Text 1 Samuel 17:38-40 “And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him. And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.”
Having heard the challenge of Goliath, David began to declare the importance of silencing the claims of this uncircumcised Philistine. With fiery enthusiasm, David encourages all those about him to rise to the occasion “and taketh away the reproach from Israel” (vs.26). David’s forceful words soon make their way to the ears of Israel’s commander and chief, King Saul. In spite of the fact that Saul had no idea of David’s qualifications as a soldier, he sent for the man that was mighty in word. While Saul was deeply moved by David’s speech, he was far from being impressed by his stature! This ruddy youth bound up in the apparel of a shepherd was certainly no match for the Philistine’s man of war.
David would not be denied the opportunity! Having weakened Saul by his continual and persistent chatter; Saul agrees to let him go. In spite of the fact that Saul can’t educate David with respect to his folly, he can at least attempt to equip David in his folly; “And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. And David girded his sword upon his armour” (vs.38-39). Saul, like so many others, may not be prepared to do it, but he is prepared to tell you how!
It’s at this time that we not only see the willingness of David, but we see the wisdom of David; “And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them” (vs.39). The thought behind the phrase, “I cannot”, is “no can do!” and the phrase “and he assayed” means to undertake as an act of volition and is the same word that means to be slack or figuratively meaning to be foolish through the idea of mental weakness. Having given sufficient thought to the situation, David comes to the following conclusion, “Only a fool would attempt such a feat with equipment that has not been tested and proven to be suitable for the task!”
Having cast aside the equipment of a soldier, David dresses in the proven attire of a shepherd and moved toward the valley floor. David takes with him, a sling, a staff, a shepherd’s bag, a scrip, and stones. To the undiscerning mind, these are what David is referring to when he makes reference to that which is proven. It is these things that Goliath assumes David has come to depend on; “Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves?” (vs.43). While David will make use of these things, they are not what David has come to rest in. David’s response to King Saul and the Philistine reveals what David has proven to be sufficient for the task; it’s the Sovereign! David said “the LORD” (vs.37 & 46). David realized that while there some things that a man would be a fool to go with, there is one that a man would be a fool to go without. David had proven the LORD to be sufficient for any situation.
Having grasped the truth set forth by David actions, it generates a question worthy of consideration; “Has the LORD been proven sufficient for any situation in your life?” Have you ever put HIM to the test? God said “Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10). Here the word “prove” means to test as a metal, to investigate, to examine or try. Goliath of Gath showed up with a spear that he had proven; David showed up with a Sovereign that he had proven. When the dust settled, Goliath’s spear proved to be no match for David’s Sovereign; “So David prevailed over the Philistine” (vs.50). Do you have a God that’s been proven?