The story of David and Goliath is an excellent picture of courage. In Goliath, we see a man whose courage comes from his trust in his own abilities. In David, we see a man whose courage comes from the power and faithfulness of his God. It isn’t enough to be brave, but we must be brave because we serve and trust an all powerful God.
Jonah & The Whale
Daniel & The Lions' Den
David & Goliath
Male: Mariah, it's story time! A long, long time ago, in the land far, far away…
Good morning. Well, this one always has been my favorite of the children's stories ever since I was a little kid. I will prove that to you by showing you Halloween when I was 8 years old. I think we have a picture. There is the mighty David. If I was Goliath, I would not be afraid.
It still has that irony in it, right? Still has that gross irony like, "Come here, kids. Let me read a bedtime story to you. Do you remember when David stood over the bloody carcass of Goliath and cut off his head and then carried it around for a day? Oh yeah, he was a giant, a real giant. No, you'll be okay tonight. Good night." It's crazy.
As I think about that irony, I think about Valentine's Day this year. I did not do well as a husband. In this season of just a baby, we don't get out much. You guys maybe go on date nights every week. That's just not us in this season, not Monica and I. We had a date night. I planned it. We had a sitter, the whole deal. I called my friend who goes to see movies a lot.
I told him, "Hey, here are some options of the time that we need to go. Which movie would you choose?" "Hey, I'd go see The Impossible. It's a great story about a family and their perseverance. You're going to love it." My friend doesn't have kids. We go and see The Impossible. It's a true story about a family who is vacationing in Thailand when the tsunami hits.
So basically it's a mom watching her children drown for about an hour and a half, so we start crying kind of early on. Then cried hysterically throughout the movie. By the end, we're just like, "Ah, I just want to go home." Just gut-wrenching anguish as this family perseveres through natural disaster, death and disease, and pain and hurts and injuries so that they hope they can see each other. As I think about that… I tell you that to say this.
We're talking about courage in the story of David and Goliath. It comes from a number of different places. As you look at that family and where their courage came from, it came from this hope that they would be united again. Not knowing, but hoping that one day they would be united again.
So they pushed through death and disease around them, they pushed through this natural disaster, they pushed through bodily injuries and hurts all for the hope and the love that they had for each other that maybe they would find each other and be a family unit again. In doing so, these little boys, a husband and a wife, they showed great courage in doing so.
As I think about that, courage is not the absence of fear but having a motivation that is greater than fear. Courage is not the absence of fear, but having a motivation that is greater than fear. If you're here and you're a Christ-follower, to not have courage is not an option for us. Courage is the only option for us.
We have to respond courageously because the Scripture says, the Bible says, "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline." That the Spirit that is in us is not a scared Spirit, but a courageous Spirit and so we live our lives. We're going to look at the Scriptures today and realize that sometimes we can have a courage that doesn't come from the right place.
Like some of you, you may be like, "Oh man, I'm not afraid, so this sermon is not for me." I was like, "You can be courageous and still be in sin because you're pulling your courage from a place different than what God calls us to." This morning, I just want to look at where courage comes from. I want to send you out with that. We're going to look at a worldly courage, this courage of our world. We're going to look at a faithless fear.
Then before you leave here this morning, I hope that from this historical story, from this biblical story, we can identify where real courage comes from. I want you to know, just to kind of set up where we're headed. I'll be in 1 Samuel 17. This is a historical account. Theologians, preachers, and pastors debate why this is in your Bible. "Well, this is a foreshadowing of Jesus." Or, "Well it's so you can go and slay your Goliath." Or, "Well, it's to teach us courage."
It's in your Bible because it happened. It's in your Bible because it's history. It's a real account. It happened about 1024 BC. About 1,024 years before Christ comes on the scene. A real place, the Valley of Elah where this battle took place. It was a real place, still is a real place. I'll show you on a map. It is right there between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea right there in the center just south of Jerusalem. That is the Valley of Elah. You see where it is.
Then I'll show you another picture of actually what it looks like today. There's the Valley of Elah today. You can see it. So this is where these enemies, the Philistine army and Saul's army, the Israelites and Judah, where they lined up for the sake of doing battle. They just stood there. You're going to see for 40 days they just bowed up against each other and said, "Hey, what's going to happen?"
We're going to read about the activity that actually went on. It's interesting that the History channel recently did a story on David, not The Bible, not the one you saw last week. They actually did a story and said, "Hey, could a sling like this…?" It wasn't like the rubber sling you buy at Walmart. It was a sling like this. "Could that kill Goliath?"
What they did is nine feet in the air, they put a target, and the target could measure impact. They brought in a guy who actually still uses one of these. He swung it around, and he released it. He took out a four square-inch target, nine feet in the air. They brought in experts to measure the impact and they said, "Absolutely. Anybody who would've been hit with that would've been dead on the spot. It would certainly have crushed their skull."
That's just interesting. We know it's true, but it's funny that when these guys come around and say, "Oh man, it seems like that actually could happen." In chapter 16 of 1 Samuel, there are some real interesting things that occur. Samuel comes, and he is looking for the one who God is going to appoint king.
God's blessing has left Saul because Saul feared the people. Saul was afraid. Saul lacked courage, so God's blessing left him, and he is looking for someone now who he would raise up as king in kind of a different sort of way, an unorthodox way. Not from the lineage of Saul, but someone God said, "I'm going to point, through a roundabout way through circumstances and situations. I'm going to raise someone else up to power."
So he says, "Go to Jesse's house." Jesse has eight sons. Jesse is old in this time. He has eight sons. He goes to Eliab, who is Jesse's biggest, strongest son. Samuel looks at him and he looks like a king. He is certain, "This is the king." God says, "No, I'm not concerned about outward appearance." So he works down. It's the greatest Cinderella story.
He starts off with the wicked stepsisters. "Does the shoe fit her?" "No, not her. Not her." There has to be somebody else. "Well, there is Cinderella back there working." Samuel comes to David who is in the fields, the boy, the youngest of Jesse's sons and God says, "This is the one. This is the one I will raise up as king."
That's always interesting to me, because David then goes back to being a shepherd. Could you imagine the God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth saying, "Hey, you will be king." Then you just go back to being obedient. You go back to being a school teacher. You go back to being an engineer or whatever it is that you do: a father, a husband, a wife, a mom.
It's just like, "You're going to be king one day." "Okay, well today I'll tend the flocks." What happens then is David is appointed as Saul's armor-bearer. That means he gets his armor ready for battle. So he is a part-time shepherd for his father. David was probably around 18 years old, so he wasn't a boy. He wasn't like 8 years old like that courageous David we saw earlier.
He was probably around 18. He was a man, but not 20, because you had to be 20 to fight in Saul's army. Full grown, but younger than 20 is basically what we know from the context of this story. Let's dive in. First Samuel 17, verse 2. I'm just going to read the account. I'll stop and I'll explain some things. We'll just kind of do that throughout the morning. This is an epic story, a great story.
"Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines. The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them." It's the valley we just saw. We have to stop for a second because I have to explain to you who the Philistines are.
The Philistines were a sea people. They were a people who came up by way of sea and they camped in the land that God had promised to the Israelites. The Promised Land, the land of Canaan. The Philistines draw up this land called Philistia, which is about 10 cities that they occupied within the land of Canaan.
These were a very wicked and vile people. They worshipped a god named Baal. Jesus later calls him Beelzebub. We know him as Satan, the Devil. This is the god they worshipped. They had goddesses. One of them was Asherah. Asherah was the goddess of war. They worshipped in really wicked, vile ways. They were warriors. They were known for their battle tactics.
They had bronze. Not everyone had bronze in this day. The Philistines had an ample supply of bronze to make swords and shields with. They were warriors. Think Spartans, if you will. The way that they worshipped Asherah was by way of temple prostitutes. Asherah's number one job was to have sex with Baal.
They would worship by way of temple prostitutes. Men, women, and children. They were a wicked, wicked crew. They would worship by an abusive form of sexuality. They were a really gory kind of group, a satanic group of people, if you will. In fact, they would show Asherah in a really graphic way, or I'll say a pornographic way.
She would be naked, well-endowed, standing over a bunch of decapitated heads. I don't say that just for the shock and awe. I say that because it's true. That's who God's people were going up against on this day. That's who they were going to do battle with on this particular day. They were people who occupied a land promised by God.
Verse 4: "A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span." About 9 feet, 6 inches tall. "He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels…" Or about 125 pounds of armor on his chest.
"…on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver's rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels." Or about 15 pounds was the tip of his spear. "His shield bearer went ahead of him." This is interesting. So Goliath, this giant, he actually has somebody who goes with him to battle just to hold his shield, just to make sure nothing hits him. We know he failed miserably on this particular account.
"Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, 'Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.' Then the Philistine said, 'This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.'"
There's something going on in the Hebrew that's very uncommon. It's the detail with which this story is written. Hebrew stories were told fast, quickly, but this story seems to stop and tell you the details of his armor, how big he was, his height. It tells you about his spear and about how much it weighed and all these things.
They're going to great detail to show you how overmatched Goliath was, how much of a champion he was, and how difficult it would be to defeat him. So this is the token, "Hey, yo' mama! What're you going to do about it? What? What are you going to do about it? What?" This is what he is doing. He is standing there. For 40 days, "What? What are you going to do? Send me somebody." He is just taunting God's people. For 40 days, this happened.
So let's talk about first of all this morning the courageously arrogant, the courageously arrogant. That is Goliath. He is courageously arrogant. The story of David and Goliath is the story of courage, but not just David's courage. I think if I said, "Hey, who was courageous in the story of David and Goliath?" It would be like, "David, yes."
I might tell you that Goliath was more courageous. Maybe he had more courage than David. I mean, for 40 days he taunted an entire army. It seems like this dude is pretty courageous, right? He is definitely fearless. He is coming up like, "Hey, send anybody to fight me. We will fight to death. I'll wager on behalf of my entire army."
This guy is pretty courageous, but where does his courage come from? What is the source of his courage? His strength, his own abilities, his stature, his armor, his technology, his possessions, who he knows, his shield bearer, who goes with him. This is where his courage comes from, right? So just to paint a picture for you, this is how tall Goliath would've been. He would've looked just like Vince Carter with a tiny head. Not really. Not really.
I believe he was a giant. I think he was a giant in his day. I believe he was around 9 feet, 6 inches tall, a giant coming up. We know that everyone saw him and ran. They were scared. It goes into detail to really display this challenge. This arrogance that he has comes from trusting in his own abilities, but we know about God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, we know that "God opposes the proud…"
We know from the Proverbs that, "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." This is really scary stuff for us here in Dallas. Because I think often we're a people who trust in our own abilities, not in what God has given us. We trust in our own abilities to build our kingdom, not God's kingdom.
So here's why I say that's scary is because I think that often people who trust in their own abilities are the furthest from God. Even those who call themselves followers of Jesus. "I'm a follower of Jesus. Then I'm going to leave here, and I'm going to try to use my abilities to build my kingdom for me."
I would just tell you that's not why God gave you those abilities. That's not why God gave you those talents. He gave you those talents. He made you fast for him. He made you smart for him. It's interesting to me that when basketball, you see this 7-foot-1 guy dunk and then come out, "Ah, look at me." It's like, "What did you do to be 7'1" bro? You were born. That's what happened. That was your contribution. You were a little bit genetically predisposed to be a basketball player, man. If you couldn't dunk, it would be a sad thing."
This is how we operate in life. "Hey, look at me. Look how smart I am. Look at my kingdom. Look at what I've done. Look at all these people. I manage them. Look at this house. Look at this. Look at my wallet. Look at all these diplomas. Isn't that great?" First Corinthians 4:7 says, "What do you have that you did not receive?"
This is a self-absorption, a narcissism that's very popular here in Dallas, that frankly can be evil. It can be wicked. You see this in athletes as they accomplish something, kind of pounding their chests, as I mentioned earlier. I remember this one particular day I was watching this athletic event this guy won.
He stood there, and he pounded his chest and said, "I'm the man. I'm the man. Look at me, I'm the man." He must've said it a hundred times. I watched that and I was like, "Man, there's something really gross about that. There's something satanic about that, wicked about that." Then as I thought about that, I reflected on my own life.
I thought about the first time I ever preached a sermon. It was The Porch. It was our young adult gathering here. I wasn't over The Porch. There was another guy over The Porch and he said, "Hey, will you come preach?" I sat there in the back of a room as people gathered. The only thing that I had done was business presentations up to this day, presentations for school and things of that nature.
I sat there in the back, and I was a little nervous. I had butterflies in my stomach. I'm like, "Man, what am I going to tell these people?" I had this outline that I had worked on. I just started doing this self hype-up. "You got this! You can do this! You can do this! You got this! You're going to go in there. You can do it. Picture them in their underwear. You've got this."
I go out there, and really, I'm sorry. Before I go out there during worship, I start this awkward dialog with God. In his grace, I just hear the Lord say, "Hey, if it's not me, it's not good. If it's not me speaking through you, it's not what I want." So then, that kind of dialog goes on. "Okay God, I get that. Okay God, if I get out there and I throw up all over myself and that's what you want to do to glorify yourself then so be it. Blessed be your name."
Then I thought about that for a second. I'm like, "God, please do not let me throw up all over myself. Let's make sure we choose another strategy other than that." Just this awkward dialog. It's hard, right? Like, what is our part? What is God's part? How do we do it but stay humble in the midst of that? People say, "You're so good at what you do. You've done a great job. Hey, look at this house. Look at what you've built with your hands."
How do we bring forth humility knowing that it's the Lord's blessings in our life, but yet he uses us? There's just a tension there that I think followers of Jesus walk in. I know historically this has been taught. Like, hey, "You need to find your enemies and you need to slay them. What are your enemies? Maybe it's your drug addiction or maybe it's your other addiction. Maybe it's your materialism. So you leave here, you pick up five smooth stones, and you slay Goliath. What's the Goliath in your life?"
When I read the text, it actually seems like Goliath is not David's opponent but God's opponent. Like, Goliath is opposing the God of Israel. So what in your life is opposing the God of Israel? What is coming in opposition to God that God wants to use you to bring about resolve? That's a question we have to answer this morning. "What is the opposition to God in your life this morning?" You need to know that, right?
We need to consider what that is for ourselves because we know that James 4:6, and it's repeated throughout the Scriptures three times, "God opposes the proud but shows favor [gives grace] to the humble." The world is always going to draw its courage from its own strength. What else can it draw its courage from? The nonbelievers don't have God. They don't have a faith, right? They have to draw courage from their own abilities. They have no other option.
We want to make sure that we don't go out here and act like nonbelievers. They draw their courage from fleeting things like their kingdoms. Fleeting things like their strength. Fleeting things like their 401(k). Fleeting things like their popularity. Fleeting things like their own technology. This is where their courage comes from: their own abilities, who they know, and their relationships. This is where their courage comes from.
Where should our courage come from? I want to show you from this story our role in this story. Because I think historically, you read this story and thought, "Okay, what's my role? God wants me to be David." I'm reading the story. "Am I Goliath? Am I David? Who am I? What's my role?" Hopefully, you're not Goliath. I want to tell you this morning, I think our role is the Israelites. We're the people running in fear. We need a David. We need someone to go between us and slay the giant, to give us courage to live our lives for him. We need a David.
Verse 11: "On hearing the Philistine's words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified." Here we see Saul feared the people. He is afraid of the Philistine giant. He is afraid of this. Then it gives us details, some of which I've already said. That David was the youngest son of Jesse. Jesse was from Bethlehem in Judah. Jesse had eight sons, like I said. Jesse's three oldest sons, they were over 20, they were in battle with Saul.
Verse 16: "For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand." David's dad said, "You need to go check on your brothers. Make sure they're okay. Make sure they're doing what they need to do, and take this grain and bread and roasted corn and tinned cheeses to the commander of their unit. Hey David, I need you to go take some hors d'oeuvres to the soldiers. Come here, son. Take these hors d'oeuvres." David leaves the sheep with the shepherd and goes out to the armies where the armies are lined up. Then we pick it up in verse 22.
"David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and asked his brothers how they were. As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. Whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear."
David is there. "Hey guys, you want some cheese?" All of a sudden, people start running away. David is like, "What's the deal?" He hears and sees this giant talking and taunting his God. "Now the Israelites had been saying, 'Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel.'" That's important. "Defy Israel."
"'The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his family from taxes in Israel.'" If you kill Goliath, you get money, you get the girl, and you don't have to pay taxes. Pretty good deal. Like still in 2013, that's a good deal. I think I'd consider picking up a rock, right?
"David asked the men standing near him, 'What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?'" See, David is concerned. They said, "Oh, he is making fun of Israel. He's making fun of us." David said, "No, he is making fun of our God! What are you going to do about it? What's going to happen?"
"They repeated to him what they had been saying and told him, 'This is what will be done for the man who kills him.' When Eliab, David's oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, 'Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.'"
Remember, he is the guy who is jealous because he wanted to be king and David got anointed just one chapter before. This is the oldest brother saying, "Hey, what are you doing here, little shepherd boy? Where are your few sheep?" "'Now what have I done?' said David. 'Can't I even speak?' He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before.
What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him. David said to Saul, 'Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.' Saul replied, 'You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.'"
You see they're the naysayers. Hey, everybody around him, everybody is afraid, and their fear is contagious. They're saying to David, "What are you…? You can't do that. You can't fight that, little Watermarker, little follower of Jesus with your little shepherd. You can't go against that thing. It's too big. It's too big for you. What are you going to do?"
See, sometimes we have to close our ears to the faithless, right? Sometimes we have to close our ears to the faithless and say, "Hey, Spirit of God, I'm going to do as you commanded me. I'm going to do as you commanded me. I'm gong to walk in obedience and close my ears to the faithless."
So let's talk about the faithless and fearful. The faithless and fearful. The second people group I want to talk about: the faithless and fearful. Here we see the Israelites are terrified that Saul is terrified and their fear is trying to influence David. I would just tell you, and I've heard it said, that the only thing necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.
That's true today. The only thing necessary for sex trafficking to win is for good men to do nothing. The only thing necessary for pornography to win is for good men to do nothing. The only thing necessary for materialism in Dallas to be so prevalent is for good men to sit by and keep their mouths shut. The only thing necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.
We see in this that the winner gets the girl, the money, and no taxes. They go from soldier to sultan. They would become royalty. Marry the king's daughter. This is in the text to show you, because it's true, but also to show us how afraid they were. They wouldn't receive great prizes because they didn't want anything to do with Goliath. They're so afraid.
I tell you that today so that you know and understand that Goliaths are not the problem. The unbelieving are the problem. God can handle Goliaths. Goliaths are no problem for God. There are always going to be Goliaths. Goliaths are not the issue, but the problem is God uses faithful people who are obedient to him to fight Goliaths and when they're not available, that becomes a problem, because God is looking for someone to use.
We see that from the Scripture. Goliaths aren't the issue. They've never been the issue. The unbelieving so-called believers are the issue. Those who are satisfied with a mundane life of supposedly following Jesus. We are the issue. What's a bigger disgrace? Was it Goliath's blaspheming or Israel's unbelief? What's a bigger disgrace in this chapter? Goliath's blaspheming or Israel's unbelief?
See, for the believer, for the follower of Jesus where there is no faith; there is no courage. Why? Because our courage comes from our faith. Where there is no faith, there is no courage, but that doesn't really help us. Right? You hear that, and you're like, "That's kind of like, 'Don't worry,' or 'Have no fear.'"
I'll tell you as a dad of little ones, I can tell them, "Well, don't be afraid." "Okay, Dad. I won't be afraid. That's a good idea." You can't just hear that and then walk out here, "Just be courageous. 'Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.'" "Okay, that's what I'm gong to do."
It doesn't work like that, does it? So how can we be courageous? Aren't we desperate to know like, "Okay, if I'm not supposed to get my courage from my stuff and my possessions and my abilities, where does my courage come from? How can I leave from here and be courageous?" I think, first, you can start with this question, "Why do you fear?"
You know what you fear. Maybe it's flying. Maybe it's being poor. Maybe it's being unemployed. Maybe it's needing the approval of others. Maybe it's people. Maybe it's death. For a friend of mine, he had panic attacks. Like "Call 911" kind of panic attacks. I had lunch with him this week. I said, "Hey, how are those panic attacks?" He said, "Oh dude, you didn't hear? I trusted Jesus. I don't have panic attacks."
He said they were all kind of based on this idea of forever. "I know where I'm going to be forever. No panic attacks." It's Hebrews 2:15. It says Jesus freed "…those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death." Jesus freed us from that. How great is that? The reason I tell you that is to say this.
I think that for some of us, some of us are "mature Christians." I spent a lot of time around Christians being in ministry and all, particularly among young adults. I just notice that a lot of times mature Christians are really cowardly Christians. You know? For me, if I'm building an army, "Give me the new Christians because they'll run the battle line."
Young adults, when they trust Christ, the scales fall from their eyes and they're just like, "Jesus, I'll do anything! I'll put it down!" This group of mature Christians is like, "Oh, that's cute. You're still excited about Jesus. See, my faith has grown stale, and I'm not really excited about Jesus anymore. I'm a mature Christian."
I think that's really broken. There's something really, really broken with that. See, what we do as mature… I think the Israelites were mature Christians. They put on their armor. They looked courageous. Then when the battle came, they ran. They put on the armor of courage. They put on the appearance of courage. "Hey, let's go to war! Let's go! Oh, it's a giant. Let's go!"
Just think about it, the progression of Christianity as we mature in the faith. A buddy told me something this week that really broke my heart. It hurt me in the heart, at a heart level. He just said, "Man, I remember. I look back on my life as a young adult, and I remember when I was a part of the church." He is a mature Christian.
I said, "When you were a part of the church? What happened that you're no longer a part of the church? Wherever you are, is God not there? The Holy Spirit indwells you and so wherever you are, God is there. When you're at that business meeting, God is there. When you're in that conflict, God is there. God has his man or his woman there. What happened that you would look back on your life and be like, 'Man, I remember when I was a servant of God and now I'm a mature Christian.'"
What? "Tell me that you read this book and that's normal, that's what happens. I know it's what happens in Dallas. Tell me it's what happens to God's people." I don't think so, man. So let's talk about where courage comes from. This is the heartbeat of my message. I want you to hear this. This is where courage comes from.
Courage comes from trusting in something completely. Courage comes from trusting in something completely. It's what you have, who you know, and your abilities. Trusting in something completely. So I remember… This was over a decade ago. Don't judge me. This was BC in my life, before Christ. We were out and about with some friends and a little skirmish broke out between a buddy of mine and this other little guy.
So they kind of bowed up, chest to chest against each other. They're exchanging some expletives. This little guy is really courageous, I just noticed. So I went up there and I said, "Hey guys, let's break this up. We're going to go." I put my hand on his chest. He slapped my hand down and said, "Get your hand off me! Don't you ever touch me!" I said, "Hey man, I'm going to take my guys. We're leaving."
He said, "Yeah, you'd better!" I said, "What did you say to me? Where is all this courage coming from, little guy? What are you doing? I'm telling you we're going to leave." He's like, "Yeah, you'd better leave." He kept saying that and shouting some very mean things to me. So he did something. The boldest thing I had ever seen. I said, "Bro, where is all of this coming from?" He pulls out his cell phone, looks me in the eyes, and he pushes a button, like the Bat Phone or something. He goes, "Hey, you here? Good. I have something I want you to take care of."
I was like, "Man, I don't know who that was, but we're not going to… Let's go! Come on, man." We leave, like the Israelites. We walk out in the parking lot, and these two guys are walking in, these two Goliath-looking dudes. One of them has a chain around his neck (not like a gold chain; like a chain you pull a car with) with like a Master Lock for a pendant. I'm like, "Dude, junkyard dog, bro. Let's go."
So needless to say, it wasn't a fun evening. Where did that guy's courage come from? It came from who he knew, who he had a relationship with. Courage can come from something that you trust in completely. He trusted completely that someone was going to come and clean up this mess that he had created.
Courage can come from a greater fear of what will happen if you don't act. Courage comes from a greater fear of what will happen if you don't act. You may look at a situation and say, "Hey, I'm afraid to act, but I'm also more afraid that if I don't act something awful is going to happen." When we look back on the terrible, terrible event of 9/11, I think a lot of us thought, just the kind of conversation I heard afterwards, it was like, "Man, if I was on that plane, I would have…"
Like, knowing what we know now, knowing thousands of people died… I don't mean to make light of that terrible event, but knowing that thousands of people died, "Oh, if I was on that plane, I would have…" Because we knew that the outcome would be greater than our lives.
It looks like this. I read the story about a mom a couple of months ago. Someone broke into her home and she had her children there. They just start causing havoc, wanting to destroy someone and something. She takes her children and she hides in the closet with a .38 Special revolver. She is hiding in there and she is terrified to shoot this guy, but she is more terrified that he is going to hurt her children.
He breaks into that closet to cause harm. She shoots him six times. Dead. Why? Because she had a greater fear of what would happen if she didn't act and (and this takes us to the third reason where courage comes from) she loved her children.
Courage can come from love. I think love is actually one of the greatest motivators of courage. That when you really, really love something, you will act courageously for it when something opposes it. In fact, some of the greatest warriors of all time were known as the Spartans. People were very curious as to what the Spartans' motivation was for the way they fought. They were known for saying this. They were actually going up against this one opponent who would shoot so many arrows in the sky that it would black out the sun.
The Spartans were known to say, "Won't it be nice, then, if we shall have shade in which to fight them?" They were just known for their courage. One particular day, they're marching to certain death. They're going to come against an opponent which they know will kill them. Someone said, "Hey, where does your courage come from? Where does your courage come from?"
They've been known to say this. "We love who we fight with, and we love who we fight for, so we fight. We'll fight to death, because we love who we fight with, and we love who we fight for." Love can be an incredible motivator of courage. In this story, Saul is saying, "Hey, David. You can't go. He is a giant. You're just a shepherd. You can't go."
Here's David's response in verse 34. "But David said to Saul, 'Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 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.'" This is interesting. Saul said, "Hey, why do you think you can fight that giant?"
David's like, "Well, because I'm a shepherd. Duh. And I've been protecting sheep." This is like the, "I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Of course I can fight this giant." So he just says this confidently. He says, "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. 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."
Saul says something interesting to David. "Saul said to David, 'Go, and the Lord be with you.'" Saul says, "He seems to display some faith here." He says, "Go, and the Lord be with you." It was like he didn't believe that because it says, "Go, and the Lord be with you." And then, "Wait, come back. Let me put all this armor on you." So Saul then puts armor on David.
"Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them." Now in your children's Bible, they've made this story legendary because they show a little boy David, 8 years old, stumbling around with some armor dragging around on the floor. Okay, that's not what happened. Saul is king. He is not an idiot. He is king of the land, and he is a big guy. He is a head taller than everybody else.
I think that the armor fit David. David is a full-grown man, I believe from the text. I believe the armor fit David, but it says that he was not used to them. He says, "'I cannot go in these,' he said to Saul, 'because I am not used to them.' So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine." [Sings "Eye of the Tiger" song]. This is where we'd hear that right now.
"Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. He said to David, 'Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?'
And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 'Come here,' he said, 'and I'll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!' David said to the Philistine, '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.
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. 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.'" Amen. "As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him."
Can you see it? Can you see David? He said, "Are you coming? Oh, let's go." He runs to meet him. "Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground." Can we just clap for that? Let's clap for that. "So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him." Good night, kids.
Let's talk about the courageously faithful. Where did David's courage come from? Where did David's courage come from? It came because he trusted something completely. What did he trust completely? He trusted God. He didn't trust a sword or a shield or armor. He threw a stone, and God placed it through Goliath's forehead. David trusted something completely. He trusted God completely. We know that he was a man after God's own heart. We say that. I don't think we really know what that means.
David was a man after God's own heart. What does that mean? It says in Acts 13:22 precisely what it means. It says that he was courageously obedient. He did everything the Lord commanded him. He was courageously obedient to whatever. If God says, "Hey, kill that giant," David is like, "Well, I don't want to, but I'm going to do it because you want me to."
He was courageously obedient. He knew God is real and Goliath opposed him, so he opposed Goliath because Goliath opposed his God. He was just available. All David did was he was available. It says this in 2 Chronicles 16:9: "For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him."
We know now that David had a heart for the Lord. He was a man after God's own heart. I remember the first time that I heard those words of 2 Chronicles 16:9 was when I came into this place. I was church shopping. I was church shopping, and I stumbled into this place about 11 years ago, and I heard Todd talk about this verse.
He said this prayer. He said, "Hey, I know God wants to do something amazing today to bring glory to himself. I just pray that I am so faithful that he would choose to use me. I pray this body is so faithful that he would choose to use us." I heard that. I thought, "Man, that's where I want to go. I'm in. I'm in, man. I don't want to play church. I'm in."
I was. I say that not to elevate Todd. He is not even here. He is not listening to the message. I say that so you know because now I'm behind the curtain and I see. I want you to know that your leaders love God and act faithfully, courageously, and faithfully. They just say, "Hey." I just heard over and over the next couple of years, "Hey, what does God want us to do? Let's just do that. Oh, whatever they say. Let's just do what God says. Let's just do that."
In this verse a friend showed me yesterday and it's so unbelievably relevant. Hebrews 13, verse 6: "So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?' Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith."
David realized, right? He trusted God completely. He realized what would happen if he didn't act. He is like, "Hey, this guy is humiliating God's people and humiliating God. I'm going to kill you. I'm going to cut off your head. It's done. You're going to die. Don't oppose my God. My God wants to come against those who oppose him. He is going to win. He is victorious. If no one else is available, I'll be available. God, use me."
He loved God. He trusted God. He realized what would happen if he didn't act, and he loved God. He was a man after God's own heart. This is what's interesting there. First John 4:18 says perfect love drives out fear.See, courage is not the absence of fear.
Courage is the presence of a love greater than that fear. David had a love greater than the fear. I don't know if David was afraid, but I bet he was. There is something to be said about someone who says, "Hey, I'm not afraid to die. Maybe I die, but I'm going to act obediently. I don't care what the outcome is. I'm going to act obediently." Check this out, verse 51. This is our part of the story, okay?
"David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine's sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran." These people who had been bowed up now for 40 days, all of a sudden they see Goliath topple. They turn and run.
"Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward…" These people who had been running for 40 days, now they see Goliath topple and they surge forward. "…with a shout and pursued the Philistines to the entrance of Gath and to the gates of Ekron. Their dead were strewn along the Shaaraim road to Gath and Ekron." There are piles of dead Philistines as the Israelites go after them.
So the death of Goliath… Listen closely. This is what I want you to leave here with. The death of Goliath gave the Israelites the courage to fight. That's why I think there's a fourth place that courage comes from, but it's only available to followers of Jesus. It is a knowledge of certain victory.
Courage comes from the knowledge of certain victory. It's only available to those of us who say, "Hey, I'm going to follow Jesus. I believe in Jesus, his death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins." Courage comes from a knowledge of certain victory. If you're going to play a game and you know that you win, you're going to play that game courageously. This is the game that we play today. We know that victory is ours.
What happened when Goliath died is called momentum. Momentum was created. It's the thing that you see whenever somebody does a thunderous dunk and the basketball team then runs up 10 points. Whenever someone does a 100-yard kick return and it's a game changer? A grand slam in baseball? Game changer.
Now all of a sudden, we have the upper hand in victory. David topples Goliath, and the Israelites (that's our role) surge forward. They've been running now for 40 days, but they surge forward. You and I, we operate in this momentum. Listen to this. Check this out. Goliath chanted. For 40 days, he mocked God. On Noah, it rained. God's wrath came down for 40 days on Noah.
Jesus was tempted, from Luke it says he was tempted in the desert for 40 days before his ministry started. When you see these 40 days of opposition, you know that God is about to flex. He is going to do something great. Let me ask you a question. How long have you been battling that Goliath? Control, porn, materialism, debt, fear. How long have you been battling that Goliath? I think God is ready to flex.
I'm not trying to say the story is about you. I'm just simply posing the question, because here's what I want you to leave here with is that Jesus came in as the unsuspecting servant like a shepherd. In fact, they called him the Good Shepherd. He was not Eliab. He was not the fearless warrior who the Jews were looking for.
He came in as the Good Shepherd, actually a servant riding on a donkey, not a warrior horse but a donkey. Not armed like a warrior, as suspected. He was the ultimate underdog. This was the ultimate Cinderella story. Jesus then, through his death, through the appearance of him being defeated, actually defeats Satan, giving you and me (the Holy Spirit in us) the upper hand on sin and evil.
What's interesting to me in 1 Samuel 17, you see that word champion repeated. The Hebrew actually translates it as the one who goes between. Goliath was the one to fight the battle for the Philistines. Jesus now is our champion. He is the one who fights the battle for us. Jesus was David. David was a type of Jesus. Jesus is Jesus, the ultimate champion. He is the one who has defeated sin and death so that you and I can operate in victory, a place of momentum.
I'll read it to you from the Scriptures. Hebrews 12, verse 2: "…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy…" Because he loved us. "…set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him [the champion, the one who goes between] who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
We realize that Goliath was defeated and move forward with confidence. Jesus slew the god of the Philistine army, not Goliath, but the god of Goliath. His source of courage? He trusted God. Right? He knew that he had to die to defeat evil. If he didn't, evil would prevail, and so he died. He knew the outcome, what would happen. Jesus loved us. God was motivated by love.
It's John 3:16. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." I can't forget that, the eternal life piece. How great is that? We get to live forever. Let me go here with you for a minute. Do you remember that story The Impossible?
This family, they're motivated by the possibility they would be reunited. They don't know if they're alive, but they go through these courageous feats to hopefully be reunited as a family, hoping that they're still alive. Hoping that they would see each other again. They operate in that. Let me ask you something. How courageous will you be if you know victory is yours and you're going to see Jesus again and you can live forever? How courageous would you be?
If you knew you lived forever, you're immortal, and that victory is yours and you're going to be reunited with Jesus no matter the outcome, he has defeated sin and death and you operate from that place of victory, how courageous can you be? You can be courageous like Esther, who said, "And if I perish, I perish.""So be it."
You can be courageous like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, "Oh, Nebuchadnezzar, 'If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty's hand. But even if he does not…'"You can be courageous like the apostles who were cowards.
They're cowards their entire lives, and then all of a sudden they see that resurrection is possible, that they're going to live forever, and all of sudden they turn courageous. Why? Because they believed. Because they believed. They said, "We won't die. We've seen Jesus. You can't come against us. So we'll act courageously."
You say, "Oh, man. You're trying to do works-based. Like what else do I have to do?" No, you get to do! You get to do! Not what you have to do. You're safe. You're going to be with God regardless if you waste this life or not, you're going to be with God if you've trusted in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.
I'll tell you, if you trusted in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, you will not waste this life. You won't waste this life. You will live courageously in it. Because Goliath is defeated, you can defeat other Goliaths. Not you, God in you. The strength of God in you who is opposing the things that oppose him. That's Romans 8:31. "If God is for us, who can be against us?" Let me pray.
You are the God of the Israelites and Judah. You are the God with an angel army. You are the God of David, the God of Jesus, the God of Abraham, and Jacob. Father, we ran. We ran from that which has opposed you and we've been afraid. Help us not be afraid. I pray that we would have a love for you that's greater than our fear. That's what I pray. Stir that love in us right now. Just as we worship you one more time, I pray we would stir that love in us for you. Amen.