Text 1 Sam 17:24-29 “And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid. And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father’s house free in Israel. And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man that killeth him. And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle. And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?”
Having been dispatched by his father, Jessie; David made his way to the frontlines where the Philistines and the nation of Israel had set the battle in array. As David attempted to complete the designated task of his father, suddenly a lone figure appeared from among the Philistines and the tranquil mood in the camp of the Israelites turned to one of fearful anxiety. The speechless Israelites hearts were frozen by the sights and the sounds made by the Philistine, Goliath of Gath. Every morning and every evening the lone figure had called for a suitable competitor; “choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me” (vs.8). Unlike the other eighty times, a man had arrived that would answer the challenge; “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine” (vs.32). David’s willingness to face the giant was not met with support from the brethren, but rather slander and criticism; “Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle” (vs.28). David’s response reveals that he is a man with volition and vision; “Is there not a cause?” (vs.29).
Unlike the other men that made up the host of Israel, David realized what was at stake! Herein lies the problem with many; they fail to rise to the occasion because they fail to see what’s at stake. Blinded by fear, Saul and the host of Israel failed to see the worth of putting it all on the line. While they are numerous things at stake I want to magnify two that are worth of serious consideration.
David realized that the Sovereign’s character was at stake! This was more than conquest between soldiers; this battle would determine in the minds of men whose deity was supreme. This truth can be seen in David’s response to Goliath’s arrogant claims as they faced off in the valley of Elah; “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands” (vs.45-47). David knew that the world’s perception of the God of Israel would be determined by the outcome of this battle! This battle would determine the perception of Jehovah’s superiority; “This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand . . . that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel” (vs.46). David’s response magnified the superiority of his God before the eyes of all men. The careless lifestyle of Samson undermined the testimony of Jehovah’s superiority; “And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us” (Judges 16:24). How many times has the absence of commitment on our part belittled and undermined the superiority of the Lord Jesus Christ? David knew the battle would determine the perspective of Jehovah’s strength; “And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands” (vs.47). In most cases the strength of God is demonstrated through the lives of His people! While our God “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20); it that truth daily demonstrated through our life? David knew that the Sovereign’s character was at stake.
David knew that the sovereignty of the nation was at stake; “choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us: (vs.8-9). This would determine lordship; the privilege of living in a free state is at stake and up until now no one is willing to fight for it! David, not only realizes that freedom isn’t free, but he is willing to put it all on the line to maintain that freedom!
While the host of Israel was seeking shelter in their tents, David was headed to the trenches! David would rise to the occasion and put it all on the line. When others were moved by the thoughts of self and safety, David thoughts were directed to service and sacrifice because while others didn’t, David had a clear understanding of what was at stake.