Go ahead and turn to I Samuel 17 for our time together this morning.
The San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs will go head to head tonight. Who’s it going to be? Will it be the ones who have won the most victories all season? Will it be the ones who have spent the most time on the practice field? Will it be the ones who got the most sleep last night? What will make the difference in determining who the winner will be?
I guess we’ll know in a few hours.
As I study I Samuel 17, I see two teams with two different kind of quarterbacks, if you will. I see the Philistines, and their quarterback, Goliath and the Israelites and their quarterback, David. So we have two sides, two teams, the Philistines versus the Israelites. Who would win? Well, actually, it came down to just the quarterbacks, just two players. It was David versus Goliath. It was actually Giant versus Giant.
Goliath was over nine feet tall. I Samuel 17:4-7 tell us that just the armor he wore was 125 pounds. His spear weighed 15 pounds. I don’t know how much his helmet and the bronze leg coverings and the javelin on his back weighed, but I am guessing we are getting close to my body weight. Don’t nobody be trying to add numbers up right now. (LOL)
Can you imagine walking around with all of that extra weight on? I struggle to carry my computer bag and my purse at the same time. He had to be a beast of a guy. I read that a man of Goliath’s height should have weighed about 450 pounds. Another person suggested he could have been closer to 600 pounds. Regardless, he was a big, physical giant.
The other giant in the story is a young shepherd boy named David. He wasn’t a physical giant, but he was surely a spiritual giant. We don’t know exactly how old he was. In order to fight in the Israelite army a person would have to be a minimum of 20, so we know he was under 20 because he wasn’t in the army. In verse 33, David was called a “boy” by King Saul. King Saul also said that Goliath had been a fighting man from his youth which indicates Goliath was considerably older and more experienced than David. So, David wasn’t a physical giant, but he was a spiritual giant, and that is what made all of the difference. For Goliath, the battle was about physical size and human strength. For David, it was about what God had done and what God could do, and that is why David was a spiritual giant and is why he was able to take Goliath down.
The bottom line for today is this: No physical, earthly circumstance is a match for a man or woman of true faith in the Lord.
I want to give you seven statements today that help us understand the difference between spiritual giants and physical giants. I hope you packed a lunch. 😉
- Spiritual giants refuse to be defined by anyone but God.
Here is 1 Samuel 17:8: Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me.
From the start, Goliath was a trash talker. Before the battle even began, he was trying to get in the heads of the Israelites, and for the most part, he was successful. He taunted them. He bullied them. He caused them to shrink and to feel less than and defeated. They were paralyzed by his words.
David didn’t see himself as just a servant of Saul. He didn’t see himself as just a servant of his father as he would run between home and the battle line to take food to his brothers. He saw himself as a servant of God, as a champion.
Goliath wasn’t the only one talking trash to David. When David was making a food delivery to his brothers, he overheard Goliath taunting the Israelites. David started asking questions about the situation, and when he did, his oldest brother belittled and minimized him.
1 Samuel 17:28 When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”
Eliab’s words could have resounded over and over in David’s thinking. He could have started to believe he was “just” a little sheepherder. He was just an errand boy. He could never make a difference. But David knew his own heart. He knew why he asking questions. He knew what God was quickening in his heart.
King Saul also spoke discouragingly over David when he told him he wasn’t qualified to fight the giant in verse 33. David wasn’t going to be defined by the words or opinions of man, and if you want to be a spiritual giant, neither should you be.
- Spiritual giants don’t allow what they see and hear to deter them from the battle.
David had heard taunts and jabs and could see a huge and powerful opponent. He saw a bigger and more skilled army. He saw his own people, the Israelite army, running away every time Goliath started running his mouth. There wouldn’t even be anyone to have his back. From a human perspective things didn’t look good. It didn’t look like he could or would win. The odds were stacked against him.
But that didn’t deter David. David wasn’t focused on Goliath’s size. That just made him too big to miss. David knew he wasn’t going into a hand to hand combat situation with Goliath. He was going to use Goliath for target practice. You see, sometimes, what we see and hear just calls for us to adjust our strategy. Not every giant is dealt with in the same manner. As we size up our giants, we need to ask God for help with a strategy that will enable us to be successful. It’s not about the size of your giant. It’s about the strategy you use against your giant.
The Israelite army couldn’t see a way to defeat someone who was stronger and more skilled when it came to fighting. David wasn’t even going to fight Goliath. He was simply going to take him out. There wasn’t even going to be a tussle. He wasn’t going to wrestle with Goliath. He wasn’t even going to get close enough for Goliath to smell his breath let alone lay a hand on him. He was simply going to take him out with a sling shot and a stone. And that is what he did. He hit Goliath just exactly in the spot on his head that killed him.
- I accidentally left out a point when I sent my outline to be printed, so I need you to insert a point if you are filling in the blanks in your bulletin. It is this: Spiritual giants battle with the right motivation. David understood that what was taking place was more than a showdown between two people groups. What was happening was really a showdown between Yahweh, the One, True, Living God and the pagan gods of the Philistines. This was more than a physical battle. It was a spiritual war. Only David saw it. Everyone else was focused on earthly things and earthly outcomes. King Saul offered to give great wealth, not just a little reward, but great wealth to whoever killed Goliath. In addition to that, to sweeten the pot, whoever killed the giant would get the girl, as they say. Saul would give his daughter in marriage to him, and in addition to that, whoever killed the giant, his family would be exempt from paying taxes. Those were some big motivators and yet, there were still no takers.
David overheard some people talking about all of that, and I think his response in verse 26 is interesting: 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?”
I would like to read David’s response this way: What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? (Boys, who cares who gets what?) Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (Our God’s name is on the line, who cares about the reward?) David didn’t enlist in the battle to gain riches or a wife or a tax exempt status. He signed up because he wasn’t going to have the Lord’s name being defamed. He wasn’t going to have God’s people continue to be bullied or harmed. His heart wasn’t for himself and what he could gain. His heart was for God and God’s people, and that’s why he was victorious! He had the right motivation, the right heart.
David made his motivation quite clear in verse 45 when he said to Goliath, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Think about the battle you are fighting right now. What is your reason for fighting? What is your motivation? Is it about you and some personal advancement or is about the name of the Lord or the will of God? Your motivation for fighting will determine whether you will win or lose the fight.
- Spiritual giants run to the battle. Listen, there is no victory without a battle. There is no battle without those who are willing to fight. Goliath had been verbally assaulting the Army of Israel for 40 days. They were in limbo for 40 days. They were in constant fear for 40 days. They dealt with threats day after day after day. How long would this have gone on had David not intervened? Twice in our text we read that David ran to the battle line. See verse 22 and verse 48. There was nothing timid in David’s approach. He was aggressive. He was courageous. He was bold. He was decisive. He knew what he was going to do when he got to the battle line.
I fear there are many believers who are stuck in fear, listening to the voice of the giants in this life, and they are retreating from the battle line. There are people who are living below their God-given destinies because they don’t think they can win. God is saying to many of us today, “If you want to be a spiritual giant, you’ve got to run to the battle line.” David didn’t wait until he was 20 to engage in battle. He didn’t wait until any man said he was old enough or that he was skilled enough to fight. He stepped up and ran to the battle because God was calling him up. Don’t run from the battle. With the Lord’s help, run to it, and He will give you the victory.
- Spiritual giants fully rely on the Lord.
When King Saul listed the reasons David wasn’t qualified to battle Goliath, David shared some of his previous accomplishments, and when he did, he gave the Lord credit for his victory. Look at verses 34 and following: But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
David’s wasn’t trusting in his sling shot skills. He was trusting fully in the Lord to deliver him from Goliath. He knew when he had taken out a lion and a bear that he hadn’t done it in his own strength. To him, Goliath was just another wild beast that God would take care of.
David also announced his reliance on God to Goliath when he said in verse 45, You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
David was fully trusting in the name of the Lord, in the presence of the Lord to go before him.
Oh, for a hot second, David let Saul dress him up in Saul’s armor. The text even says that Saul put the armor on David (vs 45). Listen, when you walk with the Lord, and you know He is enough, and you know what He has told you to do, don’t let other people manipulate you into fighting like they would fight. You rest in the Lord, and let Him lead your heart. When we face giants we don’t need to try to arm ourselves with all kinds of stuff in order to defeat them when all we really need is the name of the Lord. The Bible says it is a strong tower, and we can run to the name of the Lord and be safe (Proverbs 18:10).
David quickly told Saul, “I can’t go in your armor. I am not used to it. It isn’t me.” So he took the armor off. Listen, the way believers fight their giants will look different from person to person, but if you are trusting in the name of the Lord, that is what matters. David did what he knew to do. He grabbed his shepherd’s bag and filled it with five smooth stones. He took his sling, and he went out in the name of the Lord, fully relying on God.
- Spiritual giants talk triumphantly.
David didn’t say to himself, “There is no way this is going to work. I am no match for Goliath. This is stupid that I am even doing this.” David didn’t say to his brothers, “I hope this isn’t a big mistake. In case I don’t make it back, it’s been nice knowing you.” No. There was no fear and no doubt in David’s mind that he would be victorious. Listen, don’t you let your giants do all the talking, friends! David didn’t. You need to open your mouth and declare the victory.
1 Samuel 17:46-47 46 This day the LORD WILL hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I WILL give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world WILL know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here WILL know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he WILL give all of you into our hands.”
He was resolute. He knew God would take out the giant. Believers, we need to have a triumphant vocabulary. We need to be people of a positive report. We need to confess that we are overcomers. We need to believe God is up to something good in our lives. We need let the devil know who is boss and that he is going down.
There is great power in our words. We are created in the image of God who created the worlds with His Words. Proverbs 18:21-The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Think about that. “You are what you eat” is a common cultural phrase which has great truth. But the Bible says, you are what you speak. If you speak life and victory you are going to enjoy the fruit of talking that way. I am not talking about a “name it, claim it” approach to life. I’m talking about encouraging ourselves by speaking favorably over our lives as we trust God to be with us in all circumstances.
Proverbs 6:2 says we can trap ourselves by what we say. We can be ensnared by the words of our mouths. Sometimes, our problem isn’t the giant we are facing, but it is our own mouth, our own confession about our situation. Sometimes we are trapping ourselves by speaking negatively about our circumstances and our futures. I see it on social media all of the time. Some of us need to quit trash talking ourselves and our circumstances. If you are fully relying on Christ, you will make it. You are going to have hope and joy. Life is going to have meaning and fulfillment. Your circumstance may try you, but it won’t crush you. Exercise faith in the Lord by opposing your giant with the words you say and keep asking God to show you the path to the victory.
- Spiritual giants lead others into victory.
1 Samuel 17:52-53 52 Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines to the entrance of Gath and to the gates of Ekron. Their dead were strewn along the Shaaraim road to Gath and Ekron. 53 When the Israelites returned from chasing the Philistines, they plundered their camp.
Listen, when you pursue and win spiritual battles, other people will reap the benefits along with you. Your spouse is going to win when you win against your giants. Your friends will win when you win against your giants. Your faith, your boldness, your conviction and courage, will win victories that enable other people to see what is possible when we trust God to lead.
It has well been said that “There are people who make things happen, people who watch things happen and people who don’t know that anything is happening.”
David could see what was happening. He realized there was a spiritual war that needed to be fought and won. It was a battle between truth and error, faith and superstition, between God and the dead idols of the Philistines. David’s victory reminded the Israelites that day that God will give the victory.
Earlier, when I mentioned tonight’s Super Bowl, I asked the question, “What will make the difference in determining who the winner will be?” The answer lies in whether you know and fully trust God and are willing to battle in His name for Him to be seen. He is the Difference-maker.
What is your giant today? Does it come in the form of a loudmouth bully who is threatening you and leaving you fearful? Is it an addiction that has wrapped itself around your mind and heart to the point where all you can hear is the voice of addiction luring you tighter into its grasp? Is it a mount of debt for which you see no way out? Is it a future that now looks incredibly different due to the loss of a loved one? Is it intense loneliness or depression? What is your giant today?
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I believe that every battle we have in this life has a spiritual component. There is a spiritual war tied to everything we face in the physical which means in order to be victorious, we have to have a spiritual strategy in order to win. If you are a Christian, then every battle you face is personal to God. Why? His name is on the line. You wear His name. You wear the name of Christ. God isn’t going to let the enemy have the victory in the life of a man or woman who has committed by becoming a spiritual giant and warring God’s way.