The Big Idea
Most of the time, the life of following God is made up of many small acts of faithfulness. As well as being important in their own right, these little acts of faithfulness are the things that God uses to prepare and equip us for when the big moments come.
1 Samuel 17:32-49
The people of God are at war with the Philistines, and they are losing. The Philistine champion is a huge man named Goliath, and he has challenged any Israelite who has the guts to take him on mano-a-mano in a winner takes all showdown.
Understandably, the Israelite army is petrified and nobody wants to take up the challenge. The physically imposing King Saul who we were introduced to in the previous sermon seems small in comparison. The same is true for Eliab, Abindab and the others. When all you have to bring to the table is physical size and strength, you are stuck when you come across someone even bigger and stronger than you are.
It is into this setting that David enters the story. He wasn’t even supposed to be in the army. He was too young and was still needed at home to keep an eye on the sheep. He had simply been sent to deliver some supplies to his brothers, But when he gets there, he is stunned that nobody has responded to the challenge and so volunteers himself.
The outcome of the battle is well known. David uses his slingshot to take Goliath down, and then chops off the enemy’s head with his own sword. The whole people celebrate and share in this victory that David has won.
But what are the reasons that David was so confident to volunteer and knew the victory would be his?
Firstly, there is his preparation. Though he had not been in a military conflict before, David had been in plenty of other difficult situations and had seen God come through. When he was out with the flocks, there were lions and bears who would take a lamb from the flock. David had experience killing both. These were difficult but unglamorous challenges. Through doing his job faithfully and diligently and trusting God to help him through the hard parts, David found that his experiences were just what were needed to prepare him for this bigger task that was set before him.
Secondly, there is his self-knowledge. After agreeing to let David accept the challenge, King Saul wanted to lend his own armour to David to fight in. David knew that this would not suit him. He wasn’t trained to fight in that way and so he used his slingshot instead. David understood what God had been doing with him through the smaller challenges and so he leaned on this when the big moment came.
Thirdly, there is his faith. When he refers to Goliath as an ‘uncircumcised Philistine’, his goal is not trash talk. He is bringing up the sign of the covenant between God and his people. This battle is taking place at Socoh, which belongs to Judah. Goliath and his philistines had encroached on the land that God had promised to his covenant people. When there is a promise of God in play, the outcome is never in doubt. David had the faith to step forward and acted with the belief that God will come good on what he has said.
Taking It to Jesus
Just like the Israelite army, we are facing a foe that we cannot overcome. And just like them, we need a champion who can step in on our behalf and take on our enemies of sin and death. Jesus is this champion. He wins the ultimate victory and we get to share in that victory with him!
- Be faithful in whatever situation you are in, knowing that God can use this season in preparation for what he has for you in the future.
- Learn to trust God through the challenges that you face.
- When the big moments come, be strengthened by the memory of how God has worked in your life so far.