Sermon delivered April 25, 1998

by Pastor Donald J. Gettys

McDonald, Tennessee

Quoatations from the Bible are from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.

David and the Midget

Do you know what the most watched TV show is? The number one is World Wrestling. Number two is wrestling. People love to watch a fight. Maybe that is why the story of David and Goliath is a classic thriller.

The uncivilized philistines wanted to annex Israel. Because of overpopulation they needed land. Rather than go to war these giants of Greek extraction determined victory in a one on one contest between champions. Sort of like an Olympics with two contestants. Winner takes all!

I Samuel 17:3 - "The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them."

Picture the battlefield: You are 15 miles West of Bethlehem standing in a valley. On your right is the fearful and quaking army of God trying to protect their homeland against the mongrel invaders. On you left are the infidel attackers. The two sides face each other. It is like being at a football game. The offense and defense have not moved for six weeks! In the middle of that mile wide valley runs a small creek. This crick is about 20 feet across and has steep banks on either side about 10 feet high.

Goliath, was Actually close to 10 feet tall! He would weigh over 500 pounds! A human tank! He was already a proven fighter. The Hulk's armor clanked ominously with each ponderous step. His deep voice thundered vulgarities that echoed across the valley creating a wave of deep fear inside Saul's defensive troops.

No one dared accept the challenge. It would be certain execution. Even Tall Saul shuttered with fear. Saul was almost 60 years old. Just why Jonathan did not volunteer we don't know. Maybe his dad didn't want to send his own son into certain death. Twice a day this monstrous Leviathan named Goliath bellowed out his uncouth utterances. Twice a day God's troops ran and hid in terrible fear.

Like Goliath, the filth produced by today's entertainment industry is daily eroding away our faith in God. Moral values are at an all time low.

(1 Samuel 17:5) Goliath had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels- -150 pounds! More than I weigh!

(verse 6) On his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze (harpoon) was slung on his back. Goliath was an experienced, fully equipped killing machine. He was three feet taller than Tall Saul.

(verse 7) His spear shaft was like a weaver's rod, (15 feet long) and its iron point weighed (15 pounds). It took one man just to carry Goliath's enormous man-size shield.

I Samuel 17:8 - "Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, 'Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me.'"

Saul's troops were about as zealous as road kill to get up and fight Goliath. Despite the generous offer by king Saul of fame, fortune, and a fair maiden and a life-time income tax exemption, no one moved.

For six weeks the stalemate continued. Giants don't come just once. They persist like nightmares. They keep yelling across the valley of our life.

Never once do we read where the troops of God stopped to pray. No mention is made of any priests in their encampment. They had left God at home. If you go on a trip, take the Bible with you. Don't leave God behind.

Meanwhile, teenage David was at home tending sheep. The eighth of eight sons meant he was standing at the bottom of the totem pole. One morning his father asked him to run an errand for him. "Please go to the army camp with some homemade goodies for your brothers." Soldiers in those days had to rely on family for food while fighting.

Little did Goliath know that day would be the last day of his life and the first day of David's life as a hero. You never know what a day will bring. No one knows the fame or fog around the next corner.

After a long trip David came into camp bringing some home made goodies for his 3 older brothers. Dates, figs, raisin cakes, roasted grain, fresh bread and goat-milk cheese, the whole nine yards! Before they could eat their picnic lunch there came a sudden thundering shout across the canyon. David quickly looked and he saw the largest human being in the world.

As David heard the chilling challenge against God his hair stood on end and a rush of holy adrenaline made his heart pound. Someone must rise up and put a stop to this undermining obscene blasphemer. David immediately volunteered. Goliath was really defying David's God. That was intolerable.

verse 28 - "When Eliab, David's oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, 'Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.'" Sibling rivalry is as old as dirt.

Never underestimate your little brother or sister. Don't be quick to pronounce judgement on the condition of their heart. David's heart wasn't evil! But David did not begin an argument with his brother. We need to choose our battles wisely. Satan probably wished David would spend the day fighting with Eliab. Satan wants you to spend your energy fighting among fellow members of the family of God, while the real enemy is unchallenged.

The army of God was terrified. Do you know why? Everybody was looking at the giant. All except David. David looked at God. Don't focus on your problems. Bad grades, giant marriage problems. God is bigger than the most fearsome giant in your life. Instead fretting over the bills, take your predicaments to God in prayer. Follow His directions. We don't look to God like we ought. We should spend a thoughtful hour each day beholding Jesus.

Too many of us look at the sword of life instead of the Lord of life.

(I Samuel 17:31) David's willingness was reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him. Actually Saul was the one and only man qualified to fight Goliath. But Saul was a wimp.

verses 33-35 - "Saul replied, 'You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth.' But David said to Saul, 'Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.

Notice how David killed lions. He ran up and took the quivering meal of mutton right out of the lions mouth. When the livid lion then came after David, he grabbed it by the beard and hit it hard and killed it! You can't use the sling while clutching a lion by his chin whiskers.

Verse 37 - "'The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.'" Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you." David never forgot his past blessings. We have nothing to fear for the future except we forget the Way God has led us in the past. The only giant that David knew was God.

David saw Goliath as 4 feet and 66 inches tall. Just a dwarf!

Never underestimate the potential of youth. Saul did not say, you are too young and too inexperienced. When you go out to get a job they want to know: do you have experience? How can you have any until you are hired? I'm glad Saul gave David a chance.

David found Saul's uniform awkward. Saul was a size 56 long and David was a size 39 short! Saul dropped his bronze helmet onto the shepherd boys head - - clunk! David felt like a mummy wrapped up in all that hardware. He chose to fight in his own clothes. Each of us has unique talents and gifts. Be yourself. Use your talents. God will bless you.

David refused Saul's armor and relied totally on God. You will only be successful when you place yourself totally in God's hands.

David was prepared. He had used that sling thousands of times. He could aim at a mosquito sitting on a tree limb sharpening its harpoon, and not miss. Athletes train for years. David was ready.

Verse 40 - "Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine."

WHY 5 stones? Goliath had 4 brothers on the hilltop watching. They might come to assist their brother.

WHY Smooth stones? The Bible does not contain worthless trivia. Smooth rocks fly faster and straighter. David did not depend entirely on a miracle. God helps those who do their best. We must strive for excellence and be prepared and practiced. The five stones were about the size of a golf ball or even a tennis ball. Smooth and heavy.

The rock represents Jesus Christ. Jesus can bring down the giants in your life.

Big belching Goliath and his shield bearer against Little David and his "Staff". God was on his staff. So were a host of heavenly angels.

It was summertime. This was the only time eastern kings went forth to war. Due to the heat and the heavy armor, Goliath had been sitting down. Suddenly he saw a boy down at the creek. He had expected a tall muscle man.

Verse 44 - "'Come here, (little boy), and I'll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!'"

I think Goliath was ugly. Have you ever seen a good looking giant? All giants are huge and Homely.

Verse 45 - "David said to the Philistine, 'You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.'"

Verse 47 - "'All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give all of you into our hands.'"

David knew that the battle was the Lord's. We do not win on our own strength. We are saved by the precious blood of Jesus. Jesus comes onto our battle field and takes our place in the fight. Jesus fought against the giant super villain and won the victory once for all.

Verse 48 - David ran quickly! (So would I) But David ran toward the battle line to meet Goliath.

Verse 49 - "Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground." The stone struck the one small part of his body that was left unguarded.

For a moment Goliath staggered. Anxious onlookers on both sides held their breath. Then this leaning tower of pizza began to fall. The towering hulk crashed to the ground with a loud thud and a cloud of dust.

David's target - the largest forehead in the world. Everybody else thought Goliath was too big to fight, but David thought he was too big to miss!

Verse 51 - "David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine's sword and drew it from the scabbard. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword." What is the sword a symbol of? The powerful Word of God.

When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they forgot all about the conditions of the contest and turned tails and ran for their lives.

God's troops surged ahead and by sunset the Philistines were driven out of the land.

(Verse 54) David returned home and took Goliath's head. It would look good beside the lions head. David took Goliath's weapons inside his own tent. They looked nice there on his bear skin rug. We need to keep the trophies of God's power before us. Never forget how God has helped you in times past.

David never married Merab, Saul's daughter. The promise was not kept. But David did gain a kingly reputation. David was the real giant that day, made so by His giant God. Goliath was the midget.

Are you facing a giant today? Maybe it is cancer, or grief, or alcoholism, or unemployment, a lawsuit, or lust or fear or financial woes. Are your problems almost overwhelming you?

We never know what giant problem lies ahead in the next valley, waiting for us. But we know Jesus. The God who delivered David will deliver you. You need to look to God. Focus on Jesus. I hope you have learned some giant lessons today.

Opening Hymn     #249
Scripture Reading:   Psalm 40:1-4
Closing Hymn: 518 - Standing on the Promises


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