Sept. 12, 2021

Like the other beasts

Like the other beasts

Forty days later, Goliath is still taunting the armies of God. A young man named David arrives, having the confidence to face  this giant. But his own brother and king Saul have their doubts. What does this teach us about how to overcome our own really big problem?

Greensburg Church of the Nazarene
31 Bluebird Lane, Greensburg, KY 42743

Christian Podcaster Association


**not a word for word transcript, but the sermon manuscript**




How do I overcome really big problems? To answer that question, we are looking at a familiar Bible story. One with a Goliath-sized problem. Ok, Goliath is the really big problem. So far we learned that the way to overcome really big problems is to not allow fear to cripple us, causing us to forget all we know. But more than that is required.


1 Samuel 17:12-37:


12 Now David was the son of an Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, named Jesse, who had eight sons. In the days of Saul the man was already old and advanced in years. 13 The three eldest sons of Jesse followed Saul to the battle; the names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. 14 David was the youngest; the three eldest followed Saul, 15 but David went back and forth form Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem. 16 For forty days the Philistine came forward and took his stand, morning and evening. 17 Jesse said to his son David, “Take for your brothers an ephah of this parched grain and these ten loaves, and carry them quickly to the camp to your brothers; 18 also take these ten cheeses to the commander of their thousand. See how your brothers fare, and bring some token from them.” 19 Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines. 20 David rose early in the morning, left the sheep with a keeper, took the provisions, and went as Jesse had commanded him. He came to the encampment as the army was going forth to the battle line, shouting the war cry. 21 Israel and the Philistines drew up for battle, army against army. 22 David left the things in charge of the keeper of the baggage, ran to the ranks, and went and greeted his brothers. 23 As he talked with them, the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, came up out of the ranks of Philistines, and spoke the same words as before. And David heard him. 24 All the Israelites, when they saw the man, fled from him and were very much afraid. 25 The Israelites said, “Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel. The king will greatly enrich the man who kills him, and will give him his daughter and make his family free in Israel.” 26 David said to the men who stood by him, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine, and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” 27 The people answered him in the same way, “So shall it be done for the man who kills him.” 28 His eldest brother Eliab heard him talking to the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David. He said, “Why have you come down? With whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart; for you have come down just to see the battle.” 29 David said, “What have I done now? It was only a question.” 30 He turned away form him toward another and spoke in the same way; and the people answered him again as before. 31 when the words that David spoke were heard, they repeated them before Saul; and he sent for him. 32 David said to Saul, “Let no one’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33 Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are just a boy, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father; and whenever a lion or a bear came, and took a lamb form the flock, 35 I went after it and struck it down, rescuing the lamb from its mouth; and if it turned against me, I would catch it by the jaw, strike it down, and kill it. 36 Your servant has killed both lions and bears; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, since he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 David said, “The Lord, who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will save me from the hand of this Philistine.” So Saul said to David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you.” (NRSV)


This is the Word of God, for the people of God, thanks be to God.





Forty days. That is how much time has passed between verses 11 and 12. The Israelites and the Philistines are each camped out on hills, but no one is moving to fight except the nine-foot-tall Goliath and his little shield bearer too. No one was brave enough to fight Goliath, including Saul (who was supposed to be their champion).


Jesse had four sons serving king Saul. Eliab, Abinadab, and Shammah were serving in the army who had left for battle forty days ago. By this point, Jesse may have been concerned about the welfare of his oldest three boys, so he sends his youngest son, David, with a care package. David was the youngest of eight sons, and was serving as Saul’s armorbearer while also helping his old man with the sheep.


David is unremarkable, and his entrance into this story is just as blah. Especially when you compare him to Goliath, who was introduced as big, loud, and with a little shield bearer too. Even compared to Saul, who was tall and handsome, David was blah. But if you have read previously in 1 Samuel, David was who God picked to be the next king of Israel.




With the care package from Jesse, David arrives in the Israelite camp. David gets there in time to see Goliath come out for his daily taunts and challenge. Again, no one goes out there. Appalled that this Philistine would defy “the armies of the living God,” David learns that Saul has offered riches, his daughter, and tax exemption as reward for anyone who would fight Goliath.




Eliab, the oldest of David’s brothers, is not happy about his little brother snooping around the battle zone. Part jealousy (for being passed over as king) and protective big brother, Eliab calls out David. He accuses David of bloodlust, and being irresponsible. False perceptions spewing from Eliab’s envious and overprotective heart. David responds to Eliab in typical little brother fashion with, “Who asked you?”


Word reaches Saul about David, he summons him. David arrives and says to Saul, “Don’t worry, here I am to save the day.” He is oozing with confidence, trying to encourage Saul that Goliath can be defeated. Saul greets David’s enthusiasm with, “You are too young and inexperienced.”




Even after being ridiculed and chopped to size by his brother, and being talked down to by Saul, David has not lost confidence. There is no doubt that fighting Goliath is a risk, but David has the confidence to take the risk. Why? Because David had fought to save lambs from lions and bears when caring for his dad’s sheep. “Your servant has killed both lions and bears; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them.” David is confident because God helped him in those situations and will again.


David’s confidence gets through to Saul. Saul is stilling unwilling to face Goliath himself. But he is willing to yield his role as Israel’s champion to David. With a blessing, Saul agrees to let David face Goliath.




Facing the really big problem, fear crippled Saul, Eliab, and the Israelite army. They forgot everything they ever knew. Fear also revealed they had absolutely no confidence in themselves, or even in God. Even if they had tried to face to Goliath, without confidence they certainly would have been come crow food.


David had a confidence. This was not an arrogance, based on his own might. He had a holy confidence, based on his God who had come through in the past. And David was sure God would help him again. Goliath’s taunts against God and his armies could not go unchallenged. David was so confident that it did not matter what Eliab, Saul, or anyone else said. That confidence would change the mind of Saul.


What was the difference? Why was David able to have confidence and not Saul? Because David had the Spirit of God with him while Saul did not. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to have His holy boldness and assurance. That confidence is not restrained by naysayers, nor crippled by fear.




How do I overcome a really big problem? Do not lose confidence. The only way to have confidence to stand-up to your giants, get passed the naysayers, and move despite of fear is through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.