I Samuel 17:1-58

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

Text: I Samuel 17



The Israelites faced constant warfare with the Philistines. Similarly, as Christians, we face constant warfare from the world, the flesh, and the devil.

First of all, we see -


We see the enemy's presence, his description, and his defiance -

We see first -

1. The enemy's presence - 17:1-3

The Philistines and Goliath were Israel's enemy -

I Samuel 17:1-3 - (1) Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched [i.e. camped, encamped] between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim [i.e. a name which means boundary of blood]. (2) And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched [i.e. camped, encamped] by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array [i.e. they drew up in battle array] against the Philistines. (3) And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them.

Satan is the believers' enemy -

Ephesians 6:10-11 - (10) Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (11) Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

I Peter 5:8 - Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

We also see -

2. The enemy's description - 17:4-7

We see the description of Goliath, who was Israel's enemy-

I Samuel 17:4-7 - (4) And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span [a cubit was the measure of the king's forearm from his elbow to the tip of his finger - estimated to be about 18 inches - on me it's actually 19 inches; and a span was the distance between the tip of the thumb and the tip of the little finger when the hand is fully extended - on my hand it measures about 10 inches. Based on my measurements, this would make Goliath about 124 inches or 10 feet 4 inches tall. - Some of you have longer arms and bigger hands than I have; and some of you have shorter arms and smaller arms than I have. Go home and measure it and see how you measure up to Goliath. A ten foot measurement for Goliath would not be out of the question. How much do you suppose he weighed. Estimates are anywhere from 600 to 750 pounds or more depending on his build. That's big!]. (5) And he had an helmet of brass [i.e. bronze] upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass [i.e. estimated at about 125 pounds]. (6) And he had greaves of brass [i.e. bronze armor] upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. (7) And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam [one estimate is that it was 2 1/2 inches in diameter]; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron [i.e. his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels, i.e. about 15 pounds, a little less than a standard bowling ball - How far could you throw a spear whose shaft was 2 1/2 thick with the weight of a bowling ball on the end of it? It would have taken far more strength than I could have mustered. What would happen if you or I would try to grab a spear 2, 3, or 4 feet back from the spearhead with a 15 pound spearhead on it? Could you even hold it straight? Could you aim it accurately? How far do you suppose you could throw it and hit what you're aiming at? This would be very challenging for a normal sized man.]: and one bearing a shield [i.e. a shield-bearer] went before him.

We see something about Satan, who is our enemy -

II Corinthians 4:4 - In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Finally, we see -

3. The enemy's defiance - 17:8-11

We see Goliath's defiance of Israel -

I Samuel 17:8-11 - (8) And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array [i.e. to line up for battle]? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. (9) If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us. (10) And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together. (11) When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.

We see Satan's defiance of God -

Isaiah 14:12-15 - (12) How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! (13) For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: (14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. (15) Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

Not only do we see the enemy, but we also see -


We as believers see that God, through David's father, directed David to go to the battle, knowing that David would encounter Goliath. David was in God's will by being where he would see Goliath -

1. The believer's exposure to the enemy - 17:12-23

I Samuel 17:12-23 - (12) Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehemjudah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men for an old man [i.e. and the man was old or the man was advanced in years] in the days of Saul. (13) And the three eldest sons of Jesse went and followed Saul to the battle: and the names of his three sons that went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next unto him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. (14) And David was the youngest: and the three eldest followed Saul. (15) But David went and returned from Saul to feed his father's sheep at Bethlehem. (16) And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days. (17) And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an ephah [i.e. about a bushel] of this parched corn [i.e. of this dried grain or of this roasted grain], and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to thy brethren [i.e. your brothers]; (18) And carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare [i.e. see how your brothers are], and take their pledge [i.e. bring back news of them]. (19) Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines. (20) And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper [i.e. a shepherd], and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench [i.e. the camp], as the host [i.e. as the army] was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle. (21) For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array [i.e. had drawn up in battle array], army against army. (22) And David left his carriage [i.e. supplies] in the hand of the keeper of the carriage [i.e. supply keeper], and ran into the army, and came and saluted [i.e. greeted] his brethren [i.e. his brothers]. (23) And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words [i.e. spoke these same words]: and David heard them.

We don't always know why some things happen, but we see that God allowed or directed David to observe Goliath at this time. Similarly, he allows us to experience various things in life -

Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Psalms 37:23 - The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.

Next, we see -

2. The believer's despair because of the enemy - 17:24-25

We see that the Israelites were terribly afraid of Goliath -

I Samuel 17:24-25 - (24) And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid [i.e. were greatly afraid or were dreadfully afraid - Don't be too hard on them - from a physical standpoint, they had reason to be afraid of him!]. (25) And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father's house free in Israel [i.e. will exempt his father's family from taxes in Israel].

From time to time we see believers in despair saying things such as -

"I can't understand my Bible."

"I don't know how to pray"

"I could never witness."

But the Scripture says,

Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Matthew 28:19-20 - (19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (20) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Romans 8:26 - Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

We see in David -

3. The believer's proper attitude - 17:26-27

I Samuel 17:26-27 - (26) And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? (27) And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man that killeth him.

Romans 8:31 - What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Not only do we see the enemy and the believer, but we also see -


We see in David's brother Eliab that -

1. The enemy may use biting words - 17:28-29

David's oldest brother said some unkind things to David -

I Samuel 17:28-29 - (28) And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride [i.e. your insolence], and the naughtiness of thine heart [i.e. the wickedness of your heart]; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle [Not exactly - David's father had sent him, but while he was there, it might be interesting for him to see the battle]. (29) And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?

Remember that it wasn't God who led Eliab to say these things to David, but God allowed it to be said to David.

Remember that Eliab was present when Samuel anointed David as king. Note that Eliab did not know David's pride and the wickedness of David's heart although he thought he did. He was wrong and should not have said what he said. We should remember that, once we have said something, it's hard to take it back. You are better off not saying things for which you'll have to apologize later.

We also see that -

2. The enemy may use discouragement - 17:30-36

Saul sought to discourage David -

I Samuel 17:30-36 - (30) And he turned from him toward another, and spake after the same manner: and the people answered him again after the former manner [i.e. as the first ones (did)]. (31) And when the words were heard which David spake, they rehearsed them before Saul: and he sent for him. (32) And David said to Saul, Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. (33) And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight, with him: for thou art but a youth [you're just a kid!], and he a man of war from his youth; (34) And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear [i.e. there came the lion and the bear], and took a lamb out of the flock: (35) And I went out after him [i.e. after the lion or after the bear], and smote [i.e. struck or attacked] him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard [possibly by his hair or by his chin], and smote him, and slew him [i.e. struck and killed it]. (36) Thy servant slew [i.e. has killed] both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. [It sounds as if the experience of having a lion or a bear come after one of his sheep was fairly routine for a shepherd.]

The believer should not be discouraged -

Psalms 42:11 - Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

We see that -

3. The enemy may seek to get the believer to use the energy of the flesh - 17:38-39

Saul attempted to arm David with his armor and sword -

I Samuel 17:38-39 - (38) And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass [i.e. a bronze helmet] upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. (39) And David girded his sword upon his armour [i.e. fastened his sword to his armor], and he assayed to go [i.e. tried to walk]; for he had not proved [i.e. tested] it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these [i.e. I cannot walk with these]; for I have not proved [i.e. tested] them. And David put them off him.

David would not have been victorious over Goliath if he had attempted to use Saul's armor and sword. Likewise, believers will not be victorious using the world's methods. For example, we will not be effective as soul winners using typical sales tactics. We will not understand the Bible apart from the Holy Spirit's aiding our understanding as we study it.

Finally, we see -


I Samuel 17:37 - (37) David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the Lord be with thee.

I Samuel 17:40-58 - (40) And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip [i.e. in a pouch]; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine. (41) And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield [i.e. the shield-bearer] went before him [i.e. before Goliath]. (42) And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him [i.e. showed contempt for him]: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance [i.e. good looking - How old do you suppose David was? Maybe 17 years old?]. (43) And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves [i.e. with sticks]? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. (44) And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls [i.e. the birds] of the air, and to the beasts of the field. (45) Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield [i.e. a javelin]: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. (46) This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee [i.e. I will strike you (down)], and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host [i.e. the dead bodies of the army or of the camp] of the Philistines this day unto the fowls [i.e. 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. (47) And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hands [We need to remind ourselves that the battle we as individual believers or as one of the Lord's congregations is not our own but is the Lord's]. (48) And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came, and drew nigh [i.e. drew near] to meet David, that David hasted [i.e. hastened], and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. (49) And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence [i.e. from there] a stone, and slang [i.e. slung] it, and smote [i.e. struck] the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk [i.e. sank] into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. [Right then, it could have been said that nothing like this had ever entered into Goliath's head before this!] (50) So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David. (51) Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled. (52) And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron. (53) And the children of Israel returned from chasing after the Philistines, and they spoiled their tents [i.e. plundered their tents]. (54) And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armour in his tent. (55) And when Saul saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said unto Abner, the captain of the host, Abner, whose son is this youth? And Abner said, As thy soul liveth, O king, I cannot tell. (56) And the king said, Enquire thou whose son the stripling [i.e. youth, young man] is. (57) And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. (58) And Saul said to him, Whose son art thou, thou young man? And David answered, I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.


The story of David and Goliath shows us that in the Lord's strength we can have victory over any and every seemingly insurmountable obstacle we encounter in the course of our lives.

Ephesians 6:10-18 - 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.