David the Warrior (Manuscript)

 
— our FB Livestream disappeared and the audio wasn’t recorded, but here’s what we got!–
 

If you come to my house and take a look at my DVD collection you will see an extensive variety of movies. Comedy, Drama, Action, War…when I have time to sit down and watch a movie…which is rarer than id like…I choose which movie to watch depending on my mood. But no matter the type or genre of movie, in my opinion, to have a good movie you need a few basic elements.

First, you need a hero. You need someone to cheer for, someone you want to succeed at all costs. A hero who is brave and fighting for a noble cause. You need a Maximus, a William Wallace, a Katniss Everdeen, a Luke Skywalker. When these heroes are victorious it feels like we are victorious along with them. It inspirational.

You need a great villain. The best movies have the best villains. Someone in a movie who makes you so angry that it compels you to root for the hero. Twisted, corrupt, evil villains by themselves can make a great movie. Where would Starwars be without Darth Vader and the dark side of the force? Or the Lord of the Rings without Sauron and his minions? Just as we get emotional about a hero succeeding, we also feel a drive or need for these villains to be taken down and brought to justice.

Lastly, I need a movie to have a great story with excitement and conflict. A story that pulls us in to the world of the movie we are watching.

1 Samuel 17 is this type of story. This battle between David and Goliath has become one of the most well known stories of all time. Almost everyone knows at least the basic fundamentals of this story. This story has become ingrained into popular culture. I saw this commercial the other day.

David and Goliath has come to represent any underdog vs. a seemingly insurmountable foe. Everyone knows this story. But what is usually known is the kids version.Where David chucks at rock at Goliath and down he goes.
 

This morning Griff didn’t read the kids version he read the actual event how it is recorded in scripture. It’s a story of war and violence, and of a powerful God and his servant David who displayed incredible faith.

I encourage you to read all of 1 Samuel 17 on your own sometime today to ger the full picture of this story. What was read was the dramatic climax to this conflict. Our hero, face to face with the villain.

1 Samuel 17 opens up by telling us that the Philistines have assembled their troops for war against the Israelites.

On one mountainside was the Israelite army, on the other mountainside the Philistine army. Between them was the battleground, the valley of Elah. 

The Israelites were prepared for battle when they encountered the Philistine secret weapon. A Giant warrior from Gath named, Goliath. Chapter 17:4-7 goes into great detail to describe the Giant.

He was about 9ft 9inches tall. NINE feet NINE inches tall. Now I’m 6’3” Im a pretty big dude…But Goliath had 3 feet and 6 inches on me.

He wore a bronze helmet, bronze armor on his legs, and bronze chain-mail armor which weighed about 150lbs. He had a bronze javelin slung on his back and carried a massive spear with a 15lb iron point which could have easily taken out multiple Israelite soldiers. To guard against arrows a shield bearer went before him with a human sized shield. He was a colossal, intimidating, freak.  

Goliath challenged the Israelites with a type of battle not uncommon in ancient times called a representative battle. One man from each side would fight, representing their entire army. Whoever won, their whole army won. Whoever lost, their whole army lost and would become the subjects of the victorious nation. So in the morning and in the evening for 40 days, Goliath would come out and present this challenge. The Israelites were so scared that they ran and hid.

On the 41st day of Goliaths challenges, David was sent to the battle lines to bring his brothers some food. He approached the valley and the front lines of the battle and he heard Goliaths taunting and insults. But he was not overcome with fear like many of the other men, instead he was overcome with anger. In Chapter 17 verse 26 he asked “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

Goliath was insulting everything that was important to David: His country, His heritage, and most importantly his God. And unlike the soldiers trained for battle, this young shepherd from Bethlehem was going to do something about it.

When Goliath ran out to meet David for battle, David didn’t back down. When Goliath tried to intimidate David with his words, David came right back with a declaration of his own. As Goliath readied his massive spear, David prepared by simply placing a rock in sling and with one perfect, history changing shot…the Giant was killed.

True to his word David then ran to the body of Goliath and cut off Goliath’s head with his own sword. This is not a children’s story. The giant’s death was disturbing and gruesome. David’s victory was unmistakable.

More than 300 times in scripture there is some form of God telling us “Do not fear.”

Fear Paralyzes us. Fear Defeats us. Fear prevents us from experiencing God’s goodness…and fear keeps us from living out our mission of bringing Jesus to the world.

 

In this story, what we see in David is: Our Fear becomes boldness when we learn to trust that God is faithful. 

Our Goliath is any of the fears that rule us. One of the biggest giants we face is named “What if…” What if the biopsy comes back positive? What if that check bounces? What if there is a complication with the surgery? What if we can’t stop fighting? 

We have these “What ifs” in how we live out our faith.

I know I’m called to be open about my faith, and show the world Christ and bring others closer to Him and invite people to church…but what if people don’t respond? What if being more vocal about my faith changes the way people see me?

I know I’m called to be a spiritual leader for my family and in my home but what if my kids just think I’m a hypocrite? What if I don’t know how to answer their questions? What if it’s too hard?

I know as a Christian I’m supposed to surrender everything to God and trust him…but what if he asks me to do something uncomfortable? What if God calls me to sacrifice things that I don’t want to give up? What if I go all in with my trust in Jesus but he doesn’t show up in the ways I expect him to?

 

We face personal what if’s….and the church faces its own what ifs.

What if churches continue to numerically decline? What if the Christian faith continues down this path of irrelevance? What if we are ineffective?

We have a very real Giant “what if” facing our denomination. What if the commission on a way forward in February changes the shape of our denomination? 

 

When we look back to our story: Who killed Goliath, David or God? I think the answer is: Yes.  

David filled with the Spirit killed Goliath. When we looked at the previous chapter in 1 Sam 16:13 it says 13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.

 

One unmistakable thing about this passage: DAVID WAS NOT SCARED AT ALL. And we was not scared because he fully trusted in God’s faithfulness. David’s trust in God was the guiding principle of his life.

Goliath is snarling and swearing and threatening David…and David stands tall and says with a confident smirk:

1 Sam 17:45-47. 45…“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

 

We are standing in front of a LOT of Giants…we have so many “what ifs”…but who stands with us? Those who have given their lives to the Lordship of Christ have been filled with the Holy Spirit…the presence and power of God almighty!

Romans 8:11  He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

We do not face our Giants alone! The very spirit and presence of God is with us!

This is why Paul writes to Timothy…. 2 Tim 1:7  7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

In other word’s…God is telling us: “My Children… don’t be afraid!!! You are not in this alone! I am with you. I have not made you to be paralyzed by the “WHAT Ifs.” I have made you to reflect my passion, goodness, and love! Lay the “what if” fears at the altar and rise in my power to love and serve me and the world…trusting that I am in control.”

Our Fear becomes boldness when we learn to trust that God is faithful. 

While fear paralyzes us…God’s boldness activates us.

David comes to the Battlefield and saying: “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

Boldness is sometimes expressed as: righteous anger…. David has a righteous anger against Goliath and his insults and threats. Jesus had a righteous anger against the money changers who turned the house of God into a market.

We have a bold righteous anger against some things. When we feel that people have disrespected our flag or our nation…there is all kinds of righteous anger. But I ask: Do we have that same boldness when people when people disrespect our lord? When was the last time we were as bold about our faith as we are about other important things in our lives?

But boldness isn’t just righteous anger. It can also be compassion. Truly caring that are neighbors and friends are living and dying separated from God.

Boldness can be courage. Boldness can be motivation or perseverance. We must be bold in our pursuit of justice and how we choose to loveall people: our family, our friends, strangers, and our enemies.

David didn’t just have a bold anger…he also displayed a bold Confidence. God wants to replace our fear with a profound confidence in him because we trust that God is able to use us even though we are only little David with a sling and a staff and what you are facing seems impossible. Our bold confidence is not in ourselves but in our faithful God who empowers us.

Our Fear becomes boldness when we learn to trust that God is faithful. 

We must learn this type of trust. Another word for that is discipleship…the process of moving closer and closer to Jesus. Discipleship is a lifelong never-ending pursuit because discipleship is a relationship. It is our relationship with Jesus.

At no point in any genuine relationship do you say: “OK…I am now good. I am done. At this moment I am the best, most faithful spouse I will ever be. My process of becoming a husband or becoming a wife is now complete.” NO…that’s ridiculous. And it’s ridiculous to do this with our faith. None of us are done learning to trust in God. Our relationship with Jesus must be a continually developing thing where we are leaning to trust him in new, and deeper, and different ways.

So, Right now…is our faith in a process…or on a plateau? Is it developing…or has it been kind of stuck in the same place for a while? If so, its time to get unstuck. Time to rekindle our relationship with Jesus and the process of becoming his disciple.  

No one can question David’s trust in God here…but as the story of David’s life unfolds…things change. There are new challenges…his faith will be stretched and challenged by outside circumstances and also his own sinfulness. David is maybe one of the most clear examples in all of scripture of trusting in God…but still…just like us…he is in a process. David has not arrived, and neither have we.

Our Fear becomes boldness when we learn to trust that God is faithful. 

David had every reason to trust in God’s faithfulness because he experienced it explicitly. When talking with King Saul about the upcoming battle David says:

1 Sam 17:34-37…“Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”

Learning to trust in God’s faithfulness involves developing a pattern of looking back to God’s faithfulness as a reminder for our present and future circumstances. 

God was there through that diagnoses…God came through during that loss…that surgery…that financial need…that relationship that needed healing…that layoff. He will come through again.

Think back over the past 3 years of your life…and remember all of the ways God has been faithful to you, your family, your friends, our community, our church. Take a minute to remember and reflect.

God who has been faithful in our past…He will be faithful in our present and our future. God can handle anything you are facing now, and anything you will face. Over and over he has proven himself faithful.  

I’d like to close by reading a powerful Psalm written by David, Psalm 27. And as I read I want you to think about handing over your “What if” to God…trusting that he is in control…and allowing him to replace your fear and anxiety with his passion and righteousness.  

Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked advance against me
    to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
    who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
    my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
    even then I will be confident.

One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
    he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
    and set me high upon a rock.