FAITH IN THE FACE OF A GIANT Part 1
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Scripture: 1 Samuel 17:1-54
Key Verse: 1 Samuel 17:45: “Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”
Probably all of you know the story of David and Goliath, but just in case you’re a little fuzzy about what happened when those two met, I’m going to tell the story to you.
The Philistines stood on a mountain on one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. A giant from the city of Gath, by the name of Goliath, appeared on the Philistine side.
He was over nine feet tall. He wore a bronze helmet, and he was covered with armor that weighed 125 pounds. He carried a bronze javelin with an iron spearhead that weighed 15 pounds, and a shield-bearer went before him.
He yelled at the Israelites, and what he said belittled their manhood. He proposed a fight-to-the-death between himself and a champion chosen from among the Israelites, and then he added that whichever man won for his nation that the other nation would be their slaves. When Israel heard what he said, they were worried and afraid.
David had three brothers who joined the army to fight the Philistines, and one day David’s father asked him to take them some food. When he arrived at the camp, the armies were facing each other and arrayed for battle. As he was talking with his brothers, Goliath came once again to ridicule Israel, as he had done for several days. David listened and he saw all the men of Israel run away from the giant. He couldn’t believe his eyes, and he told those around him that if no one else would fight Goliath, he would. Now when they heard what he said, they reported it to Saul; and he sent for David.
Then David and Saul have a conversation where David tells Saul that he will fight the Philistine, and Saul tells David that he didn’t stand a chance because he was certain to lose because of his youth and lack of experience. David responded by telling the king how he killed a lion and a bear when they attacked his father’s sheep. Furthermore, David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And then Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!” After that, Saul placed his own armor on David and he even gave him his sword, but it was all too heavy for him, so he took it all off. He picked up his staff and 5 smooth stones and went out to face the Philistine. When Goliath saw David he headed straight for him. He made fun of the Israelites for choosing a boy to do their fighting, and he cursed David for thinking he could defeat a warrior as fierce as he is. Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts…”
When the talking was over, David ran at the Philistine as he was preparing for the fight, which he was sure he would win easily. “Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth.” David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and killed him, and cut off his head with it. And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem. That’s the story, so now we can get into today’s message.
Don’t you just love the enthusiasm and confidence of a kid who has just joined the little league baseball team, the Boy Scouts or the Swim Team? He hasn’t even played his first game or attended his first meeting, but he wants to sleep in his uniform. Though inexperienced, he believes there’s no ball that can get by him, no hill that’s too steep for him to climb or another swimmer that’s as fast as he is. David was like that. He was the youngest of his brothers, the runt, and a shepherd with a few sheep, yet he was called a man after God’s own heart. Against all odds, David had faith, even to face a giant.
David was sent to give food to his brothers, who had joined the king’s army that was preparing to fight against the Philistines. As he approached the battle scene, he saw the Israelites standing opposite to the Philistines with a dried up river bank between. The Philistine champion was Goliath who stood about 9 feet 9 inches tall, and he taunted and challenged the Israelites to send a champion to fight him.
Now, that brings a question to my mind; “How do we react to giants in our lives?” We need to have faith if we’re going to defeat the giants: simple faith, living faith, and Crisis faith.
Let’s look first at—Simple Faith (v.26).
There was never a thought in David’s mind that this Philistine wouldn’t be defeated. He only asked what good would come to the one who killed Goliath. In other words, what would the reward be? Where did David get this way of thinking? He was probably raised hearing stories of God’s victories: the parting of the Red Sea, or Israel’s victory at the walls of Jericho. It never occurred to David that this pagan could possibly defeat the soldiers of God. I believe that’s it’s a good idea for people today to teach their children that God cannot be defeated. And we must believe it as well. An anonymous writer gave this definition of simple faith: “Simple Faith is a day by day process in which God will show us what to do moment by moment.”
That is simple faith, which is a child-like faith and then there is; Living Faith (v.32).
Faith matters all the time, not just when you are at church.
Faith is critical when your bills are due and you have no money, when a loved one dies, or when you’re made fun of. Faith that lasts through life’s circumstances is called living faith. David’s faith was born from defending his sheep against a lion and a bear, so David knew God would also fight Goliath through him. There is a principle being taught here, it is that without the everyday use of our talents and abilities for God, we cannot face big undertakings or obstacles.
Many of us disobey God by refusing to be baptized or refusing to witness to others of Jesus’ love for them.
We will never grow if we consistently refuse to live out our faith. A. W. Tozer described the unusual characteristics of a Christian who lives by faith. He said, “A real Christian is an odd number anyway. He feels supreme love for one whom he has never seen, talks intimately every day to someone he cannot see, expects to go to heaven on the virtue of another, empties himself in order to be full, admits he is wrong so he can be declared right, goes down in order to get up, is strongest when he is weakest, richest when he is poorest, and happiest when he feels worst. He dies so he can live, forsakes in order to have, gives away so he can keep, sees the invisible, hears the inaudible, and knows that which passeth all understanding.” To live by faith means embracing a lifestyle that contradicts most of life.
There is a third type of faith that I will call—Crisis Faith (vv.45 –47).
God gives us the ability to stand during a moment of crisis when no one else will. David was granted this type of faith as he faced Goliath, saying, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts ...” (v.45). “LORD of hosts” can be translated, “The Lord of our Limit.” When we’ve reached the end of our human abilities, sometimes we call it “the end of our rope,” we come to the Lord of hosts, asking for His strength.
Overcoming, overwhelming faith appears in the moment of crisis and it comes from the foundation of simple, living faith. What giant are you facing? Is it a financial giant? Is it a hurting relationship with a son, daughter or some other family member? Is it a disease that is life threatening? Whatever it is, take these practical steps from David’s example to defeat the giant in your life.