In the story of David and Goliath, many of us would like to see ourselves as the hero David. Tyler teaches us why we are more like Israel than David. We all need a deliverer and God, in His mercy, sent us a more perfect Deliverer than David, in the person of Jesus Christ.
Retold: Jesus Calms the Storm
Retold: The Prodigal Son
Retold: The Beginning of the Church Part 2
Retold: The Beginning of the Church
Retold: Jonah and the Whale
Retold: Daniel and the Lions' Den
Retold: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
Retold: David and Goliath
Retold: The Ten Commandments
Retold: Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet
Retold: Ruth and Naomi
Retold: The Good Samaritan
Do you ever read or watch stories and imagine yourself as the hero? When we read about David and Goliath, it can be tempting to think of ourselves as David and apply it to our lives today; however, we are not David and the story of David and Goliath is a descriptive historical account, not prescriptive for our lives today. What does it mean for us? As we continue our series, Retold, Tyler Briggs walks through the story of David and Goliath, teaching us about our need for a deliverer and how God provided one for us.
Good morning, Watermark. If you didn't get the chance to tune in last week, my name is Tyler Briggs, and I'm an elder at Watermark Fort Worth (a seven-year satellite, but a new church plant over in Fort Worth). It's good to be with you one more week as we dive into the scriptures as we continue a series called Retold: History Everyone Should Know.
Have you noticed that all kids want to be heroes? At least that's something my 4-1/2-year-old does. At the beginning of all this coronavirus stuff, we took her to see Frozen II. It had just come out. She was a huge fan of Frozen, and I think she prefers Elsa and her powers but prefers Anna's costume. We got her a costume of Anna's when we took her to see Frozen II. She was all in here gear, ready to go. There she is all sassy, like she is all the time.
We went in, and she loved the movie. She loved it so much. As soon as it was over, we left the theater, and we went to this little play area inside the mall, and there were a bunch of kids there. Immediately, she put herself in the role of the hero of Frozen. Really, she combined both Anna and Elsa into this one superhero. You can see another picture of her as Anna but using Elsa's Frozen powers to rescue all the other kids in the play area.
She loves playing like she's a hero. The truth is, so do you, and so do I. In any story that we read, we like to read it as if we imagine ourselves in the role of the hero. The reason I mention that is because this week, as we continue this series called Retold, we are going to walk through a story that's probably one of the greatest, if not the greatest hero story, outside of Jesus himself in all the Scriptures. It's the story of David and Goliath.
If you're anything like me, and a lot of other people, there's the temptation when you open to the story of David and Goliath to want to view yourself as David, to want to view yourself as the hero of that story. I have some bad news for you. When it comes to the story of David and Goliath, you're not David. You don't get to be David. You don't get to be the hero in this story.
The reason why I want to start there is because if your understanding of the story of David and Goliath starts with you being in the place of David as the hero, you're going to end up disappointed with God. Why would that be? You're going to end up disappointed with God because you're going to start viewing yourself as a recipient of certain promises of victory that God didn't necessarily give you. There is one big one that he did, and we're going to discover what that is, but we have to understand who we are and what role we play.
Also, we don't want to latch on to something and believe certain promises that aren't given to us because then we're going to end up discouraged and disappointed and doubting, and it can wreck our faith. So we have to have a right understanding of this story.
Here's a little bit of a preview. The story of David and Goliath plays out in three scenes or three acts. In act one, you see the army of Israel and the king of Israel, Saul, being tested. Their faith is tested. We're going to get to see how that fairs for them. Then it transitions into act two, where we see God raise up a deliverer for his people. Then in act three, as the story finishes, we will see how a delivered people responds to that deliverance.
It's going to be a fun morning as we dive in and we learn rightly from the story of David and Goliath. Even though we are not David in this story, we can still learn from him. As we go along, there may be a few things that you can pick up to learn from David, even though you are not the hero of this story.
We'll start. We're in 1 Samuel 17:1-54. Just to set the stage, in the first few verses, what we see is the army of Israel camped in the valley of Elah. They're going to out to war against the Philistines. The act opens up, and you have the entire army of Israel on one mountain, the valley in between, and the entire army of the Philistines on the other. When you read it in the black and white on the pages of the Bible, you can read by that quickly, but you have to really insert yourself into that moment.
The best way I know how to do that, or what comes to my mind to help me realize the situation is to think about all the battle scenes in movies. They're throwbacks in the way that warfare used to happen. Particularly, I go back to Braveheart. In Braveheart, when the Scots and William Wallace has rallied his army on one side of this field and the Brits (the English) on the other side… They're rallying up for this battle, and William Wallace is firing these men up.
They're scared. They're anxious. He stands, and he gives this speech in front of them. It ends with this crescendo moment when he says, "They can take our lives, but they can never take our freedom." All the soldiers go, "Ahh!" and they gear themselves for up for battle. Something very similar is happening right now in this story. But then something different happens. It doesn't follow the same plot as Braveheart. Out of the army of the Philistines comes a giant. Any kind of courage the army of Israel and the king of Israel may have had begins to disappear. I'll start in verse 3.
"The Philistines stood on the mountain on one side while Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them. Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span." He would've been about nine feet, six inches tall. He was huge. "He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was clothed with scale-armor which weighed five thousand shekels of bronze." This would've been about 125 pounds of armor. He's impenetrable.
"He also had bronze greaves on his legs and a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders. The shaft of his spear was like a weaver's beam…" It was like a two-by-four. " … and the head of his spear weighed six hundred shekels of iron…" It would've been about 15 pounds at the tip of his spear. It would've been more than enough to go through anything that came in front of it. Then it said, "…his shield-carrier also walked before him." So as he comes out and he stands in front of this entire mass of the army of Israel, it says this happened.
"He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel and said to them, 'Why do you come out to draw up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and you servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us.' Again the Philistine _ [Goliath] _ said, 'I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.'"
You see this one particular enemy, Goliath, come out of the army of the Philistines and say, "We don't have to see mass bloodshed. I'm going to challenge someone from your nation to a one-on-one battle." This would've been called a champion's duel. Now, who should have been the champion for Israel?
You look at King Saul. If you go back and look at when King Saul became king, it says, "He was a head and shoulders taller than anyone else in the nation. He was handsome. He had the outward appearance of a king, of someone who was strong, a warrior." Yet, we see in this moment how Saul and the rest of his people respond to this enemy, to this challenge. It says, "When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid."
They responded in fear. They looked at the challenge, they looked at the size of the enemy that was in front of them, and they responded in fear. Then, if you skip down to verse 16, this didn't just happen one time. It says, "The Philistine [Goliath] came forward morning and evening for forty days and took his stand." For 40 days, he came out and defied Israel. That's significant. Here's why it's significant.
The number 40 all throughout the Scriptures refers to a period of testing. We see that Moses is tested as a shepherd in Midian for 40 years before God raises him up and brings him out to deliver Egypt. We see that as the Israelites are approaching the Promised Land, they send 12 spies into the land who wander for 40 days to see the land, to see if it's what God had promised them. When they were there, they saw giants in the land (the same group of giants that Goliath is a descendent from), and they responded in fear. The said, "They're too big. We can't go," so they failed the test.
Because of that, we see the nation of Israel wander in the wilderness for 40 years as this one generation dies off, and the faith of a new generation is beginning to be tested. Here again, you see that number show up. You see the nation of Israel's faith tested for 40 days morning and evening as this giant comes out. They fail the test over and over and over again.
What's also particularly interesting about that is there's something that Jews would've prayed or recited every morning and every evening as being a part of God's people. It's called the Shema. The Shema is found in Deuteronomy 6, where Moses commands the people of Israel to remind yourself of who God is day and night. The Shema reads like this. This is what a good Israelite in the army would've done every morning and every evening as part of their prayers.
They would've reminded themselves, "Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God! The LORD is one! _ You shall love the _ LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." They would pray this morning and evening. That prayer goes on. After Moses had instructed Israel in Deuteronomy to pray this prayer, he then tells them why. He reminds them of a specific promise that God gave them in Deuteronomy 6:18-19.
Moses had said, "You shall do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD…" As you go in to enter and possess this land (even this land where giants are). "…it may be well with you and that you may go in and possess the good land which the LORD swore to give your fathers, by driving out all your enemies from before you, as the LORD has spoken."
The part of this prayer was a part of the people of Israel. It would've been a part of these soldiers, these warriors in the Israelite army reminding themselves that God had already promised them a victory. God had said, "I will drive out your enemies before you." Yet they stand up, and here comes an enemy who defies their God and defies their army and tests their faith, and what does Israel do? What is their response? It's fear. They flee, and they fail the test of faith.
This is where we have to have a correct view of the story. Although we would like to read ourselves into the story of David and Goliath as David, we are actually Israel. We are like Israel. We don't want to be Israel. It's easy to read back through your Old Testament and see all the ways in which they feel, and all the ways at which God had shown up to them and say, "How could they do this? How could they keep forgetting who God is and responding out of fear and not by faith?"
The truth is, the same way Israel ended up between a rock and hard place because they failed the test of faith and then needed to be delivered from the Philistines and from Goliath, we are that same way. We have failed the test of faith over and over again.
My first point is that we need a Deliverer because we fail the test of faith as well. We don't have to think long and hard to know that's just true. A minor observation of our own lives and our own faith would show we really are more like Israel than more like David. If you don't believe me, here are just a few examples. Although we like to read ourselves into this story as the hero, we're more like faithless Israel, and we fail the test of faith. Here's how.
You fail the test of faith when you lose your trust in God when faced with hardship. This is an easy one to look like. We're in the middle of a global pandemic. Especially, I think, early on in this pandemic, when we saw the stock market crashing, our economy crumbling, when we were hearing the threat to our health, the chance of death, especially if you had any underlying health issues… It was really, really scary, and all of a sudden, so many of us were wracked with all kinds of anxiety because we saw our security (our bank account) beginning to empty faster than we could handle.
We see our health, which is all about our well-being, come under threat, and we're overcome with worry and anxiety, which reveals what we were truly putting our hope and our trust in was not God. Our faith wasn't in him. Our faith was ourselves. It was in our health; it was in our own strength; it was in our own body, and we fail the test of faith because it reveals we're looking to other things to be our source of hope and our saviors.
How else do we fail? You fail the test of faith when you look to worldly solutions to deal with your disappointment. For instance, whenever you're anxious or depressed, or you're going through a hard time, instead of turning to God in prayer, you turn to alcohol, or your turn to drugs, or you turn to workaholism. Whatever the -ism may be that you turn to, you turn to something else that's a false savior, and you fail the test of faith because you forget who your God is.
You also fail the test of faith when you let fear paralyze you from being faithful. If you don't believe me, just think about this. Has there ever been a time when you came into someone, and God began to open a door for you to have a spiritual conversation with them? You felt this prompting from the Holy Spirit to engage them in a spiritual conversation
But you had this weird feeling come up, and your response was not to share the gospel, but more was like this. "Mmm, no. I'm not doing that because I'm not sure how they're going to respond to me." You end up not sharing the love of Christ with them, and you fail the test of faith. You also would fail the test of faith when you refuse to forgive, and you hold a grudge, or you harbor bitterness or resentment.
You fail the test of faith when you know the right thing to do, but you failed to do it anyway. You choose to do what is wrong. So you know you shouldn't give in to lust, you shouldn't compromise your purity because it's going to lead to harm both in the present and in the future, but you click that link anyway, and you move into indulging in something, and you fail the test of faith.
If none of that is convincing to you, at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, after Jesus raises the standard and says, "Faithfulness and holiness are not just about your external behavior but the condition of your heart. Therefore, be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect," we fail that test. There's no way for us to live up to it.
Because of that, we are like Israel. In the same way that Israel needed a deliverer, we need a Deliverer. You need a Deliverer.You are not David. You need a David. You need a Deliverer. That's where the good news in this story comes in because we see as the nation, the army of Israel, the King of Israel, all fail the test of faith, God out of his grace and mercy and kindness towards them, raises up a deliverer.
In verses 12 through 19, I'll just summarize this. Who does God raise up as a deliverer? He doesn't raise up some mighty warrior. He raises up a little shepherd boy. He's the youngest of eight sons. The only reason he ended up at the battle was because his dad sent him on a grocery run to deliver bread and cheese to his brothers and the commander of the army.
Even as he shows up and begins to run to the battle line to see what's going on, to deliver the groceries that he had brought in and engage with people, nobody sees him as anything significant because they are all so focused on the size of Goliath. Even when David shows up and Goliath comes out, they all flee in fear because they're focused on the size of Goliath. David responds not by focusing on the size of Goliath but by focusing on the size of God. In verse 26, when he showed up, he tells the army of Israel (the people he was around) this.
"Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him, saying, 'What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine [the one who is taunting and defying us] and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?'"
The army of Israel was focused on the size of their enemy (Goliath), but David was focused on the size of God. In the same way, as he tells that, his brother begins to mock him and say, "Aren't you just a little shepherd boy who has a few little sheep? Shouldn't you concern yourself with that? There's nothing you can do about this."
But then David responds in faith. So much so that they bring him in front of the king, and he tells the king something similar. In verse 31, it says, "When the words which David spoke were heard, they told them to Saul [the king] , and he sent for him. David said to Saul, 'Let no man's heart fail on account of him [Goliath] ; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.'"
But then, even as he tells the king this, this little shepherd boy… What is he going to do? Goliath is a warrior. He's a champion, and this is a little shepherd boy. What is he going to do? Saul doubts him, just like his brother did, and Saul says, " Y ou are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth."
You see the need for God to intervene and raise up this deliverer. God chooses someone who, if you would've lined up everybody who was there that day, would've been the very last person who anyone would've ever chose to be the deliverer for Israel. David responds not by fear, but by faith.
When he responds to Saul, he recalls his faith has been tested before, and he has seen the faithfulness of God. He recalls these things in terms of why he's ready to move forward in faith and not in fear. In verse 33, he says this. "Then Saul said to David, 'You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth.'
But David said to Saul, 'Your servant was tending his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.'"
Then David gives credit for his previous victories to the place it belongs. "And David said, 'The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.' And Saul said to David, 'Go, and may the LORD be with you.'" Even as Saul tells David to go, he then tries to get David to go and fight in such a way that he would. He tries to put all this armor on him and weighs him down.
David says, "This isn't going to work. This isn't who I am. I can't fight in these things. Let me fight in the way that God has prepared me to fight. He goes, and he gathers up five smooth stones from the brook in the valley. When I first read this story, I was thinking pebbles, but it was more like a stone.
I was in Israel a year or two ago, and we went to that same brook and gathered a stone from it. This thing weighs at least a pound. You can imagine that if this thing gets chucked at you, it could be a formidable weapon, especially if it comes out with any velocity. So David goes, and he gathers up these smooth stones. He grabs his sling, and he approaches the Philistine. He approaches Goliath.
"Then the Philistine came on and approached David, with the shield-bearer in front of him. When the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, and ruddy, with a handsome appearance. The Philistine [Goliath] said to David, 'Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?' And the Philistine cursed David by his gods." So he blasphemed.
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.' 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.
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, 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.'"
In verse 48, it says, " Then it happened…" So they come to this standoff moment. They're done exchanging words. The enemy of Israel taunts and mocks David, doubts his ability to do anything. David declares his confidence in the Lord and says, "I'm not focused on you. I'm focused on one who's much greater than you. He moves forward in faith and not in fear, and the battle is on." It says,
"…when the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 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. Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone…"
You see God raise up this deliverer who is the least likely to be chosen out of a lineup to be the one used of God to deliver the army of Israel to kill Goliath. What's also interesting is as Goliath blasphemed and cursed God, in the Old Testament law, the penalty for blasphemy was stoning. So God took Goliath out with the penalty he had already declared (a stone).
Then it says, "Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled." We see that God raises up this deliverer to rescue his people. He does so by raising up one of the least likely people to rescue and to deliver his people.
In the same way that God raised up a deliverer for Israel, God has also raised up a Deliverer for us. His name is Jesus. Even as we read the story of David and Goliath, David is a type, a typology, a type of Jesus. He foreshadows a greater or a better Deliverer that was to come. In the same way, you can see lots of similarities between David and Jesus, but then there were a few ways where we see that Jesus was a better Deliverer.
They were similar in that as David was least likely to be the deliverer, so was Jesus. This is what Isaiah 53 says about Jesus. "For He [Jesus] grew up before Him [God] like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him."
There was nothing when you would look upon Jesus that would say, "That's the one who's going to set the captives free." It wasn't that. So in that way, David was a type of Christ. Also, in the same way that David was tested in the wilderness, Jesus was tested in the wilderness. In the same way that David was a shepherd, Jesus was a shepherd.
Here's where there's a distinction between the two. David was imperfect. You just keep reading in his story, you're going to keep seeing that he's an adulterer, that he's a murder, and that he's an imperfect man. But Jesus is perfect and perfectly fulfilled the law on your behalf.
We'll also see that another reason why Jesus is a better Deliverer is because David's victory over Goliath won victory for all of his people for that one day, but Jesus' victory over sin and death gives us victory for all time for those who have faith in him. So in this way, Jesus is a better David. We like to read ourselves into this story as David, but you don't want to be David. You need the better David, who is Jesus.
I want to plead with you for a moment. If you're listening to this, and you've been trying to be your own savior, your own deliverer, I want to plead and ask you to surrender and to see your own need for deliverance, see Jesus for who he is, and to trust in him. If you do that, your life will be changed. I also just want to circle back for a minute and give a little bit of clarity to what it is that Jesus delivers you from.
As we look at this story, if we make ourselves out to be David, we can make Goliath into be any problem that we encounter. Therefore, we can say, "If I just have enough faith, God will deliver me from whatever problem it is that's in front of me." That's not true. You're Goliath. What Jesus has promised you deliverance from is not your unemployment or your singleness or your infertility or your cancer. He doesn't promise you you're going to be completely set free and overcome that government overreach or when you stand up for truth you're going to be delivered from being labeled as a bigot or a racist or an oppressor or any of these things.
He doesn't guarantee you any of that. That's not the promise of the story of David and Goliath. That's not what you should take out as an application. What you should take out as an application is that God has delivered you through Jesus from something far greater than any of those things, and it's from eternal separation from him.
Because of that, we begin to respond to that deliverance. That's what we see. We see this story of David and Goliath, and the nation of Israel, these people who were once so fearful and who were fleeing from their challenge, begin to be transformed and follow their deliverer. In verses 52 through 54, as this story ends, we see that. It says,
"The men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted and pursued the Philistines as far as the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the slain Philistines lay along the way to Shaaraim, even to Gath and Ekron. The sons of Israel returned from chasing the Philistines and plundered their camps. Then David took the Philistine's head and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his weapons in his tent."
You see, as it says in that first line, after their first deliverance by David, these fearful men in Israel and Judah arose and shouted and pursued. They followed their deliverer in victory. In the same way that Israel responds to the deliverance by following their deliverer, we should respond in the same way to our deliverance in Jesus Christ.
My last point would be that. We respond to our deliverance by becoming fully devoted followers of Christ. In the same way that Israel's immediate response was this passionate, zealous pursuit to follow their deliverer, ours is to be the same way. Anybody who truly understands what Jesus has delivered us from moves forward to follow him in full devotion.
The real question is…Do we actually do that? If someone was to observe your life for a week or a month and then they were to write down their observations of how you are responding to be delivered through Jesus Christ, what would they say? Would they say you rose with a shout and have followed him into the battle to advance his kingdom? Or would they say that you wandered back into your sin and went about doing your own thing?
Unfortunately, that could be all too often true of us. It could be true of you. If that's the case, I want to encourage you to examine if you truly understand what you've been delivered from. A right response to being delivered by Jesus from our sin, to being separated for all eternity is nothing short of full devotion.
When Jesus came, he came to bring salvation, he came to proclaim the kingdom of God, and he came to call those who are saved by his grace to then follow him and to bring the message of truth, the message of the gospel, the message of life to all those who are around us.
Responding to deliverance and following Jesus looks like seeking and extending forgiveness to those who have harmed us. It means sharing your testimony of deliverance to everybody who's around you, never shrinking back in fear. It means standing for biblical truth in a secular society that's trying to push all kinds of laws and agendas that are only going to lead to destruction in people's lives, but we have the answer.
So we stand for truth, and yes, we may get labeled. We may get persecuted. We may have to suffer for it. But it doesn't matter because we've already won in Christ. This world is not our home. We follow Jesus in full devotion by seeking the welfare of the city that is around us through service, through not living for ourselves but living to serve and be and love others.
Here's why this matters. There are hundreds and thousands of people around us in our cities who are lost and who have not been delivered from the penalty of eternal separation from God because of their sin, and who don't know of this Deliverer who is Jesus who came to set them free. God wants to use you to tell them. He wants you to follow him into the battle to make a difference.
As we in Fort Worth now begin to launch out into independence, we have a commitment we want to make to you. That commitment is that we will continue in our full devotion to be all about responding to the deliverance we've had in Jesus Christ, to be about his kingdom, standing firm as the secularization of our society moves in, but standing firm in the faith.
Todd, as we in the past few weeks have spent a little bit of time together, said, "If y'all are going to keep the name Watermark, and if we're going to do this independence thing, I need y'all to make one commitment to me." He said, "Just don't go liberal on us." What he means by that is this. "Don't punt on orthodoxy and orthopraxy," and we won't.
We will be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing our toil is not in vain in the Lord. The rest of Watermark (Dallas, Frisco, Plano), as we move forward in the mission, we want to leave you with a charge as we've made our commitment. That's to stay faithful and to stand firm. Let me pray.
Father, thank you so much for your grace. Thank you for all that you've done for us through our better Deliverer, Jesus Christ. God, I just pray you would use this message, this truth, this story in your Scriptures to convict people, to see they are not strong enough on their own to deliver themselves.
I also pray God you would use it to give us a charge to follow hard after you, to be about standing for truth, to be unashamed of the gospel, to share it with passion and zeal and vigor without fear to advance your name for your glory. God, would you help us? Would you lead us? Would you help us continue to advance your name for your glory? In Jesus' name we pray, amen.
Thank you, friends. Have a great week of worship.