Five Stones in the Hands of a Boy

Text: I Corinthians 1:26-29


I.         The armies of the Philistines and the Israelites faced each other across a valley - I Samuel 17:1-3

            A.        With both armies camped on mountains, it became a standoff. Whoever attacked the other would be at a disadvantage.

            B.        Thus, the Philistines sent out their champion issue a challenge and break the stalemate - I Samuel 17:4-10

II.        The story now turns to a shepherd boy named David - I Samuel 17:12-16

            A.        You had to be 20 years old to fight in Israel’s army.

                        1.         David had three older brothers in the army

                        2.         Since David is the eighth son of Jesse, that would mean he less that 15 years old at this time.

                        3.         He is called a youth, a Hebrew word meaning anyone from a child to an adolescent

            B.        David spent his time taking care of his father’s flocks and taking things to his brothers at the Israelite camp

            C.        Goliath’s challenge had been left unaccepted for 40 days when Jesse decided to send David once again with food and to find out how things were going with his sons - I Samuel 17:17-19

            D.        He arrives as the armies go out to face each other once again - I Samuel 17:20-22

                        1.         I’m sure it was exciting to get to see his brothers all decked out and ready to fight

                        2.         The shouts, the noise, would be impressive

III.       David hears Goliath’s challenge - I Samuel 17:23

            A.        Imagine the disappointment that fills David to see the men of Israel trembling at Goliath’s challenge - I Samuel 17:24-25

                        1.         Notice that Saul has offered incentives to get someone to volunteer: wealth, marrying a princess, and his family would gain a tax-free status

                        2.         And still no one wanted to volunteer

            B.        David begins questioning the soldiers around him - I Samuel 17:26-27

                        1.         He verifies the incentives

                        2.         He asks how can a uncircumcised Philistine get away with taunting an army of God’s people.

            C.        His questions, while accurate and pointed, embarrasses his eldest brother - I Samuel 17:28-30

                        1.         Eliab accuses David of sneaking away from the family’s flock just to see a battle. He calls him lazy and wicked.

                        2.         But David replies, “It is just a question!”

                                    a.         But it wasn’t just a question.

                                    b.         His questions pointed out that there was no reason Goliath’s challenge should be unanswered

                                    c.         Eliab found David’s questions embarrassing because he would not consider meeting Goliath in one-on-one combat

                                    d.         It is easier to dismiss the one who makes you uncomfortable by categorizing him as someone who doesn’t need to be listened to

                        3.         But notice also that David ignores his brother and continues to ask his questions

                                    a.         David is trying to motivate someone to take on Goliath, not because he wants to see a fight, but because God should not be defied.

IV.      Saul hears about David’s questions - I Samuel 17:31

            A.        David asks the king for permission to fight Goliath himself - I Samuel 17:32-37

                        1.         David can’t find a man in the army, so he decides he will do it

                        2.         Saul tries to talk him out of it but David argues that he has the skill and that God would be with him

                        3.         I’m not sure why Saul consents to allow a boy to fight Goliath, but I suspect it was David’s confidence in God’s help that swayed him

            B.        Saul gives David his own equipment to use - I Samuel 17:38-39

                        1.         But the lad is not used to the weight of the armor nor has he had practice with the weapons

            C.        Instead, David takes his shepherd’s staff and gather’s up five stones from a brook - I Samuel 17:40

                        1.         Why five stones?

                                    a.         It wasn’t because David lacked faith in God’s help

                                    b.         But he is going into battle and God didn’t tell him he would win, let along on the first strike

                                    c.         David isn’t going to put God to the test

                                    d.         But David is prepared for whatever is required of him

                        2.         Also I Chronicles 20:4-8 tells us that Goliath had relatives

                                    a.         Three are listed. Hmm, one for each and one for Goliath’s armorbearer, perhaps?

                                    b.         After all, David is dealing with Philistines and he likely doesn’t trust them to fight fair or keep their word

V.        Goliath is insulted - I Samuel 17:41-44

            A.        Here we learn that Goliath is not an honorable man

                        1.         A mere boy comes out on the field to face him with no weapons of war and no armor

                        2.         An honorable man would have refused to attack a boy

            B.        This confrontation wasn’t about personal hatred, but about God - I Samuel 17:45-47

                        1.         David later wrote - Psalms 139:19-22

                        2.         Thus, David’s encounter with Goliath was about justice being served

VI.      As Goliath moved forward, David ran to meet him - I Samuel 17:48-51

            A.        David’s courage and faith was on display

            B.        Where was God? Did God guide the stone? Did He give it greater power? Or was it something else?

                        1.         That is the think about providence. You know God was working, but you don’t know how.

                        2.         How do we know God was involved?

                                    a.         A boy with a staff and sling doesn’t take out a trained warrior

                                    b.         God used the small things, the weak things to take down the mighty - I Corinthians 1:26-29

VII.     What does it take to slay a giant?

            A.        We all face giants. Tasks that look so daunting that we doubt we will succeed.

            B.        It requires

                        1.         Confidence in what you know you can do

                        2.         Faith in God’s aid and protection

                        3.         Preparing for possibilities

                        4.         The courage to attack the problem despite our own fears or the fears of other people

            C.        There is the giant of sin that needs to be attacked

                        1.         It can be slain, not because of our strength but because God is there to aid us - James 4:7-10

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