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David and the Dwarf (from Chas Swindoll's David, Man of Passion)

Describe, if you will the most famous battle in the history of the Israelites.

The OT describes the most famous battle fought was not between armies, but between two men. It took place in the Valley of Elah between David and Goliath.

1 Sam. 16:7

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees;[fn1] for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

What does this verse tell us when we are impressed with a persons credentials?

Look to the heart. Do not look upon the externals of a person, God looks upon the heart of an individual to determine their motives.

What would have happened if God had relied solely on Goliath’s appearance, instead of David’s heart.

If what God says to us ever applied, it applies in this story of David and Goliath.

Goliath had all the natural attributes to be victorious. He was hugely impressive and intimidating. But David had a unique ability. He was able to see as God sees.. Goliath did not impress him or intimidate him. David knew that regardless how powerful any individual could be .. God was more ..

The Battleground:

1 Sam. 17:1- 3 ..

NOW the Philistines gathered their armies together to battle, and were gathered at Sochoh, which belongs to Judah; they encamped between Sochoh and Azekah, in Ephes Dammim. And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and they encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array against the Philistines.

The Philistines stood on a mountain on one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side, with a valley between them.

Picture this valley .. The Valley of Elah was not a norrow ravine but a vast canyon. It is described as being about a mile wide, and as you approach the mouth of the canyon it opens up even wider. At the bottom of the canyon in a streambed was where David found his stones for his sling.

On one side there was a great slope of about ½ a mile or more in size.. On the other side was another slope of another ½ mile, stretching a full mile across. Camped on one slope was the army of Israel and on the other, the army of the Philistines.

The Philistine Champion:

1 Sam. 17:4

And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.

Since we do not measure things by cubits and spans, let’s break down this size to our lingo.. Goliath was somewhere near .. 9’ 9” tall. He was a very large man. If you then consider that when he would raise his arms over his head, he posed a very terrible adversary.

1 Sam. 17:5-7

He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. … And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders. … Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; and a shield-bearer went before him.

The Philistines dressed for battle wearing a coat of mail. It was a heavy undergarment, interlaced with overlapping ringlets of bronze. It went from shoulder to knee, covering and protecting against the enemies weapons. It weighed, in our terms, between 175 and 200 lbs. that was just the armor .. The coat of mail. But, look at what else Goliath had on .. A bronze helmet, bronze leggings to protect his shins, he carried a bronze Javelin or spear slung between his shoulders. The tip of the spear alone weighed six hundred shekels of iron, or about 25 pounds.

According to scripture, he had a shield carrier that went before him. This word refers to the largest shield used in battle, the size of a full grown man. It was designed to protect him against the arrows of the enemy. So, basically he had a man running interference for him as double protection.

I can imagine the frightening picture such an imposing sight would make. Anyone would be crazy to take on such a commanding figure of a warrior.

1 Sam. 17:8

Then he stood and cried out to the armies of Israel, and said to them, "Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. 1Sa 17:9

"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."

This suggestion by Goliath was a common tactic. Often the two armies would send out their best champions and battle each other. A one on one contest. The winner then would claim the spoils and the opposing army would become slaves to the victor.

This challenge lasted for forty days, every morning and evening he marched out and made this challenge. Flexing his muscles and his mouth, daring a challenger to take him on.

What about Giants you encounter? Is it a one time occurrence? How often do they come? How do they appear to you .. In the form of a person, or pressure, or worry. You know, when we try to battle our giants in our own strength, our giants become more persistent and intimidating… how do you defeat your Goliaths.

The Israelis Champion:

In the Judean mountains near Bethlehem, God was preparing a man to confront the Goliath of the Philistines.

David, in his teens now, was watching his father’s sheep as he always did. He was too young to fight in the army, and probably did not know what the fight was all about. All he knew was that his three brothers were off fighting with Saul’s army.

David’s father, now an old man, was concerned for the welfare of his sons on the battlefield, so he calls David to run an errand for him..

1 Sam. 17:17

Then Jesse said to his son David, "Take now for your brothers an ephah of this dried grain and these ten loaves, and run to your brothers at the camp. … "And carry these ten cheeses to the captain of their thousand, and see how your brothers fare, and bring back news of them."

He didn’t send David to Join up with the army, he just wanted assurance that his son’s were doing well.

Without any warning, Goliath was facing his last day on earth. That’s the way it is with us.. We do not know what God has for us each day. This could be our last day.. We need to be sure we are ready.

The day started just as every other day. Sun came up and Goliath began his bragging..

David left his sheep to do as his father had instructed him.

1 Sam. 17:20

So David rose early in the morning, left the sheep with a keeper, and took the things and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the camp as the army was going out to the fight and shouting for the battle.

What do you think was going through David’s mind as he broke the crest of the hill, and saw spread out before him.. Two armies, armed and ready to go at each other? The most excitement he has seen at this time is fighting off bears and lions.. Now he is at the edge of the camp with troopers reading themselves for battle and hears their war cry. Do you think David was excited? Any kid would be.. Now ..

1 Sam 17:22

And David left his supplies in the hand of the supply keeper, ran to the army, and came and greeted his brothers. … Then as he talked with them, there was the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, coming up from the armies of the Philistines; and he spoke according to the same words. So David heard them.

Here is David, conversing with his brothers, telling them why he is there. All of a sudden .. Everyone begins a hasty retreat .. (vs. 24)

And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were dreadfully afraid.

Couple of things to keep in mind:

1. David has never seen this Giant or heard his challenge.

2. David knows that no one talks about the God of Israel.

David is , as mad as a slapped hornet . Even though this diatribe has been going on for 40 days.. this is the first time it’s happened to David.

Have you ever faced a Goliath, and then days later looked back and wished you had done it another way? That’s hindsight.. And when you look back you always no a better way.. But too often our first reaction is from the hip.. Not David. David saw the present with hindsight .. He wasn’t impressed or intimidated.

1 Sam. 17:26

Then David spoke to the men 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?" … And the people answered him in this manner, saying, "So shall it be done for the man who kills him."

Saul had devised a plan that hopefully would work against this giant.

He promised the man that killed Goliath great riches, his daughter’s hand in marriage, and he promised to exempt his father’s house from paying taxes.

Sound good? Question .. Why didn’t Saul go out and fight the Philistine?

He was the leader of Israel, he stood head and shoulders above everybody else. Why didn’t he go ..? HE WAS A COWARD! .. AND THE REWARDS HE WAS OFFERING WASN’T SO GREAT EITHER .. His daughter was no catch .. Yes, the tax incentives would be okay, but it wasn’t enough for anyone to volunteer to risk their lives against the Philistine giant.

It is interesting to note here .. Before David arrived, the Philistine would go down into the valley and make his challenge to the Israelites.. Now, the day David arrives, he is coming up Israelis side of the mountain. the Philistine has begun to climb the mountain.

Listen .. If you tolerate your Goliath, he’ll take over your territory. He’ll take what should rightfully belong to God and put them on himself. .. Do not tolerate any giants in your life.

Have you ever faced a big brother syndrome? A lot of Christians are affected by this syndrome when they take a stand for Christ. Most of it comes from our own families.

1 Sam. 17:28

Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab's anger was aroused against David, and he said, "Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle."

Do you remember who Eliab is..

At first glance .. Samuel thought that he was to be anointed king.. That’s when God said to Samuel .. Not him! Eliab was present when David was anointed by Samuel, and since the oldest is usually chosen over the younger, it was hard for Eliab to handle. It is evident here.. He say’s to David, “why did you really come down here?” he attacks David’s motives.. Then he tries to humiliate him .. “David.. Where did you leave your sheep..” , then to really be ugly he says ..”I know the wickedness and insolence of your heart!” “you just wanted to watch the battle.” we could infer a lot about this statement from Eliab, but it is neat to see that David simply ignores him. “hey, I just ask a question .. Now let’s deal with the giant..”

How do you choose your battles. Do you know who fight and who to leave alone? The scene changes now from Eliab and David .. To Saul and David.

1Sa 17:29

And David said, "What have I done now? Is there not a cause?" .. Then he turned from him toward another and said the same thing; and these people answered him as the first ones did. … Now when the words which David spoke were heard, they reported them to Saul; and he sent for him. … Then David said to Saul, "Let no man's heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine." … And Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth."

Remember the theme.. Man is impressed with the externals.. He doesn’t see the heart. We know how God judges.. Saul still had not learned this .. “You’re just a kid ..look at that giant.”

Saul is a coward .. David on the other hand says “what Giant? ..” I only know one giant.. God. That one over there is a dwarf.” Remember .. Man is impressed with the externals.. He doesn’t see the heart as God does. David goes on and describes to Saul how God delivered him in times of facing giants in his life.

(vs. 37)

This statement let Saul off the hook .. He would not have to face the giant at this time.


Saul tried to outfit David with the latest armor. After loading him down with all the cumbersome equipment .. David says .. “ I can’t fight with all this stiff.. So David dropped the sword and slid out of the armor. What works well for some, does not always work the same for others.

So David then, armed with his own simple garments, shepherds tools, a sling and a staff, approaches that crucial moment ..

1Sa 17:40

Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine.

Listen: .. God magnifies HIS name when we are weak. This is a beautiful example of God’s grace. You do not need to be strong, or eloquent, or handsome, beautiful or brilliant. God honors our faith.. All He asks is that we trust Him. Stand before Him in integrity and faith and He’ll win the battle.

David had all the odds against him. there wasn’t one person who would wager that David would be victorious.. Not even his own brothers. But David needed no one but God..

How do you think the Giant reacted when he saw this teenager approaching him armed with a staff and a sling. What a joke!

1 Sam 17:41

So the Philistine came, and began drawing near to David, and the man who bore the shield went before him. 1Sa 17:42

And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him; for he was only a youth, ruddy and good-looking. 1Sa 17:43

So the Philistine said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 1Sa 17:44

And the Philistine said to David, "Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!" 1Sa 17:45

Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, 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. 1Sa 17:46

"This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.


What happens to you when you face your giants?


What does God think about when we loose our perspective on Him?

David’s eyes were not on the giant. His eyes were fixed on God. Don’t try to fight your battles alone.. You cannot do it your way.. Look at David’s focus ..

1 Sam 17:47

"Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD's, and He will give you into our hands."

David lived by a simple principle ..nothing to prove, nothing to lose. He didn’t try to impress people. He didn’t try to impress God. He just went head to head with his giant.

1 Sam 17:49-50

Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. … So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David.

One stone against two hundred pounds of armor. One stone flew threw the air and hit its mark. “next”..

Before Goliath ever finished falling, the Philistines were making a hasty retreat.

David used the Philistine’s own sword to cut off his head. He takes the head to Jerusalem, but the armor he kept as a reminder of what God had done.

Do you think David kept these reminders all his life ; spear, sword, lions skull and bear’s paw.

This battle proved who was the Giant and who was the dwarf.


1. Facing Giants is an intimidating experience. Remember, whatever challenges or giants you face .. God is greater.

2. Doing battle is a lonely experience. No one else can fight for you. Your Goliath is your Goliath. Its on the battlefield, alone, that you learn to trust God.

3. Trusting God is a stabilizing experience. David’s stone hit the mark the first time. If you tackle your giants in the flesh.. You cannot get it done. You’ll lose. But on your knees.. You can be assured of stability.

4. Winning victories is a memorable experience. Remember the victories of your past. Pass on your lion, bear and Goliath stories..

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