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From Victory on to Victory (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
April 21, 2023 4:00 am

From Victory on to Victory (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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April 21, 2023 4:00 am

Goliath’s victory over Israel appeared certain. He was massive, fully armored, and equipped. The only willing opponent was David, a young shepherd with a slingshot and five stones—but he had a secret weapon! Hear more on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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In the middle between David and Goliath, the Philistine was the odds-on favorite. His victory over Israel appeared to be a sure thing.

He was a massive man, fully armored and equipped. The only opponent who had stepped forward was David, a young shepherd with a slingshot and five stones. But David had a secret weapon.

You'll find out about that today on Truth for Life. Alistair Begg is teaching a message he's titled From Victory Unto Victory. First Samuel 17 and verse 40. Then David took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd's pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine. And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David with his shield-bearer in front of him. And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. And the Philistine said to David, Am I a dog that you come to me with sticks? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. The Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field. Then David said to the Philistine, You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the hosts of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves, not with sword and spear.

For the battle is the LORD's, and he will give you into our hand. When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead.

The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David. Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. And the men of Israel and Judah rose with a shout and pursued the Philistines as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron, so that the wounded Philistines fell on the way from Shari'im, as far as Gath and Ekron.

And the people of Israel came back from chasing the Philistines, and they plundered their camp. And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his tent. As soon as Saul saw David go out against the Philistine, he said to Abner, the commander of the army, "'Abner, whose son is this youth?' And Abner said, "'As your soul lives, O king, I do not know.' And the king said, "'Inquire whose son the boy is.' And as soon as David returned from the striking down of the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. And Saul said to him, "'Whose son are you, young man?' And David answered, "'I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.'"

Amen. We have already noted that the army of Israel has been subjected to the defiant mockery of this giant, who essentially is Philistia. He is the embodiment of their opposition. His name is Goliath. He comes from Gath. He is the champion of his forces. And into that context has come the shepherd boy David, the son of Jesse, a Bethlehemite. His arrival has not been welcomed by his brothers.

His three elder brothers are serving in the army. They do not like the fact that he has shown up, and they are less than kind to him, on account of the fact that he is making an inquiry as to why it is that no one has taken up the challenge of the giant. Because the giant has said morning and evening, again and again, for weeks, "'Why don't you send out a man who will represent you, and a man that I can fight and finally defeat?'" And, of course, no one—not even Saul himself—was prepared to step forward. David has now reached the ear of Saul, and in the dialogue that ensues between himself and the king, the king is clearly concerned that although he has reason to acknowledge the bravery, if you like, of David, he sees him as a completely inadequate prospect—and largely on account of two issues. First of all, his lack of experience, and then, secondly, his lack of equipment.

You do not have the necessary requisite materials to go into armed conflict in this way—hand-to-hand conflict. And in his attempt to provide for David, who cannot be disavowed, he dresses him up in his armor, and it's really quite humorous to think of him. David says, I'm sorry, I'm not going to be able to wear this.

I've not had any practice wearing material like this. And so, in the end of verse 39, he took them off. Now, what he was able to convince Saul of was simply this—that his confidence lay in God, that his prior experience as a shepherd boy of dealing with those who came to annoy and destroy his flock had been quite simply to discover that the Lord delivered him and made it possible for him to execute, if you like, judgment on those who were ravaging the flock. He therefore is able to say to Saul, My approach is simply this. The Lord who delivered me from the lion and from the bear is the same Lord who is clearly capable of delivering me from this big giant if you will just let me go and represent you.

And verse 40 provides the picture very tranquil picture, a very low-key picture, isn't it? He takes his staff in his hand, chooses five smooth stones from the brook, puts them in his shepherd's pouch, and with the sling in his hand, off he goes to approach the Philistine. And so, the combat is about to begin. It is very much like any kind of battle between two individuals.

Those of you who have been brought up with boxing matches—I grew up in the era of Muhammad Ali—will have a very clear picture of what's involved when these two fighters come against one another. And so, I simply wrote down in my notes, in light of all of that, I wrote, And in the blue corner, weighing in at three hundred and ten pounds, not counting armor, we have Goliath of Gath. Because that's exactly it. Here is the proponent of his great philosophy. His shieldbearer, fascinatingly, walks in front of him. And he is singularly unimpressed when he looks at the opponent that has come.

When the Philistine looked and saw David—it's hard to determine just how much distance there is between them at this point, but we must assume that if they're both coming out from the ranks, that they start off at a fair distance, so that the giant would look over to the other side of the valley, and he would begin to get a picture of what was coming at him. And as it began to materialize, he cannot believe his eyes. He disdained him when he saw that he was just a youth.

He was ruddy and handsome in his appearance. Of course, we know that because we've met him already. He's actually insulted by his coming. That's the significance of verse 43. And the Philistine said to David, Am I a dog that you come to me with a stake? And what you actually have here is smack talk before there was smack talk.

This shows that talking trash goes back way, way beyond the NBA. And that is what we have here for us in just these few verses. First of all, in rather brief form, Goliath goes at it, and then David follows up, and we're going to see that David is able to hold his own. He curses David, you will notice. He curses David by his gods.

We ought to notice that. Because, unwittingly, I think, what Goliath does when he involves the gods in it is he is acknowledging that what is about to take place is far more significant than simply a conflict between himself and David—that it is actually far more significant than a conflict between the Philistine army and the army of Israel. Introducing his gods, whom we've already met—not a particularly impressive group—but introducing his gods, he introduces the fact that the battle is actually ultimately between the non-gods of the Philistines and the living God, the God of Israel. Now, when the prophets in a later day articulate these things, because it's the ongoing story, strikingly—and I'm just quoting briefly from Isaiah 46, where the prophet speaks of the idols that are represented in Babylon. The striking thing is this, that he talks about the way in which these idols cannot save, because they are things that you carry around. You carry these gods with you. In verse 7, you lift your gods to their shoulders to carry them. You set them in their place, and they stand there, but they can't move from their place. If you cry to it, it doesn't answer.

It can't save you in the trouble. And then, in the middle of all of that, here is the word of God to his people. Even to your old age I am he, and to grey hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear, I will carry, I will save.

That is the distinction. He curses him by the gods of the Philistines that have to be carried around. Remember chapter 5? Dagon has to be set up. He topples over. He has to be put back in place. His head eventually falls off, which is almost a prophetic word in relationship to what is about to happen to Goliath himself.

No. When I'm finished with you, he says, in verse 44, you will not even get a decent burial. That's the significance of the flesh being given to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.

That's not a novel thing. You will find through the Old Testament that the final sign of ignominy is not simply death, but it is death without a burial that is marked by the propriety that is due to the event—rather, just being thrown out and cast out to be eaten by the marauding hordes of dogs and birds. Now, that is what he is saying, and that is what he believes is about to happen.

Now, let me just pause and ask a question here. How did the army of Israel get itself into this position? After all, it is the army of Israel, isn't it? It is the army of the living God, not the army of the non-gods. You would think if it is the army of the living God that since they believe in the living God, they would actually be quite prepared to go down and take on this giant challenger. Well, the answer to that doesn't need to be conjectured, because the answer to it is quite clearly in chapter 12. And if you care to turn there, I can point it out to you, and then you can follow it up on your own. You remember in Samuel's farewell address, as he reminds the people that they had asked for a king—remember, a king that would make them like the other nations—he says in verse 13 of chapter 12, Here's your king, the one you have chosen, the one you asked for, when you … behold, the LORD has set a king over you.

Now, here are the terms that relate to this. Verse 14. If you will fear the LORD and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the LORD your God, it will be well. But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you and against your king. That is the reason for their predicament. God is true to his word. And so they find themselves marginalized, stymied before this giant, threatened by him, and actually deserving of the death that he threatens.

If you don't obey, you'll find yourself in this predicament. Well, guess what? So what chance is there for this group? The only possibility is that someone will stand in between them and the giant, that someone will fight on their behalf, that the Lord will provide for his own rebellious people a deliverer who will win not by might or by power but in the weakness of he who is the anointed, appointed, empowered king? Now, for those of you who were able to join the dots, we could almost finish the talk at this point. Because you say to yourself, Oh, you mean an anointed, appointed, empowered king like Jesus? Yes! Exactly.

But don't chase too far in advance. Because in the red corner, weighing in at a hundred and sixty-three pounds, soaking wet, David, the son of Jesse, the Bethlehemite. And it is immediately clear that David can hold his own when it comes to putting the wind up his opponent. Again, you remember how these boxing matches happen. Before they ever get into the ring, they have a television event where they stand with their noses against each other, and they just say horrible things. You can't hear it, apparently. They turn the microphones off so you can't hear. But they're just saying to each other, I'm going to tear you apart, and your head will come off and set you aside. Nobody can actually hear it, but you go, Wow!

Wow! And so, you'd better be up for that. You'd better be up for that. Well, David's up for it.

Oh, is he up for it! And David said to the Philistine, I see you've got all your stuff with you—big spear, big sword, big javelin. But guess what? I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of heaven's armies. The Goliath might have just said to himself, Oh, yeah, I know. Heaven's armies. Look at them up there.

They've been up there for over six weeks now, and not a peep from any one of them. The Lord of heaven's armies. Well, the problem's not the Lord. The problem's the army.

The problem is not that God is not all-powerful over all the events of our world. The problem is that the church is sitting up there waiting for somebody to do something. No, go ahead, you go. No, I think you should go.

No, I was gonna go, but I'm not gonna go. Oh, well, okay. And the world looks on and says, Look at these people.

That's the picture. I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the battle lines of Israel. It's him you have defied, you'll notice. You defied him. I'm not here in my own right.

I'm not here just because I like fighting. Essentially, what he's saying is, You were right to curse us by your gods. You were right to curse us by your gods, because this is actually much bigger than an event involving you and me. And today, Yahweh will deliver you, verse 46, into my hand. Now, this harps back to what he had told Saul, remember? The Lord has delivered, and the Lord will deliver. And on the basis of God's Word, and on the strength of his confidence in the faithfulness of God, David has appeared, and David is prepared to address him in this way. The Lord today, this day, will deliver you, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. Now, by this point, there ought to be at least a tiny shiver running up the spine, the gigantic spine of this fellow. Because the incongruity between what he sees and what he hears is fantastic, isn't it? You know, I don't know what kind of voice David had.

He might have had a squeaky voice a bit like mine—not a big, deep voice, you know. So it's like, The Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will cut off your head. It's like, Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. No. No, because what David knows is that the battle is the Lord's. The battle is the Lord's. And that this is going to happen not to make a name for David—although it does make a name for David—but this is going to happen, notice, in order that the whole earth will know that there is a God in Israel, and in order that the assembled crowd on both sides of the mountain will know that God saves not with a sword and a spear. Because in actual fact, the army is looking down on this, and they're saying to one another, Can you believe he just went out there with his staff and with that sling? How is he going to deal with this guy?

You cannot do this. And they have no way of knowing what the dialogue is between David and Goliath. Presumably, they couldn't hear. But they're going to discover that it is not by might that man will prevail, because the Lord will give strength to the king, and the Lord will exalt the power of his anointed.

Where does that come from? Hannah's prayer for Samuel 2. The Lord will give strength to his king, and he will exalt the power of his anointed. Hannah could never know all that was contained in that—first in the valley of Elah, but then in the valley of the shadow of death, eventually. I say again to you, presumably, the dialogue was unheard.

From a human standpoint, the outcome was pretty straightforward. Strength and might will prevail. It's been fun so far, but I don't know what we're going to do next. You're listening to Alistair Begg on Truth for Life, and we'll hear the conclusion of today's message on Monday. If you have been enjoying this study in 1 Samuel, think about this. We've got a USB that contains all of Alistair's teaching on both 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel.

It's just $5. There are more than a hundred sermons in this collection. It's simply titled, A Study in First and Second Samuel. Look for it on our mobile app or online at slash store, and shipping in the US is free. Now, if you're a regular listener to Truth for Life, you probably already know Truth for Life is entirely listener-funded. These programs come to you by way of many faithful listeners called Truth Partners, who are passionate about seeing others become followers of Jesus. So, if you're looking for a way to share the gospel with others, know that when you give to Truth for Life, that's what you're doing. You're helping to deliver Alistair's teaching to a worldwide audience. If you've been benefiting from this program for a while, become a Truth Partner today.

Sign up online at slash truth partner, or give us a call at 888-588-7884. And when you sign up, be sure to request a copy of the book Assurance, Resting in God's Salvation. The book is our way of saying thanks for your support. This is a one-month devotional. It takes a close look at the doubts about faith that even seasoned believers wrestle with at one time or another, like feeling that your sin is unforgivable, or that God doesn't answer your prayers, or that you don't feel his presence like you used to. Each daily reading guides you through key scripture passages that will help you put those concerns to rest. Request your copy of the book Assurance, Resting in God's Salvation when you join our team of Truth Partners, or when you give a one-time donation online at slash donate.

I'm Bob Lapine. Have a great weekend as you worship with your local church. The battle between David and Goliath is a thrilling story, but how does this tale give us hope today? That's our Focus Monday. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life where the Learning is for Living.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-21 04:57:13 / 2023-04-21 05:05:53 / 9

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