Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered December 3, 2011 by Pastor Don Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

Five Smooth Stones

1 Samuel 17:37-40

(RealAudio available)

How do you get rid of the Goliaths in your life?  Do you each have a Goliath, or have you had one.  It's hard to contend with these type of people. 

Back in the Old Testament times, one of the greatest battles ever fought that are recorded in the Bible was fought 15 miles west of Jerusalem.  I like this battle so much because the underdog is the one who wins.  Don't you just love it when the underdog wins?  I'm usually for the underdog.  If it's the Super Bowl or whatever I like to see the ones who are behind come up and actually win.  I just love that.  This is one of those times, and underdogs are very important.  Now I'm a short person and I like underdogs. 

Here a little boy beat a big, giant, oversized ruffian and I get excited when I hear about that.  Imagine that you were there that day.  That you were an observer and you were stationed in the valley.  You understand there's a big hill on that side and another big hill on that side and you were in the valley watching.  Way up to the left was this loud smoky camp of the Philistines.  They were up there having chitlins and gravy and you could smell the smell of roast pork coming across the Valley.  These people were uncouth.  They were ill-kept.  They were crude.  They were a bad bunch, these Philistines. 

On the other side of the hill, over on the right side you could see the quiet, sheepish camp of the Israelites.  They were out there roasting veggies and vega-links and they were quaking in their boots.  In their sandals I should say.  They were afraid. 

I want to read you some of this tension here.  Turn to First Samuel 17:4. A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp and he was over 9 feet tall.  Now those of you who are metric, this is over 3 meters tall.  He was an exceedingly tall person.  In verse 5 it says he had a helmet on his head.  He wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing 5000 shekels.  That's about 125 pounds.  On his legs he wore bronze greaves and a bronze javelin was slung on his back.  His spear shaft was like a weaver's rod.  It's iron point, on this spear, weighed 600 shekels.  That's 15 pounds.  His shield bearer went ahead of him.  What a massive awesome person this Goliath really was. 

In verse 8 he cried to the ranks of Israel and he said, why do you come out for battle?  Am I not a Philistine?  Are you not the servants of Saul?  You choose you a man this day and have him come up and if he is able to fight, if he is able to kill me, great.  If not, if I kill him, then you become our servants.  What a challenge.  So every day for 40 days this big behemoth of a man stood up there, this heavily armed, experienced killer, bellowed out these words of challenge to the Israelites and they were scared.  Goliath was sort of a braggadocio type, up there snorting and pounding his fist at them.  He was a lowbrow giant.  I wonder if he was very intelligent.  His IQ may have been low.  But he more than made up for it in his muscles.  Nobody dared to come out and fight him.  The Saints stayed back. 

Now miles away, there was a teenager named David and he was out tending his sheet.  As David was out there one day his dad Jesse came up and he said, David, would you go and take your brothers some food.  They're going to be hungry.  You take them some home-cooked vittles, and David said I'll be happy to do that.  So he found a caretaker for the sheep.  He didn't want to leave his flock alone and he would not neglect one duty so that he could do another duty. 

You would think his brothers would be happy to see him.  Let's read about this thrilling reunion here in verse 28.  It says, Elihab, David's oldest brother heard him speaking with the men and he burned with anger at him.  Not a happy occasion.  When your brothers hate you it's hard.  Have you ever had a domestic situation like that?  His brother said, with whom did you leave those few sheep there in the desert?  I know how conceited you are.  I know the wickedness of your heart.  What have I done, said David.  I can't even talk.  So you could see that the family feud was going on.  The sibling rivalry was pretty tough.  Notice the poison in those words.  They regarded David as the runt.  Notice that David did not condemn them.  If you resort to throwing mud at the mudowers who throw mud at you, you will be even more muddy.  Don't do that.

Eventually rumors filtered up to King Saul on the throne, you have somebody who's willing to fight Goliath.  He said, well bring him on.  I'd like to see him.  They brought in David.  Just a small boy.  I imagine that the Kings heart fell.  He thought, oh no.  This is who we're going to have.  We're going to lose.  We're going to be the slaves of the Philistines.  We'll all be eating pork tomorrow.  He had hoped for one of his strongest soldiers to volunteer.  But little half-pint David, with his ruddy, fair complexion, was the only one who was willing.  You know, each church has some people who are willing.  Praise the Lord for that.  Each church has some people who are adventurers.

Eventually David went out to fight Goliath.  He went out with his staff, with his sling.  Up on the left was this big babbling crook, and at the top on the right was little David coming down in the Valley with his hook and his leather sling. 

Now that's not much protection, is it?  I will tell you that God does not save with swords and spears.  God can use you in the armor that you have.  He was willing to wear armor that he did not have.  Did you know that secretly, David was wearing a bulletproof vest.  A spear proof vest.  It's called the breastplate of righteousness.  The helmet of salvation.  He was escorted by none other than the living God.  He was protected.  He sensed that the skies were filled with chariots of fire.  That the Angels were there.  You know, you're never alone unless you go ahead of God. 

Now I personally would not do what David did.  I would not approach Goliath with an empty ammunition bag.  You understand that's what he did.  He came down to the creek and his bag was empty.  There were no rocks in.  No stones in it.  Would you do that?  If you knew you were going to fight Goliath wouldn't you spend an hour or two finding some just right stones.  About the size of an egg.  The heaviest ones.  Wouldn't you do that?  He didn't.  He went down to the valley with an empty bag. 

He used the short time that he had there to find some just right rocks.  Verse 40.  He took his staff in his hand and he chose five smooth stones from the stream and he put them in a pouch of his shepherd's bag and with his sling in his hand he approached the Philistine.   I don't know.  I would've gotten my rocks way ahead. 

I think there's a lesson from this.  I'm going to bring this lesson out.  You do what you can with what you have from where you are.  Does that make sense?  Do what you can with what you have from where you happen to be.  That's the best you can do.  That's what David did.  He had no bullets for his gun. 

Now the truth is, he really didn't risk because God was real to him.  He sensed that God's presence was there.  He knew that God would provide a perfect stone.  What is the rock.  Jesus Christ.  He knew that God would provide a Savior for him.  You see, God provided those stones.  They were laying there.  They were there in advance waiting for him.  Provided by God.  He let God choose the stones.  Does that make sense?  You can't do better than that.  Before you need it God will have your answer.  The perfect answer to your greatest Goliath problem. 

Now Palestine is filled with rocks.  My wife and I have been there.  You see these rocks being used in riots all over Palestine.  Those rocks are ragged.  They're jagged.  They are rough.  You need to realize that smooth stones are hard to come by, but God provided them.  Five answers were lying there for him.  Four extra just for the picking up.  God's extras show the quantity of his excessive love for us. 

So what you had, you had David with his sling, with his stones, with his staff.  He was down there in the middle of this valley between these two mountains.  He was down there by the small babbling brook at the bottom. 

The lowly David and his staff did not impress this uncultivated giant.  David saw this towering hulk.  It would make the best saint quake, but David was not afraid.  You know why?  Because David saw something else.  David had his eyes fixed on the rock.  You need to fix your eyes on Jesus, and if you fix your eyes on the rock, Goliath doesn't matter anymore.  You know that God is with you.  David saw Jesus was there.  Jesus was his ally.  Never forget, according to verse 7, the battle is the Lord's.  This was not David's fight.  It was God's fight. 

Look at verse 48.  It came to pass that when the Philistine arose and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted and ran.  Ran away.  You would expect to read that.  But he ran towards the giant.  He was running and while he was running he was reaching.  He was reaching into that bag.  Goliath had probably been resting and suddenly he noticed something.  Some small movement down there in the bottom of the valley.  He looked down there and it was just a lad.  Just a boy.  The great giant jumped up.  He began to curse the lad, and notice what happened in verse 49.  This is interesting.  David put his hand in his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and he struck the Philistine on the forehead.  The stone sank into his forehead and he fell face down on the ground. 

So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone.  Without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.  What an awesome thing.  While David was doing his work, the Philistine was probably wondering, well what is that small boy up to?  And then something finally hit his brain.  I'm in danger here.  I don't know what his last thought was.  Maybe he saw that stone getting larger and larger right between his eyes.  The last thing he saw.  The small smooth stone sunk solidly.  It went in deep. 

Quickly the army of Saul ran forward.  There was a great, tremendous rout.  God gave them a great victory and what could have been a gigantic massacre became a massacred giant.  What a day for God that was. 

Now perhaps you have a gigantic problem in your life.  Maybe your problem is drugs.  Maybe it's a bad marriage.  Maybe it's immorality.  Maybe it's a bully at the school that you attend.  Maybe it's disease.  Maybe it's a health problem.  You've got a Goliath confronting you.  It could be alcohol.  It could be the loss of a job.  Let's learn some lessons from David and how he overcame Goliath. 

Number one.  Remember God's leading in the past.  David recalled many times when he had faced hungry lions that had huge claws that were ready to tear him apart and he remembered those times.  A lion would be worse than a Goliath,  because Goliath just had one spear.  A lion has many of them.  God protected him from the lion.  God protected him from the bear and past successes give us future hope.  When you get down, pull out your little scrapbook of God's blessings and thumb through there and realize what God has done for you in the past and you will have confidence for the future. 

I remember my boyhood days.  We had a lot of bullies in my neighborhood, and I remember many times, I was menaced by them.  I was small.  They were older.  They were larger, but I remember a good many times when I was outnumbered, I could always outrun them because the big lumbering heavy Goliath's of life can't run very fast.  Don't forget that.  You can outrun them. 

Number two.  You win by using your own unique natural gift in life.  You don't need something extraordinary.  Just allow God to use you as you are.  David was a shepherd.  He was not a trained Green Beret.  All that equipment would only slow him down.  When you face a giant, you use your gifts.  Be yourself. 

Number three.  He chose five stones.  Why did he choose five.  He was ready to reload again and again.  If he missed, he would have another backup.  A backup is a good thing to have.  If necessary he would use the fifth stone.  You always want to be over prepared.  Now he didn't plan to miss. but he didn't miss planning.  He also remembered that Goliath had four big brothers.  Four of them.  How often God uses ordinary people who are prepared in ordinary ways to do extraordinary things. 

Number four.  He chose smooth stones.  Why?  Well, rough stones fly erratically.  They fly slower.  Smooth stones fly fast.  I've never seen an unfired bullet that was rough.  It's always smooth.  I believe that if you're going to have a golf ball, you don't want to use a clinker.  You don't want to use a brickbat.  You want to use something that will fly.  So he did that.  David did his part.  Not true, God would give him the victory but he's got to do his best. 

Number five.  David had a positive attitude.  What appeared to all the rest of the Israelites there as a giant who was too big to fight appear to David as a target too big to miss.  Too big to miss.  What he faced was the largest forehead in the world.  What a target.  I can't miss that.  What David faced as the largest, Goliath faced as the smallest target, because David was small.  The smallest target he had never faced.  Goliath only had one chance to accurately hurl his single spear.  David had five stones.  This was an unequal match, isn't it.  Approach your giant problems with positive faith.  Expect much and you're going to get much.  The Bible says fear thou not.  I am with thee. 

That brings me to point number six.  You need to trust in God.  He knew that if he asked God, that God would give him the victory.  The battle was the Lord's.  The battle was not his.  This wasn't David's fight.  It was God's fight.  David was just an instrument, and we don't win in a battle with Satan by our own artillery.  David had to put forward his best efforts, but when Goliath fell down it was really the working of God.  God knocked that giant down.  You may face several gigantic problems in your life but God will take care of them if you will do your part. 

Number seven.  David left nothing to chance.  Goliath might just be temporarily unconscious so David took the giant's own sharp sword and cut his head completely off.  Now let me describe that in detail; at a later time.  Cut his head off.  How often the bear hunter will take his rifle and aim it at that grizzly bear.  Shoot it.  The bear goes down.  The hunter comes up to examine his trophy and about the time he gets there the giant bear comes back to life and tears the hunter apart.  David didn't take any chances.  He did a complete job.Let me tell you, when you are doing battle with the Goliath in your life, do a complete job.  Make sure that thing is not going to resurrect.  Cut its head off.  Okay? 

David became a great leader that day.  Was he a leader before that day?  Not at all.  But he became a leader that day.  A big crisis furnishes a leader with a big opportunity.  Little David would probably never have emerged as a great leader without the crisis.  This crisis exposed his courage.  The courage was there.  The leadership potential was there.  One brave deed made him a national hero. 

Do you know that the highest reward for our toil in life is not what we get for it but what we become by it.  Let me just repeat that one more time.  The highest reward for our toil in life is not what we get for it but what we become by it. 

Who was the real giant that today?  Goliath, the giant of physique, or David, the giant of faith?  I submit to you we know who it was, because of his faith.  Faith gives the victory.  It always does. 

Why did David become a national champion?  Why didn't his brothers become national champions?  They all ate the same bowl of Wheaties at home.  They all had the same genes.  They all grew up in the same house.  Jesse was their daddy.  Why didn't the others do this?  They were larger.  Why David.  His heart.  His heart was different. 

Never let others limit your dreams.  Don't let your teacher limit your dreams and say, you're not cut out for that.  That's what they said Thomas Edison.  Don't let anybody limit your dreams.  Your boss, your husband, your wife, your dad, your mother.  Don't let others put boundaries on your life.  You do what God wants you to do. 

Now let me ask one other question.  What do you think Goliath did wrong.  I'll tell you what I think.  He discounted his enemy.  He did.  He thought, he's only a boy.  He only has a small rock.  He's down in the valley, I'm up here on the mountain.  I've got the tactical advantage.  He can't hurt me.  He's a midget.  How can something so small hurt me? 

And we think the same way.  How can one more little helping of ice cream really hurt.  It's not going to make any difference is it?  I'll just indulge myself a little bit.  One more little look at this website won't hurt me.  How can such a little thing hurt me?  I'm strong.  I'll be okay.  Just this once.  Your personal Goliath might be a bad little habit that has grown into a towering problem in your life, but with the power of God, you can overcome your Goliath.  You can do it, with God. 

Now Saul may have mistakenly thought that Goliath was the biggest threat to God's people of all time, and that is wrong thinking.  Actually, Goliath was not a threat.  Goliath was a national opportunity for God to act.  Whenever you see what seems to be a great crisis, just know that is almost always accompanied by a great opportunity.  On April 27 a bunch of homes went down in Collegedale.  Was that a crisis?  Yes.  But it was an opportunity.  Most of those people now are going to be in nicer homes than they had.  Stronger homes.  You build a home back, it's not weaker.  I've seen some of our church members pouring walls that are 12 inches thick, full of rebar. 

So what we have here is an opportunity.  David used a Goliath as a huge stepping stone.  It was the blessing of Goliath.  Let me restate that.  It was the blessing of Goliath that actually turned David into kingship.  He never would have been a king, I don't think, without Goliath.  Goliath exposed David's leadership.  David's inner qualities. 

So face your Goliath.  Don't be afraid.  Maybe we fear thing so much because we fear God so little.  Whatever your problem is.  Your marriage is falling apart.  Whatever.  Let God be your giant, and may I say that the only real giant in your life is your eternal friend, Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the giant in your life.  He's in charge.  Give your life to Jesus. 

We're going to sing our closing hymn.  A Mighty Fortress is Our God.  What a great hymn this is.  A gigantic fortress.

Hymn of Praise: #132, O Come, All Ye Faithful
Scripture: 1 Samuel 17:37-40
Hymn of Response: #506, A Mighty Fortress
Sermon Notes:  Sermon notes available as PDF

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McDonald Road Sermon transcribed by Steve Foster 12/15/11