- A Bold Heart
- 1 Samuel 17:1-50
- Lyndol Loyd March 8, 2020
Goliath would have been a first-round, high draft pick in the NBA. He stood over nine feet tall. He was commonly referred to as “the champion of the Philistines.” His armor, which covered him like a human tank, weighed about 200 pounds. The head of his spear weighed 25 pounds. Imagine that flying at you.
This war machine of a man stood in front of God’s people and made an offer. He invited any one man to walk out of the ranks of Israel’s army and fight him, one-on-one. The bet was simple, winner takes all. Goliath made this offer for forty straight days. In response to his daily challenge, Goliath found no takers, until day forty-one.
On the forty-first day of Goliath’s taunt, a young boy with a heart as big as the Jordan River stepped out and accepted the offer- a fight, to the death, against a giant. David exhibited a heart of boldness that stands as an example thousands of years later.
Each one of us wants to live with a bold heart. We want to exhibit the kind of courage David did when he faced Goliath. But if we look carefully at David’s story and life, we discover it takes time to grow a bold heart. David’s boldness quotient was being built a long time before he met Goliath.
There is a very real illusion today that when we face a moment of crisis, a “Goliath Moment,” we can respond with a bold heart just out of the blue. But it doesn’t happen that way. The truth is, if you wait until you’re facing a giant to become a bold person, you probably won’t do too well.
A bold heart needs to grow a little stronger every day. This was true for David, and it is true for each one of us. If we want to live with a bold heart, the time to begin exercising the trait of boldness is today. Some of you can attest to this because you know what it is to face a “Goliath Moment.”
The story of David and Goliath is not a story about David’s raw courage, his skill with a sling, or his willingness to take a risk. This is a story about God. Likewise, the story of your life is not a story about courage, skill, or willingness to take a risk. It is, if you will let it be, a story about God and the power He wants to unleash in your life as you face daily battles.
Ordinary daily challenges provide an opportunity to develop a bold heart. The countless days and nights that David tended sheep became a laboratory for growing boldness. Sometimes we picture the life of a shepherd as only quiet hours watching the sheep graze. However, we must understand there was also a constant danger of wild animals pouncing on wayward sheep.
Lions, bears, and other predators were always hunting for their next lunch. A shepherd had to be bold and ready to fight for the flock at all times. On many occasions, in the daily grind of David’s work as a shepherd, he faced opportunities to protect his flock.
In the same way, we grow a bold heart by standing strong in the countless moments of life that can pass almost unnoticed:
- Each time a parent loves a child enough to confront a negative attitude or behavior, boldness is growing.
- When a spouse scrutinizes their own words and admits they have been harsh or insensitive, their courage quotient increases.
- As a business person rejects an offer that is at all shady or questionable, they are fighting a battle that prepares them for a bigger victory in the future.
- When a man or woman overhears a juicy morsel of gossip and refuses to pass it on to anyone else, boldness is being fortified.
It is the little decisions in daily life that prepare us for the “Goliath Moments.”
1 Samuel 17:32-37 says,
32 “Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!”
33 “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.”
34 But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, 35 I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. 36 I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! 37 The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” Saul finally consented. “All right, go ahead,” he said. “And may the Lord be with you!”
Imagine that you are David in a field watching sheep – they’re not even yours; they’re your Dad’s sheep – and a bear comes along. You have no gun. This isn’t West Texas in 2020. You have a big stick. That’s what David would have had. What would you do? David could have run. The only one to see him would have been the sheep, and they aren’t talking.
Nobody would have known if David ran away except David, and God. What is amazing is that this young boy stayed and fought. In his day by day faithfulness in a thankless job, courage and boldness were born in his heart.
David doesn’t say, “I learned that I could defeat the lions and bears.” He doesn’t say, “I learned my own sufficiency.” He says, “I learned that God who delivered me from lions and bears, can deliver me from anything.”
You can hear “God is faithful” a thousand times, and a lot of people have. You can read “God is faithful” in a hundred books, and a lot of people have. But you will only come to believe it down in the marrow of your bones when you test it out in real life.
When facing the ordinary challenges of life– like David– we have an opportunity to stand boldly or run away. It was in the ordinary moments when nobody was watching, in an unglamorous job as a shepherd, that David, day after day, built a very bold heart.
When the time came, he was ready to face the big challenges with the same boldness he had exhibited hundreds of times before in the daily stuff of life. This is the lesson we need to take with us to the office, into the classroom, at home with the kids, and anywhere else that we might go.
1 Samuel 17:28-32, 41-44:
28 But when David’s oldest brother, Eliab, heard David talking to the men, he was angry. “What are you doing around here anyway?” he demanded. “What about those few sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of? I know about your pride and deceit. You just want to see the battle!”
29 “What have I done now?” David replied. “I was only asking a question!” 30 He walked over to some others and asked them the same thing and received the same answer. 31 Then David’s question was reported to King Saul, and the king sent for him.
32 “Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!”
41 Goliath walked out toward David with his shield bearer ahead of him, 42 sneering in contempt at this ruddy-faced boy. 43 “Am I a dog,” he roared at David, “that you come at me with a stick?” And he cursed David by the names of his gods. 44 “Come over here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!” Goliath yelled.
David was handed grenades of criticism, lobbed at him from his big brother and from Goliath. It is strange to think that people on both sides of the battlefield, Philistine and Israelite, were taking shots at David.
This is to be expected from your enemy, but can be shocking and painful when it comes from your side of the battle lines, and even from within your own family.
David doesn’t get a lot of affirmation along the way, and there will be times you won’t either. When you get serious about trusting God and facing your Goliath, there’s a chance some people will feel threatened by your boldness. They might even want to hold you back, especially if they are unwilling to face their own Goliath.
All of Eliab’s criticisms of David are cheap shots, not honest critiques or helpful observations, but mean-spirited, unfair attacks. David was sent by his father. He didn’t come on his own, and he was just being obedient. The sheep were being cared for by somebody else. But Eliab jabs him for coming.
David’s response is amazing. He does not let his big brother’s words discourage him. He knows there is nothing to Eliab’s charges. He presses on. Later, when Goliath begins launching taunts, David again presses on. He even throws a few words back at the giant.
Too often, we let the words and insecurity of others keep us from boldly following God’s plan for our lives. We can learn a great deal from David. At the same time, if we are mature, we will listen to the heartfelt and caring critiques. We can learn from others.
We will all face some opposition and criticism when we try to do what’s right and honorable before God. Sometimes it might even come from a brother or sister, a close friend, or someone else we know and respect.
When this happens, we can give up and lose heart; we can get defensive and fight back; or we can say, “This is what I think God is calling me to do, as best as I can discern.” Along the way, our boldness grows.
1 Samuel 17:38-40:
38 Then Saul gave David his own armor—a bronze helmet and a coat of mail. 39 David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before.
“I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off again. 40 He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and 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.
David grew bolder as he faced and resisted the pressure to conform. This is something all of us will deal with in our daily lives. King Saul invited David to wear his armor and go into battle the way Saul would have done so. It would have been easy for David to say, “Saul knows more than me when it comes to war. He has been at this longer. I’ll do it his way.” But David knew something very important. He knew himself, he knew his enemy, and he knew God. David knew that when he went to face Goliath, he would stand alone. Saul was not going to be there, his brothers weren’t going to be there, and even his dad couldn’t help him. He had to go as one person and one person only, himself.
Saul puts all of his best stuff, his championship armor, on David, and David can’t even walk. One writer put it this way, “Saul is a 52 long and David is a 36 short.” So David has to do a very bold thing.
Remember, Saul is the king, and David is a subject. Saul is an impressive man, head and shoulders above everybody else in Israel, and David is a kid. Saul is a warrior, and David is a shepherd boy who has never been in battle dressed like Saul.
Although we may have wonderful fellowship and community when we go to face a “Goliath Moment”, in a very real sense, we always stand alone. Just as Saul tried to turn David into a miniature version of himself, people will suggest that we face our battles the way they would.
There is only one problem: it is not their battle; it is ours. At the end of the day, we must choose how we will go to battle. We must face our Goliath as God has made us, as the person he has created us to be. Each time we do, we grow a little bit bolder.
The pinnacle of the story of David and Goliath comes in vs. 45, “David replied to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.’”
When the biggest battle of all erupted right in front of David, he was ready because he had seen God’s faithfulness over and over again.
Goliath never counted on what he faced that day.
Goliath had been through a lot of battles. He had been a fighting man since his youth. Imagine Goliath’s shock! Here is a skinny kid with no armor, no military experience, no sword, no javelin, no spear, nothing. David came with weapons Goliath had never seen in battle. He came only with the God of Israel on his side, a bold heart beating in his chest, a sling, and stones. David hurled a single rock, and it was over. Goliath never expected things to end this way.
46 Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! 47 And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!”
48 As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him. 49 Reaching into his shepherd’s bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground.
50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with only a sling and a stone, for he had no sword.
David prepared for his “Goliath Moment” as he learned boldness in the ordinary experiences of daily life as a shepherd. His heart grew bolder as he pressed past criticism and opposition. Then he grew even stronger as he learned to be himself and not bow to the pressure to conform to what others thought he should be. Now he was ready to face a major challenge because the furnace of countless little choices had forged a heart that was ready for this moment.