Intro: Part of God’s training plan for David involved God placing the young man in some difficult situations. In those difficult times, David learned to trust the Lord and walk in the power of God, not the power of the flesh. David learned the lessons necessary to survive life, and not just to survive, but to thrive in life. We see David in one of the most desperate times of his life in these verses. Here, David trusts God for some big things, and in return, he sees God do the miraculous.
Now, I know we have all heard these verses preached and re-preached countless times. And, it is doubtful that I will have anything new to add to what you already know this evening. But, I feel that there are some helpful instructions contained here that, if followed, can help us to lead a more victorious life. I also know that I am preaching to people who are battling giants today. Some of you are facing some pretty significant giants in your life. I believe these verses can help.
As we watch David walk into the Valley of Elah and face a 9 foot 9 inch giant, we can see some much needed instructions about how we can survive when we are in giant country. I want to help you this evening and share those instructions with you as I try to preach on the subject, Surviving Giant Country.
Verse 17-24 SURVIVAL IS A MATTER OF TIMING
This day for David began like any other day. 15 He plans to tend his sheep and do the same things he has done day after day for years. But, this day will be different! Jesse sends David to check on David’s three elder brothers who are fighting in Saul’s army. They have been gone at least 40 days, 1 Sam. 17:16, and Jesse is worried. You see, in those days countries did not have standing armies. Ordinary citizens would rally around the king when he called for volunteers to fight.
So, David goes to his brothers as he is commanded. When he arrives, he finds the armies of Israel cowering in fear because of the taunts of Goliath, (Ill. Goliath and his stats). Even King Saul appears to be too afraid to face the giant in battle.
But, while the army of Saul hides in their tents, David hears the giant as he blasphemes the Name of God and shames the people of God. David’s day had started like countless other days had started, but before the sun went down, David found himself face to face with a mighty big giant.
- Isn’t that just how the giants of life come to you and me? They rarely give notice that they are coming. You get up one morning, expecting that day to be like any other day, and there it stands: a giant has entered your life. When they come, they always catch us off guard and they always frighten us. We look up at them and, most of the time; we have no idea what to do.
- If we are going to survive in giant country, we need to understand that giants don’t just show up; their appearance is well timed. Now, from our perspective, they just appear. But, from God’s perspective, they are all part of His perfect plan for us.
If we could ever grasp the truth that nothing comes our way apart from the will of God, it would change our attitude toward the giants of life. Passages like, Rom. 8:28; Psa. 37:23 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way”; Job 23:10 “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold”; Jer. 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”, etc would become real to us and they would bring great comfort to our hearts.
(Ill. Most of the time, we are just like Israel. They had wandered through the wilderness for two years after they left Egypt. They had arrived at the banks of the Jordan River. All they had to do was cross the river and take the Promised Land of blessing that God had already given to them. Instead of going in and taking the land, they first sent in 12 spies. The spies looked over the land and came back with their report. 10 of the spies were convinced of Israel’s defeat because of the presence of giants in the Promised Land. The spies own words tell the story best, Num. 13:23-33. The people heeded the negative report of 10 men and had to spend 38 more years in the wilderness.
Here’s the point of all that: did God know about the giants? Could He have removed them before Israel arrived? Did He allow them to be there? The answer to all those questions is “Yes!” Yes, He knew they were there. Yes, He could have removed them. Yes, He allowed them to be there. God wanted Israel to face those giants. 40 years later, when they came back to the Jordan River, guess what, the giants were still there waiting, Deut. 9:1-3. By the way this same principle is seen over and over in the Bible – 3 Hebrews in the furnace, Dan. 3; Daniel in the lion’s den, Dan. 6; Disciples in the storm, Mark 6:45; etc. God knew about all of those events because they were part of His perfect plan! )
- Here is what I am trying to tell you: When that giant showed up in your life, it did not get there by accident. That giant is there by the providence of God. It is there because God sent it, allowed it, or however you want to say it. It is there because God, in His precise timing, wanted you to face it when it came to you.
When the giants come, we can get depressed and defeated; or we can realize that they are a tangible symbol of God working out His will in our lives. We can be like Saul and Israel and we can hide from the giant; or we can be like David and we can face the giant. We can be discouraged, or we can do like Job and worship in spite of what the giant is doing in our lives, Job 1:20-21. The choice is your. But, if we can ever understand that giants come according to God’s timing; it will help us survive in giant country.
Verse 25-40 SURVIVAL IS A MATTER OF TRUSTING
When David hears the threats and defiance of Goliath, he determines that something must be done about this giant. He makes his intentions known, v. 26-32; and David sets out to see Goliath defeated. But, as soon as David expresses his desire to see the giant defeated, he is met with criticism, v. 28, and doubt, v. 33. Yet, as we watch David move toward the moment when he will face off with the giant; we see a young man who has learned something about faith and trust in the Lord.
- David has learned about God’s Purposes –1 Sam. 16:13 – David had been anointed as king to sit on a throne. David knew that he would not die this day.
- David has learned about God’s Protection – v. 34-37 – David knew that everything God had done in the past, he was still able to do.
- David has learned about God’s Power– v. 38-40 – David knew that victory did not reside in swords, shields, spears, armor and bows, but in the mighty power of God. He would go into this battle with the same God and the same weapons he had used before.
In other words, David’s trust was not in the army, the armor or the armaments; David’s trust was in Almighty God. The same God Who had protected him and given his victory after victory on the hills of Judea, would grant him the victory in the Valley of Elah! For David, there was only one giant there that day and His name was not Goliath. The only giant David had in his life was the Lord God Almighty, v. 26; 32; 36-37.
What a lesson for those of us who also face giants from time to time! If we could ever learn the same lessons that David learned about fighting giants; we could make short work of them all. Here is what you need to know:
- God did not save you for some giant to destroy – God saved you to take you home to glory some day! That giant cannot undo the eternal work God has already done in your soul, Phil. 1:6; 2 Tim. 1:12 “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” That giant is there as part of God’s eternal plan in your life. That giant is there to grow you, Num. 14:9. There’s nothing quite like cutting your teeth on a few giants to help your faith grow stronger. You can trust God’s Purposes!
- God will not change courses in the middle of the stream – He will always be that which He has ever been. One of the greatest attributes of our Lord is His immutability. That simply means His unchangeableness! God is a God who cannot change, Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8! The same God who did all those marvelous, miraculous things we read about in the Bible is still the same God today! You’ve heard about the Red Sea; the Manna; Water from a Rock; the Meal Barrel and the Cruse of Oil; the Loaves and the Fishes; the Raising of Lazarus; etc. Well, the same God who did all those things and countless others is still our God today! Ill. His Name says it all – Ex. 3:14. He is the self-existent; changeless God! You can trust God’s Protection!
(Ill. We seem to have no trouble remembering our past defeats; but we have real trouble remembering that victories the Lord has given. Think about it! We can remember every valley; but can’t seem to remember even one mountain top.)
3.God will never fail those who place their trust in Him – Those who trust men, methods and materials can and will fail. But, those who place their unwavering trust in God and His power will never fail. You see, our God is not a weak, anemic God. No! He is a God of power; a God of glory; a God who is ever moving in mighty ways to make His power known. Those who trust Him as they face the giants of life can see that power work in their lives by faith. God is powerful, Luke 1:38; Matt. 28:18; Jer. 32:17. And, those who walk with their faith in Him can experience that power, Heb. 11:1; Eph. 3:20; Ill. God is “able” – Dan. 3:17; Dan. 6:20; Heb. 7:25.
Where is your trust as you face the giants of life? Is it in man; in the economy; in self? Those will all fail. As we face our giants let us be certain that our faith and our dependence is in the Lord. He and He alone will never fail! Our survival depends on our being able to trust Him.
Verse 41-54 SURVIVAL IS A MATTER OF TAKING
There comes a time when talk must stop and action must begin. The time had come for David to take that which he had already been given by the Lord. He walked down into that valley; faced that giant; declared his faith in God; slung that stone; and killed that giant. What a moment it must have been in young David’s life to see God do that which no one but David believed possible!
Friends, there is a time when the talking needs to stop and the taking needs to begin! As we face our own giants day by day, isn’t it about time that we started taking by faith some of the things we have only talked about up until now?
For instance, we talk about God providing for us, 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” But, we still worry over our finances.
We talk about God’s grace in every situation in life,2 Cor. 12:9. But, we still act like we aren’t going to make it.
We talk about God being in control of our lives, Romans 8:28. But, we live like our lives are out of control.
Isn’t it time we stopped talking about all we could have in Jesus and we just started taking it? David defeated Goliath because he was willing to take what God had given him by faith. The same thing will work in your life and mine today! As we face our giants, we have already been promised victory, 1 Cor. 15:57 “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 8:37; let’s take it. How? By doing what David did?
- Place your trust in the Lord.
- Believe that He can do everything that He has ever done.
- Then, walk into your valley, square off with your giant and keep slinging until he falls. I am convinced that is the reason David took five stones to kill one giant. He knew he might miss on the first shot and he aimed to keep slinging stones until he had the victory.