David and Goliath (1 Samuel #20)

This chapter has to be one of the most well known stories in all the world. This battle is probably the most famous battle in all of human history. It’s been used as a metaphor for little guy versus big guy, but that is not what this battle proved. David was not superior in any way to Goliath. It wasn’t little versus big, it was the Spirit versus the flesh. David’s heart was right with God and he trusted God while the giant openly defied God. The account proves that a man or woman whose heart is right with God will seek to glorify God, and to magnify the name of the LORD publicly. And to that end, the LORD will use that man or woman mightily as God defends His name.

The whole chapter is summed up in verses 45-47. There are three things in these verses that make this confrontation between David and Goliath what it is.

  • The first is that God’s battle is spiritual warfare. Yes, David physically killed the giant, but that part wasn’t the hard part. It was literally over in minutes and only one man’s blood was spilled. It was all of David’s spiritual accomplishments leading up to that moment that provided opportunity for the death of the giant and casting off the reproach against God’s people.
  • The second part of this is the battle is much bigger than David or Goliath. As David says in verse 46, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. This battle is for the glory of God; it will strike fear in the enemies of God and inspire any soul wavering between trusting the LORD or fearing the world.
  • The third point is that salvation belongs to God. Whether it be the salvation of a nation for a time or whether it be the salvation of a soul, salvation belongs to the LORD. And salvation always means defeating an enemy.

The battle between David and Goliath is not little guy versus big guy; it is spiritual versus worldly.

The world’s champion (vss 4-11)

  • According to all physical measurements, all worldly standards, Goliath is superior to David, and all the Israelites in every way.
  • Verses 4-10 describe the physical attributes and weaponry this behemoth possessed. It even describes his worldly beliefs.
  • Verse 11 shows that Saul and all of Israel think exactly like the Philistines. They see Goliath and they see a champion. Now whoever is a champion to the world is probably a champion to you. But David takes one look at Goliath and sees an abomination.
  • …for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
  • If you fear the things this world fears. You care for the things this world cares for. You value the things this world values. If you are afraid of the same things the world is afraid of, you are just like the world. Friendship with the world is enmity with God. Whosoever will be the friend of this world is the enemy of God.
  • It will be impossible for you, just like it was for Saul and the Israelites, to earnestly contend for the faith while thinking like the world thinks.
  • Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Spiritual man’s opportunity is found on the road of obedience (vss 20-27)

  • David returns from the palace to feed his father’s sheep during this time. Then his dad, Jesse, tells David to take food to his brothers and to the captain (vss 12-19).
  • These carnal Israelites have listened to Goliath mock God for 40 days, twice a day. That’s 80 times they’ve endured this taunting as they shake in their boots. David hears Goliath one time and can’t believe no one is doing anything about this.

Spiritual man’s opposition comes from cowards who won’t fight the battle (vss 28-37)

  • Eliab
    • Carnal brothers who are afraid to fight the giant start a fight with the only man who’s willing to stand up for the LORD. Eliab gets mad at David, but won’t get mad at the giant.
    • Eliab thinks he’s an expert on David’s heart. This is the brother who God took a look at his heart and rejected him because his heart wasn’t right. But now he’s an expert on David’s heart.
    • Worldly, carnal people will always view the faith of a spiritual man as pride.
  • David realizes he isn’t going to get anywhere with his brothers so he starts asking around to get unbiased information in verses 30-31.
  • Saul (vss 32-37)
    • Faithless Saul opposes David’s faithful plan.
    • David makes a case to a carnal man as best he can.
    • Look at how diligent David is with his father’s flock. Some of you were just in the Junior Livestock Show. Not only would you never rescue your animal from a lion or a bear, but Mom and Dad had to feed the animal they bought for you.
    • David’s argument that while Saul and all these people see a seasoned warrior in Goliath, God just sees a beast.
  • It’s almost like fighting the giant was the easy part. David had to wade through all this other stuff just to get to the fight.

Battle belongs to the LORD through a spiritual man God can use (vss 38-54)

  • Saul isn’t going to lift a finger to fight, but he’s sure got some advice for David.
  • If a faithful man tries to fight God’s battles the world’s way he will lose (vss 38-39). See verse 45 and 47 for further explanation.
  • David essentially says to Saul, I tell you what, I like the way I’m doing it better than the way you’re not.
  • You’ve got a verse in the New Testament that describes this.
    • If you’ve never fought any battles on the LORD’s behalf, and received grace from the LORD, you don’t have any advice to share with those who have and are contending for the faith.
    • Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
  • The world champion could not be less impressed when he sees David in verses 41-44. But neither God nor David could be less impressed when they see Goliath.
  • The theme of the chapter in verses 45-47.
  • The battle takes up two verses, 48-49.
  • Spiritual man allows God to work and it encourages the people.

Spiritual man graciously endures the insults of busybodies (vss 55-58)

  • David has been in the palace. Saul requested David be in the palace. Do you really believe Saul doesn’t know who David is at this point?
  • And what about Abner? This guy is the captain of the host, but he’s more like a blister. He shows up when the work is done. Where was Abner in all this? How does this guy still have a job?