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When the Giants of Life Attack, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
October 25, 2022 7:05 am

When the Giants of Life Attack, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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Today from Chuck Swindoll in a brand-new teaching series called Clinging to Hope. In this study, we'll examine the critical details of this face-off between two ancient enemies and the implications for today. Could it be that you're facing a giant in your life right now?

Chuck titled today's message, When the Giants of Life Attack. We're looking at 1 Samuel 17 in God's inspired Word. And because the chapter is lengthy, 58 verses, you'll be glad to know I don't plan to read all of the chapter in the scripture reading, but just excerpts here and there. The story is familiar to us, but get this, as is true of all things familiar, we've missed much of it because of familiarity. When something is so familiar, we're no longer thinking fresh thoughts about it.

We don't enter into it with new understanding. So that's my job and yours as a teacher, if you happen to be someone who communicates the truth, to go into the familiar and help point out what is easily missed, at the same time remaining true and accurate with the inspired text of God's Word. I want to read several verses from 1 Samuel 17. Out of the New Living translation, you follow along as we move from one verse to another here.

And let's stand together with our eyes on 1 Samuel 17. Verse 4, Goliath, a Philistine champion from Gath, came out of the Philistine ranks to face the forces of Israel. He was over nine feet tall. He wore a bronze helmet and a bronze coat of mail that weighed 125 pounds. He also wore bronze leg armor and he carried a bronze javelin on his shoulder.

The shaft of his spear was as heavy and thick as a weaver's beam, tipped with an iron spearhead that weighed 15 pounds. His armor bearer walked ahead of him, carrying a shield. Verse 22, David left his things with the keeper of supplies and hurried out to the ranks to greet his brothers. As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, came out from the Philistine ranks. Then David heard him shout his usual taunt to the army of Israel.

As soon as the Israelite army saw him, they began to run away in fright. Verse 32, Don't worry about this Philistine, David told Saul, I'll go fight him. Don't be ridiculous, Saul replied, there's no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win.

You're only a boy and he's been a man of war since his youth. But David persisted. Verse 40, he picked up five smooth stones from a stream, put them into his shepherd's bag, then armed only with his shepherd's staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine.

43, Am I a dog? Goliath roared at David that you come to me with sticks. And he cursed David by the names of his gods. Come over here and I'll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals, Goliath yelled. Verse 47, everyone assembled there will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord's battle.

He will give you to us. Verse 50, So David triumphed over the Philistine with only a sling and a stone, for he had no sword. Then David ran over and pulled Goliath's sword from its sheath.

David used it to kill him and cut off his head. And now the message from Chuck titled When the Giants of Life Attack. There's something in all of us that pulls for the underdog. We just love it when an individual who isn't supposed to win wins big, when the little guy beats the big guy, when the unknown and ill-equipped team beats the team that is well-equipped and established that everybody says will win. We love it when we go back to the 18th century and we remember that band of brothers called the Minutemen, who went up against the better-equipped and well-fed soldiers of the Redcoats and whipped them, and we won our freedom from England. We love that. We still brag about the miracle on ice as we go back to that hockey game up at Lake Placid when that unknown group of hockey players whipped the Soviets at their game. And the goalie wrapped himself in the American flag. Remember that? Skated out on the ice rink. We were far removed from ice, but I remember going, Yes!

Yes! Why? Because I'm pulling for the underdog. And who can ever forget that ragtag bunch of football players called the New York Jets, who had the audacity with a rookie quarterback named Joe Namath to take on the Baltimore Colts, coached by a legend. And they beat them, 16-7.

Still remembered as one of the top games of the Super Bowl history. Because the underdog won. What's interesting to me is all of that is true as long as we are not the underdog. When something happens, there's sort of a reversal of roles or mentality when we're the ones who are outnumbered or outweighed or outmaneuvered.

And left alone, we begin to feel reluctant and fearful and intimidated and even entertaining thoughts of defeat before we've even entered into the fight. Strange how that works. Because it's true, I believe God preserved the story in the Scriptures that is one of the greatest examples of an ethical event nobody expected. No one would have picked David over Goliath.

Nobody. It just didn't wash. What's interesting is that I've heard this presented, and I've also preached it many times, but I think I've missed some things, and I think I have missed those things when I've heard others present the story of David and Goliath. In fact, one of the things we need to remember as we get into it are the words of 1 Samuel 16, verse 7.

I want you to look at that right now because it will sort of weave its way through the fabric of chapter 17. These are the words that the Lord gives to a man named Samuel who is looking for the next king. And he's in the little home in Bethlehem owned by Jesse, and Jesse's parading his sons in front of Samuel, and Samuel's all impressed with Eliab, who apparently is the tallest among the brothers. There are eight of them, and the Lord says to him, don't be impressed by his height. That's in verse 7. And then the Lord says, don't judge by his appearance or by his height, for I have rejected him.

Eliab's not my man. The Lord doesn't see things. Look at this. The Lord doesn't see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

If you will possibly be able to force yourself to remember anything from this, remember that. Because that's a principle that holds true throughout life and through time. We are all impressed with, often intimidated by, overwhelmed because of others who outrank us, or outmaneuver us, or outthink us, or simply able to win a battle better than we are, and we forget that God does not judge individuals by outward appearance, but by the truth of their lives, the condition of their hearts. That's why he chose David, whom Jesse, David's father, had overlooked. Samuel had to say to David's father, are these all your sons? He goes, you know, my God, I got one more.

He's out in the field. David! He whistles and he brings David in, and the Lord says to Samuel, behold, the Lord's anointed is before you. And I'm sure the older brothers, because they judge by outward appearance, immediately were envious. And before David knew it, didn't even know what it was about, the oil is running down the back of his neck as he's anointed the king elect. Because the Lord looks at their heart. He knew David had what it took.

Now we come to the giant. A little bit of time has passed since the anointing. David is back with the sheep, watching over his father's sheep and goats. The Valley of Elah is now a place of conflict, and when you go to Israel, you can visit the valley, it's still there. A vast mile across it as it slopes slowly down to a ravine at the base and comes back up the other side.

And here we find a study in contrast. Here we find Saul, who is the commander of the Israelite army, scared to death over Goliath. As we read earlier, his height is literally about nine feet, nine inches tall, just three inches shorter than a basketball rim at ten feet.

That's big. He has armor that weighs 125 pounds, the coat of mail from his shoulders to his knees, just the coat of mail he wore. The spear head, solid iron, 15 pounds, and a javelin slung between his shoulders, and a shield bearer, I mean this is one intimidating presence, humanly speaking. In fact, you will see the contrast in the verses. Look at verse 24, let's go there. First Samuel 17, 24, as soon as the Israelite army saw him, that's Goliath, they began to run away in fright.

Now why would they do that? They judged by outward appearance. And so they say to David, who's come to visit the brothers at the battle site, have you seen the giant? He comes out each day to defy Israel. By the way, you know who the tallest one was in the Israelite army? Saul the king. Stood head and shoulders above everyone else, but he's leading them on the retreat. He's in the tent, knees knocking with his troops, scared of Goliath, who is only one man out on the other side of the valley of Elah. But look at the other response, verse 32. David says, don't worry about this Philistine.

David told Saul, I'll go fight him. This isn't a teenage braggadocio. This isn't arrogance. And by the way, this is no miracle story. Don't make this into a miracle.

It's all very reasonable when we take it apart, as I plan to do. It makes sense that David wouldn't be intimidated. He said, I'll go fight this uncircumcised Philistine, who has the audacity to defy the armies of the living God. That's my country.

Israel is my country. How dare he do that? Now, Saul's response, verse 33.

Don't be ridiculous. Why did he say that? Because he's looking at the outward appearance. So he says to David, there's no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win.

You're only a boy. Once again, judging from outward appearance, David is about mid to later teenage years. And he said, he's been a man of war since his youth. He's mean as a junkyard dog. You're dealing with a beast.

So settle down. We'll work this out, David. David doesn't believe in settling down. Look at verse 34. Verse 34.

David persisted. Now here's why. I've been taking care of my father's sheep and goats. He said, when a lion or a bear comes to steal a...

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. This is a four-footed top of the food chain predator named a bear. Maybe a lion from Syria.

I've fought against them. And he's out in the open field, nobody else around. I go after the club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. You've got to be pretty close to rescue a lamb from the mouth of the animal.

And then the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and clip it to death. I like verses like that. It's the marine in me. I know, I know. Don't write me. It's just, I like stuff like that. And he's finished.

Why? Because David is not intimidated. He's learned how to see and how to perceive when the odds are against him. You probably were never taught that growing up. You were probably around a lot of intimidation. So you picked it up. So when you hit up against a giant, you're already beaten.

Don't go there. This is the perfect place for me to hit the pause button and do some in-depth analysis of warfare in ancient days and explain that. And also to remind all of us that even for underdogs, if we have a memory and if our theology is straight, we're well equipped.

It's all we need. Because the memory will remind us of the great things God has done and proved himself strong, which means he can do that again. And the theology will remind us that the battle is his. David didn't go into that battle thinking of himself as bigger than the giant. He's not bigger than the giant. But he was equipped with a strength the giant didn't have.

And it was the name of the Lord, his God, whom he took with him. So please, forever remove the word miracle from the story. Just take that out of your vocabulary.

There's nothing miraculous about what David did or what happened in the Valley of Elah. Let me go into a little bit of an analysis and you'll see why I say that. Listen closely.

You'll hear things you've not heard before, most likely. Ancient warfare had three kinds of warriors. First, the cavalry, which was always done with horses.

Either the warrior was riding the horse or was riding in a chariot pulled by horses. The cavalry. The second is the infantry.

This would be the foot soldier. Infantry personnel were heavily armed. They often carried shields. And they were equipped with intimidating weapons that were built for up-close fighting. The cavalry. The infantry.

And the third, you've not learned about. These would be the artillery, but that's our word for them. In those days, they were the projectile warriors. They were in two different categories. The archers and the slingers. Get familiar with the second.

That's what David is. The archers needed a shield bearer to travel with them because they needed both hands to use their weapons. A bow and arrows.

To pull the arrows from the quiver and to string the arrow and then to aim it and release it took both hands. So for them to be protected, they needed shield bearers. But the infantry carried their own because they fought with swords or clubs or knives. And they fought up close so their shield was part of their defense. The slingers were like snipers. They traveled light. They wore no armor. They carried no weapons except a little pouch of leather with long leather strand or a rope on each side of the little pouch. In which they would place either a hard lead ball, more often than not a rock.

They would pinch that little pouch together, wrap one of the strings around their fingers tightly, and they would leave the other one that could be loosened as they would swing it. Ever increasing the speed until finally it reached the place where the rock in the sling was a devastating weapon. Well, we need to pause right here. Chuck Swindoll is our Bible teacher and he's talking about how to cling to hope when the giants of life attack. To learn more about this ministry, visit us online at There's a lot more to this story about David and Goliath, and we urge you to keep listening as we continue to feature this message here on Insight for Living. If you're prepared to dig deeper into this topic during your daily quiet time with God, you'll be glad to know that Chuck has written a brand new book that complements this teaching series. The book is called Clinging to Hope, and there's a complete chapter on the topic we address today.

Plus, Chuck addresses 11 other relevant subjects such as what to do when unexpected tests rattle our world, how to cope when doors of opportunity get slammed shut, and how to survive when troubles come and stay. This is a wonderful book to pass along to your child or grandchild or anyone who needs a dose of encouragement. Some are using this book to introduce their friends to Chuck's Bible teaching.

Again, Chuck's brand new book is called Clinging to Hope. To purchase a copy right now, go to slash hope, or call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. As you would imagine, our world is filled with people who are desperately searching for hope, and we make it our mission to send these daily programs far and wide so that people have access to clear and convincing Bible teaching.

In fact, Insight for Living is translated into eight languages in addition to English, expanding our audience in parts of the world where Bible teaching is rare. So thanks so much for remembering the critical importance of giving generously to Insight for Living. To give a donation today, call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888, or you can give online at slash donate. I'm Bill Meyer. Join us when Chuck Swindoll explains what to do when the giants of life attack. That's tomorrow on Insight for Living. The preceding message, When the Giants of Life Attack, was copyrighted in 2019 and 2022, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2022 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-13 10:44:51 / 2022-11-13 10:53:26 / 9

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