What I like in the story we saw last week, is that David did not let his brother or his countrymen around him pull him down. He had resolved to fight Goliath and nobody would stop him from bringing glory to his God. His brothers did not want to listen, but David was so firm that even when he was brought before the king. He didn't change his mind. Here is what he said to Saul according to 1 Samuel 17,32: “…”
And Saul became a second crab. In I Sam. 17:33, Saul tried to destroy David’s enthusiasm, and more than that, David’s faith. Here is what the text says: “….”. But, I’ve always loved how David responded. He looked at this tall king and said, in verse 34, “….” And how can the king argue, with such an argument? And so, he says, “Alright, go. But take my armor.” And he puts it on. But David is still not full-grown and Saul is a man; so the armor will not work. So David says, “No, I won’t use this.” And he takes only his wooden stick, his sling and five smooth stones from a stream. He marches to Goliath and, now, for the first time, sees him. Goliath sees the little boy coming and is insulted. He says, “Am I a dog? You come to me with a stick?” Then he becomes angry. And he practiced what we call intimidation. He says, in verse 44, “…”
Have you ever had someone try to intimidate you? Goliath is the third crab. And, sometimes, when you report to the court of battle, you get a giant, coming up to intimidate you. Many of us, myself included, turn and run, in the last stages of the fight! But each of us should remember what David did! He looked at that giant and said, in verse 45, “….” And David swung the sling and threw a rock, with all the strength he had. And, this giant, standing there in the armor, with just a little opening in his helmet, drops. God has taken the stone and guided it in that opening. And now, David takes Goliath’s sword; he lifts it as high as he can; then he drops it on the giant’s neck, cutting off his head. He grabs the head of Goliath by the hair and carries it to Saul. And the Philistines, who are watching, can hardly believe what has happened! They turn and start running. And the army of Israel rallies and starts chasing the Philistines. It’s another one of the greatest victories, of God’s people, that has taken place.
And this afternoon, I wanted you to listen to this story to learn three lessons.
I. If you live by faith, Jesus will be glorified, as he should be.
In the conference I told you about last week, the one where historians were rating the most important world events, Jesus tied for 4th place according to the experts. I told you I was puzzled by this. But you see, I think Christ will continue to tie for 4th, until God’s people learn how to live by faith. And the only way this world is every going to know that there is a Jesus, who is the most important thing that has ever happened, to this whole world, is if we, as his people, live with faith! Do you hear what David said, “Goliath, today, the whole world is going to know that there is a God, in Israel!” And our friends, our neighbors and our community will never know how important God is, or Jesus is, until the people, who wear his name, start living by this faith!
II. Live by faith, in small ways, to beat giants.
And I’d like for you to learn, this afternoon, that faith is something that grows, with the Word of God, of course, but also, by way of experience. I’ve always wondered, “Would David have fought the fight, with Goliath, had he not first fought a lion and a bear?” Think about that. Would David ever have gone down, into the valley, had he not, first, fought and won over a lion and a bear? I have my doubts. Because when Saul said, “You can’t make it; you’re just a boy,” David said, “Oh yes, I can and I tell you why. I’ve already fought a lion and a bear and God has given me victory, each time. So, I have no reason to doubt him, now!” And what I’d like for all of us to realize is that faith, also, grows, by use. It’s the person, who lives by faith, day by day, in the little things, that will be able to defeat the giant, when the giant arises in their life. I want to say, you trust God and you believe Him and you obey Him, every single day, in the little things, and when the giants come, you can do what David did. And there are giants; I guarantee it. One of them is the death of a spouse. Some, here, have experienced that. Another giant is health problems. Another is divorce. There are so many, different giants, coming into our lives, trying to destroy us! But, if you learn, day by day, to live by faith, the little faith will grow and win, when the giants come!
III. People will always pull you down. Stay firm!
And I wish, this afternoon, we would learn, from the lesson, that when we try to live, by faith, there will be so many people, around us, who will try to pull us back down. I’ve often wondered, how many parents, out of love for their children, have had a son come and say, “Dad, I’d like to be a preacher”. And Dad says, along with Mom, “Oh son, you are not going to make much money, as a preacher” and “Those people have such a hard schedule. They are out day and night! That’s not the thing for you. Go be a doctor!” And I wonder, how many young men have turned away because of a loving father.
Or the young daughter comes and says, “I’d like to marry a preacher” or, “Dad and Mom, I’d like to go to the A.I.M. program, spending a year studying the Bible and then going out and serving, as an assistant missionary, on the mission field!” And then, Mom and Dad say, “No, you don’t want to do that. You want to go on and finish your college and go on to get that first job! You don’t have time for that.” And well-meaning moms and dads pull the child back down.
And I wonder how many times a wife has said, to her husband, “I want to go to church and I think, I want to be a member, there. And I want to start living the way God wants us to live, to bring forth our children the way that God wants us to bring them forth.” And the husband says, “Oh, no, we can’t do that! Every Sunday morning, you know what we do; we camp or we boat! And we can’t get involved with this group of people!” And I wonder, how many husbands are playing the role of a crab, to a family, and pulling their wife down.
And I guarantee, when you start trying to do what God would have you do, there will be many people around you, who will try to stop it. But, at the same time, I’d like to ask you, this afternoon, “Are you sure you are not a crab?” Because I have seen so many, even in the church, discourage others from doing what’s right. I’ve heard some with great plans for God and I’ve heard others saying, “We could never do that. And what about this problem, and that problem.” And they pull others back down, instead of encouraging. And yet, they wouldn’t want that happening to them. So why do they do it, to others? Don’t you ever be the discourager of another person’s faith! Don’t do it because, I tell you, with faith, always comes victory. If you believe and act upon it, you will succeed, just like David! Faith overcomes mountains.
So no matter what comes your way, just look at what God says. No matter how you feel, do what he asks, believing that, in the end, it will always come out right. You will never miss!
No matter how you feel about it, if you read what God said and do it, believing, you will never, never miss. You will have victory upon victory until the final victory in heaven. Live by faith, as David lived by faith.
So this afternoon, if you want to win against giants who come in your life, live by faith. And if you want to help others live by faith, don’t play the role of the crab. If you are subject to the invitation, in any way, come down while we stand and sing!