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1 Samuel 17:32-40


Intro:  Whenever I read this great passage, I am reminded of Israel’s trouble with giants in Numbers 13-14.  After two years in the wilderness, Israel had arrived at the banks of the Jordan River.  God had promised them the land on the other side of Jordan, but they stopped to send in spies to examine the land.  When those spies returned, they reported that the land was a good land, but that it was a land inhabited by many great giants, Num 13:27-28.  In fact, ten of the spies were absolutely terrified of the giants they had seen there, Num. 13:33.  Caleb and Joshua, who had seen the same giants, tried their best to get the people to trust in the Lord, enter Canaan and claim the land, but the people listen to the majority report and refused to battle their giants.  As a result, they were all condemned to 38 more years of wilderness wandering.  They were to wander until that faithless generation had died out.

      38 years later, they arrive back at the Jordan River.  Moses speaks to them to prepare them to enter Canaan.  As he does, he lets them know that they are about to face some giants on the other side of Jordan, Deut. 9:1-2.  What’s the point? Israel fled from those giants 38 years before, when their children came back 38 years later, the giants were still there and they had to be faced.

      I am speaking to a group of people this evening who are facing some giants.  How do I know?  We all face giants.  I even have a few of my own! The bottom line is this: you may not want to face your giants.  You may want to run from them in fear.  You may want to avoid them and hope that they will just go away.  You need to know that your giants will not just go away.  They must be faced and they can be defeated.

      This passage presents David as a young man.  He is a young man filled with faith in the Lord.  David is a young man who was not afraid to go to battle with the giants of life and claim victory in the name of the Lord.  David was a giant killer and you need to know that you can be too!

      That giant you are facing this evening, regardless of its nature, can be destroyed and it can be defeated.  This text gives us precious insight into how that can be accomplished.  Let me share with you three simple steps that are absolutely necessary, as I preach for a while on How To Be A Giant Killer. 


(Ill. A little background related to this text might be in order.  David’s father Jesse had sent David to bring some supplies to three of David’s brothers who were fighting in Saul’s army, vs. 12-13, 17-18.  When David arrives at the battlefield, he finds Saul and the armies of Israel cowering in fear because of the taunts and threats of a giant named Goliath, vs. 1-11. 

      It seems that Israel and the Philistines were carrying out an ages old ritual.  Each army would produce a champion; these champions would fight to the death and the side which won that battle would claim victory over the enemy.  The loser of that battle would become the servants of the victor.

      Of course, the champion chosen by the Philistines was no ordinary soldier!  In fact, his stats are quite impressive.  He was some 9’ 9” tall!  He wore armor that weighted in at 175 pounds.  He carried a spear that weighed over 32 pounds.  This monster was covered in brass, from head to toe.  He was a formidable opponent, and his defeat seemed in question!

      For 40 mornings and evenings, this giant had taunted the armies of Israel and had been challenging them to send out a man to do battle with him.  For 40 mornings and evenings the Israelites had heard the challenges and had retreated to their tents in fear.

      However, this day would be different!  Goliath and his challenges were seen and heard by a young man named David.  David’s faith and confidence in the Lord rises to the challenges and he offers to go out and fight this giant.)

A.  When David spoke of killing the giant, his motives were questioned.  Some people may have thought that David was motivated by the financial rewards offered to the man who killed Goliath, vs. 25-27, 30. His brother Eliab, speaking out of jealousy, tried to accuse David of promoting himself, vs. 28.  Eliab, and David’s other brothers, knew that David had been anointed by Samuel.  They may have thought that he was trying to advance his name in Israel.

B.  What were David’s motives? Perhaps David saw the offer of Saul, vs. 25, as a stepping stone to the throne of Israel.  Little did he know that many miles and many trials lay between him and his being king in Israel.

            As I read this text, I am convinced that David’s heart was motivated by two things only.  I do not think it was the money, the fame or the power.  I think he was motivated by:

      1.  The glory of God – vs. 26, 29, 36 – Goliath was mocking the God of Israel and David could not stand the thoughts of that happening! 

      2.  By his role as the newly anointed king – 1 Sam. 16:1-12 – Just as David had protected his sheep from the attacks of the lion and bear, vs. 34-36, he would protect his Israel from the attack of Goliath. 

C.  When you see the giants you are facing in your own life, ask yourself this question: Why do I want this giant defeated?  What is my motive for wanting this giant dead?  An easier life?  Bragging rights? Power in the eyes of others? So that I will feel better?  What?  I would submit to you that there are only two proper motives for wanting to see your giants defeated:

      1.  A Desire For God’s glory – 1 Cor. 10:31 – This should be the ultimate motivator for all of life!  Everything we do should be passed through the filter of God’s glory!

      2.  A Desire For God’s plan to be fulfilled in your life – Rom. 8:28; 2 Cor. 4:17 – It is part of God’s plan for you to face your giant, or that giant would not be there.  It may be part of God’s plan for you to defeat your giant.  It may also be God’s plan for you that you live with your giant.  Are you willing to accept His plan, regardless of what it is?

D.  I would submit to you this evening that one of the primary reasons God used David to defeat Goliath was because David had the right motives for wanting that giant dead!  And friend, one of the reasons you and I do not see our giants fall like we want them to is because we are often praying and operating from wrong motives, James 4:1-3. 


A.  When David’s plan to kill the giant reached the ears of King Saul, he joined the chorus of naysayers, telling David that he could not do the job, vs. 33. (Ill. What a group of cheerleaders!)  Then, hearing that David was determined in this matter, Saul tried to suit David up in his own armor, vs. 38.  David, however, rejected Saul’s armor because it had not been proven in his life.

      David was determined that he would go into battle with the things that had always worked o him in the past. David knew that the God Who had always come through in the past, was the God Who would still come through in the present, vs. 34-36.

B.  David did not know a thing about shields, spears and swords.  He wasn’t schooled in armies, armor and archery.  Yet, David knew God!  He knew that God had always given him the victory in the past, and he knew that God does not change, Heb. 13:8.

            David knew that God was greater than any giant.  He also knew that God had a plan for his life and that plan did not include him dying at the hand of Goliath.  So, when David went out to fight, he only took those things that had worked for him in the past: he took his staff, his sling, five smooth stones, and Sovereign God, vs. 40. 

      (Note: Why did David take five stones, when he only needed one?  Here are some theories that have been offered.

      1.  Five in the Bible is the number of grace and David needed grace to defeat Goliath.  Well, he did need grace, but I doubt David knew anything about Bible numerology!

      2.  Goliath had four sons, 2 Sam. 21:19-22, and David wanted to be ready just in case they showed up.  Well, the giant did have four sons, but David didn’t know that at the time.

      3.  The most likely reason is that David wanted to be sure he could finish the job.  He knew he might miss.  He also knew that the giant might not fall on the first shot.  So, he wanted to be sure he was ready to complete the assignment.  By the way, your giants and mine don’t always go down on the first swing!  But, if you will go into battle fully equipped in the power of God, and you keep swinging, that giant will eventually fall at your feet!) 

C.  Folks, you can try any method you please to defeat the giants in your life.  You can attend the latest seminars.  You can read the newest books.  You can climb on the latest bandwagon.  You can pray the prayer of Jabez.  You can strive for a purpose driven life.  But, when it is all said and done, giant killing gets real simple.  It all comes down to this one simple, basic truth: The just shall live by faith, Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38.

D.  If you want to see the giants in your life lying dead at your feet, then know these facts:

      1.  God is greater than your giants – Matt. 28:18; Eph. 3:20.

      2.  The God Who worked then will still work now – Mal. 3:6.

      3.  You don’t need new methods to defeat your giants.  Tried and proven weapons like prayer, faith and the Word of God will still get the job done today, Eph. 6:12-18.

            a.  Communicate with headquarters about your giant.  Prayer is the believer’s greatest secret weapon.  (Ill. Communications have always been an issue on battlefields, that problem has been solved on the spiritual battlefield.  The saints of God can be in constant contact with the throne of grace.)

            b.  Assault your giant with the Word of God – Heb. 4:12.  This was the Savior’s method – Matt. 4:1-11

            c.  Attack your giant in faith, knowing that God always gives the victory, 1 Cor. 15:57.  He will either give you the victory over what you face, or He will give you victory in what you face, 2 Cor. 12:9.

      4.  God did not save you to let you fall at the hand of your giantPhil. 1:6.  God is not interested in your defeat.  He is interested in your victory!

      5.  Giants are placed in our lives to grow us in the LordNum. 14:9.  They are the original “breakfast of champions”.  (Ill. "Giants are the bumps we climb on." - Warren Weirsbe.)


A.  David walked down into that valley directly into an impossible situation.  He was doubted by some, vs. 28, 33.  He was ridiculed by the giant, vs. 42-44.  Yet, his faith allowed David to accomplish everything that fear denied Saul and the others! 

      (Note: Notice the contrast between the speeches of Goliath and David, vs. 43-47.  David declared the victory and the glory of God before the battle was even fought!  That is the essence of faith!  It will allow you to give your victory speech before you even fight the battle!) 

B.  Ill. The context.  David engaged the giant in battle and won the victory over him!  Faith took up the challenge that day.  Faith stayed with God and with what had always worked.  Faith walked down into that valley; faith faced that giant; faith hurled that stone; faith saw that giant fall to the ground and faith received that victory!  Never underestimate that power of faith in your battles! 

      (Note: Did you know that Goliath did not die in verse 49?  He didn’t die in verse 51 either!  Goliath died in verse 26.  David dug his grave in verse 29.  He gave the eulogy in verse 36.  David had the graveside rites and had filled in the grave by verses 45-47.  All David had to do in verses 49 and 51 was to walk by the grave, lay some flowers on the headstone and say “I told you so!”) 

C.  Friend, you may not see your giants fall the instant you exercise faith in God.  Don’t let that cause you to lose hope!  You see, you cannot always believe what the eyes of flesh see!  But, you can always believe what the eyes of faith see.  It may look like you are outgunned, outnumbered and in an impossible situation.  It looked that way for David.  It looked that way for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  It looked that way for Daniel.  It looked that way for the Disciples in that ship.  It looked that was for Jesus on that cross.  I would just like to remind you that we serve a God Who specializes in doing the impossible, Luke 1:37!  If you will bring that hopeless, impossible situation to Him and then go and face it in faith, you will see Him snatch victory from the jaws of defeat! 

      (Note: Look carefully at verse 51.  I am going to ask you a question right now.  It is a question so simple and so easy that I am almost ashamed to ask it.  But here goes: In verse 51, is the giant still there?  Of course he is!  Only now, he is 10 feet long and not 10 feet tall!  You can get over a giant like that!  You see, faith will take that which is over your head and will put it under your feet!) 

Conc:  What kind of giant are you looking at this evening?  Do you fear that it can’t be defeated?  Well, it can!  Whether it is the giant of sin, or of some difficulty in life, it can be defeated by the power of God.  I challenge you to bring that giant to the feet of Jesus tonight; examine your motives for wanting it defeated; embrace God’s method for defeating that giant; and go face it in faith!  He will give the victory.

      I want you to notice with me that David had kept a mental trophy from his past victories in the Lord, vs. 34-36.  When he defeated Goliath, he accessed those mental trophies and used them as a reminder that what God had done for him in past confrontations, God could do in the present situation.  After he defeated Goliath, he took even more trophies to remind him in the future that God is a God Who gives victories, vs. 54.  Every morning when David woke up, he could see Goliath’s armor and it was a reminder that no matter what he faced that day, God was greater, and was able to give David the victory!

      Tonight, as you face you giants, look back over your life.  Remember those times when God moved mountains?  Remember when He did the impossible back then?  Friend, He can still do it right now.  Get that giant to Him and in His time, He will give you the miracle you need!

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