God chooses our inheritance for us, Ps 47:4

Prince of Peace, 21

1 Samuel 17

Saul had war with the Philistines throughout his reign. This particular war is supposed to take place about 8 years after David's anointing. The anointing showed God's hand upon David, and now the Lord is going to start moving David towards the job to which he has anointed him. Divine Providence placed David in Saul's court, where he learned what was proper; now Divine Providence will place him in public view. And David will be made Israel's champion.

Some overall lessons from this chapter:

First, though it is beyond our very limited understanding, Divine Providence works in every situation for the Lord's elect, Romans 8:28, 29.

Second, God uses the unexpected, the things that are foolish in the world's eyes to accomplish His great works.

Third, nothing is impossible for those who have one goal in mind, i.e., the glory of God.
Vv. 1-11.

Saul had already had war with the Philistines, chapter 13. (27 years previously, JFB.) Though his son Jonathan was the one who had the victory in the first skirmish, Saul took credit for the victory. The victory stirred up the Philistines, so they mounted an all out campaign against Saul. Samuel told Saul to wait seven days for him, Samuel, to come make an offering before going against the Philistines. Saul, seeing the army fall apart while he waited, on the seventh day made the offering. Of course, Samuel then showed up. Questioning Saul for not waiting, Saul blamed the people for departing, forcing him to make the offering. Samuel rebuked him, and told him that for his foolishness, the Lord would replace him with "a man after his own heart." Saul continued to prepare for war against the Philistines, who had Israel under their control.

Chapter 14, while Saul fiddled around, sitting under a tree, Jonathan successfully joined in battle against the Philistines. Saul and the army saw the disquieting among the Philistines, brought about by Jonathan, and so they joined in the fray. The Lord gave Israel a great victory "that day." However, rather than pursuing the Philistines, Saul quit and went home, as did the Philistines.

In chapter 15, Saul is told to utterly destroy the Amalekites, which he fails to do. Samuel again comes to him, and rebukes him for not obeying the Lord. Again, Samuel tells Saul that he and his like will be replaced from being the king over Israel.

In chapter 16, we see that the Lord chose the young man David to replace Saul, and He moves David into the presence of Saul and the king's court to help Saul deal with the evil spirit from the Lord.


David had gone home from the king's court to watch the sheep again. His willingness to return to such a menial duty after being exalted to such an high place shows of what David was made. Evidently, David preferred the quiet life of a shepherd over exaltation with the king. We know from the psalms that David preferred meditation on the Lord over having an exalted place in man's eyes. Those who cannot "come down agin after he had begun to rise" are not fit for honor before men.

Chapter 17, the Philistines show up again, intent on destroying Israel. However, if Saul had pressed the victory in chapter 14 as he was told to do and as he was empowered by God to do, there would have been no battle here.


We need to press the victory of Christ against sin, or that sin will show back up. I have found with folks that the best time to press for victory is soon after their conversion. At that time, the Lord is the most real to them, and they can easily get the upper hand. But many don't, and the enemy rises up again, only this time, there are some giants to deal with.

Also, I should mention that those things we do not gain the victory over, will be back with renewed strength. However, the Son of David, the Lord Jesus, can conquer any giant.

V. 1, if Israel had obeyed God in possessing all the land when they came into Canaan and had killed all the inhabitants as commanded by God, they would not be in this condition of having to fight this battle. Moreover, the Philistines may have heard of Saul's falling out with Samuel and of Saul's condition in chapter 16, seeing it as an opportune time to move against Israel.

1) Now the Philistines gathered together. The reason they gathered together is because God stirred them up to make this move. Though pagans who worshiped Dagon, God used them to accomplish His divine purpose – He is going to place David over His people as His anointed king, and He will use this pagan nation to do that.

Though the heathen rage against the Lord and His Christ, the raging heathen are simply accomplishing God's Sovereign purpose here on this earth.

2) many times, the battles we must fight today are left overs from areas that should have been totally yielded to God long ago.

3) "The enemies of the church are watchful to take all advantages, and they never have greater advantages than when her protectors have provoked God's Spirit and prophets to leave them." (MH)

4) Saul was melancholy (mad) in chapter 16. Now Saul is going to war. "An idle mind is the devil's workshop."

Business is a good antidote against melancholy. Let the mind have something without to fasten on and employ itself about, and it will be the less in danger of preying upon itself. (MH)

I know more than a few folks, especially divorced women, who spend their idle time thinking about why they were rejected, and it kept them in a continue turmoil. (DM) Carol was like that – she had a very difficult time controlling her mind as it tried to spend every idle moment thinking back over how her dad was, and what he demanded of her mother (before he was saved, which made a great difference). Carol's very tender personality would not let her leave those old demands behind, and she lived in constant fear that she did not measure up to what people expected of her. She learned of unreasonable demands from her dad, and just could not shake it. I have found that at times the motive of "hard workers" is to keep their mind occupied, so it will not dwell on unpleasantries, which includes keeping it occupied with music. However, we must learn to rule our minds even at rest. This is the real battle. (2 Cor. 10:5.)


This Philistine, Goliath of Gath, was a big man. Gath was one of the chief Philistine Cities, a city that had the Ark during the last battle. However, the God of the ark conquered Gath and the other cities, so the Philistines sent it back.

Note that though the Philistines had been defeated by Israel's God over the ark which He forced them to return to Israel, they still rallied against Israel. I am continually amazed by the blindness of the unsaved. They made no connection between the nation of Israel and the God of Israel, as they had recently experienced with the ark.

Goliath is supposed to be about 11.4 tall, which would have made him a fearful sight. Moreover, he had been trained from his youth up in the art of warfare.

V. 5, his armor was made of brass plates laid over each other like fish scales. He had brass boots, and thus was clothed in brass from his head to his feet. The only exposed area would have been his face. The weight of his armor alone would have been more than an average man could carry.

However, there is no man made armor that can protect a man from the God of heaven and earth. When God sets out against a man, there is no earthly help for him. Man is always exposed to his Maker:

Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. (Heb. 4:11-13.)

All of man's efforts to cloth himself apart from the righteousness of Christ are no better than Adam's effort with the fig leaves. No matter how big nor how strong man may believe he is, he is easy pray for the Spirit of God.

V. 10, proud of his size and self-confident in his training, armor and weapons of warfare, Goliath looked with disdain upon the army of God. And thus he issued a confident challenge: I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together... But God will shortly bring the proud down.

Note: Those who are determined to defeat the army of God, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, are equipping the younger generation with vain philosophy and antiBible training through the lies in the education system, e.g., the state education system, to go to war against God's army. And the call of the Philistines seems to be, "Give me your children, so we can train them also to be warriors in our army against you." And Christens turn over their kids for antiChristian training.

Writing on Psalms 2, Spurgeon tells us that,

A medal was struck by Diocletian, which still remains, bearing the inscription, "The name of Christians being extinguished." And in Spain, two monumental pillars were raised, on which were written: —1. "Diocletian Jovian Maximian Herculeus Caesares Augusti, for having extended the Roman Empire in the east and the west, and for having extinguished the name of Christians, who brought the Republic to ruin." 2. "Diocletian Jovian Maximian Herculeus Caesares Augusti, for having adopted Galerius in the east, for having everywhere abolished the superstition of Christ, for having extended the worship of the gods." As a modern writer has elegantly observed: "We have here a monument raised by Paganism, over the grave of its vanquished foe. But in this ‘the people imagined a vain thing; ‘ so far from being deceased, Christianity was on the eve of its final and permanent triumph, and the stone guarded a sepulchre empty as the urn which Electra washed with her tears. Neither in Spain, nor elsewhere, can be pointed out the burial place of Christianity; it is not, for the living have no tomb." (Treasury of David.)

The Philistines and their Goliaths have been working and training from the very start of the church to remove this "curse" from the earth. However, the church is still here after they are long ago dead and buried.

The very best the world has to offer may huff and puff against the people of God, but one well-placed stone from the hand of the son of David will bring them to the ground.

Though the Philistines placed the outcome of the battle in the hands of their champion, they did not really mean it — they fled when their champion was defeated.

Note: November 22, 2000, we are in the midst of a heated presidential battle in Florida. The champion of the left, Al Gore, lost the battle, but the left will not give up. The wicked (this is not to say Bush is any cleaner than Gore) are not interested in being "fair" nor in keeping their word. They are only interested in wining at any cost.

Note also Saul. When Nahash the Ammonite challenged Israel, there was no one bolder in Israel than Saul, 11:1-6. Now, however, because of Saul's twice rejection of the word of the Lord, he had no boldness, as he stands back and wrings his hands, "What shall we do?"

V. 11, Israel feared the proud words of Goliath. Boldness comes from a clear conscience before the Lord. Sometimes, however, it comes from foolishness.

4. The terror this struck upon Israel: Saul and his army were greatly afraid, # 1Sa 17:11. The people would not have been dismayed but that they observed Saul's courage failed him; and it is not to be expected that, if the leader be a coward, the followers should be bold. We found before, when the Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul (#1Sa 11:6), none could be more daring nor forward to answer the challenge of Nahash the Ammonite, but now that the Spirit of the Lord had departed from him even the big looks and big words of a single Philistine make him change colour. But where was Jonathan all this while? Why did not he accept the challenge, who, in the last war, had so bravely engaged a whole army of Philistines? Doubtless he did not feel himself stirred up of God to it, as he did in the former case. As the best, so the bravest men, are no more than what God makes them. Jonathan must now sit still, because the honour of engaging Goliath is reserved for David. In great and good actions, the wind of the Spirit blows when and where he listeth. Now the pious Israelites lament their king's breach with Samuel. (MH. Emp. added.)

And we must also say that God is also the One Who gives the ungodly boldness to move against His people, Ezekiel 30:24, 38:4, Revelation 17:17. And God is the One Who gives the godly boldness to stand against the efforts of the ungodly. It is all of the Lord, as history works out His sovereign plan and purpose from both sides – both evil and good.

Vv. 12-30.

In this section, we are shown God's strength vs. man's strength. Goliath represented the strength of the Philistines, and David the strength of the Lord God.

Note the difference in training – David was trained in the areas held important by God (disciplined humility and dependance on the Lord), while Goliath was trained in the areas held important by the world (physical strength, physical warfare and dependance on self).

David's father had eight sons, and, being an old man, was excused from war service. Remaining home during this time of war, he sent his three eldest sons to fight under Saul.

V. 14, though David was the youngest of the boys, he had the most courage. Yet unlike most youths, he remained in the background until the Lord moved him out front.

V. 15, the youngest, David had been in the king's court, but had returned home to do his father's bidding to feed his father's sheep. He willingly submitted himself to the menial tasks his father assigned to him:

The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility. (Pr. 15:33.)

From his brothers' attitude toward David, apparently the three oldest convinced their dad, Jessie, to let them go to war while leaving David "hidden" in the wilderness, v. 28. The story here of David is very similar to the story of Joseph – father sends him to check on his brothers, his brothers' attitude toward him, &c

Though David's father undoubtedly knew of David's anointing as king, he kept David in the field, where he had his strength and courage tested with the bears and lions. There he was able to meditate on the Lord.

V. 17, in those days, campaigns seldom lasted more than a few days at a time; the army was a volunteer army, militia, who were supplied by their families and friends at home. And David only went to the battle field because his father sent him to enquire of his brothers' welfare, and to take some food to them and to their captain. While David was in the field, the Philistine challenged Israel morning and evening for forty days. And Israel fled in fear for those forty days.

1) Jessie was a wise man to keep David in his humble place though he was to be king. How many parents would do that with their children if they would know the exalted place the children are headed for?

2) David was to run to the place where his brothers were, check on their condition, and take provisions to them. A menial task for one anointed to be king, yet he willingly took on the task that a hired servant could easily do.

3) godly parents are always concerned of their children's welfare. And the Lord continually watches His own.

An ephah was as much as ten men could eat in a day, consisting of ten omers, Exodus 16:16, 36.

V. 20, David got up early in the morning, and being faithful over the few things entrusted to him, found someone to take care of the sheep entrusted to him, and did what his father told him to do. He did not even have an ass to ride on, so evidently, the battle was not far from his home, for he made it in the same day.

Note: faithfulness over the small things given us by our heavenly Father is probably the number one qualification for being used by Him.

David's father, Jessie, probably overlooked that the two armies were on the verge of actual battle, or he may not have sent David at this parlous time. But the Lord wanted David there, so divine providence brought him to this place at this time.

V. 22, David ran into the army that was about to go into battle (they were shouting for the battle, v. 20), and found his brethren. The distance is said to be only about four miles. (Gill.)

V. 23, while there, the Philistine's champion, Goliath, boldly stepped forward and issued the same challenge he had been issuing for these many days. Though this man was trumpeting his own glory and triumph, he was actually courting his own destruction. (MH) (However, Online Bible dictionary under Adullam says it was about 13 miles from Bethlehem to the scene of David's triumph over Goliaht.)

V. 24, the army of the Living God were intimidated by this one man, and fled from him. Not only had the Philistines seen God's power in preserving His ark and sending it back, so had Israel. But Israel's faithlessness that lost the ark in the first place had not changed. Their faithlessness now caused them to flee in fear from one man.

The Lord had warned Israel that if they forsook Him, He would forsake them, and one enemy man would cause thousands of His people to flee:

Leviticus 26:36 And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth.
Deuteronomy 32:30 How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up?

Saul had been chosen king because he was so much taller than the rest of the people, but he trembled as did the rest of the army. The Spirit of the Lord, the spirit of boldness and courage, had departed from the people and from their king.

Proverbs 28:1 The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.

The Lord had sold Israel into the hands of their enemies, and even the offer of great reward by the king, they were afraid of just the words of Goliath.

V. 25, free – that is, free of those things normally imposed upon families in the land, e.g., taxes. The soldiers knew of the reward offered by the king, and, no doubt, talked among themselves and dreamed of what they would do with it. Yet none had the courage to try to claim the reward. There was a lot of talk, but no action. No one was willing to take the chance nor pay the price to obtain the prize.

Note here – I hear talk among Christians about how they wish things were, and those things are within their grasp and ability to do something about it, but they don't do it.

As a Pastor

The families who have left our church, and even the families who stayed, complain about "no kids" the age of our kids, yet they do nothing to correct the situation when it is fully within their power to do something. There was a room ready for youth activities, but no one had the time to do anything. There was plenty of SS space, but no one had the time to build a SS class. There were few in the services, but no one had the time to help bring them in. Young folks complained that there are no teens or older, yet nothing was done to help remedy the situation.

PROBLEM – I suppose the advent of the large church staff has been devastating upon the church. The people are now used to hiring someone to do the work of the ministry, rather than doing it themselves. (Eph. 4:12.) They look to hiring a pastor because he is good with the youth, or some similar situation. I am almost convinced that the Sunday School program has done much to destroy Christian character and work ethic – that is, doing the work of the ministry. The average Christian expects to hire someone to do his work of the ministry for him. The answer is just to have a morning worship service with everyone in the service. Then have other youth activities through the week, such as Amber's kid's class.

V. 26, though David's words might be mistaken for prideful words, we know from all of David's writings that they were not. He spoke with genuine concern for the glory of Israel's God. One of the more obvious facts here is that honest, sincere words can be twisted by the ungodly to make them say whatever they want them to say to accomplish their own goals.

V. 27, though David already knew the reward awaiting the man who slew the Philistine, he asked again. The reason for asking again – David probably did not want to put himself forward (volunteer, "I'll go"), but did want the word to get back to the king that he was willing to go.

Proverbs 25:6 Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men: 7 For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.

John Gill:

Ver. 7. For better [it is] that it be said unto thee, Come up hither, &c.] It is much more to thine honour and credit to seat thyself in a place rather beneath than above thee; which being observed by some of the officers at court, or by him whose business it is to look after such things, he will beckon or call to thee to come up to a higher and more honourable place:

than that thou shouldest be put lower, in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen; than that thou shouldest be thrust away with a severe rebuke for thy boldness and arrogance, in approaching too near the king's person, and taking the place of some great man, which did not become thee, and be forced down to a lower place, to thy great mortification; and the more, as this will be in the presence of the prince thou hadst the curiosity of seeing, and the ambition of making thyself acceptable to, by a gay and splendid appearance; and now with great disgrace turned out of his presence, or at least driven to a great distance from him. Our Lord seems to refer to this passage, in #Lu 14:8-10.

Luke 14:8 When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; 9 And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. 10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.

V. 28, David's words were a reproach of Elib as well as against all the men of Israel for not having the courage to attempt an encounter with the Philistine. David's oldest brother shows his angry nature, and his jealousy and envy with his words, speaking reproachfully to David. Elib's hope was to discredit David in the eyes of those who had heard David's question, so they would not take word back to the king. Elib, in his envy, would rather have seen the Philistine's triumph than to see David triumph.

Christ faced the same anger from His own brethren to whom the Father sent Him. They accused Him of exalting Himself; the Book of St. John has many instances of Israel's religious leaders making these false accusations against Him, chapters 7 & 8, especially. And the charges were made for the same reason Elib made the charges, envy. (Mat. 27:18, Mk. 15:10.)

There are several lessons here. Observe:

1) David spoke bold words that Elib was afraid to speak, yet Elib did all he could to discourage David from carrying out his bold words — "quench that noble fire which he perceived glowing in his breast..." (MH) If David carried out his bold words, then it would be a reproach upon his older brothers.

2) Elib was one of David's brothers, and he, knowing of David's exaltation in the king's court, was jealous of David. He also knew that David was at the battlefront according to their father's orders, yet he said for all to hear that David was at there on his own accord, motivated by pride and naughtiness of heart. (Thus, he professed to see David's heart and motives.) Yet, David's heart was just the opposite of Elib's charge.

Elib pointed out that David was only a shepherd in charge of a few sheep in the wilderness. And thus Elib implied that his father felt David was only fit to watch after a few sheep, and David was here out of pride, in order to exalt himself above the place assigned to him by his father. Of course, Elib knew better, and the facts proved better of David – he had willingly submitted himself to his father to watch the sheep though he had been anointed and had been exalted in the king's court.

Eaten by jealousy and envy, he was fearful that David would replace him as the "leader," first born male, of the family. Elib did all he could to undermine David.

3) those few sheep. This sounds like many pastors I know whose congregations are quite small, mine included. Those with large congregations, or other onlookers for that matter, may well think we are unqualified to care for larger congregations. But the Father is the one who has assigned us our few sheep, and we must be faithful over them until He says otherwise. David's father sent him, and Divine Providence provided the victory over Goliath.

4) How many Christian pastors have followed Eliab's example against other pastors when they thought another might be exalted above themselves? Of course, the same applies to Christians in general. Where envy and jealousy is present, it is "no holds bared" in the effort to pull others down. And the very ones who should be above such things, Christians, are as susceptible to Eliab's spirit as is the world.

I personally know of pastors who have done this very thing – they work with "no holds bared," and everyone listening knows that they are ridiculing other pastors in order to preserve what they feel is their place of ‘leadership' in Christian circles. And while tearing others down, they seek to hold the moral high ground.

Such ridicule has been a common practice among those with whom I have associated. Such activity is expected of the unconverted, but the Lord DEMANDS better of His people, and will hold them accountable. Over the years, these pastors who have fought to protect their positions have driven other pastors from them.

5) Eliab was willing to see Israel defeated rather than see his youngest brother victorious. Again, Elib's envy and jealousy are all too common among both the saved and the unsaved. If we will be honest, we have all secretly wished another's godly endeavor to fail in order to protect our own pride and or reputation. We were not willing or maybe able to do the task, so we secretly hoped that others fail – the natural man does not want to be confronted, either by others or by his own conscience, with his own weaknesses.

Envy and jealousy will let the enemy run unchecked, if the jealous one is not the one who is allowed to lead the attack against him.

6) Eliab's anger was kindled because his exalted place was challenged by David's words. Eliab, by virtue of being the first born, felt entitled to the exalted position which was now threatened by David, the youngest son. Eliab did not earn his "first place" with his personal character; in fact, his personal character was one of ready anger and self-esteem. Thus, not only did he say everything he could to discredit David, Eliab did not care anything about the truth. The challenge against what he considered his exalted position in the family and in the eyes' of others caused him to lay aside the truth (he knew why his baby brother was there) in his effort to remain where he was.

In other words, those controlled by personal ambition do not care about the truth; rather, they see words as no more than the tools to gain or retain what they are convinced belongs to them.

How many people have I met who feel they deserve their "first place" because maybe of their ‘high birth,' their money (as St. James warns us about) or even their education? Yet they have done nothing to earn the position they try to claim. They try to secure that place they feel is their's by whatever means it takes to obtain or to keep it.

December 13, 2000

Again, I am reminded of Gore's efforts to obtain the presidency. I am not implying that Bush is any better, for Bush would probably use the same tactics, but notice in the whole fray: consistency played no part in the "recounts." Gore worked to throw away all votes that he felt might go against him (military and Republican absentee ballots), while claiming to want every vote counted. Moreover, he did not want the non-Democratic counties recounted. So his claim for "every voted counted" was hollow indeed. The Democrats claimed voter fraud while voter registration cards went to non-citizens in California with Clinton's signature, and elsewhere Democrat workers gave packs of cigarettes to prospective voters.

In other words, where envy, jealousy and personal ambition are concerned, there is little or no concern for the truth in a matter. And even when the truth might come out, the self-promoter will do all he can to undermine those he feels are a threat to his ambition.

7) Malice cares not about the truth, but how cutting the words. (Trapp.) Eliab's words toward David were filled with malice – ill-will, desire to injure David's reputation. Christians are warned many times against malice, e.g.,

Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Cor. 5:8. See also 1 Cor. 14:20, Eph. 4:31, Col. 3:8, Titus 3:3, 1 Peter 2:1.)

Notice here that the New Testament warning against malice is given only to Christians, and there are many, showing us that Christians especially are open to this sin.

In other words, though we watch our actions carefully, our words easily turn to malice, particularly in our joking with or about others.

V. 29, Eliab knew why David was there, and David knew that Eliab knew, but David did not snap back at him. Rather, he used a soft answer to turn away his brother's wrath. (Pro. 15:1.) Notice the wisdom in David's meek answer. He defended his actions with his soft answer, also revealing the truth to those listening.

David, though just a youth, was a man after God's own heart. And really, David's answer here shows that he was already victorious:

Proverbs 16:32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
Proverbs 25:28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

In other words, being mighty, and even victorious, in physical conflicts with others is not the mark of a mighty man. The mark of a mighty man is ruling his own spirit. Elib's spirit was out of control, while David's was controlled.

But this was no time to quarrel with his brother, though knowing brothers, he probably had quarreled with him in the past.

Another good point:

There are times to quarrel, or disagree, with others, but not in the heat of battle. Also, we should wait until things have cooled down before we start with the disagreements. "Let's talk about this tomorrow" is a good plan.


Parents, fathers and mothers, will not agree in all things, and they may quarrel. But the quarreling MUST NOT be done in front of their children. Work out the disagreement when the kids are not around. The children must see a united front.


I visit, ‘soul win', with another. However, when witnessing to someone, the silent pardner must not disagree with the speaker unless the speaker is really out of line.

Is there not a cause? David had been sent there by their father, and the enemy was issuing a challenge against Israel's God. What more cause could there be for being at the battle front?

V. 30, David's wisdom is seen in that he turned from his brother, and spoke to another. The best advice one can have when being attacked by a jealous ‘brother' is to turn from him.

Those who want to do great things can expect to be challenged and even undermined by those who were friends in the past:

1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

And the fiery trials come from the most unexpected sources, even from those who should be the most supportive of us in our calling, our own families and other Christians. David's answer was to turn from those who sought to discourage him. And we must not be discouraged nor detoured from the work Israel's God has called upon us to do. (My dad sought to discourage me from ‘full time' service, but Divine Providence prevented my following him into the trades as a layman.)

Vv. 31-39

V. 31, David's bold words of courage got back to King Saul, and Saul sent for him. This was David's desire – he wanted to fight the Philistine, confident in the Lord's strength. He had seen the Lord's clear intervention in his behalf many times in the past, vv. 35ff., and he was confident in the Lord now.

Note: The door was open and the opportunity was there – though he was confident that the Lord would give him victory, David refused to ‘put himself forward.' He made himself available, but did not offer to do the job.


Probably one of my ‘pet peeves' is men in the ministry simply because they want to be there and they went to school. They are not there because the Lord sent them, but because they want to be there, and there is good money in the ministry (good money, that is, in the manner they ‘minister').

V. 32, a youth who had been keeping a few sheep that very morning spoke encouraging words to the king and to the entire army.

1) Words of encouragement come from the most unexpected places. God can and does use even the ungodly to encourage His people.

2) We must not overlook anyone, for no one knows whom the Lord is working through, both to speak good words and to work His good work. God is known for using the things that seem foolish to those who are strong in the world's eyes for His own praise and glory. One of my favorite passages is,

26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. (1 Cor. 1:26.)

Barnes' Notes are good here:

Verse 27. But God hath chosen. The fact of their being in the church at all was the result of his choice. It was owing entirely to his grace.
The foolish things. The things esteemed foolish among men. The expression here refers to those who were destitute of learning, rank, wealth, and power, and who were esteemed as fools, and were despised by the rich and the great.
To confound. To bring to shame; or that he might make them ashamed; i.e., humble them by showing them how little he regarded their wisdom; and how little their wisdom contributed to the success of his cause. By thus overlooking them, and bestowing his favours on the humble and the poor; by choosing his people from the ranks which they despised, and bestowing on them the exalted privilege of being called the sons of God, he had poured dishonour on the rich and the great, and overwhelmed them, and their schemes of wisdom, with shame. It is also true, that those who are regarded as fools by the wise men of the world, are able often to confound those who boast of their wisdom; and that the arguments of plain men, though unlearned except in the school of Christ—of men of sound, common sense, under the influence of Christian principles—have a force which the learning and talent of the men of this world cannot gainsay or resist. They have truth on their side; and truth, though dressed in a humble garb, is more mighty than error, though clothed with the brilliancy of imagination, the pomp of declamation, and the cunning of sophistry.
The weak things. Those esteemed weak by the men of the world.
The mighty. The great, the noble, the learned.
{b} "But God" #Ps 8:2 Mt 11:25 (Barnes' Notes.)

A) He numbers among His people whomsoever He chooses.

B) He many times uses those who lack what men hold important: a good education, esteem among others, &c.

C) He does this to humble those taken with themselves, self-esteemed, to show them that the work is His work that must be done in His power, might and wisdom.

D) He often gives to those unschooled except in the school of Christ (self taught and the school of hard knocks) the wisdom and talent normally associated with those who are highly esteemed among others.
Note here, however, that those who go through the "school of Christ" do not depart from the faith of the fathers. Rather, their God-given wisdom and understanding builds on the faith of faithful men of the past.

One of the major things I found about the rise of dispensationalism was that its developers were men who knowingly and intentionally cast off 1400 years of Christian development and understanding of key passages, which they had to do to make the dispensational theory stand. They even developed a new Bible study method, Bible Reading, in order to support their newly developing views.

In other words, those attending the "school of Christ" will still learn from godly men of the past; maybe they do not learn from a formal setting of a Christian school, but they will willingly learn from others through books and preaching. "If it is new, it is not true, and if it is true, it is not new." However, the developers of dispensationalism felt that the Lord was revealing new truth to them, and they were starting from scratch, developing the proper theology, though what they were developing was not according to 1400 years of developed Christian thought, orthodoxy.

E) He often cloths men of humble attire with His unusual wisdom and understanding. Thus it is foolish to dismiss those untrained in the wisdom of men, for they may prove themselves well trained by the Lord Himself in the "school of Christ."

Thinking back over many Old Testament saints who were used greatly, e.g., Joshua, David, Elijah, Amos, these men were not trained in human institutions, but God's secret training institution. However, Joshua and Elisha were personally trained by their spiritual leader as they served those leaders, Moses and Elijah.

I certainly am not against "higher learning" in man's institutions, but I am against the idea that places those institutions above the gifts and calling of God upon an individual. By far, my most common experience has been that men are exalted in "God's work" because they have a degree that is held important in the eyes of others', and have the charismatic personality to build a church. The church is not built upon the man's ability in God's word, but with his charming personality and ability to entertain.

F) He hath chosen is said twice in v. 27 alone, and again in v. 28. He wants there to be no mistake – He chooses whom He will use. And the reason is given – that He alone would receive the honour and glory for the victories accomplished by His chosen.

Our God specializes in using those things that are totally unqualified in the eyes of the world to accomplish His own purpose.

David is probably one of the best illustrations of God's unusual working among men. He was totally unqualified in man's eyes, while Saul was chosen by men to be king because he was qualified. And the Lord turned it around – while Saul sat back in fear of the Philistine, God put His courage in David's heart to take him on. David was trained in the "school of Christ," while Goliath was trained in the "school of man," being given everything men hold important to be victorious in the world of warfare.

3) Thy servant will go... Again, David only humbly offered himself for this service. He did not push nor promote himself as someone better than all the army who was fleeing from the battle.

4) David had a ready answer for the hope that was in him – he was confident in his relationship with and in the power of his God.

V. 33, Saul's objection. "You are not well-trained; you have not been to school and learned all the things men have to teach in order to handle this situation. So you have no hope of defeating someone so well trained."

Vv. 34-37, David answers Saul's objection by recounting his past feats.

There are several good points here.

First, David was not ashamed that he was only a shepherd who watched a few sheep in the wilderness. He spoke right up.

A) The Lord trains His people in the most unusual manners and places, and many times those training areas are unimportant in the eyes of others.

B) There are no mean occupations for the Lord's people. Every Christian is in "full time Christian service," or he is in sin.

C) Those who cannot watch a few sheep in the wilderness are unfit to lead God's people. It is alone in the wilderness where character is revealed.

Second, past help from the Lord builds confidence in the future hand of the Lord in our behalf. Note David's confidence that it was the Lord who helped him, and that it was not his own strength that overcame the obstacles. The Lord's hand in the small things, if you can consider a lion and bear small, is assurance of the Lord's hand in the large things, if we can keep pride out of the matter.

Third, the Lord is the one who trained David.

In 2 Kings 17:25, 26, the Lord sent lions among the people because they failed to honour Him as God. However, the Lord sent lions and bears against David because he did honour Him as God. The difference are in the results: In 2 Kings 17, the lions killed people, but in David's case, he killed the lions.

The Lord controls the lion who is walking about seeking whom he may devour. (1 Pet. 5:8.) The Lord is also the One Who gives the strength and courage to stand against the lion and to defeat him. Whether or not one will be a victim of or victor over of the lion is based upon the grace of God – that is, God working in him to make right his relationship to the Lord and to His word.

Fourth, the lion and the bear. Canaan – Israel – was evidently a land of lions. So is the Church a land of enemies determined to devour the children of God. When the enemies came, David joined in ‘hand to hand' combat against them, and came out victorious.

David, alone in the wilderness, risked his life for individual lambs. He could have let the lion and bear take the lambs they had grabbed, and no one would have known differently. But he placed his life on the line to help one helpless lamb at a time. Obviously, he did not fight the lion and bear at the same time:

8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1 Peter 5:8)

(1 Peter 5:8) {Be watchful} (grhgorhsate). First aorist active imperative of grhgorew, late present imperative from perfect egrhgora (to be awake) from egeirw (to arouse), as in #Mt 24:42. For nhqate see #1:13; 4:7. {Your adversary} (o antidikov umwn). Old word for opponent in a lawsuit (#Mt 5:25). {The devil} (diabolov). Slanderer. See on "Mt 4:1". {As a roaring lion} (wv wruomenov lewn). But Jesus is also pictured as the Lion of the tribe of Judah (#Re 5:5). But Satan {roars} at the saints. Present middle participle wruomai, old verb, here only in N.T., to howl like a wolf, dog, or lion, of men to sing loud (Pindar). See #Ps 22:13. {Whom he may devour} (katapiein). Second aorist active infinitive of katapinw, to drink down. B does not have tina, Aleph has tina (somebody), "to devour some one, " while A has interrogative tina, "whom he may devour" (very rare idiom). But the devil's purpose is the ruin of men. He is a "peripatetic" (peripatei) like the peripatetic philosophers who walked as they talked. Satan wants all of us and sifts us all (#Lu 22:31). (RWP)


Peripatetic, one who travels from place to place, especially on foot. This reminds me of J.N. Darby who traveled, primarily on foot, many thousands of miles proselytizing professed Christians to the newly formulated theory of dispensationalism. Though his dispensational message, which included a rapture, was contrary to the orthodox Christian faith of his day and his message even caused public riots, his hard work and sacrifice to get people to follow him paid off. As we look back on the results of the Christian public's acceptance of his message, we must say that he appears to have been a lion who walked over the face of the earth, devouring all who would listen to him. It was not the soundness of his doctrine that won followers to him and his fellow ‘travelers'; it was the strength of their, Darby's especially, personality. Several, Darby included, had been trained as lawyers.

And there are many "peripatetic philosophers" in our day – men who travel around with their vain philosophies and false gospels, wining many followers with their smooth, enticing words, words that appeal to the baser, or lower, nature of man, and appeal to their pocket books.

The Spirit pictures the devil as a roaring lion, howling against the saints of God, as he seeks to devour them as a lion devours his prey. We have all seen pictures of lions pursuing their prey.

The lions' favorite prey are the weakened and those separated from the herd, and they will work at separating the strong from the safety of the herd. National Geographic had a feature article not long ago (today, December 15, 2000) about lions attacking adult elephants, which they said was very unusual. Elephants sleep standing up, and when they sleep, they form a circle around their calves, because lions will move quickly to separate a calf from the herd. From what I understand, many times a lion roars to paralyze his prey with fear.


A lion preys especially on the young and weak; so the devil – he preys on the young Christian and those who allow themselves to grow weak in the faith.

A lion is a good picture of the devil – "the lion exceedeth all other living creatures in strength, courage, and cruelty: he devoureth not only beasts but men. Some lions in some places have not feared to set upon two hundred horsemen at once, and have slain five or six of them." (Trapp.)

A lion works at separating the strong from the protection of the herd; so the devil – he works at separating even the strong Christian from the protection of the group. Of course, 1 Corinthians 5 is a well-known passage, telling us of the safety from the enemy that is afforded by the Christian assembly – Paul told the assembly to cast the hardened sinner out, so he could be devoured by the devil. Note also the command,

Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

Thus it is assumed that the strong Christian will be in a place where he has submitted to the godly authority of a pastor.

Furthermore, a major part of a pastor's responsibility is to teach the word of God in a way so as to protect his flock from the false teachings around them. Thus protecting the sheep by teaching them to recognize the devil's offers:

28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. (Acts 20:28-31.)

Paul's warning, v. 31, is not given in the context of the salvation message, but in the context of his warning of grievous wolves, false teachers intent on drawing away disciples after themselves.

A lion works at separating the strong from the protection of the herd; so the devil. The herd collectively works to protect the young from the lion's efforts, as the church should do. When a member is seen to be under attack, the whole of the congregation should gather together in encouragement and protection for that person. From the article I saw, no one had to "form" the elephants into a circle of protection; rather, it was a natural instinct. Christians should be in such a place with the Lord that they can recognize one under attack, and without being told, rally to that persons protection.

As David, at the risk of his own life, delivered the lamb out of the mouth of the lion, so the Son of David, at the cost of His own life, delivered the lambs (His Church) out of the mouth of the lion. If the devil is leo, the devourer, then Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, is our Rescuer – He that delivereth His own from the wrath to come. (Trapp.)

10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. (1 Thess. 1:10)

{To wait for his Son from heaven} (anamenein ton uion autou ek twn ouranwn). Present infinitive, like douleuein, and so linear, to keep on waiting for. The hope of the second coming of Christ was real and powerful with Paul as it should be with us. It was subject to abuse then as now as Paul will have to show in this very letter. He alludes to this hope at the close of each chapter in this Epistle. {Whom he raised from the dead} (on hgeiren ek [twn] nekrwn). Paul gloried in the fact of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead of which fact he was himself a personal witness. This fact is the foundation stone for all his theology and it comes out in this first chapter. {Jesus which delivereth us from the wrath to come} (ihsoun ton ruomenon hmav ek thv orghv thv ercomenhv). It is the historic, crucified, risen, and ascended Jesus Christ, God's Son, who delivers from the coming wrath. He is our Saviour (#Mt 1:21) true to his name Jesus. He is our Rescuer (#Ro 11:26, o ruomenov, from #Isa 59:20). It is eschatological language, this coming wrath of God for sin (#1Th 2:16; Ro 3:5; 5:9; 9:22; 13:5). It was Paul's allusion to the day of judgment with Jesus as Judge whom God had raised from the dead that made the Athenians mock and leave him (#Ac 17:31). But Paul did not change his belief or his preaching because of the conduct of the Athenians. He is certain that God's wrath in due time will punish sin. Surely this is a needed lesson for our day. It was coming then and it is coming now. (Ibid.)

As the lion and bear sought to carry off the lambs under David's care, and David delivered them from the wrath to come, devoured, so the Son of David delivers His own from the wrath to come.

We must also say that the Son of David delivers His own from the devil's grasp on this side of death. The devil can only move and work in the areas permitted him by the Lord God.

Fifth, Divine Providence only allows evil to proceed so far, and no further – the lion, bear and then Goliath could only go so far against God's people (the church).

Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain. (Ps. 76:10.)

Paul may have alluded to God's restraint in David's situation with the lion (2 Tim. 4:17, 18. MH)

Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. John 19:11

Sixth, a test of a man's character is how he acts in private. Note that Saul sat under the tree while others fought the battle; David fought the battle while others rested. The clear application here is the Lord's words in Matthew 25:14-30:

23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (See also Luke 12:42, 19:17, &c.)

David was his father's faithful servant alone in the wilderness; now he would be the heavenly Father's faithful servant in public.

V. 36,

Commenting on David's victory over Goliath, Trapp said:

(1 Sam. 17,) Ver. 36, This uncircmucised Philistine shall be as one of them.] Death sweepeth, and hell swalloweth all such as are out of the covenant: and although circumcision be nothing, nor uncircumcision, burt a new creature; yet as circumcision saved David, a believer, from Goliaht; so doeth baptism now shend and save us from Satan, yet "not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God" (1 Pet. iii.21). (John Trapp, Commentary on the Old & New Testaments, VI.448. First published, 1865-1868. Republished, Tanski Publications, Eureka, CA, 1977. I have found Trapp to usually be a very good commentator, well worth the cost of his commentaries.

Thus Trap implies that David's victory over the uncircumcised Philistine was due to the fact that David was circumcised, which he carries over into the New Testament ordnance of baptism.

V. 37, though one must agree that baptism is necessary for a "good conscience toward God," it borders on heresy to attribute David's victory over Goliath to the fact that David was circumcised and the Philistine was not. David clearly states that his boldness and victory in the time of battle with the lion and bear was because of his faith in his God, not to his circumcision. Thus how can one say that his boldness and victory over Goliath was any different? Though David calls him an uncircumcised Philistine, we cannot construe David to mean that his power over the Philistine was do to his circumcision.

Charles Hodges wrote in 1835, in his commentary on Romans:

It is obvious that the Jews regarded circumcision as in some way securing their salvation. That they did so regard it, may be proved not only from such passages of the New Testament where the sentiment is implied, but also by the direct assertion of their own writers. Such assertions have been gathered in abundance from their works by Eisenmenger, Schoettgen, and others. For example, the Rabbi Menachem, in his Commentary on the Books of Moses, Fol. 43, col. 3, says, "Our Rabbins have said, that no circumcised man will see hell." In the Jalkut Rubeni, num, 1. it is taught, "Circumcision saves from hell." In the Medrasch Tillim, fol. 7, col 2, it is said, "God swore to Abraham, that no one who was circumcised should be sent to hell." In the book Akedath Jizehak, fol. 54, col. 2, it is taught that "Abraham sits before the gate of hell, and does not allow that any circumcised Israelite should enter there." The apostle considers circumcision under two different aspects. First, as a rite supposed to possess some inherent virtue or merit of its own; and secondly, as a sign and seal of God's covenant.(pg.63.)

In another book, The Midrash (which gives the traditional teaching of the Jews on the O.T.), vol.I, pg. 396, we find a man rescued from an attack by his enemies because he had just been circumcised.

Thus we see that to the false teachers in Romans chapter six against whom Paul was speaking, circumcision guaranteed their place in heaven as well as their protection in time of need (as Trapp seems to hold for David). To these teachers, salvation did not change this requirement for heaven. There are also those who identify infant baptism the same way.

Admittedly, we all view Scripture from our preconceived beliefs, but our desire and prayer must be that the Spirit of the Lord would see fit to deliver us from anything that is contrary to his word.

V. 37, The Lord that delivered me. How many young people, or adults for that matter, would give the Lord the credit for such great victories?

Go, and the LORD be with thee. Though Saul was afraid to go himself, he gave his blessings to David. We know from Saul's dealings with David from this point on that if he had known the results of this victory, wining the hearts of the people, he would not have placed his blessings on David's efforts. He might have said the right words, but his heart would certainly have been otherwise.

Note: we should send our blessings upon those who are willing to do in the Lord's service what we are afraid or unwilling to do. Many times, we wish anything but His blessings upon those who are willing and able to do in the Lord's service what we will not or cannot do.

Most of us are like John, wishing to curse or hinder those who are not cut out of our bolt of cloth:

49 And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. 50 And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us. Luke 9:49, 50. Mat.


Does the Lord mean here that anyone who is doing or saying anything, regardless of the clear teaching of God's word, should not be challenged? The Lord did say to let the tares and wheat grow together, Matthew 13:28ff. Paul also spoke of those who preached Christ out of contention, hoping to add affliction to his bonds, Philippians 1:15ff. (I believe the key to our Lord's words here is in thy name. Thus those who are doing the Lord's works in His name are not to be spoken against.)

[Mark 9:39, 40] No man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed; and no man can say Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. For he that is not against us is on our part: if a man be not an open enemy to Christ, he ought to be presumed to be his friend, at least so far as not to be discouraged in doing a good work. (Poole)

27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. 28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. (Acts 20:27-31.)

Paul warned of false prophets who would spoil the flock, and it was not unusual for the Spirit to call a ‘spoiler' by name, e.g., Diotrephes. (3 Jn. 1:9.)

7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (2 Jn 1:7-11.)

Christ clearly stood against those who were against Him, the Jewish religious leaders. He did not really have to name them because they were so open in their hatred. The Apostles were a little more vocal, in that they called some of the evil workers (who even worked under the name of Christ) by name. Then the basic command is given to the church through words like 2 John 1:10, 11— if the person is undermining the truth of Scripture, then that person is to be stood against, even by name if needed.

6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Gal. 1:6-9. See 2 Cor. 11:4.)

The basic measure of false teachers is their understanding of the gospel of Christ. (See my "Other jesus" booklet.) A fact upon which both Paul and John agree. We are told to get along with those who see the gospel of Christ properly.

However, our problem is that we many times stand against people because they do not follow with us – they don't dot their "i" nor cross their "t" like us like we do. They don't belong to our church nor, our denomination nor to our group whom we fellowship with, yet they stand for the true gospel of Christ.

I believe we can call by name those who undermine the gospel of Christ (identified by Paul as all the counsel of God), but there are those who have the gospel right, but are caught up in other false doctrines; in these cases, we need to teach the word of God so clearly that their errors are easily recognized by all who hear us. And there are some who are so clearly out of line from the basic totality of God's word that they must be identified.

Comment: I have noticed that more often than not, dispensationalism brings with it a corrupt gospel of Christ.

V. 38, this was not necessarily Saul's personal armour, for Saul was a big and tall man. Rather, it was probably armour from Saul's armory, or storehouse. (Trapp)

Note: though David was going to do what Saul was afraid to do, but should have been doing, Saul offered him what help he could.

V. 39, David put the armour on, along with the sword, and then took it off, seeing that it was not fit for the job he had before him.

As we take on the tasks God has placed before us, we should not be bound by how others think we should do the job. Nor is it wrong to ‘change horses in the middle of the stream,' if we see the horse we are on is the wrong horse. Though the Lord does not change His mind, we may start a task not knowing the mind of the Lord. But when we find that mind, we must change to His way, if we are not going His way.

We may suppose Saul's armour was both very fine and very firm, but what good would it do David if it were not fit, or if he knew not how to manage himself in it? Those that aim at things above their education and usage, and covet the attire and armour of princes, forget that that is the best for us which we are fit for and accustomed to; if we had our desire, we should wish to be in our own coat again, and should say,

"We cannot go with these; "

we had therefore better go without them. (MH)

In other words, we should not seek places that are above our abilities. We must do our best, and leave the rest in the Lord's hands, for promotion comes from above.

It matters not how strong or beautiful something may be if it does not fit. "It is not to be inquired how excellent anything is, but how proper" (Trapp) it is for our use in our circumstances. Though David had been Saul's armour-bearer for a short while, he had never gone to battle with him nor the armour. Thus he was rightly cautious of the armour.

Press some people to the exercise of prayer, or any other piece of the armour of God, and they must say, if they say truly, as here, I cannot do withal, for I have not been accustomed to it. Or if they have taken up such a custom, it may well be said of them as Sidonius saith of King Theodorieus, that he so served God as that any man might see, quod servet illam pro consuetudine potius quam pro religione reverentiam, that he did it more of course, and of custom, than of conscience, or any good affection to God's work. (Trapp)

In other words, though one may be familiar with the Christian armour, including prayer, he may only be familiar with it in order to have impressed others with his "Christianity," or in order to have a clear conscience (because of the Christian company he keeps) or as a matter of duty, and not out of any love for and dependance upon the Lord.

Vv. 40-47.

David took his shepherd's crook, "a poor weapon against such an antagonist," picked up five smooth stones and placed them in his scrip, or small bag used to keep things in, and boldly went to meet the Philistine. The Philistine saw this youth (said to be about 20, Gill) come out of Israel's ranks toward him. He then heaped contempt upon David with all the words he could muster. "But David knew that cursing man are cursed men." (Trapp) David may have remembered God's promise to Abraham: "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee:" (Gen. 12:3.)

There are those who try to say this verse refers to national Israel today, but when the entire verse is read, such a notion evaporates: " and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." Thus the promised blessing to Abraham is Christ. Thus those who bless Christ and His people, the Gospel Church, will be blessed by God the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and those who curse Christ and His people will be cursed by the same God. Paul spends the whole book of Galatians proving that the promise given to Abraham is fulfilled in Christ and those in Christ, the Gospel Church.

How foolish of man to try to take that blessing from Christ and His own, and give it to a literal nation.

Experiencing the Lord's past deliverance from the bear and lion, he now enters into this battle, fully confident that the Lord would again fight for him.


From the obvious workings of the Lord in Carol's situation (2000) and the way He supplied all our needs, I should be able to enter into any future ‘battle' confident of the victory ahead. However, that is certainly easier said than done. I can identify with David, but I don't know that I can emulate him.

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; 2 Corinthians 3:5

Am I a dog? David was certainly the most ‘foolish' thing' that could be sent against the Philistine's champion. Goliath sought to gain the victory by contemptuous words against Israel and Israel's God.

V. 44, Goliath was full of self-esteem (a feeling of pride in one's self), confident in his own training (from his youth up trained in the ‘manly' art of warfare), power and abilities. He esteemed himself better than any who might come against him.

Vv. 45-47, while the Philistine boasted in his own strength and ability, David boasted in his God. David discounted all of Goliath's natural abilities and determination, knowing that the Philistine could not stand against Israel's God. David's goal was not to kill the Philistine, but to protect the name of the Lord his God.

I believe this is a very important point: what is our goal in whatever we do? Is it to conquer some enemy, or is it to protect the name of the Lord God? 1 Corinthians 10:31.

I must admit that it is quite hard to search our deepest motives to see why we are doing what we are doing.

V. 47 makes David's motive abundantly clear – to show the glory and the strength of Israel's God:

(Zech.) 4:6 Then he answered and spoke to me, saying, This [is] the word of the LORD to {c} Zerubbabel, saying, Not by {d} might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

(c) Who was a figure of Christ, and therefore this doctrine was directed to all the Church who are his body and members.
(d) He shows that God's power alone is sufficient to preserve his Church, even though he does not use man's help to do it.

The words given by God to Zechariah looked forward to the day of the Gospel Church, when the Spirit of God's grace would do the building, not men.

6. Not by might ... but by my Spirit—As the lamps burned continually, supplied with oil from a source (the living olive trees) which man did not make, so Zerubbabel need not be disheartened because of his weakness; for as the work is one to be effected by the living Spirit (compare #Hag 2:5) of God, man's weakness is no obstacle, for God's might will perfect strength out of weakness (#Ho 1:7 2Co 12:10 Heb 11:34). "Might and power" express human strength of every description, physical, mental, moral. Or, "might" is the strength of many (an "army"); "power, " that of one man [PEMBELLUS] God can save, "whether with many, or with them that have no power" (#2Ch 14:11; compare #1Sa 14:6). So in the conversion of sinners (#1Co 3:6 2Co 10:4). "Zerubbabel" is addressed as the chief civil authority in directing the work. (JFB)

The next verse, Zechariah 4:7, tells us that no matter what kind of mountain lies in the way of God's Spirit's work concerning His church, the mountain will not prevail. I wonder if,

For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Mark 11:23

fits here?

Goliaths and mountains can be overcome, but they cannot be overcome with self-confidence or self-esteem. They can be overcome only by the power of God. But to have the power of God, the motive can be only for God's glory. The obstacles, whether human, Goliath, or physical, mountains, can only be overcome when one's motives are for God's glory alone, vv. 45-47. Only then will the Lord remove those things, and He, more often than not, uses people to accomplish His marvelous work.

This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. (Psalms 118:23.)


We live in a world controlled by Philistines – the Philistines' training, such as what Goliath had, is held up on every side as all important, to the place that the David's of the world feel intimidated because they do not have all the Philistines' training. Therefore, being intimidated, they lose their confidence in the Lord's ability to work through them.

However, let me point out that no doubt Jonathan had the best training available, being Saul's son. Yet he was able to let God use him. In other words, the training is not the problem; the problem is the loss of faith in the Lord that so often comes with the training–we are taught to rest in self rather than in the Lord.

David's authority to go into this battle was from God; therefore, he boldly goes in the face of overwhelming odds.

This assembly may know... David spoke of the assembly, the church, rather than the army. The church is the army of God. Shall know that the LORD... His goal was the glory of God.

Before I leave this verse, note: the Lord saveth not with sword and spear...

This is one of the most difficult statements in Scripture for the natural man to comprehend – success always comes from above. Being this close, I cannot pass up the opportunity to deal a little with this thought:

6 For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. 7 But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another. (Ps. 75:6, 7.)

Ver. 6. For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. There is a God, and a providence, and things happen not by chance. Though deliverance be hopeless from all points of the compass, yet God can work it for his people; and though judgment come neither from the rising or the setting of the sun, nor from the wilderness of mountains, yet come it will, for the Lord reigneth. Men forget that all things are ordained in heaven; they see but the human force, and the carnal passion, but the unseen Lord is more real far than these. He is at work behind and within the cloud. The foolish dream that he is not, but he is near even now, and on the way to bring in his hand that cup of spiced wine of vengeance, one draught of which shall stagger all his foes. (Treasury of David)

Ver. 6. For promotion cometh neither from the east, etc. The word promotion here is used in a very expressive way; it means the desire of self advancement, Myrh (harim), and would teach us that all our inward schemes, and outward plans, cannot gain for us advancement, unless based upon the fear and love of God; we look forward to improve our circumstances, like to the ascending of a mountain, and nerve ourselves to the effort of ascent, fondly thinking that no eye watches our efforts; but as "shame is the promotion of fools," so disappointment is often the return of rashness... From the east promotion doth not come; the word east here is very expressive, auwmm (mimmotza), the rising of the sun, the outgoing of light, the dawning of the day, and the manifesting or revealing of God. We look around; and in the early dawning of youth, with high hopes, mental energies, and perhaps superior talents, anticipate victory over our compeers, and a course of worldly success and prosperity; but alas! how often are all these hopes blighted and a succession of reverses humbles our spirits. Promotion cometh not from the west. The original is bremmw (umimmagnarab) and it means duskiness, darkness, and the setting sun, —hence the west. When the clouds of years press upon us, and darkened shadows overtake us in various ways, such as loss of dear and early friends, the buoyancy of youth gone by, hopes softened down to personal ease, and the power of the constitution reduced; then God often wills that promotion shall not come. We now approach to the last point from whence promotion cometh not, that is from the south, rbrm (mid bar) a waste place, the Arabian desert; hence the south. In dry and solitary places like the sandy desert little advancement can be looked for; like the human intellect, unless cultivated and improved by care and education it is barren as the desert to all holy feelings and improvement, the natural passions like sand choke up every patch susceptible of cultivation, and close up all the avenues to thought and devotion. A godless man is like the Arabian desert, of no profit to himself or his neighbours; like ever shifting sands being tossed to and fro by his own wayward passions; heated with the suns of turbulence, self will, and recklessness, he is a desert, a waste where God will not vouchsafe the light of his countenance for promotion. Like the disobedient Jews of old, #Ps 78:49, we may speak of this man saying, "How oft did he provoke him in the wilderness and grieve him in the desert!" Let us then cultivate the higher part of our being, and then we may produce fruit unto holiness; let us not wreck so noble a ship as the soul by careless steering and neglect, but trim its sails with early good instruction, and then may we arrive at the haven where we would be. Having now illustrated the three points mentioned in our text, let us turn to the one (the north) where promotion or advancement may be looked for. Coldness is emblematical of purity, and coldness is an attribute of the north. The pure in heart shall see God. God is the northern light that gleams over the stillness of life's night. "He giveth snow like wool; he scattereth the hoar frost like ashes; he casteth forth his ice like morsels." Be it ours to be humbly dependent upon God; for whatever station he may choose to keep us in, godliness alone will prove our promotion and true riches. If our anxieties are directed toward pleasing him, then shall we prosper, and he will shew us "a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God, and the Lamb." (#Re 22:1.) Condensed from a Sermon by Gregory Bateman, preached March 16th, 1862, on his entering upon the Vicarage of Ulrome. (Treasury of Daivd.)

But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.

Spurgeon again:

Ver. 7. But God is the judge. Even now he is actually judging. His seat is not vacant; his authority is not abdicated; the Lord reigneth evermore.

He putteth down one, and setteth up another. Empires rise and fall at his bidding. A dungeon here, and there a throne, his will assigns. Assyria yields to Babylon, and Babylon to the Medes. Kings are but puppets in his hand; they serve his purpose when they rise and when they fall. A certain author has issued a work called "Historic Ninepins," (Timbs), a fit name of scorn for all the great ones of the earth. God only is; all power belongs to him; all else is shadow, coming and going, unsubstantial, misty, dream like. (Treasury of David.)

The rise and fall of nations and empires are in this Psalm ascribed to God. He exalts one and puts down another at his pleasure. In this he generally uses instrumentality, but that instrumentality is always rendered effectual by his own agency. When nations or individuals are prosperous, and glorious, and powerful, they usually ascribe all to themselves or to fortune. But it is God who has raised them to eminence. When they boast he can humble them. In these verses God is considered as the governor of the world, punishing the wicked, and pouring out judgment on his enemies. The calamities of war, pestilence, and famine, are all ministers of providence to execute wrath. Alexander Carson. (Treasury of David.)

The above passages are all contained in Ephesians 1:

15 ¶ Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

The above quoted Psalms, as well as multitudes of other Psalms, give the literal understanding of Ephesians 1:21, 22 – Christ is now seated in the place of all power and authority, working everything for His own good pleasure as He, by Divine Providence, "putteth down one, and setteth up another" from the individual level to the national level.

Of course, because what we see taking place in the world today is not according to how we think Christ's rule should be (not literally subduing the wicked in ways easily recognizable as His work), dispensationalism places all these victorious prophecies in a dispensation yet to come, e.g., Psalms 71.


Another point that goes along this line of thinking, Psalms 72. Though the whole Psalm speaks of Christ's triumph over the whole earth during the Gospel Church age, I will only consider the one verse:

9 They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.

Ver. 9. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him. Unconquered by arms, they shall be subdued by love. Wild and lawless as they have been, they shall gladly wear his easy yoke; then shall their deserts be made glad, yea, they shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.
And his enemies shall lick the dust. If they will not be his friends, they shall be utterly broken and humbled. Dust shall be the serpent's meat; the seed of the serpent shall be filled therewith. Homage among Orientals is often rendered in the most abject manner, and truly no sign is too humiliating to denote the utter discomfiture and subjugation of Messiah's foes. Tongues which rail at the Redeemer deserve to lick the dust. Those who will not joyfully bow to such a prince richly merit to be hurled down and laid prostrate; the dust is too good for them, since they trampled on the blood of Christ. (Treasury of David.)

In other words, the idea that the only way the Lord can straighten out the mess men have made of the world under the ‘age of grace' is with a sword is totally contrary to the inspired word of God – that idea is a result of Philistine training, and has no place in Christian thought.

Another point here before departing this section:

47 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.

Moses' song sung after the LORD overturned Pharaoh in the Red Sea says,

The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. (Exo. 15:3. Verse 3. A man of war; an eminent warrior; as the phrase is used #1Sa 17:33 [to describe Goliath, ed.). Matthew Pool. Psalms 24:8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.)

Note the spelling: LORD, or Jehovah – it is the Old Testament name for Jesus Christ.

The LORD is a man of war: We know and teach that the Lord is continually at war against the works of the devil, and He wars against the pride of fallen man, particularly in redeeming fallen man against that man's will (irresistible grace):

[V. 3] (4.) It is a typical song. The triumphs of the gospel church, in the downfall of its enemies, are expressed in the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb put together, which are said to be sung upon a sea of glass, as this was upon the Red Sea, #Re 15:2-3. (MH.)

But there is far more to the LORD'S warfare than spiritual – it many times takes on a very literal, real form with literal armies killing one another:

Ver. 3. The Lord is a man of war.] Yea, he alone is a whole army of men, van and rear both (Isa. lii. 12). He sends the sword (Ezek. xiv. 17); musters the men (Isa. xiii. 4); orders the ammunition (Jer. 1. 25); gives the victory : whence he is here styled by the Chaldee, The Lord and Victor of wars. (Trapp.)

[1 Samuel 17] Verse 47. That the Lord saveth not with sword and spear, i.e. that he can save without these arms, and with the most contemptible weapons, such as mine seem to thee. The battle is the Lord's, i.e. the events of war are wholly in his power, to give success to whom and by what means he pleaseth... (Pool)

[V. 47] This God is Jehovah; war is his, i.e. He is the Lord of war, who has both war and its results in His power. (Keil)

Scripture clearly teaches that the Lord is the One Who determines who wins a battle or a war. He alone raises up one side, or nation, and puts down another. The question has come up many times in my own mind – why did he allow the North to overcome the South in that religious war? It was a war of Arminianism against Calvinism, and the Unitarian Arminians won.

Yes, Christ is the Prince of Peace, but that peace is restored fellowship between fallen man and the Holy Heavenly Father. And the modern idea of the Lord seems to be just that – Peace at any price. In other words, He holds no physical threat against man the sinner, whether that man is a Christian or not. But one day off in the future, He does present a physical threat.

But Scripture makes it clear – He is at war against evil and sin, and that war may include ‘blood and guts,' mad weather or both against man the sinner.

The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD. (Proverbs 21:31)

This verse tells us that physical preparation for battle must take place, but the victory in that battle rests in the hands of the Lord.

The Lord alone determines who will be the victor on the battle field.

This verse also tells us to prepare for the future, but the future lies in the Lord's hands. We cannot presumptiously move into the future without preparation, but the Lord is the One Who must take care of us.

Moreover, when man strives against his Maker, he will lose every time.

Vv. 48-58.

The proof is in the results.

As the Philistine drew near to David, David ran to meet him. "He knew whom he had believed, and for whom he acted" (MH), so he ran boldly into battle: 1) he ran so he could control the distance between them; 2) running would give the stone more speed towards its mark. 3) of course, running toward the enemy would disorient the enemy–he certainly would not expect such an action. He was used to people running from him, not towards him.

The lessons here for us are obvious: If we are confident the Lord is fighting for us, we have no need to fear the battle.

While running into the battle, he took a stone, placed it in his sling and smote the Philistine in probably the only place not covered by his armour, the forehead. (Note that Israel had men who sling at a hair's-breadth, and not miss, Jud. 20:16.)

1) the well placed word of God will strike the most hardened sinner, if the Lord directs its path. He must direct the stone to the soft spot in the sinner, as He directed David's stone to its mark. Though God could have dropped Goliath with a stroke, He used a man and a sling with a well placed stone.

2) no matter well protected the sinner might make himself against the Lord, the Lord knows his weak spot; He can make the most hardened sinner fall before Himself. And the Lord uses people.

3) David was skillful with the sling, able to use it in the most pressing of situation he could get into. We must work with and study the word of God if we expect to use it effectively against God's enemies under the pressure of the most distressing circumstances.

4) Goliath was God's enemy, and for this reason alone was David an enemy of Goliath. Sadly, we many times expect God to preform a "David" act for us against our enemies. Such a dream is presumption. But knowing that the person is our enemy, we somehow twist the facts to sincerely believe that the person is God's enemy. Then we wonder why the Lord does not direct our ‘stone' to a successful conclusion.

5) into the forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. "That seat of pride and impudency; there being no other part of Goliath capable of danger..." (Trapp). Also it is the seat of thought. This is the area that must be conquered if a sinner is going to fall upon his face to the earth before the Lord God.

6) David subdued the pride of the Philistine army with simply a sling and a stone, the most unlike means to conquer such a foe. Throughout God's word, He used the things considered by the world foolish to subdue His enemies, e.g., Shamgar subdued the enemy with an ox-goad (Judges 3:31), and Samson with the jaw of an ass (Judges 15:16). It was through death that Christ destroyed the one who has the power of death, the devil (Heb. 2:14). God's means of subduing His enemies now is through the foolishness of preaching the Gospel of Christ:

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. (1 Corinthians 1:21)

7) David cut off Goliath's head with Goliath's own sword. God has a way of using the very strength of the ungodly against themselves. Dispensationalism places God in a very restricted box.

8) Seeing their champion dead, the Philistines, who had said they would be Israel's servants, fled. God used David's victory over their best to place His fear in their hearts. Note that the Philistines depended wholly upon their champion, who let them down. And thus we see the danger of depending upon others to fight our battles for us as we sit back and let them. Certainly, the Lord fought David's battle for him, but David had to have the courage to go into battle. He could not have continued to stand before Saul, and pray for Goliath's defeat, and expect Goliath to fall.

9) All kinds of promises are made when one is assured that things will go his own way. I wonder if Israel would have willingly submitted to the Philistines if David had lost, v. 9?

Israel pursued the Philistines, and upon completion of their victory, returned to spoil the tents of the Philisitnes. David's portion of the spoil was Goliath's armour.

When David went to confront the Philistine, Saul asked Abner, who was in charge of Israel's army, who's son David was. He does not say he did not know David, but said he did not know who's child he was. It appears that the king was in so bad of shape with his madness that they brought David in to play for him, not knowing anything about his family.

So Abner brought David, still holding Goliath's head, before the king, and enquiry is made as to who's son he is (David's beard may have now hidden his identity from Saul). And David identifies himself as Jesse of Bethlehem's son.

Again, we are reminded that God specializes in using the unknown people of this world to do His greatest works through. As with David, the weak of this world are the ones who realize they must rely upon the power of God if they are going to do anything.

Finally, note how fragile life is – the pride of the Philistines had no power to preserve his own life, nor do proud men today have any power over their life.


December 22, 2000

1Samuel 17

Evidently, this event takes place between vs. 13 & 14 of 16, but thee is no way to know for sure. Maybe not. Notice v. 15 indicates David had already been with Saul when chapter 17 starts. But why didn't Saul know him in vv. 55-58? It really does not matter. These events took place whether they are in order or not.

1. What do the people aroudn us expose about ourselves?

A) a spirit unsubmitted to the Lord?
B) a weakness that needs to be submitted?
C) or a spirit that finds its encouragement in the Lord, no matter what?

Are we close enough to the perfect man, the Son of David, that He will expose our sins, or do we just have Him around when the troubling spirit is there.

It's nice to be seated in the king's house, but there is a battle on our job, in the community. We need to go to the place where the heathen are, and represent the King, as David did.

He has exposed an area in my life that needs to be confessed and forsaken.

Notice some things about David, one of the greatest men in the Bible:

1. The promise of Christ and an everlasting kingdom was made to him, 2 Samuel 7:13-16.
2. He was the most powerful king Israel ever had. Israel was at the peak of her military power under him.
3. Every king after David was compared to Like my servant, David.
4. He served God with all his heart all of his days, not just till he was exalted.
5. His bravery has been the standard and role model every since.
6. He is the man of whom God said, a man after God's own heart.
7. David said I have sinned more times than any other man in Scriptures, and meant it. Upon confession, he changed his attitude and actions.
8. He is the one to whom God said, And if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.

God told him He would have given him more wives, wealth, power, influence, if he wanted more and would have ask for it.