Sunday, September 27, 2009

David and Goliath

Many of us grew up listening to Bible stories like David and Goliath in Church, and Sunday school, sometimes though part of the message seemed to be missed. Years ago I heard Doug Wead tell this story and I had to run to my Bible to read it again because this wasn't the way I was taught. Hopefully it will help you break some old paradigms as well. It is in 1 Samuel 17.

David's story teaches us a great deal about faith, about how having a big God is more important than a big enemy, but it should also teach us the value of a big dream or vision for our lives.

Proverbs 29:18 (King James Version)"Where there is no vision, the people perish:"

David, the youngest son of Jessie's eight sons, was tending a flock of sheep. His three oldest brothers were in King Saul's army about to do battle with the Philistine Army in the Valley of Elah. The Philistine Army stood on the mountains on one side, and the Army of Israel on the mountains on the other side both looking over the valley. Every day, the Philistine Champion, Goliath, would go out and challenge Saul's Army. He was a huge and frightening figure nearly eight feet tall:

1 Samuel 17:

4 "And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span."

5 "And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass."

6 "And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders."

7 "And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him."

Goliath would shout to the Army of Israel, "Am I not a Philistine? Why fight as an army, send out your best man to fight me, if he wins and kills me, we will be your servants and serve you. If I win and kill him, you will be our servants and serve us. I defy Israel today, give me a man that we may fight together." With this Saul and all his men were greatly afraid. This little dance happened every single day for forty days. Every day for those forty days Goliath would go out and challenge them, and every day for forty days Saul and his army did nothing but shrink in fear. I am sure that they were not feeling very good about themselves.

David who was at home tending his father's sheep was sent to the battlefield by his father Jessee to take food to his brothers, and to his brother's commander. While he was there both armies square off for battle, but Goliath came out once again with his daily challenge, and the army of Israel all ran away to the mountain once again. Now in Sunday School, I learned that all of the Israeli army ran away, but David shouted "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine?" That isn't what happened, the Bible says ALL ran away, that would include David. Keep in mind how armies fought back then, they would line up and march into each other. The first few rows would most surely die, yet those who were lined up knowing in a battle that they would die, still ran in fear of Goliath. We all know the end of the story, but here is, what as Paul Harvey would have said, is the rest of the story.

When they were back at camp that night David hanging around talking with the soldiers. Keep in mind he was just a boy, this had to be very exciting to him, compared to tending the sheep. As David was walking around he overheard soldiers talking about the rewards that awaited the man who would fight and kill Goliath. He heard them say that whoever killed Goliath would be made wealthy, that he would ride upon a white horse, that he would marry the princess, and that he and his family would never again be required to pay taxes. David asked them again to repeat the reward for killing Goliath, and they did. It was then, after hearing the reward, that David said, "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that defies the army of the Living God?" In other words, it wasn't Goliath that turned David on, it was the Princess, and the prize that turned him on!

At this point David's oldest brother heard what was going on and chastised David making fun of him, "Where are your few sheep you should be tending?" Basically saying "kid you don't belong here with men, quit acting all high and mighty". Have any of you ever found that if you speak about your dreams around your own family and friends that they will put you down, "don't get above your raising" so to speak? That is what happened to David as well. What did he do, did he tuck his tail and go back to the sheep? No, he "turned from them unto another" and asked again "what does he who kills Goliath get as his reward?" He sought out the dream once again.

There were those who overheard this young man's claims and told King Saul about them. Saul called him to him. I am sure that David was surprised with this great offer of that reward that he was the only one standing in line to meet with King Saul to have the chance to fight Goliath. When David met with Saul he told him "Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine." However, Saul saw a boy standing in front of him and wasn't quite as convinced, remember if their "champion" would lose, they would become servants to the Philistines.

33 "And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth."

34 "And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:"

35 "And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him."

36 "Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God."

37 "David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee."

King Saul put his own armor onto David, gave him his own shield and sword. However they were far too big for David, far too heavy, and far too unfamiliar. David said he wouldn't use them, he simply chose 5 smooth stones from a brook, put them in his shepard's bag, took his sling, and his staff.

When Goliath saw David he was furious, he was insulted that the Israel army sent a boy to fight him.

43 "And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods."

44 "And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field."

David understood that his God was bigger than was Goliath, he was fighting with faith.

45 "Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied."

46 "This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel."

47 "And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give you into our hands."

David said "This day will the Lord deliver thee into my hand; and I will kill you, and take your head from you." He said that with only stones and a slingshot in his hand. He was counting on using Goliath's sword for the head removal! Talk about faith, and maybe stones. David did indeed kill Goliath when one of his stones found it's mark into Goliath's forehead. David then took Goliath's sword and cut off his head. Seeing Goliath killed the Philistines ran away in fear, Saul's army was emboldened and chased after them.

What do we learn here? First of all we learn that God doesn't mind, in fact encourages us to dream, that is how He made us. We are designed to be motivated by our vision and dreams. Too many of us somehow think it is not God's will for us to have a dream, nothing could be further from the truth. The next thing we learn is that when we have a dream, those closest to us might well be the ones who try the hardest to take it away from us, so we too must "turn from them unto another" and rebuild the dream in our hearts. Finally, we must learn that no matter how big our own giants, or obstacles are as we pursue our dreams and goals, that our God is bigger than any of them.

Slay your giants and chase your dreams!

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