1 Samuel 17:32
And David said to Saul, Let no man's heart fail because of him; your 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.
IV. SPIRITUAL HEROISM IS DISTINGUISHED BY A LOFTY AND FIRM RELIANCE UPON GOD.
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.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And David said to Saul, Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.