David & Goliath

Text: 1 Samuel 17
Date: Sunday July 23, 2023


‌We come today to one of the most well known stories in all of Scripture, the story of David and Goliath. Many of you perhaps have become overly familiar with this story, and so I aim today to breathe fresh life into it, teaching and instructing you how this brilliant moment of history will deeply encourage and embolden us as Christians.

‌The Story

Sent By Father: Our story begins around 1,000BC when the man who would become the great King David of Isreal was only a youth. He was the youngest and smallest of his brothers. His three eldest brothers were off on the front lines of a battle that was taking place between the Philistines and Israel. David’s father sent him on an errand to greet his brothers and bring them food.‌Valley of Elah: David finds his brothers at the Valley of Elah. This is large valley that you can visit today and see precisely where this battle took place. The valley is situated between two large hills. When David arrived he saw that the Philistine army was camped on one side of the valley, and the Israelites on the other. And as he looked he saw a giant of man walk from the Philistine camp to the middle of the valley. The description of him reads as follows:

1 Samuel 17:4-7 “And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. And he had bronze armor on his legs, and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders. The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron. And his shield-bearer went before him.”

Send a Champion: This is a massive man. His height comes in at just under 10 feet, and his armor and shield weigh well over one hundred pounds. This man was taunting the Israelite army, and challenging them to send one champion down to fight him one on one. Winner take all. For forty days this Goliath challenged and taunted the Israelites. This was not uncommon. In fact if you’ve read some ancient literature you might know that this one of the ways that battles were often fought in ancient days. It spared the lives of many men.

1 Samuel 17:24 “All the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were much afraid.”

Saul Offers His Daughter: King Saul of Israel gets so fearful of this battle that he offers his daughter as a bride to the man who could provide victory.‌Uncircumcised Philistine/Brothers Mock: Young David, still just a youth sees the Goliath and immediately:

1 Samuel 17:26 “… who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?””

‌That language of “uncircumcised” is very important. Circumcision in the Old Testament was the physical sign of the covenant people. David is saying, “Who is this man that is not under the protective covenant of the living God, who dares to defy God himself?” The brothers begin to mock him, accusing him of vainglory.‌David Goes to Saul: But David found his way to King Saul and spoke the same way to him. Young David offered himself as a Champion to go down into the valley and fight Goliath. Saul immediately laughs this off. But David says explains to Saul how he is familiar with taking down large enemies. As a shepherd he has defeated lions and bears who have attacked his sheep. He says:

1 Samuel 17:37 “And David said, “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.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!””

Sling & Stones: And so Saul consents, and sends David to battle. At first Saul tries to David in his own armor thinking that would help. But David refuses it. Instead David makes way down a stream where he collects five smooth rocks (again you can visit this stream today in Israel). And with a sling and five rocks in a small pouch, he marches to the middle of the Valley of Elah. A young boy with faith in his God against a giant who dared to defy God.‌Goliath’s & David Chat: When Goliath sees the boy approach he mocks him and says,

1 Samuel 17:43 “And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.”

‌But David responds,

1 Samuel 17:45-47 “Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and 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. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds 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 that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.””

David Defeats Goliath: At that, David ran towards Goliath pulling his sling from his side, swinging it over his head he released a rock which sank deep into the forehead of Goliath just underneath the brow of his helmet. It happened so fast that both sides likely did not know what occurred at first. Goliath’s body slumped to the ground. David stood over him, removed Goliath’s sword from it sheath, and used it to cut off Goliath’s own head. The Philistine army fled in fear, the army of Israel pursued them and struck them down for miles, plundering their camp.

‌The Lessons


Before we examine what we can learn from David, I want us to first understand that this story that took place roughly one thousand years prior to Christ, in so many ways points us to Jesus and the Gospel. In fact we might say that Jesus is the greater David who has defeated our fiercest enemy.‌

A David, from Bethlehem, was sent by his father: First notice that the story with young David, the youngest of his brothers, being sent by His father Jesse to the front lines. In the same way, regularly throughout the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life, Jesus is recorded as saying that He was sent by the Father.‌​

John 4:34 ESV Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.‌

The difference of course is that Jesse had no idea what would happen with his son when he sent him to the front lines. But our heavenly Father, he knew the sacrifice that would need to be made by Jesus. And yet, out of a great love for us, He sent Him to accomplish the work he was assigned.‌

B David was mocked by his brothers: Second, David was mocked by his brothers. When David arrived on the scene and questioned why this uncircumcised Philistine was permitted to taunt the armies of the living God, his brothers accused him of evil and recklessness. Jesus was mocked and accused throughout his entire life and ministry. We’re told that his family at one point thought that he was out of his mind. At Jesus false trial, his persecutors mocked him and taunted him. The Roman legion who scourged him before his death, spit on him, stripped him, put a purple robe over his bloodied back and hammered a crown of thorns into his skull in an attempt to mock him. Even as Jesus hung on the cross, being accused of evil he did not commit, he was ridiculed him.‌​

Matthew 27:39 ESV And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads‌

C David rejected the armor: David when preparing to go to battle was offered armor by Saul. But David rejected the armor. This battle was not going to be won using the ways of the world. Jesus Christ, shortly before his crucifixion, was celebrated as he strode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. And the crowds on that day wanted to make him a King. They wanted to establish him as a King, the way every other king would be established. They were looking for might, and for strength, and for prestige, and for power. But Jesus when being questioned by Pilate said‌

John 18:36 ESV Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”‌

Jesus rejected the normal means of power and established his kingdom on the power of God.‌

D David stood as a Champion/Middle-Man: David stood as a champion for Israel. That is an English translation for ‘middle man,’ or perhaps mediary. David and Goliath stood in the middle as middle men. The outcome of their battle would determine the fates of their people.‌Jesus went to battle on our behalf against a far greater enemy. At the cross Jesus waged war against the Devil and against all the consequences of sin. He stood as our mediary accomplishing what we could not accomplish. Jesus represented us on the cross, He hung for us in our place. As Jesus hung on the cross, all of the sins of the every Christian that would ever live were placed upon his shoulders, as He bore the sins of His people. He is our middle man, our mediator, our champion, who wins a battle against satan and sin that we could never win. That moment on the cross is the darkest moment in human history. Even the weather and earth was aware of the wickedness of that day, as we are told the sky turned black and ground shook. Jesus, who was truly innocent, became sin in order that we might gain the victory of Satan, over death.‌

E David cut off Goliath’s head with his own sword: Finally, at the end of battle David took Goliath’s own sword and used it cut off his head. This is perhaps the most stunning parallel to Christ. For Jesus took the very weapon that Satan intended destroy God’s people, and through it defeated Satan once and for all.‌​

Hebrews 2:14 ESV Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,‌

At the moment of Christ’s death, Satan believed he had struck the final blow. He believed that all hope had been expunged. But Jesus was using death itself as means to accomplish ultimate freedom. Jesus took the greatest sword of the enemy, and used against him. And at the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, Christ annihilated any true power Satan had to deceive the nations. Jesus bound the strong man, as it is said. He cut off Satan’s power for good. And now, all who place their faith in Jesus, are granted new life, forgiveness of every sin—no matter how great or vile. Jesus promises hope and a future to all who will join him in His victory.‌

G He Was Given a Bride‌: Lastly, David was promised a bride from Saul after the victory. But our King, King Jesus, upon the resurrection, his ultimate victory over Satan, secured for Himself His bride, The Church. All through Scripture, the Church is referred to as the bride of Christ. Christ cares for his bride, protects his bride, cherishes his bride, and we His Church love Christ our Head.‌Jesus is the Greater David who has defeated our fiercest enemy.‌


Now, I would like turn our attention to David, not in how he directly points us to Christ as a type, but how in this story David exemplifies how Christians are to face their battles. There are a number of lessons here that will greatly aid the Christian.‌

A Everybody Has Battles: First, every Christian experiences a variety of trials in their life. Some trials are self inclicted consequences of foolish behavior. Other trials are consequences of living in a fallen world where sickness and poverty exist. Still other trials are results of injustices and wicked behavior of other people in our lives. Across this room, there are all sorts of giants right now, standing in our way. Trials that threaten to take your eye off of God’s goodness and God’s character and God’s mercy and God’s hope. ‌

Not the Prosperity Gospel: Before I examine what we can learn from David, we must make a very important disclaimer. We are not promised victory over every earthly giant we will face in this life. That is not a promise that is made to Christians. Absolute victory has been won, and will be ours for certain, in the life to come. But in this life, not every challenge we face will be met with victory. And so, the message is not, simply behave like David and you will gain victory over all your problems. Jesus promised this would happen‌​

Matthew 10:22 ESV and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.‌

Rather, How to Be Godly: And so, the lessons I want to pull from David will answer the question, ‘How can we exemplify godliness, and as a result grow in our devotion and love of God, through every trial?’ You see, that question should burn in the hearts of every faithful Christian. If you have truly made Christ the Lord of your life, then the driving motivator of your life must be, ‘How can I please God through this?’ and ‘How can I experience more of Christ through this?’‌

B We Must Train Ourselves to Think Great and Wonderful Things About Gods Promises: First, God will always follow through on his word. This single principle will guide you if you permit, and will also help you reconsider how you engage with the Scriptures.‌

David Under Israel’s Covenant: Why was David so confident to go up before Goliath. David’s confidence was in the God of Covenant, who had covenanted with the nation of Israel. The covenant Israel had with God was unique. We today are not under that same economic covenant. But as part of that covenant agreement, God had promised to deliver Israel from their enemies in real time and space, if Israel kept his commands. This is why David calls Goliath, “the reproach of Israel” in verse 26, because he is making it seem that God is unable to deliver on his promises. “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the army of the living God?”‌

Faith is Clinging to the Promises: While the Church is not under the same national covenant that Israel was under, with the same promises of military success that Israel had, we are under a covenant nonetheless. God has made remarkable promises to us, that we are able to cling to in the midst of trials. In fact, that’s really what faith is, isn’t it? Faith is knowing that what God has promised, he will deliver on. Like David we need to be trained to stand up confidently before the trials we face, by clinging to God’s promises in the Scriptures. Joel Beeke has written these words about believing the promises.

‌“Our problem, then, is not so much a lack of faith but a failure to truly apply the promises, so as to depend on them. As we read the Scriptures and come across a particular promise that directly speaks to our situation, we yield a hearty amen to it, but then we quickly close our minds as we close our Bibles and think no more of it, trying once again to live independently from the promises. It is as if we expect the fulfillment of a promise to drop from the sky into our laps simply by knowing assenting to it… The problem is not the promise; it is our failure to lean and depend on it in meditation, to confer with it and chew on it until we feel the sweetness of it in our mouths.”

We Must Train Ourselves: But how do we do this well? How do you become a person who navigates trials by demonstrating a real faith in God through them. First and foremost, you cannot lean on the promises of God if you don’t know the promises of God. If you are unfamiliar with Scripture, your faith will have very little substance to it. Second, William Spurstow, a wonderful Puritan writer from of old, invites us to consider various trials we may find ourselves in. He asks, ‘Are you in despair over your own sin, wondering if God could really love you with such a lack of holiness.’ Turn to Exodus 34:6-7 and believe it:‌

Exodus 34:6–7 ESV The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”‌

Are you in a hopeless situation where you can’t see the way through. Are you feeling like God has just left you to struggle, and hope seems to be fading. Turn to Isaiah 43:2,

Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you...”

Evaluation: I invite you now to evaluate your faith in Jesus. Is this how you approach trials in your life, giants in your life? Because this is what faith looks like. We must not pretend that we have faith, if the faith we claim we have has no actual substance to it. The next time you are going through a trial, work these two thoughts into your heart. 1) If you are in Christ, you have a heavenly Father who cares deeply for you, who wants to draw you into deeper places with Him. 2) He has provided real hope for you in His promises. The best thing you can do, is meditate and linger on his promises, until they become the substance of your faith.‌

C We Must Train Ourselves To Think Great & Wonderful Things About God‌Second, we must train ourselves to think great and wonderful things about God in the midst of our trials.‌

David: Consider David. The beginning of the chapter gives four verses simply to describe the terror of Goliath, how huge he was, he fearful he was, how strong he was. The passage goes on to describe all of Israel’s army greatly afraid at his presence. All they could see was Goliath. Throughout this passage, David’s words as saturated in the strength and might of God. Even when he speaks of Goliath, it is not in terms of how strong he is, but that he is an uncircumcised Philistine that dares to defy the living God. Nine times David speaks of God: Armies of the Living God, Four times he uses the personal name of God Yhwh, Lord of Hosts, God of the armies of Israel. David is not crippled in fear by Goliath, he is overwhelmingly blinded by the presence of God.‌

We Tend to Allow Trials to Consume Us: Very often when we face various trials, the trials themselves become the vision through we see the world. We wake up in the morning and its the first thing we think about. At night, it keeps us up. At the office we’re distracted by it. It consumes conversations. Everything gets shaped by them. It is understandable why this is so. If you can’t pay your rent, and you’re wondering where is the money going to come from tomorrow, there is a natural sense that it’s going to be on your mind. If your child is suffering, and your wondering how can this get ever better, there is a natural sense that it’s going to be on your mind. And what the temptation is, is to Goliath to be the lens through which everything in your life is painted.‌

But When You Become a Christian: But when you become a Christian, a supernatural change takes place that we call Regeneration. At that moment of regeneration, you are no longer simply a natural man or woman. God has called you to be born again. Part of the fruit of a person who has been born again is an entire different vision of the world. The lens through which you see and interpret reality is flipped. God is at the center of it all. The Apostle Paul prays for the Ephesians in Ephesians chapter 3 and says,‌​

Ephesians 3:19 ESV and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.‌

Putting Goliath in Perspective: God has given you the Holy Spirit Christian so that you may experience the fullness of God. This does not make Goliath go away, but it does put Goliath in perspective. We don’t need to train ourself to think less of Goliath. Do you know how hard that is? To see a life changing issue before you and to try to say, “Don’t think about, don’t think about it.” No! We don’t need to think less about Goliath, we need to think more about God. We need to allow the reality of the magnificence of God, the tenderness of our Heavenly Father, the sweetness of the Gospel of Grace, the preciousness of our adoption into God’s family, and the beauty of His overwhelming love for you that will extend through all eternity to be bigger than Goliath in our life.‌

Evaluate Yourselves Christian: I invite you now to evaluate yourself Christian. Are you too easily overwhelmed by your trials. For those who are suffering in some way right now in this room, I am alongside you. Our family has endured much, and is enduring much. Suffering is hard. It hurts. Goliath often makes natural quake. But I have learned that our God is bigger, grander. He is more precious to the soul than can be put into words. He can be trusted and delighted in.


‌I want to close with an invitation. In just a moment Darren will lead us as we take the Lord’s Supper together and reflect on the goodness of the Gospel. If you are in this room and you have never confessed Jesus as Lord, I want you to know your circumstance with clarity. In every trial, in every struggle (and there will be many), you are alone. You may be young and strong now, and perhaps this does not bother you at the moment. But there will come a day, whether it be because of age, or simply because of the size of the challenge, when your muscle and might will not be enough. I want you desperately to know what David said in verse 47. “The battle is the Lord’s. It’s Yhwh’s.” You were never meant to do it alone. There is a God who knows you and right now will extend you love and grace and presence, in Christ Jesus if you will receive it. Do not wait for another day. Receive Him today. Let us pray.‌


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