Peninsula Community Church
God Uses Everything
August 19, 2018
1 Samuel 17:31-37 When the words that David spoke were heard, they repeated them before Saul, and he sent for him. And David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!”
Today, we continue our study of the Old Testament battles. The goal is to understand how these battles prepare us to do battle against an enemy that is very real and powerful. It seems that we either deny or minimize his existence, or we see and blame the enemy for everything. The truth is we have an enemy who is battling us, but the battle is not ours, it is the Lord’s. It has been and will continue to be His battle. When we fight His battle, His way, we will always be successful. We saw this with Moses, with Joshua, with Gideon, and today we see this with David.
Our focus will be on how God uses our past experiences to effect positive outcomes in the present. He uses our past successes and experiences to empower us to be victorious in the present. As a shepherd in the desert, David was prepared to face the giant of the battlefield. David’s confidence was secure in what He had witnessed God do in the past. That confidence allowed David to step up and beat the giant with the simplicity of a sling shot and a stone.
As we dig into this story, we find that the Philistines had been tormenting the Israelites. There has been no real fighting, only words had been exchanged. Most of the verbal attacks had come from Goliath, who was a giant of a man. He was 6 cubits and a span. In English, that means that he was about 9 foot, six inches tall. It has been suggested that he may have had the blood of the Anakites who were considered to be giants in their day. In Deuteronomy 9:1-2, we find God warns them they would encounter giants, and Goliath was just such a person. How big was Goliath? He was big enough to handle a shield that weighed 78 pounds and the shaft of his spear weighed 15 pounds. He wielded these things as if they were nothing at all. It is noteworthy that he was well armored for a giant, which is interesting to me. As a giant he could probably take anyone single handedly, and yet he still stood behind his armor.
Notice what Goliath did. He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not 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 be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” And the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day. Give me a man, that we may fight together.” When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid (1 Samuel 17:8-11).
Two points are worth mentioning here. First, the enemy is good at taunting us. He is good at slinging insults and accusations at us. After all, he is the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10). He knows that if he can accuse us long enough we will succumb to the feelings of fear and defeat. In this case, Israel was already defeated because they refused to confront Goliath. They were intimidated and neutralized to the point of inaction. They allowed the accusations the enemy to defeat them before they even entered the battle. Psychologists tell us that when confronted by issues, we will resolve them by flight, fight, or we will freeze. In this case, Israel was frozen to the point of inaction because of fear and intimidation.
Second, Goliath used compromises and purported agreements to discourage and defeat the children of Israel. He was trying to get Israel to agree to something that would place them under bondage to the Philistines for life. For Goliath, it was all or nothing. He assumed that whoever they would match up with him would be defeated, and it would be easy to place them under bondage to the Philistines. Our problem is that we often make agreements with the enemy that cause us to be in bondage to his ways.
Now let’s contrast David to the army of Israel. David was the son of Jessie. He was the youngest of seven brothers. David’s three oldest brothers had already joined Saul’s army and as a concerned father, Jesse would send David to his brothers on a regular basis. This served a twofold purpose. For one, Jesse could shuttle food and provisions to them, but this also gave Jesse an opportunity to check up on the brothers vicariously through David. For David, this was an opportunity to be close to the army, so he could see what was happening on the battlefield. It was on one of these trips that our story unfolds and God’s will is played out for David and Israel.
When David saw what was happening and as he listened to the threats of Goliath, he was inspired to take down the giant. This was met with accusations and laughter which lead Saul to meet with David where he rejected David’s idea because he was too young. David countered this false perception of his youth by expressing to Saul what qualified him for the role. David began to detail the number of times that God intervened on his behalf when he was watching his father’s sheep. He shared the times a bear and a lion had come to take one of the sheep. Through God’s power and strength he attacked and killed the predator. This empowered him with a confidence in God, and in that confidence, he could overcome the giant that was now battling the Israelites. His experiences had taught him well, and had prepared Him for this moment in time.
Saul agreed to allow David to fight Goliath. We know the story, he offers David his armor which would not fit David. Saul was trying to fit David into his way of fighting but that was not David’s way and it certainly was not God’s way. David rejected the armor of Saul and proceeds to take five stones from the stream near by. These were carefully chosen stones that would be used to deliver the death blow to Goliath. As he approached Goliath, Goliath tormented him and spewed slurs against him.
What does David do? First, he proclaims the majesty of God. “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with 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 defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. (1 Samuel 17:45-46). He then loads the sling with a stone and winds up his arm and let’s the stone go. It struck Goliath in the forehead and he fell dead before the Israelites and the Philistines. Why? It is because David came in the might and power of God.
As we close, let me give you three things about David’s experiences that are applicable to us. First, our experiences build faith and confidence in us. David overcame the lion and bear through the strength of God’s power. Listen to David’s words in 1 Samuel 17:36-37. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” God will fight our battles. We can look back to see battles already won in our life. That gives us faith and courage to face any new battle that comes our way. So what bear or lion have destroyed because of God’s strength. Paul understood this and we see his confidence in expressed in 2 Corinthians 1:10. Paul stated He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. That is the confidence we have. What He has done in the past, He will do again. He has delivered us, and He will do it again.
Second, God never wastes anything. No matter how bad or how horrible the events of our past might be, God can use them for His glory. Remember the story of Joseph. He could have lashed out at his brothers, and he had every right to harm them. He did not do that because his experiences had taught him to trust God and walk in forgiveness. His experiences had taught him about the bigness of God. Listen to Joseph’s own words in Genesis 50:20. As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Our experiences will cause us to be bitter or better. It is our choice.
Third, the intervention of God in our experiences show the world the majesty and supremacy of God in our lives. The army was afraid and frozen and stood before Goliath without any action on their part. David, as a result of his experiences and his witness to the power of God to kill the lion and the bear, was able to step up when everyone else was frozen with fear. When we step out in faith and confidence because of battles already won, those around us will take notice and God will get the glory.
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Copyright © 2018 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom