1 Samuel 17:32
David said to Saul, "Let no man's heart fail on account of this Philistine. Your servant will go and fight him!"
David and GoliathSilvester Horne, M. A.1 Samuel 17:32
David and GoliathJ. W. Reeve, M. A.1 Samuel 17:32
David and GoliathMonday Club Sermons1 Samuel 17:32
David and GoliathF. W. Krummacher, D. D.1 Samuel 17:32
David and Goliath; Christ and SatanW. P. Welsh, D. D.1 Samuel 17:32
David's Conflict with GoliathW. G. Blaikie, D. D.1 Samuel 17:32
Spiritual HeroismC. M. Merry.1 Samuel 17:32
The Contest Between David and GoliathT. Kirk.1 Samuel 17:32
Three Victories in One DayB. Dale 1 Samuel 17:29, 37-39, 45-47
Faith's Argument from ExperienceB. Dale 1 Samuel 17:32-37

1 Samuel 17:32-37. (THE VALLEY OF ELAH.)
He will deliver me out of the hand of the Philistine (ver. 37). Many things tend to hinder the exercise and work of faith. Some of them arise from the heart itself. Others arise from the speech and conduct of other people. Such was the scornful reproach cast upon David by his eldest brother, and such the cold distrust with which he was at first regarded by Saul. But as he had doubtless overcome his own tendency to unbelief by recalling what God had done, so now by the same means he overcame the unbelief of the king, and excited his confidence and hope. "Let no man's heart fail," etc. (ver. 32). "Thou art not able," etc. (ver. 33). But "there was that in the language of this youth which recalled the strength of Israel, which seemed like the dawn of another morning, like the voice from another world" (Edersheim). "And Saul said unto David, Go, and Jehovah be with thee" (ver. 37); thus displaying one of the best features of character he possessed after his rejection. We have here -

I. AN EXPERIENCE of great deliverances.

1. Consisting of accomplished facts. "Thy servant kept his father's sheep," etc. (vers. 34, 35). They were not imaginary, but real events.

2. Occurring in personal history, and therefore the more certain and deeply impressed on the mind. How full is every individual life of instructive providential occurrences, if we will but observe them.

3. Wrought by a Divine hand. "The Lord that delivered me," etc. (ver. 37). Where unbelief perceives nothing but chance and good fortune a devout spirit sees "him who is invisible;" and the extraordinary success which the former attributes to man the latter ascribes to God.

4. Treasured up in a grateful memory. "Therefore will I remember thee," etc. (Psalm 42:6; Psalm 77:10, 11). Experience is the collection of many particulars registered in the memory."

II. AN ARGUMENT for strong confidence. The argument -

1. Rests upon the unchangeableness of God, and the uniform method of his dealings. "The Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent" (1 Samuel 16:29). Hence every instance of his help is an instruction and a promise, inasmuch as it shows the manner in which lie affords his aid, and gives assurance of it under like conditions. "Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice" (Psalm 63:7; Psalm 27:9). "This was a favourite argument with David. He was fond of inferring future interpositions from past. And the argument is good, if used cautiously and with just discrimination. It is always good if justly applied. The difficulty is in such application. The unchangeable God will always do the same things in the same circumstances. If we can be certain that cases are alike we may expect a repetition of his conduct" (A.J. Morris).

2. Recognises similarity between the circumstances in which Divine help has been received and those in which it is expected, viz,

(1) in the path of duty;

(2) in conflict with an imposing, powerful, and cruel adversary;

(3) in a state of perilous need;

(4) in the exercise of simple trust;

(5) in the use of appropriate means;

(6) and in seeking the honour of God.

When there is so close a resemblance the argument is readily applied, and its conclusion irresistible.

3. Regards the help formerly received as a pledge of personal favour, and an encouragement to expect not only continued, but still greater, benefits from him whose power and love are measureless. "I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion; and the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work," etc. (2 Timothy 4:17, 18; 2 Corinthians 1:10).

"Man's plea to man is that he never more
Will beg, and that he never begged before:
Man's plea to God is that he did obtain
A former suit, and therefore sues again.
How good a God we serve, that, when we sue,
Makes his old gifts the examples of his new"


4. Is confirmed in practice as often as it is faithfully tested, and increases in force, depth, and breadth with every fresh experience of Divine help. "Oh, were we but acquainted with this kind of reasoning with God, how undaunted we should be in all troubles! We should be as secure in time to come as for the time past; for all is one with God. We do exceedingly wrong our own souls and weaken our faith by not minding God's favours. How strong in faith might old men be that have had many experiences of God's love if they would take this course! Every former mercy should strengthen our faith for a new, as conquerors whom every former victory encourageth to a new conquest" (Sibbes, 'Works,' 1:320). - D.

Thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.
I. SPIRITUAL HEROISM IS SOMETIMES UNEXPECTEDLY DEVELOPED. Little dreamt David, when he left his home at Bethlehem that morning, for the simple purpose of visiting his brethren in the camp, what wonders his single arm would achieve. His heroism was the development almost of a moment. Before he well knew to what he had committed himself, he found himself pledged to a deadly conflict with Goliath. And thus unexpectedly is spiritual heroism sometimes developed. I say developed, not created. The quality must exist before it can be brought out; but, this bringing out is often unexpected. A youth has grown up in the privacy of some country home — quietly, and without attracting any special notice. None have marked him out for "a burning and a shining light." So has youth passed away, in steady pursuit of personal piety, in unpretending labours, in earnest endeavour to be faithful in the little; and manhood has dawned, when, unexpectedly, as to Gideon threshing wheat by the wine press, as to Elisha following the plough, there comes a call to prepare for some great undertaking. Instances will readily occur, illustrative of these observations, and confirmatory of their truth. You will recall names, such as those of Luther, and Hooker, and Baxter, and Carey, and Livingstone, which, though now emblazoned in the church's annals, are names of men whose opening life afforded; even to those who knew them best, but few indications of after distinction and usefulness.

II. SPIRITUAL HEROISM NOT UNFREQUENTLY MEETS WITH DISCOURAGEMENT FROM THOSE WHO SHOULD BE THE FOREMOST TO SUSTAIN IT. What noble plans, and comprehensive enterprises, have been nipped in the bud by the unkindness, and suspicion, and jealousy of Christians! What shackles and fetters have been thrown round the free limbs of many a man, anxious to do great things for God, and to leave the world better than he found it; and this by brethren too — elder brethren — Eliabs!

III. SPIRITUAL HEROISM UNSUBDUED BY DISCOURAGEMENT DOES, IN DUE TIME, FIND OPPORTUNITY FOR ITS EXERCISE AND DISPLAY. Though David obtained little sympathy from his brethren, if indeed any, he had but to bide his time, and God would open up his way. He quietly waited for providential intimations, and they did not tarry. Without seeking to obtrude himself upon public notice, or to run before he was sent he was soon sought out. There is often more real bravery in waiting than in action; more fortitude in occupying the lonely watchtower on the hilltop, that the moment for onward march may be known as soon as indicated, than there is in facing the foe when the rage of battle is aroused. It is no mark of Christian soldiership to be impatient of the Lord's will, and to want to be moving when He has commanded us to be still.


V. SPIRITUAL HEROISM, THOUGH ARDENT AND IMPULSIVE IN ITS NATURE, IS NOT LESS WISE IN THE MODE OF ITS WARFARE. There was a simple weapon he had learned to use with skill. Mailed warriors might smile when they saw it, and augur that the conflict about to ensue would be only child's play; but the sling and stone in David's hand had done their work erewhile, and he could trust them now. At least, failure with these was only possible, with the other certain; and if he did succeed with such simple means of attack, how much greater glory would redound to God, and in its degree be reflected on him! So with his sling and stone he advanced to meet the vaunting giant of Philistia. Now, there is nothing, respecting which Christians need to be more earnestly counselled than the cultivation of the spirit of wisdom in their endeavours to be good. Zeal is not enough; boldness is not enough; utterance is not, enough; all these may exist in the highest degree, and yet, unless there be combined with them tact, sagacity, address, the amount of possible good which the individual believer may accomplish will be greatly curtailed.

VI. SPIRITUAL HEROISM IS GENERALLY HONOURED OF GOD IN THE ACHIEVEMENT OF ITS AIMS. David slew the giant, and every courageous and heroic Christian slays his giants.

(C. M. Merry.)

I don't know whether I am correctly interpreting the picture, but I suspect that everybody in the camp said that somebody else ought to go out and kill this giant. I suppose you must have noticed how all the disagreeable duties of life are somebody else's business. There was the married man — well, of course, he didn't go because he had a wife and children who were dependent upon him. There was the old man in the camp who would have gone if he had been a younger man, and there was the young man who would have gone of only he had had the experience of the older men. I don't suppose there wore many people there who had not dreamed of doing it. I can quite believe that in imagination again and again they had dodged that awful club of Goliath and driven their spear home to his heart. It is astonishing how brave men are in their dreams; how extraordinarily the world would get on if only it were governed by our imaginations rather than by our doings. There they were, some of them no doubt explaining to the others how easily the thing could be done, how they would do it themselves if only they had the time. An ancient picture? No — a picture of today. It doesn't matter what you call your giant. It may be the giant slavery; it may be the giant cruelty, or it may be the great twin giant of your day and of mine — the grant drink and the giant lust. There they are, and how many in the Christian churches imitating the Israelites in the camp? How many of the young men doing it, dreaming of giving their lives to great crusades? God's Kingdom is not going to be helped by your dreams, or by talking of how you would do it if you were somebody else, or had some lesser duties and responsibilities. Better to fight and fail; better to lose life and limb and all things than suffer this daily dishonour, this endless humiliation, and advertisement to all the world that there is not a single soul of faith with enough pluck left to challenge this unequal encounter. What do you think the world thinks when it sees the Church in the position of the camp of Israel? When David talks about the armies of the living God it sounds like irony. Ah! yes, and it sounds like irony today, when you refer to the people in the Churches as being the army of the living God. and then think how thousands upon thousands of us are hiding our diminished heads simply because we are in the presence of these gigantic evils and wrongs of the modern world, waiting for God to send somebody else to do something. "Somebody ought to do something!" Yes, and we are in the happy position here of knowing who ought, to do it. Where was King Saul all the time? Why, it was for this very thing he had been anointed, if he knew it. What is the use of your elect man? The Churches are always talking about the doctrine of election — well, here is his chance, God's elect man. Where is King Saul? Let the biggest man in the host of Israel fight the biggest man in the host of Philistia. Oh! you have seen men like it, and not individuals alone, but battalions like it, men who if you counted beads, Churches who if you counted heads, would make a brave show, God knows; but if you begin to weigh souls it is a very different business. You could not weigh Saul's soul: there was nothing to weigh. Why, if you have got to bribe men into being heroes, and if you have got to buy courage in the open market, it is a poor thing for the King and for the kingdom. But there was another man in the camp who ought to have been doing this work. Samuel very nearly anointed Eliab to be King over Israel simply on account of Eliab's presence, his athletic form. his powerful frame. He seemed just the sort of man for King, and ever since I have no doubt whatever he had been saying to himself, "What the land has missed in lot having me for King!" Well, now is his chance; everything comes to him who knows how to wait. If he lives to be as old as Methuselah he will never have such a chance again. He had it, and he missed it. He preferred be sit at a safe distance from the Philistine and sing, "Let me like a hero fall," or whatever happened to correspond to that flamboyant melody in the history of his own time. He had his chance; he missed it; but I think we ought to do him the justice of saying that if he failed as a hero, he was a tremendous success as a cynical critic. I sometimes think that criticism is the greatest natural gift that we possess, and I have yet to find the man who hides that talent in the earth. Eliab was a critic to the manner born. He could not do deeds, but he always criticised the men who did. Oh, how easy it is in this world to sneer. I wonder if you have ever done it; if you have ever sneered at enthusiasm, if you have ever sneered at simplicity, if you ever sneered at whole-souled faith in God. God pity you if you have. If David had failed I would rather be David the enthusiast than Eliab one critic. And David had not come there to bandy arguments with Eliab or with any of his compatriots, for his young soul was all aflame. Love of his country, love of his faith, love of his God met in the young man's soul, and he passed through the camp with a sweet serene look upon his face, and at test they took him earnestly, seriously, and they led him to Saul and get "them face to face — the real King in the young man with the soul of flame, and the false King, dismayed and sore afraid. "Let no man's heart fail him, I will go." Oh, Saul, Saul, hadst thou no shame in thy heart to let this stripling go instead of thee? "Go and the Lord be with thee" — seeing in this young man one with whom the Lord would verily be, but knowing that the Lord would never be with him again. And you know one of the saddest things in my ministry is occasionally to come across fathers and mothers who are quite willing to give their children to the Christian Church and to the service of Jesus Christ, and who say to the lad or to the lassie, "Go, and the Lord be with thee" — but there is always a sort of catch in the voice, because they know they cannot go, they will never go; know they have grown old and hard in sin, and they have sinned their God out of their life. Oh, if there are any here who are practically saying to their young men and their maidens, "Go where I ought to go but can't; go on the holy service on which I ought to go but can't; go, and the Lord be with thee," I want to turn to them and say, you are giving up too soon. God has His place for you, and the mystic presence may come back to you again, thank God, if only you, like these younger ones, will place yourself at His disposal and surrender yourself in faith to do His will. But, see, Saul has nothing to give to this young man of faith, he has nothing to give him of courage, and all that he can think to give him at the moment is the harness teat he used to wear. It is no use to Saul now. What use is a helmet, or a sword, or a spear, if there is not a soul behind them? None! He cannot wield that sword in God's war. But David has not proved them. He is going to retain all the simplicities of his youth, all the simple arts and crafts of which he has the skill, and he is going out to serve God with the weapons that he knows how to use. Everything now depends on one fact, that David believes in God. "The Lord is at my right hand, I shall not be moved." Oh! I tell you we have not yet exhausted or begun to exhaust the power that there is for the man who simply makes that a real faith, and not a mere written creed! But there is more in this subject of Saul's armour than appears upon the surface, and I want to say a word or two to those who are older There are some people who are so anxious, as it seems to me, to clothe their young people with ideas that are too old for them — to send them forth with religious experiences that are not their own. I want to plead with you — leave us the simplicities of our faith, for those are the things that tell and count. Leave them the sincerities and realities of their faith, will you? Leave them their slings and their stones for a little while; they will do much more with them than with all the armoury that you may give them out of the sixteenth or out of the seventeenth centuries. There are some parents that have been known to me who, in the presence of the great modern giant of doubt, have most earnestly desired to clothe their children with the old-fashioned weapons, and give them, I won't say Paul's armour, but Saul's armour, and let them talk somebody else's second-hand theology. We do not want old heads on young shoulders. We want the young Christian who has got his own experience of God. I know perfectly well, of course, that they talk things which you grave philosophers in the pews cannot agree with. But it doesn't matter. They hit the mark with the stone from their sling. Oh! don't you know the world today is simply dying for lack of reality — the man who will dare to be real, dare to be absolutely sincere and simple in his Christian faith. You remember that incident in Carlyle's history of Frederick the Great where, when Frederick is growing to be a young man, a very learned university professor is get to instruct him in the theological creed that he ought to bold. The professor dosed the budding Nero with creeds and catechism until at last the poor young fellow's mind was so confused that he knew practically nothing, whereupon Carlyle says this to the professor, "Teach the young man either nothing at all, or else something that he will know to be beyond a doubt when he comes to think of it." Now, it is the things that are beyond a doubt that you cannot prove perhaps in your logical fashion, but they are established beyond a doubt, that we want our young people especially to hold by. I don't mind how simple your faith in Jesus is, but I want it sincere, real, earnest, and when you go out to do battle that will be the stone from your sling which will bring your antagonist to the dust. I have stopped at the most exciting moment, the critical moment when David is advancing on the Philistine with a slave and a shepherd's bag, and five smooth stones. And oh! how the giant girded at him, nay, he cursed him by his gods. If, when you get home tonight, you will read the Book of Judges, you will find there this fact stated, that there were seven hundred men of the tribe of Benjamin who could sling a stone left-handed to a hair's breadth, It was not for nothing that David belonged to the tribe of Benjamin, and he was there to prove that there was one man of the tribe who had not forgotten the ancient tribal craft. At any rate, he ran to meet him. There was the whirl of a shepherd's sling, the low, hurtling note of the moving stone; neither his eye nor his hand had failed him. Where are now thy boasts, oh Philistine, and where are now thy fears, oh Israel! So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone. "And," say some of you here tonight, "and that was the end." Oh, no, no; that was the beginning. Listen. "Then the men of Israel and Judah rose up and shouted and pursued the Philistine." I seem to have heard that shout all the world over. All the people who ought to have done the thing and didn't, all begin to shout at once and to pursue the Philistine. Eliab found that, his pressing business engagements would keep Saul began to betray his spirit and betray a furious eagerness for the fray The elder men said that perhaps after all they were young enough; the younger men said they would risk their lack of experience; the married men said well, perhaps their wives and children would be kept, and everybody who had been playing the coward was now resolved to play the man. You remember that it was the habit of Falstaff always to lie down on the battlefield when the battle was on, and when it was over he would carry back to the camp a body who had been slain, and boast his prowess. There are lots of Falstaffs in the world, people who are always fighting the causes that have been won already by somebody else. There are triumphant supporters today of causes in England which nobody challenges, which are as secure as secure can be, but they have no heart for any fight that is not already, won. Ah, yes, I know very well that it lends itself to a little gentle irony, but I am here tonight to plead for men of soul, and men of faith. I do not believe much in the pluck of any man who has not got David's faith. That is the secret, and it is to you young men especially that I am appealing. Here we are, you and I, in this London, and you know that God wants men. There is a Son of David, who I think is in this building tonight, nay. I know he is, and he is saying to you all, "Be of good cheer I have overcome the world The giant sin lies stricken. Come up, come up against him, for you are well able to overcome." What are you going to do — still stay, craven, panic-stricken, in the safety of the camp, or are you coming out to the holy warp

(Silvester Horne, M. A.)

David had been living in communion with God — David had been storing up spiritual strength and imbibing spiritual principle from God, which he was now to exhibit under circumstances which appalled the heart of other men. And thus if is when God has need of His servants, and when circumstances require their help; then they do show that they have principles which are able to honour Him, while other men fall back, and then do they show which is the man that really does most good in his generation; then is it seen whether Eliab and men of his stamp are able so effectually to serve their generation as David, who comes forth in the power of God to do deeds at which other men tremble. And we see another lesson. When these two respective candidates — the man armed with the power of God and the man standing merely in his own strength and wisdom, are brought into circumstances of perplexity and danger, then it is seen which has real courage, the man that can rely calmly upon God or the man that stands only in his own strength.

I. First of all, THE MISTAKES AND WEAKNESSES OF THE WORLD IN CIRCUMSTANCES OF DIFFICULTY. Whence was it that Israel's fear arose? They "judged after the sight of their eyes" — they looked only on the outward appearance — they made just the mistake that Jesse did. The reason Israel feared was that they looked upon the outward appearance; they were guilty of the same want of faith that the ten spies were who were sent up to spy out the promised land. They saw the Anakims great and tall; and what did they do? They measured the Anakims by themselves, and they said, "We were in our own sight as grasshoppers;" and they were afraid. So it was with Israel: they saw the power, as they conceived it, of the Philistine's host; they saw the number of the men arrayed against them; they saw Goliath of Gath, and their hearts failed. We see that in this case Israel looked only at their own human resources; they measured their own power, by comparing it with the overwhelming power apparently of the host of the Philistines, and they felt that they themselves were as nothing to the Philistines. David had felt a union between himself and God; David was able to identify himself with God; he felt that the cause of the armies of Israel was the cause of the living God, and that the Philistines were arrayed therefore against the power of God. But observe how this language of faith is instantly mistaken, and excites anger. If we look at the remark of Eliab to David we shall see this. You know the truth of this; the moment the world sees a power greater than its own, it calls it pride. It was so of old; it was so in the case of Joseph's brethren; they could revile the "dreamer," as they called him, yet Joseph only spake words of soberness and truth, when he related what God had shown to him; but his brethren, who were not of a like spirit to himself, could not bear it, when he stated what God had told him. So it was with Eliab, and therefore he rebuked David; but the truth is this — David was speaking a language which Eliab knew nothing about — the language of faith. The simple language of faith is to take God at His word, and to build securely upon it; and although the world may call this pride, yet there is nothing so like humility amongst all the graces that we find in the Word of God as that which entirely puts self on one side, and simply depends upon what God says. This is the spirit of a little child; if there be anything for which children are remarkable, it is the implicit confidence that they put in what is told them We often smile at their credulity; but we might learn a lesson from it by which to serve God more faithfully. I say, therefore, that this is real humility — for there is no humility so real as that which ceases from self-confidence and leans on Christ. David lost sight of himself entirely — he lost sight of everything that was human, and he saw only God, and he had learned, by seeing the power of God, that "no flesh should glory in His presence."

II. But now let us look at the other principle — THE STRENGTH AND WISDOM OF THE POWER OF FAITH, Observe what David said in the twenty-ninth verse, when Eliab rebuked him David said — "What have I now done? Is there not a cause?" There was deep cause; David saw the army of Israel as the army of God. It was not Israel that had been defied, in his estimation, by the Philistine, but God, and there was cause to act and there was cause to speak, when God's honour was outraged. And so there is now. Your object in daily life should be identical with David's, as David's was identical with our Lord's. When our Lord stood before Pilate he said — "For this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth." And what was David doing? He was bearing witness unto the truth. David drew from a source which in untouched by circumstances His need was the same, and therefore his resource was the same, and therefore his confidence was the same. It was the Lord; and it was all one to Him to deliver from the bear and from the giant. It was the same principle that animated Caleb and Joshua. When they saw those Anakims, they did not adopt the language of the unbelieving ten, but they said, "Ye are meat, for us" Why? "The Lord is with us." That was the secret of their confidence.

III. And this leads us to consider THE VICTORY OF DAVID. It is not the nature of the weapons, but the arm that wields them; and the smooth pebble from the brook, when winged by the power of God, is able to slaughter the great giant of Gath. So with the preaching of the Word of God. The world despises preaching as an instrument of God; but it is God's weapon. The giant despised David; but still David was God's instrument to overthrow him. David, in his humility, put, himself out of the question; there was no desire to magnify himself, but he was desirous to hide himself, that God's glory might appear. What are we, any of us? What is the strongest believer here? He is before God as nothing But what is God to that man? God is all, and God is everything to him, in all his circumstances.

(J. W. Reeve, M. A.)

Monday Club Sermons.
I. And I think the first thing we are to learn is, that THERE ARE ALWAYS GIANTS TO FIGHT. Some of these giants are in our hearts — wicked thoughts, wicked desires, wicked feelings Here is a boy with a bad temper; and what an ugly thing that is to control! How many boys have that Goliath to fight! Here is a girl who is vain, always thinking that she is better-dressed and better-looking, with a nicer house and richer father, than some of her little friends. She has giant Pride to fight and conquer before she can be and do as God wishes. Almost everybody has some particular giant to contend with, who is taller and stronger than all the rest. It may be bad temper, or envy, or carelessness, or disobedience, or laziness, or something else. "I want" and "I wish" are giants that we meet almost every day. Children are interested in stories of a time, hundreds of years ago, when men went about armed and on horseback, fighting robbers and relieving the oppressed; and they wish sometimes that they could have lived in those days of chivalry, as they are called. No need of wishing that: if any boy or girl really means to serve God, they will find that there is plenty of fighting to be done nowadays. To learn to say "no," and to say it quickly when they are tempted to do wrong; to overcome all the persuasions to sin of which the world is full, and so to live good, pure Christian lives — that is the hardest kind of battle, to slay these giants we meet every day — this is the noblest victory of all.

II. A second lesson to be learned is, that DAVIDS ARE ALWAYS WANTED IN THE WORLD. What a happy thing it was for the Israelites that the shepherd boy came down to the camp that morning. The right sort of young people is just what is wanted. If they are brave and conscientious and in earnest to do good, how much they can accomplish. But remember one thing: David did his work in his own way. The world wants young Davids who are willing and glad to do what they know how to do. General Saul with all his army of grown-up men did not succeed in doing as much as David with his sling. There is a song we sometimes sing, called "Dare to be a Daniel." It is a very good title, but we ought to have another, called "Be sure and be a David." The right kind of little people in the right place — what would this great world do without them?

III. And then we are to learn one other lesson from this story: that THE BEST HELP COMES FROM GOD. David found it so. What an idea he had of God's willingness and power to assist him. It seemed to the people as if David killed the giant, but really it was because God helped David that Goliath was conquered. And this is the only way in which anybody gets along well in this world. When we are in any sort of difficulty, the way out of it is to ask God to help us.

(Monday Club Sermons.)

I. THE COMBATANTS. An example of the duel of battle; the destiny of two opposing hosts committed to their representatives. The one was flushed with pass victories, insolent, rancorous towards people of God. The other unskilled in war. As we see Christ and Satan drawing near to the conflict, we feel that there is more than meets the eye. Hell and heaven, light and darkness, are represented there. Life or death eternal for thousands and tens of thousands hang upon the issue. In the temptation for us, and in our stead, Christ met the foe of God and man. He takes up man's cause, and espouses God's quarrel, and enters the lists against our dreadful and exultant enemy.

1. Mark Satan's audacity! We do not marvel at his assailing man; but to confront the Son of God! Shall we think lightly of such an adversary?

2. Bear in mind the admonition of the king. David went not into the battle until he had received a heavenly and qualifying unction. So Christ went forth in might of the Holy Ghost (Luke 4:1, 2). "Lead us not into temptation" is the teaching of One who did not rush into it unbidden.


1. The time. Forty days did the champion of Gath draw near; forty days was Christ tempted of the devil. At the close of that period came the decisive encounter. Goliath triply armed with sword, spear, shield; Satan with the same threefold temptation by which he had overcome man in Paradise. Compare 1 John 2:16 with Genesis 3:6, and trace the same elements in threefold temptation of Christ.

2. The armour. David would not go in the armour of Saul; had not "proved them." The armour of Christ not of human fashioning; "armour of righteousness on the right hand and the left" (John 14:30). No flaw in that heavenly panoply.

3. The weapons. David had no quiver but his scrip; no arrows save pebbles from the brook, and with these he conquered. Christ vanquished Satan by sentences of Holy Writ, well directed from the sling of truth: "It is written;" again and again, "It is written."

4. The lesson. What a guide for us in our conflicts and temptations! Lay aside all earthly confidences; discard our own strength. The victory of David was a victory for all Israel. The vauntings of the Philistines silenced by the son of Jesse. The victory of Christ is a victory for His people.

(W. P. Welsh, D. D.)

Eliab did not like to see the young stripling exciting the interest and admiration of the soldiers, and showing the cowardice of older men like himself. He had probably regarded his brother with a jealous eye, ever since he himself had been passed over by Samuel, and David had been anointed with the holy oil. David calmly replied, "What have I now done? Is there not a cause?" Three different interpretations have been given of these words. One is to understand David as excusing his conduct on the ground that his speech was mere talk. As if he had said, "What have I now done? Is it not a word?" As David, however, clearly showed that his words were more than talk, end meant action, this view seems quite inadmissible. Another is, to understand David as excusing his conduct on the ground that the proud challenge of Goliath fully justified his burning indignation and patriotic zeal. But the natural and most satisfactory view seems to be, to regard David's words as a direct reply to Eliab's charge. Eliab implied that he had left his sheep out of mare curiosity to sea the battle. But David answers, "What have I now done? Is there not a cause? Have I not come, as I already told thee, in obedience to my father's command?" This calm reply shows that Eliab's fierce and insulting words had not ruffled the quiet self-possession of David. It was a noble victory over himself. His calm patience was allied to indomitable perseverance. Instead of being cowed by the blustering rags of Eliab, David went on his course with the same glowing enthusiasm as before. The heroic courage, which rested on past exploits, and the unbounded confidence that the Lord would be with him in the conflict with Goliath as He had been with him in other conflicts not less formidable, overcame the hesitation of the King. Enthusiastic, courageous faith has a magnetic assimilating power. After Saul had accepted David as the champion of Israel, he sought to make him as efficient as he could. Had David worn them, and won with them the victory, Saul would have ascribed it in part to the armour, and claimed some share of the glory. But as David, when he assayed to go, found the armour all too cumbersome, he said, "I cannot go with these, for I have not proved them." His determination to fight only with the weapons with which he was familiar, was a stroke of military genius. The thought that was uppermost in the majority of the onlookers, was in all likelihood that the young man was going forth to certain death; but in all there was an earnest desire, and from many an ardent prayer to God, for his success. Goliath's boastful style of speech was common amongst ancient warriors. Homer represents Hector saying to Ajax in the Trojan war —

"And thou imperious! if thy madness wait

The lance of Hector, thou shalt meet thy fate,

That giant corse, extended on the shore,

Shall largely feed the fowls with fat and gore."It was probably not till David had thus confidently replied to the challenge of Goliath, that the champion of the Philistines deigned to rise, and proceeded with his shield bearer before him, be fight with one whom he regarded as an insignificant and presumptuous opponent. Skill in slinging was common in those days; and some had attained to extraordinary precision in the art. It is said of an early period of the Judges, that in the tribe of Benjamin there were 700 chosen men left-handed: everyone could sling stones at an heir's breadth and not miss (Judges 20:16). But when we think of the intense excitement and the great risk of such a duel, the ever-shifting movements of Goliath, and the small part of his forehead left uncovered by the helmet of brass, David's feat in hitting the one vulnerable part of his body, was one of the most extraordinary kind. thus beautifully, though fancifully, improves the incident: "So our Divine David, the good Shepherd of Bethlehem, when he went forth at the temptation to meet Satan — our ghostly Goliath — chose five stones out of the brook. He took the five books of Moses out of the flowing stream of Judaism. He took what was solid out of what was fluid. He took what was permanent out of what was transitory. He took what was moral and perpetual out of what was ceremonial and temporary. He took stones out of a brook, and with one of them he overthrew Satan. All Christ's answers to the Tempter are moral precepts, taken from one Book of the Law (Deuteronomy), and He prefaced his replies with the same words, 'It is written,' and with this sling and shone of Scripture, He laid our Goliath low, and He has taught us by His example how we may also vanquish the Tempter."

(T. Kirk.)

An occurrence in the life of Joshua, the remembrance of which may have often refreshed the mind of David, may well introduce us to the subject of this day's meditation. It is recorded in Joshua (vers. 13-15). Before him lies the strong, impregnable fortress of the enemy at Jericho; A war, pregnant with important issues, must now be waged. It is night. The history tells us that "Joshua lifted up his eyes" — we know to what place he raised them. He held communion with God. What befell him then? Suddenly Joshua saw at a little distance a lofty figure, clothed in warlike armour, standing before him. Now Joshua knew at lent that he had to do with the representative of the Most High, who alone determines what shall be the issues of battle. He is courageous in being able to stay himself on this Ally. From that time forward he walked before God in genuine humility; realised God's presence with him wherever he went; confidently expected it; trusted in the Lord; at all times asked first what was His will, and turned away from whatever might be displeasing to Him. And the Lord crowned him with victory after victory, with blessing after blessing. David walked in the footsteps of Joshua, and the word was verified in him, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye will remove mountains." Let us, in contemplating this incident, direct our attention.

(1)To Israel's danger; and then

(2)To the deliverance wrought for them by God by means of David.

I. ISRAEL'S DANGER. The history shows us the Philistines already at Shochoh, three German miles southwest from Jerusalem, encamped on high, level ground. Opposite to them the host of Israel is encamped also on a chain of hills. The Philistines, for the increase of their glory, sought to show to the world that their warlike strength consisted not only in the multitude of their host, but in the personal warlike dexterity and skill in battle of every separate warrior. They challenged, therefore, the enemy to a duel — a practice common in war among the ancients, as Homer testifies. On the issue of this combat he places the fortune and the future condition of the whole kingdom. Contempt, such as that expressed in his challenge to the people of Jehovah, could not be more scornful. The cause which gave rise to this war which had newly broken out, was closely connected with the interests of religion, as was, indeed, the case with most of the wars of ancient times, The heathen fought for the honour of their god Dagon. They wished him to appear to all the world as the true God. Jehovah, on the other hand, must appear to be but a phantom, a shadow without substance, and only worthy of being despised. In these circumstances the children of Israel had reason to trust with joyful confidence in the arm of the Almighty, and, certain of victory, to accept the challenge to battle made by the heathen. But what happened? Israel is afraid because their king is faint-hearted. They ventured not, with child-like faith, to appropriate the promises of Jehovah. The wings of faith, which would bane borne them up to the Lord of Hosts in confident trust, are broken. What will be the result?

II. DELIVERANCE WROUGHT BY MEANS OF DAVID. David, as a faithful, obedient son, accustomed without hesitation to do as his father commanded, even when the commands did not correspond with his own inclinations, rose up early in the morning, and came near to the encampment at the very moment when the armies stood in battle array over against each other. With the greatest astonishment David perceives what is now going on. "How," he asks himself. "is the last spark of faith extinguished in Israel? or is His arm shortened, who once buried in the waves of the Red Sea Pharaoh with his horsemen and his horses; who, at the prayer of Moses, destroyed the power of Amalek, and guided Gideon so that with his three hundred men he was able to sweep from the field the thousands of Midian." He was not able altogether to conceal from those that stood near him the feelings that were in his mind; and the impetuosity with which he added the question, "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?" fully revealed his inmost thoughts. Eliab sufficiently knew the brave boy to believe that wherever the honour of God was concerned he would courageously undertake the most perilous enterprise. "But what," thinks Eliab, "will be the result of such an undertaking? Not only the death of the boy, but also, at the same time, the overthrow of Israel; and, worse than even this, the defeat of Israel's God in the eyes of the heathen!" Thus with Eliab also thought his two brothers. We see that even with them faith and courage had disappeared. David replied to the reproachful words of Eliab by quietly asking him. "What have I now done? Has it not been commanded me?" But the subsequent conduct of the king showed in him a total misapprehension of the position which David occupied when he announced his heroic resolution. He commanded that David should be armed with his armour, his helmet, and the coat of mail, together with his sword. David did not offer any opposition, seeing that such was the will of his master; yet he doubted not but that the king himself would soon be convinced that such an equipment was not suitable for him. History has presented many and diverse examples in the sphere of the spiritual life similar to this heroic march of the youthful David. I now call to your remembrance only a Luther, who, despite the doubts of timid learned men, threw aside the heavy armour of scholastic wisdom, and, stepping forward in freedom, vanquished the giant of Rome with the five heads, of his Catechism. And might we not here also make mention of such witnesses and combatants in the region of the Church, as with holy courage have broken through the restraints of homiletic or liturgic forms, and, in the free effusions and creations of their divinely-anointed spirits, have given the tone to a new and more animating style of preaching, and thereby have opened the way to a new quickening and elevating of the life of the Church into greater fruitfulness? But what says Saul now, in this unexpected state of affairs? Saul said, "Inquire thou whose son the stripling is." But when, soon afterwards, David appeared in person before the king, with the bead of the Philistine in his hands, be addressed to him the same question, "Whose son art thou, thou young man?" David simply replied, with the expression of genuine modesty, "I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Bethlehemite," and then stood quietly waiting the further commands of his royal master. This incident in the narrative, it must, be admitted, has in it something strange. Saul did not recognise in David the youthful singer, who had formerly, with the melody of his harp, banished from him the evil spirit, and who on that account had gained his love, and had been received into the number of his pages and armourers. Many interpreters, misled by this surprising circumstance, have been induced to regard the chapter from which our text is taken as a historical supplement to that immediately preceding, and to place the battle with the Philistine before the time of the first appearance of David at the royal court. But this is a mere arbitrary proceeding. How can we explain, then, the enigma of Saul's ignorance of David? In the first place, Saul, to heighten the splendour of his throne, had surrounded himself not only with a bodyguard a thousand strong, and a choir of musicians, but also, as already noticed, with a company of pages and young armour bearers; and it was not to be expected that amid the continual storms which marked his reign, he could know and remember the names and descent of each one of all these bands. Further, David, by his return to take charge again of his father's flocks at Bethlehem, had, as it seems, for a considerable time been out of the sight of Saul, who had perhaps now only some dim recollections of the comfortless condition in which he was at the time of the first visit of the shepherd boy, but retained no longer any clear remembrance of his person. Lastly, it might possibly be that it was only of the descent and the birthplace of the boy that Saul had now no longer any recollection; for he put the question to Abner merely as to whose son the youth was. Thus Israel saw themselves honoured with another remarkable evidence that the God of their fathers was still truly with them, and that faith in the promises of their God, when it knows how, with simplicity, to take fast hold of them, can accomplish all things. In the third Psalm, David sings: "Thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people that have set themselves against me round about."

(F. W. Krummacher, D. D.)

This valley has generally been identified with that which now bears the name of Wady-es-Sumt — a valley running down from the plateau of Judah to the Philistine plain, not more than perhaps eight or ten miles from Bethlehem. The Philistine champion appears to have been a man of physical strength corresponding to the massiveness of his body. Remembering the extraordinary feats of Samson, the Philistines might well fancy that it was now their turn to boast of a Hercules. And morning and evening for nearly six weeks, had his proud challenge been given, but never once accepted. Even Jonathan, who bad faith enough and courage enough and skill enough for so much, seems to have felt himself helpless in this great dilemma. The explanation that has sometimes been given of his abstention, that it was not etiquette for a king's son to engage in fight with a commoner, can hardly hold water. Jonathan showed no such squeamishness at Michmash; and besides, in cases of, desperation etiquette has to be thrown to the winds. Of the host of Israel, we read simply that they were dismayed. The coming of David upon the scene corresponded in its accidental character to the coming of Saul into contact with Samuel, to be designated for the throne. Everything seemed to be casual, yet those things which seemed most casual were really links in a providential chain leading to the gravest issues. One cannot but wonder whether, in offering his prayers that morning, David had any presentiment of the trial that awaited him, anything to impel him to unwonted fervour in asking God that day to establish the works of his hand upon him. There is no reason to think that he had. His prayers that morning were in all likelihood his usual prayers. And if he were sincere in the expression of his own sense of weakness, and in the supplication that God would strengthen him for all the day's dunes, it was enough. Oh! how little we know what may be before us, on some morning that dawns on us just as other days, but which is to form a great crisis in our life. How little the boy that is to tell his first lie that day thinks of the serpent that is lying in wait for him! How little the party that are to be upset in the pleasure boat and consigned to a watery grave think how the day is to end! Should we not pray more really, more earnestly if we did realise these possibilities? True, indeed, the future is hid from us, and we do not usually experience the impulse to earnestness which it would impart. But is it not a good habit, as you kneel each morning, to think, "For aught I know, this may be the most important day of my life. The opportunity may be given me of doing a great service in the cause of truth and righteousness; or the temptation may assail me to deny my Lord and ruin my soul. O God, be not far from me this day; prepare me for all that Thou preparest for me!" The distance from Bethlehem being but a few hours' walk, David starting in the morning would arrive early in the day at the quarters of the army. It is evident that the consideration that moved David himself was that the Philistine had defied the armies of the living God. Could there bare been a nobler exercise of faith, a finer instance of a human spirit taking hold of the Invisible; fortifying itself against material perils by realising the help of an unseen God; resting on His sure word as on solid rock; flinging itself fearlessly on a very sea of dangers; confident of protection and victory from Him? There are two ways in which faith may assert its supremacy. One, afterwards very familiar to David, is, when it has first to struggle bard with distrust and fear; when it has to come to close quarters with the suggestions of the carnal mind, grapple with these in mortal conflict, strangle them, and rise up victorious over them. For most men, most believing men, it is only thus that faith rises to her throne. The other way is to spring to her throne in a moment; to assert her authority, free and independent, utterly regardless of all that would hamper her, as free from doubt and misgiving as a little child in his father's arms, conscious that whatever is needed that father will provide. It was this simple, child-like, but most triumphant exercise of faith that David showed in undertaking this conflict Happy they who are privileged with such an attainment! In beautiful contrast with the scornful self-confidence of Goliath was the simplicity of spirit and the meek, humble reliance on God, apparent in David's answer. What a reality God was to David! He advanced "as seeing Him who is invisible." Guided by the wisdom of God, he chose his method of attack, with all the simplicity and certainty of genius. Conscious that God was with him, he fearlessly met the enemy. A man of less faith might have been too nervous to take the proper aim. Undisturbed by any fear of missing, David hurls the stone from his sling, hits the giant on the unprotected part of his forehead, and in a moment has him reeling on the ground. It is not possible to read this chapter without some thought of the typical character of David, and indeed the typical aspect of the conflict in which he was now engaged. We find an emblematic picture of the conquest of the Messiah and His Church.

(W. G. Blaikie, D. D.)

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