- Sermon Notes
The Faith of a Giant
1 Samuel 17:40-50
How rapidly things change. What began as a blip on the news has changed the face of the world in just a few short months. The world has changed before our eyes. This has all become quite real because it is impacting all of us.
It’s times like these that we need to strengthen our faith. It reminds me of Proverbs 18:10, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are saved.”
When I think of faith in the midst of troubles, I think of the great examples in the bible. One of those is David. Your faith is strengthened when you see someone who has the faith of a spiritual giant.
David became famous because he faced the Philistine giant that day. But I suggest that though the Philistine by the name of Goliath was physically a giant, David was spiritually a giant. We need that kind of faith right now, in times like these.
I want us to look at the story of David and understand what it means to strengthen faith in a time of trouble. We need greater faith. These are days of great uncertainty and people are concerned; many are losing their jobs, the stock market has fallen sharply, in some places people are told to shelter in place. How deep will these troubles be?
God will strengthen faith when you look to Him. That’s the lesson from this story.
In 1 Samuel 17 David was just a youth. Israel was in a conflict with the Philistines. The armies were standing opposite each other with the valley of Elah between them.
David’s older brothers were in the army of Israel and his father Jesse sent David to check on their well-being. When he arrived, he heard the Philistine giant, Goliath, taunting Israel to send out a man to fight, but all Israel was afraid, and no one was willing to face the Philistine.
When David heard the giant taunting Israel, he became incensed, saying, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should taunt the armies of the living God?”
David’s faith is the key to this story. When King Saul sent David to face the Philistine, he was sending a spiritual giant. The lessons from the story are lessons about faith.
I. Strengthen Yourself in the Lord
- When David heard the taunts of Goliath, he became incensed. “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?”
- In other words, the armies of the living God stand because of the hand of God; in other words, if God is with you, who can be against you?
- Where does faith like this come from? How do you arise in faith to have such confidence in God? When it comes to faith, David’s life is our example.
A. Begin with a transformed heart
- We know that David had a heart after God. But men are not just born with a heart after God.
- It’s quite the opposite, man is born with a heart that is wicked.
Jeremiah 17:9, The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?
Illus –If you’ve raised kids at all you know one thing for certain, you don’t have to teach children how to be selfish. They’re born that way; it’s natural. They come out of the womb that way. They were born with the nature of man.
- Something must happen between the moment when a child is born and when that child grows up and becomes spiritually strong.
- There must be spiritual revival. That’s the foundation for spiritual change. There are no spiritual giants without a heart after God.
- Now is the time for spiritual revival; now is the time to strengthen yourself in the Lord.
- But how? Open your heart to the Lord; He is the One who fills your heart; He is the One who pours His Spirit into the soul.
Ezekiel 36:26, “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
- Whether you’re young or old, it doesn’t matter; the key is that the heart must be changed.
- But how? The key is relationship. God wants to draw near to you; open the door of your heart.
Illus – It’s times like these that people are searching for hope. There’s a phrase you often hear when the financial markets get turned upside down; people are looking for a ‘safe haven.’ It’s not just the markets, it’s life.
Many are looking for a ‘safe haven’ for their lives. The answer is found in God; he is the anchor in the storm.
Hebrews 6:18-19, Take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor for the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast.
B. God is forging an excellent spirit
- Alan Redpath once said, “The conversion of the soul is the miracle of a moment, but the making of a man of God is the work of a lifetime.”
- Before David faced the giant, he had already fought many battles. When he was watching the sheep and a lion or a bear came and took a lamb, he went after it and attacked and killed it.
- God was forging an excellent spirit; God was preparing David for the challenges ahead.
- David would give an account for those lambs and was concerned for every one of them, that’s why he would make a good king.
Luke 16:10, “He who is faithful in a very little thing will be faithful also in much.”
- But the scripture also says that David was anointed by the Holy Spirit who came upon him mightily.
- He is the same Holy Spirit that is given to every believer who trusts in the Lord Jesus Christ for new life in Him.
Zechariah 4:6, Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.”
C. God blesses the heart that loves Him
- When you look at David’s heart, you see David’s love for his Lord.
- When David was watching the sheep, he would play his harp and write psalms to the Lord. What beautiful, personal, heartfelt moments.
- David didn’t write the Psalms because he thought they would make him famous one day. He wasn’t planning on submitting these to a publisher. He was simply writing psalms because he loved his Lord with all his heart. And God loved him for it.
Psalm 23:1, The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
Psalm 8:3-4, 9, When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; what is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him?… O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!
Psalm 19:14, Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.
- It was David’s heart that God saw in him and that was what God was searching for in the man who would lead Israel.
2 Chronicles 16:9, The eyes of the Lord search to and fro throughout the whole earth in order to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose hearts are perfect toward him.
II. God is a Very Present Help
- This is the key to faith; knowing that God will never leave you, nor will He ever forsake you…
Psalm 46:1-2, 10, God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea… Be still and know that I am God.
- The world is changing before our eyes and people are facing problems that are as giants before them.
- It could be a medical condition or losing your job in this bad economy. It could be alcohol or drugs taking hold of your life, or problems in your marriage that seem insurmountable.
A. Faith is the victory
- The problem with giants is that they’re very intimidating. For 40 days Israel had been worn down by the taunts of this Philistine giant.
- In other words, they were being reduced into something much less and much weaker than God wanted them to be.
- Problems can wear you down, but David knew where he could be built up.
Illus – Several years after this, David and his men returned to camp one day only to discover that the Amalekites had come and had taken captive the women and children. David and his men wept bitterly, but then the men turned against him…
1 Samuel 30:6, Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthen himself in the Lord his God.
- When facing troubles; begin right there. Strengthen yourself in the Lord. Draw near to Him; turn your heart toward Him…
- This is what spiritual giants do.
Psalm 121:1-2, I left up my eyes to the mountains; where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.
- You see David’s faith in his response to Goliath, “I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have just taunted.”
- David made it clear in verse 37 that it was the Lord who had delivered him from the lion and from the bear and it would be the Lord who would deliver him from the hand of the Philistine that day.
2 Corinthians 10:3-4, 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.
Illus – When David slung that stone, I’m convinced it was divinely directed by the Spirit of God. There was nowhere else in the world it was going to go but into Goliath’s forehead.
B. The battle belongs to the Lord
- That’s what David told Goliath. That’s what we need to understand for our own lives today.
- The key is that David was willing to face Goliath with his faith. He would not be reduced by Goliath’s taunts because he had already been built up by the Spirit of God.
- Many years later when Jehoshaphat, King of Judah faced his enemies, the Lord strengthened his faith when God spoke through a prophet…
2 Chronicles 20:15, “The battle is not yours but God’s… station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the Lord is with you.”
- Facing the giants in your life means you are willing to view your circumstances through faith. Lift up your eyes to the Lord, that is where help comes from.
1 Samuel 17:40-50 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
40 He took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine.
41 Then the Philistine came on and approached David, with the shield-bearer in front of him. 42 When the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, and ruddy, with a handsome appearance. 43 The Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 The Philistine also said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.” 45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and 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 taunted. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47 and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.”
48 Then it happened when the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground.
50 Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David’s hand.