Samuel 17 v 17-23
"This day I defy the ranks of Israel.
Give me a man and let us fight each other."
This was Goliath's mighty challenge
which rang out across the valley until the Israelites
shivered with the horror of it. This was not the first
time that the Philistine giant had flung his challenge
to the Israelite army: he had been repeating it morning
and again in the evening for the last forty days! Would
anyone accept the giant's challenge? Would anyone fight
him and so avoid the full-scale battle with the Philistines?
Whatever was wrong with Saul? He was head and shoulders
above the rest of the people, the tallest man in the
camp, their leader and king. Why did he not accept the
challenge? But Saul stayed miserably in his tent, just
as much afraid as any of his men.
When David arrived at the camp he was
just in time to hear Goliath's challenge as he hurried
to his brothers to see how they were and to get news
from them. He did look strange among the soldiers, in
his shepherd's clothes. David was very interested in
Goliath and asked what was going on, but when he realised
how these Philistines were mocking God and that no one
was prepared to do anything to stop them, he was ashamed
of his fellow Israelites.
David was prepared to fight this Philistine
and so he was taken to Saul:
"Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine:
your servant will go out and fight him."
This is what David said to Saul, offering
himself as the Israelite champion. Have you ever thought
how Saul must have felt as he tried to put his armour
onto David? He must have felt rather guilty and ashamed
of himself. He did not have the courage or faith to
use the armour himself and go and fight Goliath. But
the armour was useless to David - it was far too big
and uncomfortable. He preferred the feel of his shepherds
clothes. Besides, they were all he needed if God was
with him, and David knew that God would be with him
now, just as He had been when he had defended his flock
of sheep: read
chapter 17 v 34-37.
So David set off to meet Goliath, with
his shepherd's staff in his hand, his sling and five
smooth stones in his bag. He looked across at Goliath:
there stood a huge man, about 3 metres tall: his body
was almost completely covered with brass armour: he
carried a huge spear, like a beam of wood with an iron
spearhead which weighed 7 kg, and a javelin was slung
over his back. Also, Goliath had an armour bearer standing
infront of him carrying a shield. But when Goliath looked
at David he saw a young man in shepherd's clothing and
carrying only a shepherd's weapons.
Goliath sneered at David and said,
"Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks? Come here
and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and
the beasts of the field!"
But David replies with great confidence
and assurance and we can learn a great lesson from his
"You come against me with sword and spear and javelin,
but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty,
the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I'll
strike you down and cut off your head."
Then David moved quickly; he ran forward
taking a pebble from his bag as he ran, loaded his sling
and let the stone fly towards Goliath. It hit him on
the only unprotected part of his body, his forehead,
and he fell to the ground. Quickly, David ran up to
Goliath and taking Goliath's sword, cut off his head.
Seeing their champion killed, the rest of the Philistines
turned and fled, closely followed by the Israelite army.