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The story of David and Goliath – sermon text

Lenten Blessings,

Well once again the weather is not cooperating. Like our local schools and many businesses, our office is closed today and we will be canceling our Wednesday soup supper and worship service this evening. Below is the message that would have been preached, along with the scripture lessons.

Be safe and warm
Pastor

Wednesday March 21
Sermon: The story of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17)
Text: 1 Samuel 17:32

Lections:

1 Samuel 17:3-4, 8-11, 16, 24, 32-33, 37, 40-50
… 3And the Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. 4And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. … 8He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. 9If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” 10And the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day. Give me a man, that we may fight together.” 11When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.
… 16For forty days the Philistine came forward and took his stand, morning and evening. …
24 All the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were much afraid.
… 32And David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” … 37And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!”
… 40Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.
41 And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. 42And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. 43And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” 45Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with 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 defied. 46This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.”
48 When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.
50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David.

Psalm 147 (6)
The LORD lifts up the humble;
he casts the wicked to the ground.

1 Praise the LORD!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
2 The LORD builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
6 The LORD lifts up the humble;
he casts the wicked to the ground.

7 Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre!
8 He covers the heavens with clouds;
he prepares rain for the earth;
he makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He gives to the beasts their food,
and to the young ravens that cry.
10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
11 but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.

12 Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!
13 For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
he blesses your children within you.
14 He makes peace in your borders;
he fills you with the finest of the wheat.
15 He sends out his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
16 He gives snow like wool;
he scatters frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down his crystals of mice like crumbs;
who can stand before his cold?
18 He sends out his word, and melts them;
he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.
19 He declares his word to Jacob,
his statutes and rules to Israel.
20 He has not dealt thus with any other nation;
they do not know his rules.
Praise the LORD!

Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen.

The LORD lifts up the humble;
he casts the wicked to the ground.

Revelation 5:1-10
1 Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” 3And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, 4and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. 5And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. 8And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”

Matthew 21:1-10
1 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” 4This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

5 “Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”

6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

 

And David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:32

In Acts 10, we have a major turning point in the history of the Church. Before those events, the Gospel was pretty much confined to Jews. In chapter 10, the Gospel breaks through to the Gentiles, thanks to Peter. In the very first sermon to Gentiles, Peter said, “To [Jesus] all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:43). What he meant by “the prophets” is not what we mean by “the prophets.” We would be thinking of people like Isaiah or Jeremiah. Peter was using the typical First Century Jewish classification of the books of the Bible. That divided the Old Testament into two parts, the Law and the Prophets. The first five books, written by Moses, was “the Law.” Everything else was “the Prophets.” If they wanted to further divide “the Prophets,” that second division was called “the Writings” and included what we would call the poetry and wisdom books. Any way you slice it, though, what we call the history books, like First and Second Samuel, were part of “the Prophets.” So, when Peter says all the prophets bear witness to Jesus, he means stories like David and Goliath.

Tonight, we will take Peter at his word and find our Lord Jesus in the story of David and Goliath, recorded in 1 Samuel 17. It can be found, starting on page 248, in your pew Bible. As in the case with all of these Lenten messages, most connections with Christ will have to be omitted for the sake of keeping the message to a reasonable length. We will begin with a quick re-cap of events.

Saul was king of Israel, but he had been rejected by God due to his lack of faith (1 Samuel 13:8-15). As was consistently his problem, he feared people more than he trusted in God. David had secretly been anointed by Samuel to be the next king (1 Samuel 16:1-13). Once rejected by God, a “harmful spirit” descended upon Saul, making him depressed, irrational and even, at times, violent (1 Samuel 16:14). One of Saul’s courtiers recruited David to be one of the court musicians to soothe Saul, which helped the man, but David remained a faceless court attendant, being summoned by court officials from time to time like the other musicians.

The Philistines came to attack Israel. Each side took up positions on opposing hills. Neither side, wishing to give up the advantage of high ground, dug in. The Philistines would daily send out a seasoned fighting man named Goliath to taunt the Israelites’ troops and, by extension, the one true God. How big you think Goliath was depends on the values you give to a “cubit” and a “span;” however, no matter how you understand the measurements, Goliath would have made a great basketball player today. I tend to agree with those who make him six and a half feet tall, maybe six, nine. Some, though, estimate him to have been nine feet tall, or more. The average Israelite was somewhere between five feet and five feet, three inches tall. Saul was the exception, standing closer to five ten (1 Samuel 10:25). Saul was the natural choice to fight Goliath, but he remained cowering behind the lines. As I said, he lacked faith.

David had remained at home watching the sheep. Though his father and brothers knew he had been anointed by Samuel, none of them truly believed in him. David was sent to the front lines to provide three of his brothers with supplies. While there, he heard Goliath’s daily challenge and observed how all of the fighting men of Israel responded in fear. David tells Saul that he will face the giant and defeat him, just as the Lord had enabled him to defeat wild animals like lions and bears that attacked the sheep of which he was in charge. David steps forward and, with his sling, downs Goliath. Then David pulls out Goliath’s own sword and cleaves the giant’s head off from his body. After this victory, the Israelite army, filled with courage, charges forward and the Philistine army retreats pell-mell. The day ends with a great victory for Israel, and Saul now knows who David is.

The easiest place to start examining how David foreshadows the Lord is the most used. David was the anointed king of Israel. The Hebrew word Messiah, translated into Greek as “Christ,” means “anointed one.” The Old Testament office of king was a type of Jesus and each king was, therefore, a type of Christ as the Anointed One from God. This is a foundational observation that supports the teaching that Jesus is our prophet, priest and “king.” As such, Jesus rules in our lives. However, Old Testament kings were more than bureaucrats. They were the leader of the army. Much like our President is also our Commander and Chief, but in the Old Testament they didn’t remain behind in the capitol issuing orders in safety. They led the army into battle. So we find in Jesus the leader who goes before us, facing the devil and all his allies. He is a King who we follow, not a king who issued orders from a safe position behind the lines.

David, of course, foreshadowed this type of anointed kingship on the day he faced Goliath. He faced the giant instead of remaining behind the lines. We find this warrior-king depiction of Jesus in many places in the Bible. Moses sang:

The LORD is a man of war;
The LORD is his name. (Exodus 15:3)

As Joshua and the Israelites entered the Promised Land, Jesus met Joshua. Jesus was identified as “the Commander of the host of the LORD” (Joshua 5:14-15). Psalm 110, in speaking of Jesus, is filled with this kind of warrior-king imagery. It even begins with the enemies of our Lord being made a “footstool.” By the way, this is the way to understand the times the victorious Israelites are told to put their foot on the neck of the vanquished (Joshua 10:24). This image reinforces the prophecy in Genesis 3:15 where Jesus crushed the head of Satan with his heel.

This also aids in our understanding of the common Old Testament designation of God as “Yahweh Sabaoth.” This name for God appears 261 times in the Old Testament and is commonly translated as “LORD of Hosts” (1 Samuel 1:3, etc.). Some translations inaccurately translate it as “the Lord Almighty,” confusing it with a different Hebrew title for God. The hosts Jesus commands are either the angelic army or his Church militant. At any rate, the title means Jesus is our commander and chief who leads us in battle against the old evil foe. The first notes of this battle were sounded at the fall of humanity when it was announce that enmity would be the standard position between Satan and Jesus (Genesis 3:15). The great victory in this warfare was achieved when Jesus crushed the head of the serpent through his atoning death on the cross. The final note will be sounded by the trumpets announcing the return of Jesus on the Last Day. I need to get off this war image before I run out of time.

Another way that David foreshadowed Jesus was in his obscurity. Though David was the anointed King of Israel, no one seemed to know or recognize him as such. So also Jesus, the Anointed King, the Lord of Hosts, came to his own but they did not recognize him (John 1:9-10). We also remember that Jesus’ brothers didn’t believe in him until after his resurrection (John 7:5). This was foreshadowed in the lack of faith David’s brothers had in David in these early days.

David was offered the armor that was common for military men of his day, but in the end David turned it down. He faced the foe armored only with his faith that God would deliver to him the victory (1 Samuel 17:45-46). Goliath’s trust in the weapons of the world failed him. David’s trust in God proved to be all the armor he needed. So Jesus, in facing our ancient foes, battles with the weapons of God, and he wins the victory for us.

So the psalmist records Jesus as saying, “Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul” (Psalm 143:8). The writer of Hebrews speaks also of this trust Jesus had when he wrote, “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence” (Hebrews 5:7). We also see this trust of our Lord Jesus when he prayed in John 11 where we read, “And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me’” (John 11:41-42). The trust David had foreshadowed the trust Jesus had.

As a small aside, I could also spend some time on how the New Testament speaks of our continuing battle against the world, the devil, and even our sinful flesh, and tells us to put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20). What is often overlooked in this battle preparation is that the Old Testament tells us that Jesus has so armored himself already. Isaiah tells us:

He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
and a helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on garments of vengeance for clothing,
and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak. (Isaiah 59:17)

Just one more quick point before we end. Notice how Goliath continues to mock David, Israel and God right up to the end. He even charges David. So also, right up to his defeat, Satan defies God and the leaders of the Jews mocked God’s Anointed One. Goliath looked frightening right up to the moment that the rock smacked him in the head. So also, Satan and his allies looked frightening right up to the moment they were defeated, right up to the moment the stone blocking our Lord’s grave was thrust aside. This marked the defeat of Satan for the entire world to see. All that is left is to lop off his head. Jesus will do this when he returns, with all the heavenly hosts, and cast Satan into the Lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).

Well, as I suggested at the beginning of this message, there are many other ways that David foreshadows our Lord Jesus. Indeed, that can be said about each of our Wednesday messages; you just need to change the name from David to Joshua, Sampson, or whomever. By the blessing of the Holy Spirit, I hope we all have grown in our appreciation of Peter’s words, “To [Jesus] all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” I know I have. Amen.

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