had settled in the Philistine plain after the Israelite invasion under Joshua.
a. He wore a helmet and shin guards made of bronze.
b. His body armor weighed around 125 pounds.
c. The shaft of his spear was as thick as a weaver’s beam (about the size of a 4 x 4), its head was made of iron and weighed about 15 pounds.
4. When the Israelites drew up in battle formation, Goliath would propose that one on one combat replace fighting between the armies. If some Israelite warrior could kill Goliath, the Philistines agreed to become servants of the Israelites.
5. This daily winner-take-all challenge dismayed and intimidated Saul and all Israel. For forty days the daily challenge continued.
B. David a very unlikely candidate accepts the challenge.
1. Jesse sent David with food for his brothers and their commander. He was to check on the welfare of his brothers and bring back “their pledge,” some token that would confirm the delivery of the food and the well-being of the brothers.
2. David approached the perimeter of the Israelite camp just as the troops were moving into battle positions shouting the battle cry. On the other side of the valley the Philistines was doing the same thing.
3. Soon Goliath made his daily appearance and issued his challenge striking fear in the hearts of the Israelite army once again.
4. Saul had offered a hefty reward to anyone who would accept the challenge and face Goliath.
a. A hefty sum of money would be given.
b. The hand of the king’s daughter would be given in marriage.
c. The entire family would be exempted from taxes.
5. David was astonished that with this promise of reward that no one would stand up against this big bully.
C. Saul soon heard about the brash young man who showed no fear of the Philistine.
1. Saul scoffed at this suggestion. Goliath had been trained as a warrior; David was but a youth. David, however, defended his fighting credentials. He had slain a lion and a bear in defense of his sheep.
2. Goliath had taunted the armies of the living God. David therefore was confident that Yahweh would deliver him from the hand of the Philistine just as he had delivered him earlier from the paw of the lion and bear. Saul was convinced.
3. Goliath came out to meet his challenger. When he saw that he was a youth and that he had no armor or sword, Goliath cursed David in the names of his gods.
4. Goliath considered it a personal insult that the Israelites would send an unworthy opponent to fight him.
5. David went on to boast that he would decapitate Goliath and give the bodies of the Philistines to the birds and beasts. Through this victory all the earth would know that there was a God in Israel.
6. As Goliath began to move toward him, David began to run right at him. As he did so he loaded his sling and sent a small stone flying.