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1 Samuel 17:1-11, 16

When Trials Come

  • Matthew Dodd
  • Weekend Messages
  • May 14, 2017

Whether it is public speaking, spiders, snakes, never getting married, getting divorced, losing a job, sickness, your boss…we all have a worst nightmare, and we can all relate! We might not have the same fears or go through the same trials but we all have experienced fear when confronted by a trial. We are going to study a passage that is familiar to us all – the epic battle between David and Goliath! We’re going to look at the epic battle before the battle to discover some common tactics of the enemy and some critical principles from God’s Word to help us live victoriously when trials come.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

When Trials Come

1 Samuel 17:1-11, 16 



ILLUS – What’s your worst nightmare?

1.Whether it is public speaking, spiders, snakes, never getting married, getting divorced, losing a job, sickness, your boss, the loss of a loved one, your in-law that hasn’t gone home yet after their Christmas visit… we can all relate!

2.We might not have the same fears or go through the same trials but we all have experienced fear when confronted by a trial.

3.When our “What ifs” or “Worst case scenarios” become a reality!

4.We are going to study a passage that is familiar to us all – the epic battle between David and Goliath!

5.But we’re not going to look at David’s actual defeat of Goliath.

6.Rather, we’re going to look at the epic battle before the battle to discover some common tactics of the enemy and some critical principles from God’s Word to help us live victoriously when trials come.

1 Samuel 17:1-11, 16


1. At this point, Israel’s first king, Saul, has been rejected by God.

2. In Israel, God found a man after His own heart, David.

3. The prophet Samuel had anointed David as king but David did not begin his reign immediately.

4. God allowed Saul to remain on the throne to reveal that:

a. Saul was disqualified and rejected as king.

b. David was qualified and anointed to be the next king.

c. This revelation became crystal clear when Israel faced this trial with the Philistines.

Trans – The first biblical principle to help us when trials come is…

I. Stand Your Ground (1-3) 

A. Our enemy is a thief (1)

1. In verse 1, where did the Philistines settle?

a. In Socoh

b. Socoh belonged to Judah

2. Who gave Socoh to Judah? God!

Joshua 15:20-21, 35, “This is the inheritance of the tribe of the sons of Judah according to their families. Now the cities at the extremity of the tribe of the sons of Judah… Jarmuth and Adullam, Socoh and Azekah,”

3. The Philistines were declaring Socoh now belonged to them!

4. At first glance you may say, it was just a border town. It’s no big deal! Right? Wrong!

5. Strong border towns were and are essential for the stability of any nation.

6. If a country is unable to hold and protect its border it won’t be long before the capital falls as well.

APPL – Spiritually speaking, this is a common tactic of the enemy!

  • Strike the outskirts first!
  • Take and occupy as much land as you are willing to give up!

John 10:10a, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy”

  • Do nations, companies, or marriages fall overnight?
  • There is a progression! If you give the enemy an inch he won’t stop at an inch! He won’t stop until he has it all!
  • The question is, “How much are you willing to give up?”

ILLUS – Satan with a can of black spray paint

Proverbs 4:23, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”

B. Be the watchman on the wall (2-3)

1. By the time we reach verses 2 and 3 it was too late!

a. Israel should have fortified her border towns to make the enemy think twice about picking a fight! It would have been worth the effort!

b. Israel should have stationed assets in the border towns to hold the line until help arrived. It would have been worth it!

c. Israel should have stationed watchmen on the wall to sound the alarm at the first hint of foul play! It just makes sense!

2. King Saul arrives late and sets up camp on a mountain opposite of the Philistines with the valley of Elah between them. Things could have been different!


APPL – Here’s what the enemy is banking on…

  • During times of peace, we will let our guard down.
  • During times of ease, we will be lulled into complacency.
  • During times of prosperity, we will fall asleep at our post.
  • Then when he attacks, we will be caught off guard and concede ground or surrender in defeat!

APPL – But God’s Word tells us some things are worth the effort and worth fighting for…

  • It takes effort to spend time with God in prayer and in His Word each day… but it’s worth it for we are changed in the presence of a holy God!
  • It takes effort to remain holy in a wicked and adulterous generation… but it’s worth it! A holy life is a satisfying life!
  • It takes effort to be a godly husband or wife, to guard the marriage bed and keep it undefiled… but it’s worth it!
  • You see, God sent His Son to become a man, to suffer and die for the sins of the world so that all who place their faith in Jesus might be forgiven and have eternal life…
  • Why? You were worth it!

ILLUS – Shammah, one of David’s mighty men, and a field of lentil

2 Samuel 23:11-12, “Now after him was Shammah the son of Agee a Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered into a troop, where there was a plot of ground full of lentils, and the people fled from the Philistines. But he took his stand in the midst of the plot, defended it and struck the Philistines; and the Lord brought about a great victory.”

Ephesians 6:10-11, “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”

Trans – The second principle to help us when trials come is…

II. Eat Fear for Breakfast (4-11, 16)

A. God is never afraid (4-7)

1. The enemy will always try to intimidate God’s people!

2. The Philistines send out their champion, Goliath (4).

a. Goliath is 9’9’’ tall.

b. He is decked out with the best armor – 125 lbs.

c. Equipped with impressive weapons: a bronze javelin, a spear with a shaft that’s the length of a weaver’s beam and a spearhead weighing 15 lbs.

d. Goliath is a champion, undefeated in hand-to-hand battles to the death!

3. The message was clear! You’re playing in the Big Leagues now. The odds are totally against you. There’s no way you can win. Surrender!

ILLUS – The assistant store manager of Levitz Furniture telling me that I will be required to work weekends!

APPL – Giants do not intimidate God!

  • God doesn’t fear the enemy’s threats or overwhelming odds!
  • God laughs and gets the last word!

Psalm 2:1-2, 4-6, “Why are the nations in an uproar, and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed. He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury: ‘But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain.’”

APPL – We don’t have to be afraid when trials come…

  • The odds are never against us if God is for us!
  • There’s no such thing as losing when we walk by faith!

Romans 8:31, 37, “If God is for us, who is against us? But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”

B. We are servants of the Lord (8-11, 16)

ILLUS – Introductions at a Calvary Hillsboro leaders’ meeting

1. Notice the enemy’s next tactic – a “Deceptive Dare”

a. “You are servants of Saul” (8)

b. Was that completely true? No!

1 Samuel 17:26, “Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him, saying, ‘What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine, and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?’”

2. David gets it!!! We belong to the Lord. But the enemy wants us to forget who we are in Christ and why! 

Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.”

3. Please also notice the enemy wants us to fight battles on his terms, his way, and with his weapons! (9-10)

4. But Paul tells us how to fight battles God’s way…

2 Corinthians 10:3-5, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”

5. Saul was afraid and Israel followed his lead (11)

6. Goliath’s taunts lasted 40 days… day and night!!! (16)

APPL – Some of us are going through the exact same experience… day and night… the enemy has been wearing you down with fear, your hope is fading and your faith is getting weaker! When will it change?

APPL – In verse 31, we are told that David’s words about Goliath made their way to King Saul. Why? Because it was the first word of FAITH spoken in Israel’s camp in 40 days!!!


APPL – I believe the Lord wants us to hear a word that will encourage our faith today!

Isaiah 43:1-3, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

God is asking you to trust Him. He is not afraid of your tomorrows. He will be with you!! 

God is asking you to give your trials to Him. He is not overwhelmed, so don’t be overwhelmed!

God is asking you to give Him your pain, your failures, and your disappointments. He is for you not against you!

God knows the costly ground you have lost over the years. He wants to restore you and bless you!

Will you give it all to the Lord and let Him fight for you?

1 Samuel 17:1-11, 16    NASB

1 Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle; and they were gathered at Socoh which belongs to Judah, and they camped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. 2 Saul and the men of Israel were gathered and camped in the valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array to encounter the Philistines. 3 The Philistines stood on the mountain on one side while Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them. 4 Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was clothed with scale-armor which weighed five thousand shekels of bronze. 6 He also had bronze greaves on his legs and a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders. 7 The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and the head of his spear weighed six hundred shekels of iron; his shield-carrier also walked before him. 8 He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel and said to them, “Why do you come out to draw up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and you servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us.” 10 Again the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.” 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

16 The Philistine came forward morning and evening for forty days and took his stand.


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