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David and the Gospel – 1 Samuel 17

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

Introduction: “…when good people do nothing?”

In a previous sermon, I made reference to one of my favorite Batman movies, “Batman Begins”. In this movie, we see Bruce Wayne become one of the most iconic superheroes of all time. But, before he was Batman, he was just a normal person who also happened to be heir to the one of the wealthiest families in Gotham City. His parents were good people, but while Bruce was still young, his parents murdered by a desperate man living on the street, leaving Bruce an orphan.

Fast Forward several years; Bruce is still not Batman, but he’s grown up when he learns that Eventually, that a really bad man named Carmine Falcony was destroying everything Bruce’s parents stood for. He was destroying the city by “…keeping the bad people rich and the good people scared”. The people were too scared to do something about this bad man. They needed a hero! In the hope of driving Bruce to do something good, his childhood friend, Rachel Dawes said, “What chance does Gotham have when the good people do nothing?” 

This would eventually drive Bruce Wayne to become the hero, the champion Gotham needed. Today we’re going to study a passage of scripture where we see a similar scenario at play. We’re going to be in the book of 1 Samuel 17, and in this passage we will see God’s people scared and in need of a hero. Today, we’re talking about David and Goliath. 

This story is a timeless example of how God can and will do miraculous things through those who trust in Him. It’s a reminder that no opposition is too great for the Lord. This is a story about hope. Unfortunately, it doesn’t start this way. As the passage opens, we see God’s people at war and they’re afraid and discouraged. It’s an unpleasant reality that God’s people can and will face opposition that can result in fear and feelings of defeat. So, as we study this passage, I want us to remember a very important truth Jesus tells His disciples. In John 16:33,

“33I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”

This is the beautiful truth of the gospel; this is the “good news”, that Jesus Christ has overcome the world in spite of the suffering we may experience. As we study 1 Samuel 17, we’re going to see the gospel truth displayed in a very unique way through David’s encounter with Goliath. So, I’ve entitled this sermon, “David and the Gospel”. Before we begin to study this passage, let’s pray together and ask God to speak to us as we study His word.


As we study our passage, we’re going to look at three truths that point us to the gospel. The first truth we see is this: God’s people face opposition.

Point I: God’s People Face Opposition (v. 1-11)

I mentioned earlier that, as this passage opens, God’s people (Israel) are preparing for war against their enemies, the Philistines. Verse 1-2 shows the Philistines forming battle lines against Israel in a place called the Valley of Elah, and in verse 3 we get a picture of this battlefield: the Philistines camped on one hill and Israel on another with a valley between them. 

It’s unfortunate, but war was fairly common for God’s people at that time. They were constantly surrounded by enemies, but this time was unique. This time, they experienced an enemy so great, that even Saul, their mighty King ran away in fear. Take a look at 1 Samuel 17:4-7.

“4Then a champion named Goliath, from Gath, came out from the Philistine camp. He was nine feet, nine inches tall 5and wore a bronze helmet and bronze scale armor that weighed one hundred twenty-five pounds. 6There was bronze armor on his shins, and a bronze javelin was slung between his shoulders. 7His spear shaft was like a weaver’s beam, and the iron point of his spear weighed fifteen pounds. In addition, a shield-bearer was walking in front of him.”

This is the enemy God’s people faced. One man stood against God and His people, shouting insults and defiance. Then, in verse 8-10, Goliath issues a challenge. ,

“8… Choose one of your men and have him come down against me. 9If he wins in a fight against me and kills me, we will be your servants. But if I win against him and kill him, then you will be our servants and serve us.” 10Then the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel today. Send me a man so we can fight each other!”

Later in verse 16, we see Goliath continued this behavior twice a day for 40 days. This means Goliath defied God without opposition at least 80 times, which begs the question: wasn’t there anyone brave enough to stand up against Goliath? Of course there were. The entire army of Israel watched this happen every day, not to mention their own king, Saul, who, by the way, was himself quite an impressive man. 1 Samuel 9:2 says, “…there was no one more impressive among (all Israel)”. Saul stood a full head taller than everyone, was a fierce warrior, and led God’s people to victory against their enemies numerous times. Surely Saul could’ve stood against Goliath, but what do we find instead? In verse 11, it says,

“11When Saul and all Israel heard these words from the Philistine, they lost their courage and were terrified.”

In the face of opposition, God’s people were helpless and scared. This takes us back to Batman; what happens when God’s people do nothing? People lose hope. We might be tempted to ask, “how does this hopeless situation reflect the gospel?” Simply put, we must face the bad news before we can celebrate the good news. God’s people were scared and hopeless, which ironically left them in a very relatable situation: they needed a champion to fight on their behalf. This is our next point. God’s people need a champion.

Point II: God’s People Need a Champion (v. 1-11)

Let’s not be too hard on Israel; Goliath stood 3 inches shy of 10 feet, wearing armor that weighed over 100 pounds. It’s understandable why God’s people were afraid, but when we consider all God has done throughout scripture, we need to understand this: nothing should cause God’s people to lose hope. God speaks directly to this truth in Isaiah 41:10.

“10Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will surely help you; I will uphold you with My right hand of righteousness.”

God does not lead His people into hopelessness. He strengthens them and upholds them. But in our passage, when we see God’s people lose hope, God sent them a champion to remind them they were not without hope. In verse 12, we see the introduction of a boy named David. He was the youngest in his family, and as such, was charged with watching his father’s sheep while his older brothers fought in the war. In (verse 20-24), we see David delivering food to his older brothers when he witnesses Goliath give his spiel. In verse 26, David responds. 

“26David spoke to the men who were standing with him: “What will be done for the man who kills that Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Just who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

David wasn’t going to stand for God being defied, and in verse 32, we see,

“32David said to Saul, “Don’t let anyone be discouraged by him; your servant will go and fight this Philistine!”

While all Israel trembled in fear, a shepherd boy, the most unlikely of people, would become the champion Israel so desperately needed. In verse 34-36, we find out that David, as a shepherd, was accustomed to fighting (and killing) lions and bears. But, David does not credit bravery or confidence to his own abilities. Instead, he says in verse 37,

“37…The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”

David knew that God had led him through difficult situations, and he trusted that God would be faithful to do that against Goliath. He trusted the Lord, and in doing so found the Lord to be trustworthy. We find a similar thought in Philippians 1:6

“6I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

God led His people through difficult situations before, and David knew that God could do it again. He trusted the Lord, and that drove him to face Goliath, which would eventually lead God’s people to victory, which brings us to our final point. God’s people have victory.

Point III: God’s People Have Victory (v. 36-50)

Later in our passage, we see David preparing himself to fight Goliath. In verse 38-40, we find David, not equipping himself with weapons or armor. Instead, we see him gathering stones (5 to be exact) from a river bed. Then, armed with his staff and a sling, he approached Goliath (v. 40). 

In verse 42-44 Goliath sees David and despises him. He calls down curses upon David, threatening to kill him and leave his dead body to feed wild animals, but David isn’t shaken. Let’s read this next passage in its entirety before we continue. (read verse 45-51),

“45David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with a sword, spear, and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord of Armies, the God of the ranks of Israel — you have defied him. 46Today, the Lord will hand you over to me. Today, I’ll strike you down, remove your head, and give the corpses of the Philistine camp to the birds of the sky and the wild creatures of the earth. Then all the world will know that Israel has a God, 47and this whole assembly will know that it is not by sword or by spear that the Lord saves, for the battle is the Lord’s. He will hand you over to us.”

“48When the Philistine started forward to attack him, David ran quickly to the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49David put his hand in the bag, took out a stone, slung it, and hit the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown to the ground. 50David defeated the Philistine with a sling and a stone. David overpowered the Philistine and killed him without having a sword. 51David ran and stood over him. He grabbed the Philistine’s sword, pulled it from its sheath, and used it to kill him. Then he cut off his head. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they fled.”

If we continue reading, we see Israel rally together and pursue the Philistines, killing them and scattering their dead bodies along the valley just as David said. God’s people experienced victory, though not by their own hands. They were led to victory by their champion, who, acting on their behalf, overcame an enemy they could not overcome themselves. 

This passage began with defeat; Goliath stood in absolute defiance against God. The bible calls that “sin”: the rejection of God and His ways. Goliath was the embodiment of sin, and just as Israel could not overcome Goliath on their own, so also we prove time and again we cannot overcome sin on our own either. Just as God sent David, God sent another champion to bring absolute victory over sin and death once for all. In Romans 6:9-10, Paul speaks to this.

“9because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over him.10For the death he died, he died to sin once for all time; but the life he lives, he lives to God.”

Jesus, by his death and resurrection, overcame sin. Just as David brought victory to Israel, so also Jesus brings ultimate victory to those who place their trust in Him. This leads us to our bottom line. Ultimate victory is found in God’s ultimate champion.

Bottom Line: Ultimate Victory is found in God’s Ultimate Champion.

The world we live in is filled with trials and difficulties. But the greatest opposition is not giants or armies. The greatest opposition found in this world is sin, which results in death and separation from God. This reality is bad news, and it leaves people without hope. But, as our passage did not end in defeat but in victory, we can proclaim victory through Jesus to a lost and dying world. 

Sin and death would no longer leave us scared and hopeless; it would no longer be our defining reality. Instead, for those who place their trust in Jesus Christ, we have victory over sin through His sacrifice on our behalf. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:55-57,

“55Where, death, is your victory? Where, death, is your sting? 56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!”

Instead of death, we would experience victory by the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

Weekly Challenge(s):

  1. Recognize your obstacle(s).
    1. Is there something in your life that causes you to lose or hope?
      1. …perhaps a situation at work, a relationship, an illness, or finances
      2. …perhaps a sin in your life that prevents you from drawing near God
    2. Submit yourself to the Lord in prayer. In 2 Corinthians 12:8-9, Paul speaks of a fault he pleads with Lord to remove, to which the Lord answered,
    3. “9…’My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.’”
    4. Trials remind us of our need for the Lord. So, rejoice in your need through prayer.
  2. Rejoice in your champion.
    1. Rejoice that your need is met in Jesus, and Remember His words.
    2. “33I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” (Jn. 16:33)
    3. Jesus came that we might have life, and that abundantly. So, rejoice in Him!


The Lord does not lead His people into defeat, nor will he leave His people in hopelessness. So, celebrate the victory we have through Jesus Christ, our champion who lives to bring us life.

(Gospel presentation & closing prayer)

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