We live in a world where people are afraid to take a stand for the Lord because of political correctness. People have been trained to keep their heads down when it comes to social issues, like gay marriage, because if you take a stand and speak out, you get noticed and being noticed causes problems to your daily life. This is not something new. The Bible teaches us that there is nothing new under the sun. Almost 2,000 years ago, during the lifetime of Jesus, the dilemma of taking a stand for the Lord was just as complex as today.
32 “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.
33 “But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.
34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35 “For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW;
36 and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD. (Matthew 10)
Taking a stand for the Lord caused just as many problems 2,000 years ago as it does today. The above verses are true today. They were also true 3,000 years ago, when King David walked the earth. In this lesson, we are going to examine the facts to see how David takes a stand for the Lord and why it was so difficult. We are going to examine I Samuel 16–17.
Samuel has failed twice at raising disciples who would impact the people the way that he has impacted the people. The first failure was with his own two sons. They chose not to follow in the footsteps of their father. They did not have a relationship with the Lord. They defied Samuel, and the Lord, and as a result, they did not live long lives. The next attempt at raising a leader began with King Saul. The people rebelled against the Lord and asked for a king, who would be just like they were. King Saul was that man and he did not walk with the Lord either. He disrespected Samuel and as a result, he rebelled against the Lord. After multiple second chances, God finally rejects King Saul.
Now the LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons.” (I Samuel 16:1)
Samuel is dejected. He has done so much but it seems like he has nothing to show for it. The Lord is not finished with Samuel. The prophet is going to have yet another chance to make a disciple who will impact the entire nation.
2 But Samuel said, “How can I go? When Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the LORD said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’
3 “You shall invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for Me the one whom I designate to you.”
4 So Samuel did what the LORD said, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and said, “Do you come in peace?” (I Samuel 16)
Now, Samuel gets another chance to invest in David. Young David is going to have a different spirit than the other disciples that Samuel tried to make. Samuel is afraid yet, he obeys the Lord’s calling. God gives Samuel a plan and Samuel follows that plan exactly.
6 When they entered, he looked at Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’S anointed is before Him.”
7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (I Samuel 16)
Samuel wants to make his decision based on the outward appearance. The Lord shares His criteria for choosing a leader. Man looks at the appearance, the height, and the stature but, the Lord looks at the heart. The heart is the key to a good leader. In verses 8-13, Samuel chooses to follow the Lord’s plan since his own has failed twice before.
As I mentioned earlier, David has a different spirit, a different heart than the other disciples whom Samuel influenced.
11 And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are these all the children?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep.” Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.”
12 So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance. And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is he.” (I Samuel 16)
David is the youngest son of Jesse. David’s own father did not consider him a good choice for the next king of Israel. Samuel was looking for someone else. God knew David’s heart and because of that, the Lord chose David to be the future king of Israel.
Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah. (I Samuel 16:13)
David has the Spirit of the Lord to guide him. Saul also had the Spirit of the Lord to guide him but, he would not obey. In verses 14-23, we discover the secret to godly leadership. David has a teachable spirit. It is a direct contrast with Saul. David is obedient to his authority figures. David obeys his father immediately. David also has a servant’s heart. David obeys his father by serving his brothers. These are the same brothers who mock him for doing the right thing. Do you have a teachable spirit and a servant’s heart? Are you obedient to your authority figures? David has the right heart, do you? Are you being led by the Spirit of the Lord? Do you listen and obey?
III. The Encounter
The encounter begins with our introduction to the antagonist, Goliath. The name “Goliath” means “splendor” or “magnificent”. He is the best of what man has to offer. He is proud and in his pride, he opposes God. We know from James that, God also opposes the proud. The root of Goliath’s name means “deported, carried away, captive, removed”. Ironically, this is what happens to proud people when they try to stand toe to toe with God. They will be broken and they will fall, sooner or later. Goliath had a few reasons to be proud. First of all, everyone else around him only came up to his shoulders. He was a very tall and well built man. He had been trained to fight from his childhood. He was confident in his abilities, both natural and trained. The tallest human in recently recorded history is 8 feet and 11 inches. The text in I Samuel relates to us that Goliath was about 9 feet and 6 inches tall. The average height of men during those days was about 5 feet and 4 inches. David was still growing. Some speculate that he may have been about 5 feet and 2 inches tall during this encounter. That would make Goliath almost twice as tall as David. Not only was Goliath tall, he was also very strong. His scale like armor weighed at least 78 pounds and some claim that it could have weighed 157 pounds. That is just the body armor. Goliath’s spear weighed at least 15 pounds and could have weighed as much as 30 pounds. Goliath was very proud, to the point of extreme arrogance. He taunted the entire army of Israel on a daily basis. He was so brazen that he spoke out against the living God. Goliath had such a lofty opinion of himself that he looked down on others, especially David. This is what pride does to a person. It changes that person into someone who is irritating to be around. He looks down on everyone else so that he can make himself feel more important. He does not care about others. Goliath provokes Israel, David, and ultimately, God. Are you a proud person? Do you look down on others? Do you provoke others with your words and actions? Do you see yourself as being better than you really are? If this is who you are, you get really nasty and do a lot of harm to others. Worst of all, you set yourself up to be opposed by the living God. He will “remove” you and show you just who you really are and who He really is, if you continue to walk proud. Goliath trusted in himself. He trusted in his idols, which really only fed his fleshly desire to be even more proud. He found out just who he really was and who God really is, but, when he did, it was too late for him to change. Are you going to wait until it is too late?
As we have already seen, David was going to be the king of Israel, but, that was all in the future. He came from humble beginnings and, as a result, he was a humble man. We later discover that he had some situations in his life that he could have bragged about and maybe even become prideful. He killed a lion and a bear with his bare hands. Yet, he only reveals that information when necessary. David trusts in the Lord and he learned to do that from his childhood, as his father taught him. Even when sharing the story about killing the lion and bear with his bare hands, he reveals that the secret to his success was the fact that the Lord protected him. He trusted the Lord. David was faithful and obedient in the little things. When David had a job to do, he did it. He obeyed his father. He did not run away from his responsibilities. David was a servant. He took food to his brothers and was taught by his father to respect leadership and show that respect in action. David did not go to Israel’s camp empty handed. He took food to his brothers and also to the commanders of the army whom were responsible for leading his brothers and protecting all of Israel. Jesse, David’s father, taught David to be grateful to those who protect and serve. David received instructions from his father Jesse and he arose early in the morning to carry out his duties. As a teenager, are you quick to obey your parents’ instructions? Are you grateful to those who protect and serve? Do you honor the people in leadership roles over you? Are you faithful in the little things? Do you show your appreciation to others?
David was angered when he heard Goliath mock the living God and he wanted someone to stand up and take action. Since no one was brave or bold enough to take action, he trusted the Lord to protect him as he stood up for the Name of the Lord. David was misunderstood by his brothers and they ridiculed him. He did not let that bother him nor stop him from standing up for the Lord. Are you ready to stand up for the Lord when no one else will? Are you ready to be ridiculed by others for standing up for the Lord? David knew that God is the Lord of Hosts, Jehovah-Sabaoth. David had reasons to fear Goliath but, because he knew his God, he was able to do as Daniel 11:32 teaches:
but the people who know their God will display strength and take action
David took action. He knew what to do and when to do it because he knew his God. David was victorious because he trusted the Lord. David did what he did for the Name of the Lord and not for his own glory. The name “David” means “loved” or “beloved”. David acted out of love. God loved him and worked in and through him. Goliath trusted in himself and did what he did out of pride. David was victorious and the Name of the Lord was proclaimed. Goliath was the loser because he tried to proclaim his own name. Are you living to make a name for yourself or, are you living to proclaim the Name of the Lord? One guarantees victory while the other guarantees defeat. The choice is yours. Which one will you make?
May the Lord help us learn from Goliath’s mistakes and mimic David’s attitude and actions!