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David & Goliath

1 Samuel 17:1-11 

"The Philistines now mustered their army for battle and camped between Socoh in Judah and Azekah at Ephes-dammim. [2] Saul countered by gathering his troops near the valley of Elah. [3] So the Philistines and Israelites faced each other on opposite hills, with the valley between them. 

[4] Then Goliath, a Philistine champion from Gath, came out of the Philistine ranks to face the forces of Israel. He was a giant of a man, measuring over nine feet tall! [5] He wore a bronze helmet and a coat of mail that weighed 125 pounds. [6] He also wore bronze leggings, and he slung a bronze javelin over his back. [7] The shaft of his spear was as heavy and thick as a weaver's beam, tipped with an iron spearhead that weighed fifteen pounds. An armor bearer walked ahead of him carrying a huge shield. 

[8] Goliath stood and shouted across to the Israelites, 'Do you need a whole army to settle this? Choose someone to fight for you, and I will represent the Philistines. We will settle this dispute in single combat! [9] If your man is able to kill me, then we will be your slaves. But if I kill him, you will be our slaves! [10] I defy the armies of Israel! Send me a man who will fight with me!' [11] When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified and deeply shaken."

In this passage, the Philistines unleash the first "Shock & Awe" military campaign. Every morning and evening for 40 days, (1 Samuel 17:16) Goliath paralyzed the armies of God. No doubt, he was an intimidating presence-all nine feet of him. Have you noticed that they just don't make giants like they used to? Yao Ming, the Chinese giant, plays center for the Houston Rockets. He was the first draft pick last year and came in second for the NBA Rookie of the Year award in 2002-03. No one would argue that he isn't a large man, but at just 7 foot 6 inches, he would be no match for Goliath who had eighteen inches on him. (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/news/2003/07/22/yao_hurt_ap) Since most door jams are 6 foot 8 inches tall, the top of the jam would hit him about chest high and since most ceilings are at 8 foot, his head would be in the attic. This was a large man. Is it any wonder that he paralyzed the army of Israel? Look at their response in 1 Samuel 17:23-24, "As he was talking with them, he saw Goliath, the champion from Gath, come out from the Philistine ranks, shouting his challenge to the army of Israel. [24] As soon as the Israelite army saw him, they began to run away in fright." (NTL) At this point in the message, we usually make an allegory out of this narrative and talk about the giant problems we face in our lives, but I don't want us to go there. Just let the impact of the sheer size of this man and his intimidating presence sink in. Let's remain in the biblical narrative for a while longer without making any snap applications. Now be honest, would you have been intimidated if you were there?

Look at young David's response in 1 Samuel 17:26 when he asked the key question, "Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?" (NLT) David wasn't intimidated. Why? Well for one, he knew his God was bigger-he had faith. But he also had a humble confidence in his ability to defeat the giant. Listen to what he told the king in 1 Samuel 17:32-37 "'Don't worry about a thing,' David told Saul. 'I'll go fight this Philistine!'

[33] 'Don't be ridiculous!' Saul replied. 'There is no way you can go against this Philistine. You are only a boy, and he has been in the army since he was a boy!' 

[34] But David persisted. 'I have been taking care of my father's sheep,' he said. 'When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, [35] I go after it with a club and take the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. [36] I 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! [37] The Lord who saved me from the claws of the lion and the bear will save me from this Philistine!' Saul finally consented. 'All right, go ahead,' he said. 'And may the Lord be with you!'" (NLT)

Saul quickly dismissed David's offer as youthful arrogance, but soon learned it wasn't that at all. David had faced overwhelming odds before and won. I said that David had humble confidence, look at verse 37-David understood that it was God that gave him the victory against the beasts that threatened his father's flocks and it is God that will give him the victory against the beast that is threatening his heavenly Father's army. 
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