Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 17

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verses 1-58

  1. INTRO:
    1. David is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of David. (Warren Wiersbe: With The Word; pg.172)
      1. He was born in Bethlehem & misunderstood by his family; he was an obedient son & a conquering hero.
      2. The name David means “beloved”, & Jesus is the Fathers “beloved Son”.
      3. David was anointed king long before he took the throne & ruled, & our Lord is King of Kings even though He is not yet reigning on this earth.
      4. Like David, our Lord has had to experience rejection & exile before reigning.
    2. Our story this morning sits in a little valley 15m W of David’s city of Bethlehem in Elah.
    3. Outline: Goliath, A Pint Size Giant! - David, A Genuine Giant! [note: Title]
    1. ​​​​​​​A LITTLE MAN, IN A BIG BODY! (1-11)
    2. To avoid an all-out battle, the Philistines chose a one-on-one contest of champions to decide the victor.
    3. The earth must have seemed to shake each time he came out.
      1. Stretching 9’9”; w/between 125-200 lbs of armor plating; an oversized spearhead of 15 lbs; over his shoulder is a bronze javelin; strapped to his side a mighty sword; he was a fully loaded fighting machine.
        1. And an armor bearer w/a full-sized shield to ward off any arrows.
    4. Israel’s response? Dismayed & greatly afraid.
  3. DAVID, A GENUINE GIANT! (12-58)
    1. ​​​​​​​40 DAYS OF PURPOSE! (12-27)
    2. Enter David...the real giant of the story!
      1. Just as the Spirit-filled David came to rescue the Spirit-emptied Saul in ch.16, so we now see the faith-filled David coming to save the cowering faith-less Saul in 17:12. (Charles Swindoll; David: A Man of Passion & Destiny; pg.27.)
    3. (15) For those pulling 2 jobs right now, see David’s divided duties in vs.15.
    4. (25) Great incentives...but it still begs the question...Why didn’t Saul, Israel’s king & most imposing man, fight for his people?
    5. (26) Here’s what David’s really asking...What is Goliath compared to Yahweh? How can he shake his fist in God’s face & expect to win?
    6. SUCH A TIME AS THIS! (28-39)
    7. (34-37) Prepared for such a time as this!
      1. Our private victories make possible our public victories.
        1. Oh the practical lessons of the value of remembering. And, the importance of proving God’s presence & power in ordinary daily living.
        2. It’s as though David sees Goliath as just another animal attacking God’s flock!
      2. As a shepherd alone in the fields, he had learned to trust God.
        1. David had confident faith in God in the valley of Elah because he had found Him dependable in the fields.
    8. (37,38) When Saul said, “the Lord be with you”, what was lacking? (note vs.38, go & take my armor)
      1. Note vs47 David makes it clear what God uses to win battles(not weapons but Himself)
    9. (38) Obstacles: Whenever you step out in faith, other people will often put obstacles in your way. Often anther Christian, or even somebody right in your own family!
      1. Eliab ridiculed him w/a “verbal smack down!” (28) [although there had been no battle didn’t seem to embarrass Eliab].
        1. Maybe Eliab was still battling the giant of jealousy that invaded his heart when Samuel anointed his little brother, instead of him!
        2. But David ducked his brothers jabs. He’s too intent on fighting the real enemy to get into a scuffle w/his bro. [Stay focused!]
      2. Saul basically said, “you aren’t able to do this!”(33); Then Saul said, “If you must do it, do it my way”, and encumbered David with his heavy armor(38).
      3. Jesus said, a man’s enemies will be those of his own household. Mt.10:36
        1. That came true in David’s life; it also came true in Josephs life (whose brothers hated him, lied about him, & sold him for a slave); Moses was criticized by both his own brother & sister; Our Lord’s earthly family at one time misunderstood Him & opposed His ministry (Mrk3:31-35).
      4. So, in spite of criticism, in spite of discouraging counsel & bad advice, David had to ignore the obstacles, & keep his faith in the Lord.
    10. (38) Saul didn’t have the faith to believe that God could do something new so he suggested the old-fashioned time-honored method of warfare.
      1. David, a 36 regular, wearing the armor of Saul, a 52 long! (Swindoll)
      2. We can’t meet our Goliath’s in someone else’s strength, because what works for them may not work for us. We have to be who we are.
      3. Also, “It was believed in that day that to wear the clothing of another was to be imbued w/his essence & to share his very being. i.e. Saul would be able to take credit for, or at least to share in, David’s victory over the Philistine giant.” (Commentator Ronald F. Youngblood.)
    11. (39) Saul was really echoing the report of the 10 unbelieving spies who saw the giants in Canaan & decided that it was impossible to enter the land (Numb13).
      1. When we walk by sight, we calculate everything from the human perspective, & this always leads to discouragement; but when we walk by faith, God comes into the equation, & that changes the results.
      2. David had to do God’s work, God’s way!
    12. IT WAS THE LORD’S VICTORY! (40-47)
    13. (45-47) Saul stood head & shoulders over the rest, but he was not big enough to meet Goliath. David was a man of faith, & God gave him spiritual stature!
      1. ​​​​​​​Great faith makes great men & women.
    14. (47) The battle is the Lord’s!!! - The hallmark of David’s life!...Is it yours?
      1. Are you facing a giant of your own...mistreatment, fear, discouragement, guilt?
      2. Remember the battle is the Lord’s. Not yours! Your part is to trust His power.
        1. He specializes in “hopeless” situations, using the window of our weaknesses to shine through His strength & magnify His name.
      3. My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor.12:9,10
    15. IT WAS DAVID’S VICTORY! (48-51)
    16. “All God’s giants have been weak men, who did great things for God because they reckoned on His being with them.” James Hudson Taylor
      1. ​​​​​​​He also said, “I am the very little servant of an illustrious Master!”
      2. I just heard a great quote by Mother Theresa, “I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world”.
    17. What is it that made David view the situation differently & gave him courage?
      1. Is.51:12,13 I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you should be afraid of a man who will die, And of the son of a man who will be made like grass? And you forget the Lord your Maker, Who stretched out the heavens And laid the foundations of the earth; You have feared continually every day Because of the fury of the oppressor, When he has prepared to destroy. And where is the fury of the oppressor?
    18. 4 Reminders for todays battles! Lets not only confront our Goliath’s...but slay them!
      1. Facing Giants is Intimidating! - Faith doesn’t blind us to reality (the giant was really big!), but it does enable us to see beyond the externals as we draw on God’s power.
      2. Doing Battle is Lonely! - Your Goliath’s are your Goliath’s! In fact, they might not be gigantic to anyone else but you. The battle is for you & the Lord to fight together. Your pastor, your counselor, your friend can’t fight it for you. They can stand behind you & cheer, but you need to cross the battle line!
      3. Trusting God is Stabilizing! - It’s amazing how calm David was. It was as if he knew the outcome even before he stepped into the battle. That’s the nature of true faith, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
      4. Winning Victories is Memorable! - Has God come through for you in the past? Hang onto those victories; write them in marble not sand. Keep a lock of lion hair from the lions you slay. Keep a bear rug in your den to remind you of the bears you fought. Mount a Goliath head above your mantle...well, maybe not.
        1. David had no idea hat when he woke up that morn he’d be nose-to-kneecap w/a giant that afternoon! Giant problems most often appear when you don’t expect them!
          1. A pink slip at work; a car accident & you were just running to the store; you just felt a mysterious lump; the phone rings & its the police & they have your son/daughter.
          2. Unexpected giants are intimidating, overwhelming, & definitely frightening.
            1. But there is only 1 way to handle a giant...face him head-on.
        2. Lets not only confront our Goliath’s...but slay them!
    19. (49) The typical sling stone in the ancient Near East were about the size of a tennis ball & weighed about a pound apiece. (Shepherd’s Notes; pg.30)
      1. God guided the stone & it sank into the giants forehead.
        1. There are Free Fall Bombs & there are LGB’s (Laser Guided Bombs/missiles).
        2. David sent it out; God guided it; & the intended target received it perfectly.
          1. Known in the military w/the acronym SSKP (Single Shot Kill Probability).
      2. David would say later (Ps.144:1) Blessed be the Lord my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle.
    20. IT WAS ISRAEL’S VICTORY! (52-54)
    21. David displayed one of the marks of a great leader he took the risk & opened the way so that others could share in the victory.
    22. The Philistines didn’t keep their end of the bargain; they fled in fear.
      1. So the Jews chased them at least 10 miles to Goliath's home town of Gath.
    23. (54) Goliath’s head to Jerusalem, actually not till he made it the capitol in 2 Sam.5:1-10.
      1. The head of Goliath, as grisly as it was, would remind David that the Lord could be trusted to give the victory if we seek only to glorify Him.[mounted over mantle?]
    24. IT WAS NOT SAUL’S VICTORY! (55-58)
    25. When Saul saw David going out to battle...some things don’t change!
    26. Saul didn’t remember David’s dads name(Jesse). Maybe asked for a couple reasons: [1] Promise of exemption of taxes for David’s family [2] Wanted David as permanent bodyguard [3] Jesse’s son would be marrying his daughter.
    27. What’s the point of this whole story?
      1. Yes, it’s a great children’s story.
      2. Yes, its an allegory about defeating the “giants” in our lives.
      3. There are many applications but only one interpretation…David did what he did for the glory of God!
      4. David came to the contest in the name of the Lord, the God of the armies of Israel, & he wanted Goliath, the Philistine army, & all the earth to know that the true & living God was Israel’s God! (Warren Wiersbe: Be Successful, 1st Samuel; pg.94)
    28. God wants to use His people to magnify His name to all the nations of the earth.
      1. Its why God chose Israel, Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, & they shall be afraid of you. Deut.28:9,10
      2. It’s 1 purpose for Israel’s sojourn in Egypt & the judgments God sent against Pharaoh, But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, & that My name may be declared in all the earth. Ex.9:16
      3. The parting of the Red Sea; the opening of the River Jordan; even the building of the Temple...was to witness to all the nations that Israel’s God was the true God
    29. David’s faith lifted the war to a much higher plane, just as Paul did in Eph.6:10.
      1. Our battle is against the devil & his army, & human weapons are useless in that conflict.
      2. Faith in God makes us participants w/the Lord in the battle for truth.
      3. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. 1Jn.5:4
    30. A seemingly trivial errand led to a challenging situation that brought glory to God & recognition to David.
      1. Be prepared; you never know when your opportunity will come.
    31. So many Christians believe in the God of history & the God of prophecy; we believe all the great things He did in Wesley’s day & in Moody’s day. We believe in the great things He is going to do when He comes again. But how few of His people really believe that He is the God of today, that He is a present, living power in our hearts! (Alan Redpath: The Making of the Man of God.)
    32. Ps.27:1-3
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 17". "Bell's Commentary". 2017.