David & Goliath

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David and Goliath

Good Morning! I am excited to be up here today and to be able to just talk about God with you all and share some scripture. I get to talk about a story most of us have probably heard before, some may not have though, and that’s David and Goliath. First and foremost I want to thank God so let me pray for us and then we’ll get started.
So what I want to do is to start by sharing a little about myself and telling some of my story. As some of you have probably seen me around but may not really know who I am or anything about me. So I’m Jacob Robinson. I have been a part of Radius for about 7 or 8 years now. I started when we were out of a school down the road. And I can still remember setting up and tearing down every morning and the 5am mens prayer meetings with John Reeves and some other guys in his basement. Man it was early, but I felt it was so awesome to be a part of. And now I’m just really honored that John and Radius would think enough of me to give me an opportunity to speak up here, to be a shepherding elder here at rwk for the past couple years, and not only that but to bring me on full time as the associate pastor here at radius white knoll. And I especially have to thank my wife for how supportive she has been through all of this. We’ve been married for going on 5 years now. We have 2 daughters and another one the way…so if yall could, pray for me. We didn’t waste any time either. Our oldest Ellie is about to be 4 and our youngest Eden is 1 ½ years old. So we’ll end up with 3 kids within almost 4 years. And before you ask, yes we know what causes it and yes we are done.
Before we get to David and Goliath,  I have 3 questions for you…
Is there a God?
Who is He?
Do you believe in the authority of scripture?
Those were 3 big questions I had to answer when I was becoming a christian. As most of us should be able to somewhat answer those as we are all called to be able to defend our faith. Some more than others. Apologetics has played a major role in my life. And I know that’s a new word to some of you. It doesn’t mean I’m apologizing for anything. It comes from a greek word and means “speaking in defense”. So I could speak for days on those three questions but I really want to get to that last one, the authority of scripture. Bc if we are going to talk about faith and growing in our faith then we need to know how to build a foundation.
So like many of us, I came to a breaking point in my life when I was around 20 or so. A lot of things led up to that but I can still remember thinking I was not going to believe in a God or religion just bc my parents raised me to. I had great parents who had me in church at a young age. But I was determined to become my own man. I wanted to know what the absolute truth of the world was. What do we as humans know. Theories are cool but I want to know facts. So I didn’t know at the time but there would end up being 3 major questions I had to answer for myself. And probably the biggest questions we will ever ask.
Is there a God?
Who is He?
Authority of Scripture?
And now there are a ton of details in between each of these questions with years of research before I really became grounded in my faith. So if this is something you struggle with and you need more then please find me afterwards. I can at least point you in the direction of some great resources. But going through this I wanted to hear what science had to say, what an atheist had to say, what other religions had to say, and what the bible had to say. And I can honestly tell you, that I have no clue how someone can unbiasedly look into this and say that we don’t have a creator. The evidence is overwhelming. Just the odds of us being here are a mathematical certainty. If you applied that same logic anywhere else in life it wouldn’t be a debate. But since we are talking about God and creation people seem to lose their logic and reason. And when you follow the facts you find that God and christianity is very reasonable and very logical. God doesn’t call us to have blind faith. There's a reason why the messengers of God throughout the bible performed miracles. And then it was the same when I eventually made my way to Jesus. The evidence is overwhelming. To deny the accounts of Jesus would mean I would have to deny believing anything of ancient history or either become a major hypocrite. But then I’m defeating the purpose of what I was set out to do, just find the absolute truth. And then you create a relationship and theres no doubt.
So those were 2 big hurdles. Really once you believe there's a creator then everything changes. And I could go on for days about the details. But then came the question: do I accept the authority of scripture?
The hardest part was the old testament. It can be hard to make sense of all of that. But you have to remember that I have already established that I believed there was a God and that Jesus was God incarnate. So in times of doubt I would fall back on that. We see that Jesus totally trusted the old testament. So I can’t sit here and say I believe He is God and then not believe what He says or teaches. And then the new testament was a little easier, you have a lot of 1st and 2nd hand accounts of Jesus and his teachings (which is very rare in ancient history). And the examples the apostles left us, they were all willing to lay down their lives to tell what they have seen and heard. And I don’t mean to go kill themselves for it, they were beaten and tortured for telling what they had seen and heard. Then, bc they were so convinced by what they had seen and heard, continued to go and tell the world bc it was that important. It was and is the truth of the world.
Now accepting scripture isn’t always easy. It’s offensive and it calls us out. Tells us where we need to change. And change isn’t always easy. Especially when the world tells us we are pretty good people. But Jesus said only God is good. We’re sinners in need of a savior. Over and over we are called to repent. We read in Luke :23Then Jesus said to all of them, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. 24For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet lose or forfeit his very self?…
We are told the gate is narrow. One of the verses that scared me the most can be found in Matthew 7:21-23 21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
That shook me. You’re telling me that people can cast out demons and perform miracles in Jesus name and still not be saved. This comes down to are we choosing Jesus, are we dying to ourselves and allowing Christ to lead our lives. It's scripture that tells us what that will look like. And if I don’t like what scripture says then it’s up to me to change. Otherwise I’m not choosing Jesus. And then I’m just picking and choosing what I believe based on feelings, and at that point all I’m doing is creating my own god and my own religion. And whatever that would be would not be the God of the bible, it would not be Jesus.
The word of God is where we build our foundation. This is our rock. This is where we build our faith. We build our faith upon the word of God.
And as we continue to dive into David we are going to see the great example of faith that he gives us. And the relationship he shares with God. If you have been with us then you know that we are in a series on the Life of David. David is known for many things but one of the main things is his faith and his relationship with God, being a man after God’s own heart.
So a quick recap, the people of Israel had God as their king but wanted an earthly king so God anoints Saul. Not the same Saul that becomes Paul in the new testament, a different Saul. I know that can be confusing. They’re separated by a little over 1000 years. Now Saul is someone we would have all picked, he's head and shoulders taller than everyone. Sounds like he was a straight up stud and probably was. But Saul became consumed and wasn’t seeking God. So God picks David as the next king. Someone who didn’t look the part but had faith. Was a man after God’s own heart. In chapter 16 of 1st Samuel God tells his prophet that “People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart”. So David is anointed by God through Samuel but he isn’t king yet. Saul didn’t just step down from being king. And that's where we pick up. In probably one of the most popular stories of the bible. David and Goliath.
This story is the whole 17th chapter of 1 Samuel, so we have a good bit of ground to cover. I’m just going to walk through it from beginning to end so if you have your bible or the bible app on your phone I’d encourage you to pull’em out and follow along. I won’t be reading every word. So at the start of the chapter we have the Philistines and the Israelites already in battle lines against each other. They meet at the valley of Elah near a place called Socoh. This valley would give Philistines entry into the hill country of Judah. But in a valley we know that who ever goes down first is very vulnerable bc they would have just lost the high ground. And to avoid mass casualties it was pretty common back then to send out a champion to represent the entire army, fight between the battle lines, and settle it that way.  So the philistines send out this massive dude called Goliath with the best armor available at the time. The bible goes into more detail about Goliath than hardly any other warrior. Lets read verses 4-7 “4Then Goliath, a Philistine champion from Gath, came out of the Philistine ranks to face the forces of Israel. He was over nine feet tall! 5He wore a bronze helmet, and his bronze coat of mail weighed 125 pounds.b 6He also wore bronze leg armor, and he carried a bronze javelin on his shoulder. 7The shaft of his spear was as heavy and thick as a weaver’s beam, tipped with an iron spearhead that weighed 15 pounds.c His armor bearer walked ahead of him carrying a shield.”
So let stop right there, there has always been debate over Goliath’s size. I used this translation bc I figured everyone probably wasn't freshened up on their cubits and spans. But a word for word translation would read that he was 6 cubits and a span, that would come out to about 9 ft 9 inches. Thats crazy right? That can be hard to believe but just within 100 years we had Robert Wadlow at 8 feet 11 inches. Not that far off. And if you look you can find many ancient civilizations that talk about massive people, it’s not just the bible. And as we just read, the text goes on to confirm his size with how large his armor was. But one of the differences with Goliath is that he was also a skilled warrior. Lets keep reading… “8Goliath stood and shouted a taunt across to the Israelites. “Why are you all coming out to fight?” he called. “I am the Philistine champion, but you are only the servants of Saul. Choose one man to come down here and fight me! 9If he kills me, then we will be your slaves. But if I kill him, you will be our slaves! 10I defy the armies of Israel today! Send me a man who will fight me!” 11When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified and deeply shaken.”
So Goliath challenges the whole army of Israel and no one did anything. This was Saul's fight. He was most likely the champion of the Israelites. Head and shoulders above everyone else. It has Saul at about 6 ½ feet tall. But he was terrified.
So now comes David into the story. He’s already been anointed at this point to be the king of Israel but he’s still handling chores around the farm. He actually at this point is going back and forth between the farm and playing music for Saul at times. And so in the meantime we see that Goliath is coming out every day taunting the Israelites. Verse 16 reads “For forty days, every morning and evening, the Philistine champion strutted in front of the Israelite army.” So twice a day for 40 days! This is interesting bc as a kid when I would think of this story I just think of a giant stepping out and then David coming to handle business. But this was 80 times he punked out the entire Israelite army. But if you ask me it looks like God’s sovereignty written all over it. The number 40 comes up a couple more times in the bible, Moses and the Israelites 40 years in the wilderness, and Jesus 40 days in the wilderness. Plus David is still young and unaccomplished, they probably weren’t going to just let him go represent all of Israel on day 1. They needed their pride broken down a little bit. David's 3 oldest brothers have already left and are with the army. And down to verse 17 we are seeing that his dad is sending him to the army to take some lunch and get a report. Let’s pick up with verse 20…
20 So David left the sheep with another shepherd and set out early the next morning with the gifts, as Jesse had directed him. He arrived at the camp just as the Israelite army was leaving for the battlefield with shouts and battle cries. 21 Soon the Israelite and Philistine forces stood facing each other, army against army. 22 David left his things with the keeper of supplies and hurried out to the ranks to greet his brothers. 23 As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, came out from the Philistine ranks. Then David heard him shout his usual taunt to the army of Israel.
24 As soon as the Israelite army saw him, they began to run away in fright. 25“Have you seen the giant?” the men asked. “He comes out each day to defy Israel. The king has offered a huge reward to anyone who kills him. He will give that man one of his daughters for a wife, and the man’s entire family will be exempted from paying taxes!”
So David shows up with the food and the armies are heading out so he drops everything off and runs to meet his brothers. And then here comes Goliath for the 81st time, taunting Israel. The same men who have coward away 80 times before run in fear again. And David can not believe what he is hearing. Not only is Goliath insulting and challenging them, but no one is doing anything about it either! And look at verse 26 and see how David is seeing this different. Verse 26 reads 26 David asked the soldiers standing nearby, “What will a man get for killing this Philistine and ending his defiance of Israel? Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?”
Right away we see that David doesn’t see this as Saul's army. He sees Israel as the living God’s army. This is a big perspective difference between David and Saul. And we also get some first indications of David having been taught theology when he references a “pagan Philistine” and that Israel is God’s people. And so from here we see that while David is asking these questions, his oldest brother doesn’t feel like hearing it from him. He is giving David a hard time, telling him to get back to his sheep.Then David, “What have I done now?” It sounds a lot like typical siblings. But I’m sure that his brother is probably pretty broken. Having been out there and taunted but also did nothing. And remember earlier he would’ve been there when Samuel passed right over him to anoint David.
So David keeps asking until it eventually gets back to Saul and Saul sends for him. Verse 32“Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!” I feel like Saul is probably laughing when he replies, 33“Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.” 34But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. (Probably more laughs there as if that justified anything)“When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, 35I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. 36I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! 37The LORD who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” So not bc he has faith, this will be done, but bc of his faith he understands that it is God’s will to be done. That's a subtle difference but we can get that mixed up. We can often make things about ourselves. As if I've been obedient to God then God owes me something. We may not always realize we are looking at it that way but we often do. And from a perspective standpoint that can be a pretty big deal. When it comes to how we perceive God, who He is and how He works. When our theology is off is when a lot of pain and doubt can creep in. We begin to view God as something He is not. God will use a faithful servant to carry out His will, for His Glory. We are just the faithful servant, it’s still all about God. That we would be in a relationship with Him to where our hearts desires would reflect His will. Bc He is worthy! It’s through this relationship with our creator that we find our purpose and our identity. It’s through serving Him that we begin to truly experience love, joy, peace, all the fruits of the spirit. Nothing can match what God offers when we align ourselves with Him. And God isn’t just throwing David out there either. He has been preparing him for this. He fought lions and bears. Now I doubt any of us are fighting lions and bears. But I’m sure he’s preparing us for something. And it’s through that preparation, of being in His word and knowing Him, that we will be able to take that step in faith when He calls us to. Just like I’m sure David knew the promises God gave to Moses and Joshua, that He would defeat anyone they went up against in battle. The foundations of our faith are in knowing the word of God. Our battles may look different but that's step 1 in how we prepare. Let's keep reading: Saul finally consented. “All right, go ahead,” he said. “And may the LORD be with you!”
38Then Saul gave David his own armor—a bronze helmet and a coat of mail. 39David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before. (Remember now, Saul is 6’6”. makes me think of a little kid when they try on their parents clothes or shoes)
“I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off again. 40He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. -You can actually still find these stones in that area. They are not little pebbles, they are about the size of a baseball. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine.
41Goliath walked out toward David with his shield bearer ahead of him, 42sneering in contempt at this ruddy-faced boy. 43“Am I a dog,” he roared at David, “that you come at me with a stick?” Goliath was insulted. David in his youth came out with no sword or armor. And he cursed David by the names of his gods. 44“Come over here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!” Goliath yelled.
45David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46Today the LORD will conquer you, (so David’s constantly referring to this as God’s battle. I can compare this to how when I was early on in my faith and my eyes felt like they were constantly being opened. I can remember struggling with questions for months and then finally going to God in prayer about it and it would hit me. When that happens over and over it’s not a coincidence. But see I can give you the details of what I was seeing but when we read the scriptures we can see what was actually happening from a spiritual standpoint. I was being transformed inwardly, I was dead in my sins and now being brought to life. And the more we walk with God the better we will be able to see the world the way He does. So David is letting him know this is the Lords battle, and now he’s about to let him know the details)and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! 47And everyone assembled here will know that the LORD rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the LORD’s battle, and he will give you to us!” So while Saul and the Israelites feared Goliath, the man. David feared God, wasn’t worried about a man.
48As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him. 49Reaching into his shepherd’s bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground.
50So David triumphed over the Philistine with only a sling and a stone, for he had no sword. 51Then David ran over and pulled Goliath’s sword from its sheath. David used it to kill him and cut off his head. So with no sword, armor, or experience, David took down a giant bc he knew that this battle was God’s. David viewed God as the commander of Israels army. Something Saul failed at and a difference in what brought about Saul’s failure and David’s success. When David stepped out to fight, he was representing all of Israel. I doubt they knew at the time but he was one of the promised seeds in a blood line to bring about our savior. Flash forward about 1000 years and Jesus is on the cross representing all of our sin. The gospel of John tells us that the word itself became flesh and dwelt among us. So the word, Jesus, came and gave us a perfect example. Then became the ultimate sacrifice. That while we were still sinners, he saved us. 8For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9not by works, so that no one can boast. Christ has done the work of salvation for us. So when we commit our lives to Christ, when we accept him as Lord and savior of our lives, it’s done. He has handled it. But it’s through His word that we know what that looks like in our life. It’s through His word that we know who He is and in turn, know who we are. Our faith is built upon the word of God. We should eat, sleep, and breathe this. This is our daily bread.
If you’re struggling with any of this then grab one of us or more importantly go to God in prayer. We have access to talk directly to our creator. Take it to Him, it’s what we do. We pray. Which is why we are focusing an entire month on prayer here at Radius. If you haven’t been then I want to really encourage you to join us this wednesday afternoon as we will gather as a group of believers and go directly to God in prayer. That’s one of the first steps we must take if we are going to reach this community. We want to get behind God’s plan, not our own. Let me pray for us…
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