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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Barcus & Laura Neal

December 10th, 2023: The Faith of David- I Samuel 17:31-50

31 And when the words were heard which David spake, they rehearsed them before Saul: and he sent for him.


What words did David speak? When he came to deliver food to his brothers who were in the army of Saul and witnessed the blasphemy and foul words of the Philistine giant, he asked, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” His words angered and convicted his brothers as well as the other soldiers who were running away from the challenge. They only saw the fearsome size of Goliath. David was focused on the power and enormity of his God. When his brothers rebuked him for speaking up, he asked, “Is there not cause?” In other words, he couldn’t understand why they all weren’t speaking up and willing to fight for the reputation of the God they served. David had confidence in the ability of God to deliver him from any danger that came his way, because he had experienced his protection before.


32 And David said to Saul, Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.

David volunteered to relieve the stress of the warriors of Israel. They were afraid, and he was righteously angered. He volunteers to meet the giant in battle in the place of Saul, who stood “head and shoulders” above all the men in Israel or any in his army. It had to be embarrassing to hear a young man who was filled with courage speak boldly of his willingness to serve his people.


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, and he a man of war from his youth.

The youngest among his brothers, David’s place in the family was at the bottom. He was a shepherd, the job given the least valued. His brothers were part of the armies of Israel, but he was thought only worthy enough to carry supplies. Saul mocks him, reminding David that he has no training at all in warfare and that Goliath is not only enormous but experienced and skilled in battle.

34 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:

35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.

36 Thy servant slew 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.

David’s confidence comes from his experience and relationship with God. How did he know God could give him the strength to defeat the enemy? Because he had already put the Lord to the test and found Him faithful and true. When a lion and a bear had threatened his father’s sheep, they could have easily devoured the young shepherd as well, but for the grace and mercy of God. Giants, lions, and bears are no match for the strength and power of God Almighty. Christians should speak often of the power of God that saved them from Hell, they should recount and remember all the times that God has rescued them out of the hand of our terrifying enemy, Satan. When a new challenge arises, terrorizing us with threatening words, we should call on the God who has always been faithful to us.

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 don’t know whether the faith and fervor in David’s plea convinced Saul to let him fight, or whether Saul resigned himself to the fact that the Philistine would win against any man from Israel so it was a lost cause, but either way, he gives permission for David to fight in his place. I’ve heard a lot of prayers that sound like Saul’s empty blessing on young David. “The Lord be with thee.” It’s the same as saying, I’m not going to do my part, but good luck, because you are going to need it! Champions of the Lord are often called upon to take a stand without supporters, to step out into leadership when those around them have lost their faith. The greatest champion in the universe stepped out to meet the greatest adversary in the universe, and it was a winner-takes-all match. Jesus Christ defeated Satan once and for all, in my place. Just like Saul, I was weak and powerless, unable to find the courage and without the ability to meet the challenge standing in front of me. On the cross of Calvary, a victory of eternal proportions was won by the Son of God.

38 And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail.

39 And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.

He could rely confidently on the help of the Lord, he had tried that before and found great success. The armor of Saul was not made for him, he had never tested it in battle, and he had no confidence in it. I stand in the full armor of God as a believer, it has been tested, and it has been found effective and reliable. The defenses of this world offer no protection. They weigh down a believer and need to be dropped like “the weights that so easily beset us,” of which Paul spoke.

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; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, the word of God available to David. Those smooth stones, the weapons in his arsenal, represented the truth of God written by the hand of Moses. It has also been said that Goliath had brothers, whom David may have been preparing to fight. In the beginning of chapter 17 we read of how the armies of Israel were fleeing in fear. David was drawing near, boldly facing the giant. Interestingly, David says that he killed the lion and the bear with his bare hands, but more is needed to defeat this foe. Daniel saw a vision of a stone hewn out of a mountain that would bring down all the kingdoms of the world. That rock is Christ, and His kingdom is forever and ever. It wasn’t the strength of David, but the strength of his God that would bring down the enemy.

41 And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him.

42 And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.

43 And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.

Not only did the stone have to reach the only vulnerable spot in the army of Goliath, it also had to pass through the giant’s shieldbearer. When the giant saw David, he was disgusted, enraged, and began to rain curses down on David in the names, or authority, of his false gods.

44 And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls 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: 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, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

Why did David say he would take the giant’s head? He was confident that God would take this opportunity to make himself known. It is the express will of God to show himself to us and to receive all who are willing to come unto Him. David wasn’t fighting for his own honor, his glory was not at stake. The reputation of God was at issue. While Goliath saw David as less than nothing, God saw Goliath the same way, and marvelously, David saw the situation as it really was. God versus a mortal man.

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.

How many battles are we fighting in our own strength and with our own wisdom, when they don’t even belong to us? God is in charge, and we fail to experience His power because we fail to acknowledge his Sovereignty. The Lord doesn’t need to use weapons formed by man, He will save, it is His battle.

48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came, and drew nigh to meet David, that David hastened, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.

He ran right at him. The Giant saunters in, David rushed in. The giant saw no urgency, David was on business for the King of Kings.

49 And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.

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.

He wore none of Saul’s armor, he didn’t own a sword, he’d never trained for battle. David had one resource, one weapon, and one defense- the Lord God of Heaven and Earth and that was enough for him to prevail.


Thank you for studying with us! God bless!


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