The most talked about and famous battle in the Old Testament was between David and Goliath. Do you remember when God told Samuel that man sees the outward appearance, but He looks at the heart? We are about to see that David also saw as God saw.
Goliath was intimidating because of his enormous size. However, David had been given the ability to see Goliath as God saw him. God is greater and no matter how powerful Goliath was, God is all-powerful.
1 Samuel 17:1-3 – Now the Philistines gathered their armies together to battle, and were gathered together at Sochoh, which belongs to Judah; they encamped between Sochoh and Azekah, in Ephes Dammim. (Verse 2) And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and they encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in battle against the Philistines. (Verse 3) The Philistines stood on a mountain on one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. (This Valley of Elah was like a vast canyon.)
1 Samuel 17:4 – And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. Goliath was somewhere around 9’9”. (Most of our ceilings in our houses are that, so just look up.)
1 Samuel 17:5-7 – He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. (Body armor-125 lb.) (Verse 6) And he had bronze greaves on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders. (Verse 7) Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; a shield-bearer went before him.
Goliath’s “mail,” went from shoulder to knee, covering almost his entire body. It was a heavy undergarment, interlaced with overlapping ringlets of bronze. The greaves were bronze leggings to protect his shins. His shield was the size of a full-grown man that was always out in front of him.
Can you imagine this monster? Impressive, uh? Not only was this giant of a man scary looking, he was just plain mean! He taunted the Israelites day after day.
1 Samuel 17:8, 9 – Then he (Goliath) stood and cried out to the armies of Israel, and said them, “Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me.” (Verse 9) “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.”
This would be a one on one fight to the death. This challenge was often how the Eastern world fought their battles. Goliath didn’t challenge them just one time. He did it for forty days (17:16).
Isn’t that how our giants in life show up? Day after day, morning and evening, intimidating us with worry and anxiety they will show themselves. These giants can come from a person, pressure, or a worry in the form of a fear. Persistent fear and worry is hard to combat, in our own strength.
Meanwhile, about 10 or 15 miles away, in the mountains of Judea, was a teenage shepherd boy. He’s probably never even heard of Goliath. All he knew was that he had 3 brothers in King Saul’s army. I’m sure David got to see them on occasion when he would be summoned to play the harp for Saul, and then go back to his sheep.
Jesse, their father, may have been too old to make the journey of checking on his 3 sons in Saul’s army, so he called for David.
1 Samuel 17:17, 18 – And Then Jesse said to his son David, “Take now for your brothers an ephah of this dried grain and these ten loaves, and run to your brothers at camp. (Verse 18) And carry these ten cheeses to the captain of their thousand, and see how your brothers fare, and bring back news of them.”
That forty-first morning was just another day, so it would seem. However, it would be Goliath’s last.
1 Samuel 17:20 – So David rose early in the morning, left the sheep with a keeper, and took the things, and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the camp as the army was going out to fight and shouting for the battle.
So as David approaches the camp, he sees the army whooping and hollering, gearing themselves up for battle. It must have been exciting for a teenage boy to see.
1 Samuel 17:22, 23 – And David left the supplies in the hand of the supply keeper, ran to the army, and came and greeted his brothers. (Verse 23) Then as he talked with them, there was the champion, the Philistine Goliath, Goliath by name, coming up from the armies of the Philistines, and he spoke according to the same words. So David heard them.
Goliath started his same intimidation that he had done the previous 40 days, but this time David heard the taunting. No one in the army had ever replied to Goliath.
The army of Israel got scared and ran off, but a few were left. David was still standing there and what Goliath had said made him livid!
1 Samuel 17:26, 27 – Then David spoke to the men who stood by him saying, “What shall be done for the man who kills the Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (Verse 27) And the people answered him in this manner, saying, “So shall it be done for the man who kills him.”
Saul had promised the man who killed Goliath a reward of his daughter’s hand in marriage, exempt their father’s house from paying taxes, and great riches. Saul should have been the one who fought the giant though. But, Saul was a coward because he was not walking with God.
Now if you noticed while reading these verses, Goliath shouts, “Let him come down to me.” Now look what is said the day David arrives, “Have you seen the man who is coming up?” Goliath had crossed the ravine at the base of the valley and was coming up Israel’s side.
If we tolerate giants long enough in our lives, they will move right into our own camp. They will take over our thoughts that should belong to God. This is why we kill the giant. The sad part that happens, when a person stands on faith-God’s Word, it’s usually your own family that attack or those closest to you.
1 Samuel 17:28 – Now Eliab, his oldest brother heard when he (David) spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David, and he said, “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart for you have come down to see the battle.”
Remember Eliab was the first to pass before Samuel, and Samuel said, “Not him.” Then he saw Samuel pour out the precious oil on David and be anointed as the next King of Israel. The younger gets blessed above the older.
The first thing Eliab does is attack David’s motive for being there. Then he tries to humiliate David by asking whom he left the few sheep with. Isn’t that funny that jealousy would stick its head up when all David had done was bring food and ask a question.
David knew who to fight and who to leave alone. We can’t be in constant fights with others, always trying to defend ourselves. The real enemy is roaming around trying to destroy whatever God has accomplished. The scene suddenly changes from Eliab and David to Saul and David.