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December 5, 2020 12:01 am
Fear and uncertainty kept the men of Israel from defending their nation and the name of God from the repeated taunts of Goliath. Today, R.C. Sproul examines what led a shepherd boy to take his stand against the giant.
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Today on the Saturday addition of Renewing Your Mind. The life of David.
One of the most famous stories of the Bible begins with a young man's piercing pagan lawyers blaspheming the name of God know David isn't about to put up with.
As we continue Dr. RC Sproul series on the life of David will be challenged to ask ourselves, are we willing to defend the reputation of God as we continue now with our study of the life of David we remember in yesterday's message how that David was selected among the sons of Jesse by the prophet Samuel and that Samuel anointed David to be the king who would replace Saul what happens next is not the suddenly a delegation from the palace comes down and says oh Long live the King David come up with us to the palace and let us have you replace all know, Saul stays being the king and one of the ironies of the story is that it's here that the Bible tells us about this madness and arrangement that comes upon Saul where he goes into these rages.
These fits of anger of an insane proportion, and the court officials said we have to do something to calm this man down and so the irony is this here was their decision. One of the servants said to Saul, I have seen the son of Jesse, the bathroom light who is skillful in playing is a mighty man of valor, a man of war prudent speech and a handsome person in the Lord is with him. And so, so will send a messenger over to Jesse's place and said send me your son David who was with the sheep. Sometimes we do have to read between the lines.
What do you think is going through Jesse's mind when he gets a message from the palace that Saul wants his son David. If I'm the father. I'm terrified he knows about the anointing is going to take my son and he's going to execute him, but this is the purpose of the summons and so we really that Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread a skin of wine and a young goat, and sent them by his son David saw and so David came to Saul and stood before him and he loved him greatly and he became his armor bearer, and so Saul sent to Jesse saying please let David stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight. This is Saul's first declaration about David let him stay with me. I love him, he's fantastic. His music is great.
He soothes my spirit please Jesse, let your son stay with me. I wanted to be my armor bear I want him to stay at the court because he has found favor with me.
We have the expression. Thank God for small favors. This was a small favor because it didn't last very long until Saul hated David but you know even throughout Saul's life of madness, we see that we shall see, this tremendous sense of ambivalence with the king in his madness. He despised David. He was insanely jealous of David, but yet there was still a sense in which Saul at times loved David like a son. But the history here that is provided for us in the Old Testament changes its focus rapidly after this brief report of how David comes to the employee of Saul we get the record of a new crisis and it's a military crisis, the traditional enemy of Israel is the full listing nation all through the Old Testament we read of bloodied conflicts between the armies of the Philistines and the armies of the Israelites and now as we continue in the history we turn to chapter 17 of first Samuel and reread of a gathering storm were these two nations line up against each other with the assembling of their battle lines over against them so if you've ever seen the movie Gettysburg you get the idea of what takes place when whole armies are assembled and stand face-to-face ready for engagement when those kinds of engagements took place in the ancient world. The casualties were enormous. It would not be uncommon for 20 or 30,000 men to die in one battle in a sense what happens here seems to be almost a step toward civilization because they decide to settle their differences not by all-out engagement between the complete forces of both nations, but rather the suggestion is made, at least from the full listing That the conflict between the Philistines and the Jewish people could be settled by hand-to-hand combat by champions selected one from each side. Let's look at the story. Chapter 17 verse one. The Philistines gathered their armies together to battle, and we read in verse two that Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together and they encamped in the valley of the law and they drew up in battle array against the Philistines.
Now the Philistines stood on a mountain on one side and Israel stood on the mountain, on the other side with the valley between them. I want set a course in the geography and customs of Palestine by a man who was one of the most distinguished Old Testament scholars and archaeologists of the 20th century and one of the things he told us about this incident was that in Israel.
The atmosphere is so thin and the air so clear that the human voice without amplification can be heard for over a mile and so would not be uncommon for one Army together on one side of the mountain with the valley separating them from another mountain and have these conversations going across the valley.
The atmosphere was such that they could communicate without bullhorns or microphones or any of the things that we use today in verse four tells us that the champion went out from the camp of the Philistines named Goliath from gas whose height was six cubits and a span he had a bronze helmet on his head. He was armed with a coat of mail and the weight of the coat was 5000 shekels abroad. He had bronze armor on his legs, a bronze javelin between his shoulder and the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam and his iron spear had weighed 600 shekels and a shield bearer went before him. Now we hear this description of the size of this giant and all kinds of arguments about how to translate the Hebrew weights and measurements into our system of weights and measurements, but we can pass on beyond that you get the idea.
Goliath was a giant Saul himself was 6 foot six and Goliath towered over Saul.
His clothes had to be specially made his armor had to be specially made his weapons had to be specially forged so enormous were they to be in proportion to his physical stature and size and so here you see this giant of giants who is named the champion of the Philistine army and he stood and cried out to the armies of Israel and said to them, why have you come, but to line up for battle. Am I not a foolish thing and use the services Saul choose than a man for yourself and let him come down to me and if he is able to fight with me and kill me. Then we will be your servants but if I prevail against him and kill him. Then you shall be our servants and serve us the challenges clear reply. Let's do without. If I win you submit to us if your chamfering wins will bow down to you know let's get on with it to somebody come out here and fight and imagine what Saul is thinking. My men must expect me to accept this challenge. I am their leader. I am there came. I am huge myself but I don't want to do this is that I wonder if there's anybody else that reminds me of Jim Boyce's favorite story where he tells the story of a man who was climbing a mountain, and he falls and as he is falling he grasped onto a twig that is embedded loosely in the side of the mountain and he's hanging on by his fingers to this little twig and the twig is creaking and breaking and ready to come dislodged from the side of the mountain and the climber looks down 5000 feet to the mountain or and he cries to heaven in prayer.
Is there anyone out there who can help me.
Suddenly the voice comes from heaven, I will help you have faith in me let go of the branch and I will catch you.
The climber looked at the branch looked down at the base of the floor looked back up to heaven and said is there anyone else out there who can help this. This is the kind of feelings that I think Saul was having when this challenge comes to the Army of the Israelites, the Philistines said I defied the armies of Israel, this day. Give me a man that we might fight together. I once Saul and all of Israel heard these words of the Philistine they were dismayed and greatly afraid. Now that's the city for the crisis.
The challenge has been given. If we go and jump a little bit ahead in the text we will see how serious the situation is in verse 16 we read, and the Philistine drew near and presented himself 40 days morning and evening.
Sometimes we miss that little detail about this narrative. That way when we see dramatic productions of the contest between David and Goliath. We just tend to assume that what happened one afternoon, is that this giant from the Philistines came out on the field of battle and said send Amanda out here to fight me, and that all the men of Israel trembled in fear until this little boy comes out and says I'll go and fight that something would happen. Goliath didn't come out and make this challenge. Once, but how many times did he challenge the Jewish people. If you read the text and do the arithmetic you see very clearly that the number is 180 times twice a day for 40 days, morning and evening like clockwork for 40 days, almost 6 weeks every soldier in the Israelite army had to contemplate his own cowardly nurse every day, the troops in that army waited for their general their king to stop this insult every morning here comes Goliath's or anybody out there yet. It will come out to fight me. Nobody moves in the last goes back to his camp and the soldiers play cards for the rest of the day, write letters home. Whatever they did most and evening comes in here comes Goliath again. Who will stand against me who will fight and continue managing the language that he's using what he is calling he is in their face.
He is taunting them, you yellow bellied cowards and language. I'm sure much stronger than that. The narrative takes a turn in verse 17 chapter 17 and Jesse said to his son David take no for your brothers and e-file this dried grain in these 10 lows and run to your brothers at the camp. David is still doing the chores of the younger son, David, I know you have the day off from the palace because Saul is not at the policies engaged in a military campaign right now and your brothers are in the Army over there and they're hungry and I know you're busy with the sheep and all but I want to make sure that my boys are taking care of.
So I'm in a pack some lunches for them and I want you to be the delivery boy from Jesse's delicatessen and take these things over and start feeding the fellows see how your brothers are faring. And please bring back news of them. So verse 20 says that David rose early in the morning left the sheep with the keeper and took the things and one is Jesse and commanded him and he came to the camp as the Army was going out to the fight and shouting for the battle and Israel and the Philistines had drawn up in battle array army against army and David left his supplies in the hands of the supply keeper ran to the Army and came and greeted his brothers knowledge. While David is visiting with his brother while David is visiting with his brothers here comes Goliath so that David inadvertently hears the defiant challenge. I can remember that famous picture of the little boy walking out of Comiskey Park after the scandal emerged in the Black Sox scandal, the World Series in this little boy is looking up into the face of his hero shoeless Joe Jackson and the words that appear with the photograph for what say it ain't so, Joe and and you feel your heart melt. As you sense the terrible sense of letdown and disillusionment that this boy had when he discovered that his hero was involved in a scandal of these proportion. David has older brothers that you have older brothers. I didn't have an older brother, but I had an older cousin who lives in my house and he could do no wrong, and you know we did the same thing as little kids. If one of the guys gives a hard time so I would go get my big brother armor to go get my cousin Bob that he's going to come down because he's my champion. We always look up to our older brothers not here David's taking care the sheep and he's hearing stories around the campfire about his big brothers there in the Army their soldiers and all. David is capable of doing is taking them sandwiches for their lunch and so he goes out and he sitting there and he's talking to his brothers.
He's all proud of them. All of a sudden Goliath comes forth and issues this challenge and David heard them and all the men of Israel when they saw the man fled from him and were dreadfully afraid so that the men of Israel said, have you seen this man who is come up. Surely he has come up to defy Israel, and it shall be that the man who kills him. The king will enrich with great riches and will given his daughter in marriage and give his father's house exemption from taxes and Israel. Did you see this for listing as you hear David what the king said that anybody who go out and kill me will get untold riches untold fame he'll get the part of the kingdom will get the daughter of the king in marriage, but so far we find anybody who's willing to do it. David spoke to the man.
This is a boy speaking. The man who stood by him, saying, what shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God. David could care less about the bounty that's on Goliath. This young boy is full of idealism. He walks into the scene he sees what's going on and he is beside himself. How can this be, how can you man, who call yourselves soldiers who call yourself courageous warriors stand here and put up with this insult to the Lord God of heaven. Where is the man who will step up to the plate, who is the man who will stop this outrageous reproach from Israel. The people answered him in this manner saying social be done for the man who kills him no alien his older brother heard when he spoke to the men and Emilio's anger was aroused against David and he said why did you come down here and with whom of you left these few sheep in the wilderness. I know your pride in the instance of your heart, you have come down to see the bow. Isn't this a typical reaction when somebody questions the cowardice of the coward.
The anger of the coward is fueled, and he turns out that my brother, who do you think you are kid get out of here.
Gone back home and leave this thing to the man we know what were doing so the scene set up for the battle of the century before the battle of the millennium, if not the greatest single natural. We will look at in our next fear and uncertainty.
The men of Israel from defending their nation and their God. It took just one inconspicuous young man to take God at his word to turn the tide of the battle.
Stay with us here and Renewing Your Mind, Dr. Spruill returned with a final thought force in just a moment, God gifted David with incredible skill and wisdom, and through his lineage came the one who would display courage to an infinite degree.
The one who would conquer sin and death, studying David's life provides us with a perspective on the entire Bible. RC traces all of redemptive history in this 57 part series and we invite you to request with your gift of any amount to leader ministries. You can reach us email@example.com or if you prefer to call us. Our phone number is 800-435-4343 your leader ministries. We help growing Christians dig deeper into biblical studies, church history, theology and worldview studies. You'll find a rich source of articles, blog posts and audio and video resources on our free mobile app to search for Liggett here in your app store. Now, with more on the life of David.
Here's RC with a final thought force. I've noticed in my lifetime and by reading the lives of the saints, certainly of the biblical heroes that sometimes the greatest impediment to heroic and courageous behavior from the heroes of the faith comes from their best friends. Job's friends, Job's wife, don't do this, the disciples think the pieces don't go to Jerusalem you're going to get hurt. They love Jesus. Job's friends cared about you they didn't want to see these people get hurt.
But God had made a call upon and what they were looking for was not somebody to tell them don't do it. They wanted to hear their friends and their wives or whatever, say do it wherewith you do you stand with those who are willing to obey the call of God, will the showdown between David and Goliath proves that God is never thwarted.
It's an exciting story and you'll hear it next week. Here on Renewing Your Mind