1 Samuel 17: 20-26
Early in the morning David left the flock in the care of a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry. Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other. 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.
Now the Israelites had been saying, ‘Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to 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.’
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?’
Yesterday we saw that the first door that God opened for David came in the form of an invitation to play the harp for Saul.
The next door that God would open was when David’s father sent him to his brothers down at the battle line with some cheese sandwiches. David arrives in his wee Tesco delivery van with groceries for his brothers and it says the troops from both side are coming out and shouting their war cry.
I think this is funny. For 40 days the Israelites have come out every morning and evening and performed this brave, loud war cry – and then they’ve stood there all day and done nothing. They’ve just looked at Goliath terrified.
It would be like the New Zealand All Blacks coming onto the rugby field and aggressively performing the Haka, making all that noise, but once they're done they quietly slope back into the changing room because they don’t want to get hurt.
It’s not about how loud you sound or impressive you look, but is about serving faithfully when no one is looking. And it’s as David is faithfully serving in the ordinary and insignificant, that he gets his greatest opportunity to do the most significant thing he’s ever done, the thing that will propel him closer the throne faster in one day than he could have any other way in 20 years.
As he arrives with the supplies it’s morning and the Israelites and the Philistines are lining up for day 41 of Goliath intimidating the Israelites and the Israelites standing there terrified and doing absolutely nothing about it.
For 40 days, day after day, the Israelites have stood there and talked about Goliath and how big he is and how powerful he is and how they don’t stand a chance against him.
There's 25 verses in chapter 17 about defeat, failure and how big the giant is. Not once in 25 verses has one person even mentioned the name of God. Not one has God been brought into the problem. This is Israel, the people of God, the only people on the earth set apart to love and worship the one True God. And yet when faced with the giant problem in front of them they’ve forgotten all about Him, they’ve left God completely out of the picture.
Most of us reading this, if asked, we would affirm that we believe in God, we believe He is all powerful, that He loves us, that He’s our Father, that He is able to protect us and intervene and do the impossible.
But then when we face an impossible situation, when we come up against a giant, we completely forget all about God and live like He doesn’t even exist.
We become what I call non-believing believers or the other name might be Christian athiests.
Non-believing believers or Christians atheists are people who say they’re Christians, who say they believe in God, they go to church, sing the songs, pray and read the bible – and yet in their daily lives they live like He isn’t really real, like His opinion doesn’t matter, when they face problems, they don’t even think about turning to and trusting in Him.
We say we believe God heals – and yet we never pray for healing.
We say we believe God can provide for all our needs – and yet we don’t give generously.
We say we believe God answers prayer – and yet the last time we prayed was 2013.
We say we believe that people need Jesus – and yet we never speak to anyone about Jesus.
Our so-called faith makes absolutely no impact on our daily behaviour. Our beliefs don’t really make us live any differently from the person next door who doesn’t believe in God. We stress about the same things, we make the same lifestyle choices, we have the same morals, and we deal with problems the same way.
The only real difference is that we spend an hour or two a week in church and they don’t.
We try to use human wisdom and methods to deal with things instead of God ways. We listen to what everyone else has to say and ignore what God has to say. We try everything else that’s within our power to do, and if nothing else works, maybe as a very last resort we turn to God.
And when we do that - when we rely on our own wisdom instead of God’s wisdom, on everyone else’s words instead of God’s word – we end up like Israel are here in 1 Sam 17: defeated, fearful, intimidated, passive and pitiful.
Israel forgot who they belonged to. All they could see was the visible , the giant obstacle right in front of them.
They couldn’t see the invisible, awesome God who was all around them.
In verse 26 David shows up on the scene and look at the first thing he says:
“Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?’”
He immediately brings God central stage, he brings God right into the middle of the giant problem.
This is actually the first time in all of scripture that we have speech from David recorded. Up until this point we have read about him, but we haven’t actually heard him say anything. And in his first recorded words, He brings God in where everyone else has left God out.
David reminds them all that this isn’t just a battle between Israel and the Philistines, but this is between Israel and their God – and the Philistines. And what is at stake here is God’s honour, God’s reputation. God’s name is on the line here.
And when you are a man or woman after God’s own heart then His honour, His reputation, His name, His glory, will be much greater to you then your own safety or fear.
When you fear and reverence God more than anything else – then not even a giant can intimidate you.