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Facing Life with Confidence
(The Faith of David)
1 Samuel 17:31-37, 45, 48-50
Background: 1 Samuel 17:1-50
Devotional Reading: Psalm 27

Daily Bible Readings


Monday: Faith Expressed Through Courage – Joshua 1:1-9
Tuesday: David’s Son Came to Serve – Matthew 20:2-34
Wednesday: Ask in Prayer with Faith Matthew 21:18-22
Thursday: Prophets Speak God’s Word – Psalm 27
Friday: Rekindle God’s Gift and Stand Firm – 2 Timothy 1:3-14
Saturday: Israel’s Wavering Faith – 1 Samuel 17:1, 3-4, 8, 20-30
Sunday: Faith That God Will Act – 1 Samuel 17:31-37, 45, 48-50




“David said, "The LORD, who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will save me from the hand of this Philistine." So, Saul said to David, "Go, and may the LORD be with you!” (1 Samuel 17:37, NRSV)


IDENTIFY times in your life when faithfulness (or lack there of) made a difference in your life.

GROW in courage through faith in Jesus Christ; and

ASPIRE to have the confidence of David in the grace of the Lord.



David is a man of courage and, at this point, the only Israelite on the battlefield with courage.  Where does he get this courage?  Let me suggest several sources.  First, David’s courage grows out of his theology – his understanding of God. David is “a man after God’s own heart” (13:14; 16:7).  A person cannot be a “man after God’s own heart” unless he knows the heart of God, and this comes through an understanding of God through His Word (see, for example, Psalm 119).  David knows God, not only historically (the way God delivered Israel in the past), and theologically, but experientially, as he will soon indicate to Saul.

David acts like the king of Israel should act.  He needs to trust in God, to inspire his fellow-Israelites to do likewise, and to defeat the enemies of God, especially the Philistines.  When David was anointed as the coming king over Israel (chapter 16), he must have spent a good deal of time pondering just what all this meant, much like Mary would do centuries later (see Luke 2:19, 51).  What does it mean to be Israel’s king?  What should David do as the king?  No doubt his actions the day he faces Goliath are the result of his meditations.  This young man is not a soldier, and some would say he is too young to fight, but David is providentially placed in a circumstance where he must trust God and obey His Word or cower in unbelief and disobedience, as Saul and the rest.



David’s Offer to Fight Goliath (1 Samuel 17:31-40, NRSV)

31When the words that David spoke were heard, they repeated them before Saul; and he sent for him.
32David said to Saul, "Let no one's heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine."
33Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are just a boy, and he has been a warrior from his youth."
34But David said to Saul, "Your servant used to keep sheep for his father; and whenever a lion or a bear came, and took a lamb from the flock,
35I went after it and struck it down, rescuing the lamb from its mouth; and if it turned against me, I would catch it by the jaw, strike it down, and kill it.
36Your servant has killed both lions and bears; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, since he has defied the armies of the living God."
37David said, "The LORD, who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will save me from the hand of this Philistine." So Saul said to David, "Go, and may the LORD be with you!"


God’s providence brought David to the scene and into the presence of King Saul, after perhaps an absence of two years.  “Then David said to Saul, ‘Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.’”  When Saul tried to discourage him from doing this because of his youth and inexperience, there came the response that was the key to all that follows: “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:37). David had balanced reason and faith.

The tribe of Benjamin was noted for its skillful, left-handed slingers and it was with this familiar long proven weapon of the shepherd boy that David would encounter Goliath.  Having no intention of turning to run should his first throw miss, David chose five smooth stones from the brook.


David’s Victory (1 Samuel 17:41-58, NRSV)

45But David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
48When the Philistine drew nearer to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine.
49David put his hand in his bag, took out a stone, slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead; the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.
50So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, striking down the Philistine and killing him; there was no sword in David's hand.

The giant, doubly armed for offense with sword and spear, mocked his youthful opponent without armor, brass, or iron.  Seeing only the shepherd’s rod, Goliath took offense and expressed contempt for David.  “I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”  David, speaking as the Lord’s champion, replied, “Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s” David ran toward the Philistine and as he ran, he hurled the stone which struck and sank into the forehead of Israel’s opponent.  The Israelites then pursued the Philistines, making good the prophetic words of David.  It was the bodies of the Philistines that were left to the fowls of the air and the beasts of the earth.  David, called to action by the Spirit of God, determined to do God’s will in God’s name, for His honor, and for the deliverance of His people.  This event was a turning point in the history of Israel and marked David as the true king of Israel.



1.    How can we fell these giants so that we can live in freedom and victory and joy in the Lord’s service?



In the end, it is not so much that David is great, but that the God he serves, the God who went before him, is great.  Saul seems to focus on the size of the enemy rather than on the size of God.  God always seems to give us enemies who are much greater than we are, so that we fight in our weakness, trusting in God and not in ourselves, giving Him the glory, rather than taking the credit ourselves.

When we come to David, we come to God’s chosen king.  This is the one whose seed will be the promised Messiah, whose kingdom will have no end.  And so, David often provides us with a foreshadowing of Christ.  Our text is no exception. David is a prototype of Christ, as Goliath is a prototype of Satan.  Satan has the whole world trembling in fear of him and of death (see Hebrews 2:14-15).  We, like the Israelites of old, are powerless to defeat him.  What we cannot do for ourselves, Christ has done for us, just as David fought Goliath for Saul and the Israelites.  Satan has a death grip on lost sinners.  There is nothing we can do to save ourselves.  Jesus came and took on Satan one-on-one, and He won the victory.  David did it by killing Goliath.  Jesus did it by being crucified on the cross of Calvary.  But after He died to pay the penalty for our sins, He rose from the grave, triumphant over Satan, sin, and death.  It was winner take all, and Jesus won by dying and by rising from the dead.  All who acknowledge their sin, and who forsake trusting in themselves by placing their trust in Jesus Christ, have the forgiveness of sins and the assurance of living eternally in His kingdom.  


NEXT WEEK’S LESSON: 17 December 2023 at 09:00 EST 

God Brings “Outsiders” In
(The Family of Faith)
Matthew 1:1-17
Background: Genesis 38; Joshua 2; 6:22-25; 2 Samuel 12:24; Ruth 4:13-22; Matthew 1:1-17
Devotional Reading: Psalm 9:1-14


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