When I attended the government high school in ninth grade, I was the smallest kid in the class. And there were several bullies that delighted in picking on me and even beating me up after school. Of course, they never came alone. They always had their friends tagging along so that if I fought back, they would descend on me like a pack of hyenas. So my strategy was to find a different route home every afternoon and hope that I would either miss them altogether or that I could outrun them if they saw me. I was a lousy runner, so I did everything that I could to avoid them.
But one of the things that I found fascinating was that at least two of these bullies were cowards when a bigger bully was around. And even with that bigger bully, there was always somebody bigger than him. For example, I remember walking with my dad and seeing one of these bullies, and I could tell that he wanted to avoid me like the plague. If you are always depending on your own strength and abilities, there is always somebody or something that has the potential of doing you in or being stronger than you.
The other thing that I found interesting was that these two bullies were cowards when they were by themselves and it was just the bully and me. I was willing to fight back if it was a fair fight. But otherwise they were invincible, or so I thought.
I made friends with a guy who was about my size, and one of the bullies started smacking him around and tormenting him. And my little friend told him to quit it several times, and finally got mad, grabbed the bully (who was twice his size and body weight) – grabbed him by the hand and quick as a flash turned himself round and round four times so that the bully's arm was broken and twisted completely out of shape. And the bully was crying on the ground with the snot pouring out of his nose. And I just stood there astonished that this little David had taken on a Goliath and had won in an instant. In my mind victory was impossible, but the victory had just happened. In my spirit I had given up resisting tyranny, so I was shocked when this kid had told me previously that he wasn't giving into the bullies. I was beginning to wonder if the only way to survive was to join the bullies, but thankfully my Christian principles would not let me go that far.
There are bullies in every age. We have bullies like the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State who are sicking the IRS on churches and harassing churches, until churches give in and refuse to preach on anything controversial. We have bullies who have taken over the arts, the media, the news, sciences, the government, and made it look like a reversal is impossible. And many Christians are buying that. They are saying, "There is no point in resistance. Victory is impossible." It's the viewpoint of the Scottish nobles in the movie, Braveheart. They are willing to compromise just to get along and to get respect. And there are very few Bravehearts today with vision.
Instead, Christians have befriended the local bullies to get respect. For example, why do most pastors in Omaha avoid preaching on certain subjects like the plague? I can't speak for all of them, but several of those whom I have challenged have said that they don't want to get in trouble with the state. It's the bully syndrome. The bullies of evolution have been so intimidating that most Christians have reinterpreted Genesis 1 to try to make it teach evolution. Why? So that they can be respected by those bullies. Genesis 1 doesn't even remotely teach evolution. They are doing it to be friends with the bullies. Of course, the evolutionists think that they are idiots trying to hold onto both. The bullies of licensed psychology are so strong that almost all Christian Colleges and Seminaries are in alliance with them. And even when Christians have been willing to fight against abortion, Sodomy, or socialism, they do so on the world's principles, not with Biblical principles. They are ashamed to inject God and the Bible into the debate, let alone to have the Bible as the foundation for the debate. Let's dive into this story, because I think it has something to tell us about handling the bullies of our day. And it's certainly not the way Saul did it.
Bullies ravaging the land (v. 1)
This story begins with the bullying of the Philistines. It says, "Now the Philistines gathered their armies together to battle…" If there is one thing that the Philistine record makes clear, it is that they were constantly trying to take over more territory. If you will look at your map in your outlines you will see that just like the Vikings of a much later period, the Philistines came from the North and went up and down the coastland plundering and/or taking over area after area. In 1060-1000 BC, which was right around this period of time, it was the height of Philistine power. They were responsible for the collapse of the Hittite empire (which is quite a feat), and they were feared because of their highly superior weaponry. Before Saul had come to power, they had completely taken over Palestine, and strictly maintained control of the country. For example, chapter 13 makes clear that they made it illegal for Israelites to be blacksmiths, fearing that they might make swords or spears, and by 1Samuel 13 Saul and Jonathan were the only Israelites who had sword or spear. Well, this weapon control was a form of bullying, and the Israelites who had lost the will to resist just got along to get along. The bullies were ruthless in suppressing insurrection, and with their fearsome chariots they were able to maintain control over a large area of the land. So that is a summary of the first map in your outlines. That's the previous chapters of this book.
The second map shows the stages of Philistine control after Saul became king. Initially, Saul was able to throw back the Philistine control of Israel and push them back into the area with diagonal lines. The Philistines still controlled a much bigger chunk of real estate than they originally had. But at least they were somewhat contained. But as Saul backslid more and more, God used the Philistines to discipline Israel. You can see the arrows that show the Philistines were regaining huge chunks of Judah, Simeon, and Dan.
Verse 1 continues – "and were gathered at Sochoh, which belongs to Judah; they encamped between Sochoh and Azekah, in Ephes Dammim." Ephes Dammim means border of blood and shows the place where Israel was finally able to stop the Philistine armies. It was because of David – this far and no farther. Sochoh was just 15 miles away from David's hometown, Bethlehem. But though the main army controlled all the territory that is shown by the fat arrows, the foragers and smaller units of Philistine raiders were devastating the whole countryside. If you think of the terror that the Vikings brought to England, you will understand the fear that was brought to Israel through these sea peoples. They were bullies who just wouldn't mind their own business.
And of course, all of this can be a metaphor of our own spiritual warfare with the world, the flesh, and the devil. There can be no rest. If you have not been resisting these mortal enemies, automatically they are regaining ground. And this fight is not just on an individual plane. He is at war against our families too. You might have had tremendous victory in your family in the last year, pushing Satan way back to the coastal areas, but if you relax, Satan will do his utmost to appeal to the flesh and to use worldly enticements to make your families ineffective.
He takes on the church as a battlefield, and you can see denomination after denomination that has become liberal and no longer fights immorality like they used to. That didn't happen overnight. Jeremiah tells us that it was because they were not valiant for the truth. It's not enough to believe truth, you must be valiant for the truth, pushing the truth of the Scripture into every nook and cranny of life; not allowing any square inch of planet earth to be exempt from the Lordship of the Scriptures.
Of course, we have seen Christianity pushed back in our nation as a whole, haven't we? In 1969 (that was just 40 years ago) homosexuality was a crime in every state of the union except for Illinois. And most people wouldn't have even dreamed of decriminalizing it. It was offensive to American citizens. But homosexuals had been engaged in a very deliberate effort to take over the media, the schools, the big corporations, and the government laws. They had a vision of conquest. They were not intimidated. And they have been very successful. A movie that came out this past summer portrays the Stonewall Uprising or homosexual riots of 1969 as the Rosa Parks event of the homosexual movement. I haven't seen it, and don't plan to see it because apparently it is pretty bad propaganda. But what has happened in the past 40 years is that the homosexual lobby has gained such control that they have become the bullies who want to invade every aspect of our society and bring it into submission to their will. Be in prayer about the vote this Tuesday in our city council. This new bill that the mayor suggested to the city council is threatening to force every business and every public entity (perhaps including churches) to fully approve of homosexuality or face criminal charges. They are not asking for civil rights. They have the same rights as anyone else. They can start their own business. But no, they are trying to force everyone to agree with their lifestyle, or else.
Every age has its bullies. And we are facing the bullying of the world, the flesh, and the devil right now. They are trying to take back everything that Christianity once influenced.
Resisting in our own strength (vv. 2-3)
Here's the vital question: Are we going to try to win this battle like Saul or like David? Are we going to fight the enemies of Abortion, Communism, Sodomy, and other evils in our own strength? That's all that Saul had going for him. He himself was a strong guy who knew how to bully Israelites into supporting him. But when bully A meets bigger bully B, he is at a loss for what to do – especially when bully A has certain principles he has to fight by, whereas bully B doesn't have any. Saul does not repent and turn to the Lord. He does not recognize that his ultimate battle is not against humans, but it is with demons who are driving on those humans. Isn't that what Paul said? Paul was horribly persecuted by humans, yet he still said, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places." And the writer of this book clues us into that fact when he tells us that the Holy Spirit left Saul and an evil spirit tormented. This was a spiritual battle.
Saul tries to meet the Philistines on their own ground, with their own tactics, and in his own strength. And what option did he have? The Spirit of God had left him in the previous chapter. Ultimately his goal is a conservative one, not a Christian one. His idea was, "Let's do everything we can to conserve the lifestyle that we are comfortable with." That's really the goal of modern conservatives. But that's not a God-glorifying goal.
Verse 2 says, "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." This was an incredibly strategic valley. If the Philistines could control this, they were well on their way to controlling the central region that Saul ruled over. God's enemies know how to be strategic. Why else do you think that they targeted schools, churches, arts & entertainment, media, big corporations, and government? It's the Christians alone who are idiots and have pulled out of influencing culture. At least Saul had that going for him. He recognized that this was a strategic point that had to be captured.
Well, back to our text: Why did they wait on their respective mountains? In fact, they waited for 40 days. On the Philistines side, it was in part psychological warfare. On the Israelite side, it was a defensive posture. Militarily, the high ground was advantageous ground for them. You could shoot down on the enemy, and if they tried to charge up the mountain, you had a huge advantage in beating them back. The Israelites weren't too interested in fighting on the plane, because the vastly superior Philistine chariots and horses would decimate them.
So they were both thinking in horizontal tactics. By horizontal, I mean purely human. They are not thinking about how God can make a difference. Like modern Christians today, who don't bring God into politics, economics, arts, science, or military battles. Rarely do you see calls to Solemn Assemblies for repentance. Saul was so backslidden that God seemed distant. Sure, he was still outwardly a believer. But Saul did not know the power of God, the wisdom of God, the courage that comes from walking with God. He did not have a passion to see God lifted up. His goal was to survive. In coming weeks we will see such a stark contrast between the young David who is consumed with a desire to walk with God, and the older Saul who is consumed with self-preservation, self-exaltation, and personal glory.
Can a Saul today win political battles without appealing to God? Sure. But I don't think the nation will be any farther ahead. Can we win token victories in the prolife battle without deep-seated repentance and turning back to God? Sure. But we won't be any closer to having God's blessing. It will just mean that one humanistic giant has just gained an upper hand on another humanistic giant.
Tall guy (1Sam 9:2; 10:23) meets his match (17:4-11)
I mentioned that the Philistines were playing a game of psychological warfare. When Israel had no champion who could fight Goliath, it demoralized the army. Chapter 13 makes clear that Israel put their trust in the tall guy – Saul, who was head and shoulders taller than the Israelites. So it is pretty discouraging to be reminded day after day that their champion is no match for the Philistine champion.
Secondly, if the Israelites are fighting for freedom, Goliath points out that this is silly. After all, they really are slaves of Saul – which in part was true. Saul had begun ruling just like the Gentile kings around him, and he had enslaved the people. So Goliath was taking away the main reason why people tend to fight passionately - liberty. They don't have liberty under Saul. It's just a transfer of power from one bully to another bully. And they need to consider who is stronger.
Third, if the Israelites are thinking about survival, Goliath gives them great reasons to lay down their arms. "If you fight, you will be killed. If you don't fight, you will just serve a better and more powerful lord. It's just a transfer of bullies. Don't worry about it. Just come join our gang."
In fact, let's just go through these verses to see how the author is showing that we must not put our trust in princes, horses, or in the strength of man. This chapter will proceed to say that every battle is fundamentally determined spiritually, not carnally. Verse 4:
1Samuel 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.
Commentators point out that the word for champion literally means, "man-of-the-between." It's almost like a mediator. It is a reference to a champion who would enter a winner-take-all contest with one other person. And it wasn't just the Philistine culture. There were other ancient cultures that had duels to settle disputes. This champion was a person who would spare the armies the need to fight. Why waste a lot of lives? "The gods can settle this with loss of only one life."
But who would be the likely candidate to fight such a tall man? It would be Saul. 1Samuel 9:2 says that Saul was head and shoulders taller than all the other Israelites. So he was kind of a giant – sort of like the Mongolian in that picture. Based on armor and skeletal sizes of that era, it appears that the average Israelite of that time was about 5.5 feet tall. So if Saul was head and shoulders above all of them, several commentators believe that he was probably about six foot six inches – maybe about 11 inches smaller than the Mongolian in the picture.
You didn't want to mess around with Saul. He was a tall guy. He was at the top of the bully pecking order in Israel. But look at the height of Goliath! Verse 4 says that he was six cubits and a span. A span was originally from this thumb tip to this pinky tip when the fingers are spread. There were two cubits in Hebrew measuring, so there are differences of opinion on how tall Goliath was. There was the short Hebrew cubit, which was 17.5 inches long. And then there was the long Hebrew cubit, which was 20.4 inches long. If you took the long one, Goliath would be 11 feet tall. All my commentaries think that is a ridiculous size, so they opt for the short Hebrew cubit and span. So if we are to be conservative, that means that Goliath was nine feet, nine inches tall. I could go with either one – 9'9" or 11'. But let's just suppose the 9'9" height. To get an idea of how tall that is, imagine the Mongolian in the picture as being 2.5 feet taller, and probably broader. Or look at the picture of Robert Wadlow, and add another 10 inches to that, and perhaps double his width. He's almost twice as tall as David. That's on the shorter conservative cubit. And based on his armor, we would have to conclude that he must have had a massive frame as well. He wasn't a skinny guy like Robert Wadlow.
Some people think that either measurement is absolutely ludicrous. So let me talk about that for a moment. If the Bible says it, that settles it for me. But there is plenty of evidence of giants. The tallest living man in the Guinness Book of World Records is Robert Wadlow, who is only 8 foot 11 inches, which is ten inches shorter than Goliath. But from the 1700's to the present, there are over 30 people who have been documented by reputable contemporaries as being more than eight feet, with many of them being very well proportioned. Most modern giants have a hard time walking, and are not very fast. But these giants in the 1700's and 1800's were fast and incredibly strong. For example, Christoff Munster was a bodyguard of one of the Electors of Germany, and he was 9 foot 6 inches tall, with a well-proportioned body and enormous strength. So that is just three inches shorter than Goliath. So liberals are smoking something when they say it just can't be. Funnum, A Scotsman who served Eugene II, the king of Scotland, was a very well known giant. He was 11 foot 6 inches, according to the undertaker. Can you imagine that (and the breadth size and strength to go with that)! So it puzzles me that liberals say that 9 foot 9 inches is ridiculous, or to rule completely out the 11' size. Both the Bible and history tell us of giants who were much bigger.
So his height alone would be intimidating. But let's look at his strength. Notice the massive armor that he wore. This guy was a dude! Verse 5:
1Samuel 17:5 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.
5000 shekels was 126 pounds. Those of you who do weight lifting know that 126 lbs is a lot of weight to haul around all day. So just his chain mail was 126 pounds! That's not counting the rest of the armor. This is no Robert Wadlow. Verse 6:
1Samuel 17:6 And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders.
1Samuel 17:7 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 spearhead alone was 600 shekels, or 15.1 pounds in weight. So when you add up all the armor and weaponry, you realize that this was not just a tall skinny guy with frail bones. He was a giant in every sense of the term. And with his armor, he looked impregnable. Verse 8:
1Samuel 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.
1Samuel 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."
1Samuel 17:10 And the Philistine said, "I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together."
1Samuel 17:11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.
So Goliath was a self-confident bully who was very intimidating. Saul was fearful because he was the logical choice to fight Goliath, but Saul was no match for him. For a change, there was someone who was stronger than Saul. And when we trust in man, God makes sure that that will happen to us. God doesn't want our trust to be in man.
I think there are many lessons that can be learned from this introductory section. We live in a time when humanism seems invincible. It doesn't matter whether you look at the family, the church, or the state, things look discouraging. But they got this way in part because the church has been acting like Saul on several levels. Remember in chapter 8 that the people had demanded a king like all the nations had. And Samuel warned them that their first king would indeed act like the kings of the nations. In the same way, the church has taken its cue from the world on the most important issues of life – starting in Genesis 1 and moving to the end of the Bible. We are overawed with the scholarship of world; we are overawed with the finances, power, and prestige of the world. We look at the weapons of prayer, the Bible, fasting, evangelism, Biblical Blueprints, and we think – "What are these against such might?" And we start operating out of principles of power religion instead of operating spiritually. But it is really a silly thing for the church to do.
For example, the church has exchanged the truth of God's Word for evolution. And Evangelicals have come up with 19 different theories of creation that try to insert billions of years into the text. And they do it because they are trying desperately to win the war of ideas by adopting the world's system. And the world looks on and says that these attempts are silly and self-refuting. They are not impressed at all that the church is adopting evolutionary ideas. And you could go through all the other compromises that the church has made, and you will see that it flows from the same flawed idea.
We must not see this battle as a mere defiance of Israel (v. 25), but more importantly, as being a defiance of God Himself (vv. 45-47)
Let's end with five further applications. We've already been talking about the first application. We must not see the culture wars of our day as being merely culture wars. They are that, but they are more than that. The Lordship of Christ is at stake in all of these battles.
I want you to notice the huge contrast between verse 25 and verse 45. In verse 25 the soldiers tell David, "Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel; and it shall be that the man who kills him the king will enrich with great riches, will give him his daughter and give his father's house exemption from taxes." I can just see Saul's offers going up day by day. No one is willing to fight for the money alone. So he throws in his daughter. You will be related to the king. And then he throws in tax exemption for life. And there are still no takers. But what we see in this speech is the absence of God's glory. Who is being defied in verse 25? It's the armies of Israel. It is Israel's pride that is at stake. It's the party that is being defended.
Contrast that with verses 45-47
1Samuel 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.
It's not just Israel that was defied; it was God Himself. Nor is David's trust in weapons or armies. Certainly he uses them because everything is under Christ's lordship. But look at verses 46-47 to see where he puts his trust:
1Samuel 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.
1Samuel 17:47 Then all this assembly shall know [he is speaking about the assembly of Israel who should have known better – "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."
We must be Christ-centered in our culture wars. I spoke Friday evening at a political fundraiser, and I told them that if we leave God out of the equation, we cannot expect God to bless our efforts. But that is exactly what is going on. They are trusting their own efforts, agendas, methods, and ways and hoping that God will get on board their party platform. But this verse indicates that it's not a matter of getting God to bless our efforts and our goals. It's a matter of putting our efforts into serving Christ's goals. What does He want us to do in these culture wars? We have got to be Christ-centered and Gospel-centered in our politics.
Until we get to heaven, we must never let down our guard
The second application is that we must never let down our guard against our mortal enemies of the world, the flesh, and the devil. In Judges 2 God said that He left enemies around "to test Israel, whether they will keep the ways of the LORD to walk in them as their fathers kept them, or not." (v. 22). It's for the good of the church that we have to fight for what is right. These culture wars are testing where our allegiance is. It should not dismay us when we see Philistines out there today. It may very well be a test to see whether the church is willing to totally submit to His law word.
Confidence in God (v. 37) must replace self-confidence.
The third application is that confidence in God such as David had must replace self-confidence. Confidence alone will not win the battles of our day. I've been to political rallies where instilling confidence that we can win is the key. I've been to multi-level-sales rallies where instilling humanistic self-confidence is the name of the game. Every side can be confident that they will win. It is easy to temporarily arouse an enthusiasm through mere words, but when we actually walk with God on a daily basis like David did, we can have a supernatural confidence and faith that David had in verse 37. It is a God-centered confidence that flows from an understanding of grace, of God's blueprints, and of eschatology – which is a long word for God's promises for the future.
If our focus is humanistic rather than God-centered, it will result in either pride (vv. 8-10) or fear (v. 11)
The fourth application is that if our focus is humanistic rather than God-centered, it will result in either pride or fear/discouragement. Pride is incompatible with faith; but fear is just as incompatible with faith. Verses 8-10 absolutely reek with pride. Goliath's assertions are just as prideful as the politics of today. That's why we need not fear them – because God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. But you know what? He won't give grace if we are fearful. Cowardice is almost as disastrous as pride. In fact, it is the first sin listed as barring from heaven in Revelation 21:8. Why? Because the cowardice of verse 11 flows from the same horizontal thinking that doesn't take God into account. For the Philistines there was only a valley separating them, little realizing that God Himself would stand between them. The Israelites had a valley of fear separating them from the Philistines, forgetting that fear of the giants in Numbers is what kept a previous generation out of the land.
Faith looks to God, and because it sees God as our only hope, it is inoculated against both pride and fear. Think of all the culture wars that we have talked about in this sermon, and apply this point to them. Think of the United Nations. Lee tells me that this is United Nations day. And if you look at the symbols at that building, you will realize that it is a demonic anti-Gospel that they hold to. Where the bible promises that the Gospel will eventually have the nations beat their swords in plowshares, the United Nations promises to do it without the Gospel. Here's a picture of a statue at the United Nations of naked, unassisted Man (and that is capitalized on purpose) bringing peace by beating a sword into a plowshare.
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Here's another picture across from the United Nations where it takes the verse from Isaiah 2:4 out of context. The first part of the sentence in Isaiah 2:4 attributes this peace to God's grace and God bringing them to repentance. But the United Nations wants the fruit, without the root of the Gospel. Here's the part they quote: "They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore" – and promises to do it by themselves and without the Gospel. This is very conscious and deliberate. It is a prideful arrogance to leave God out of the equation of anything that we do. But that is where our nation is at. This past Sunday Don Stenberg pointed out how Obama twice misquoted the Declaration of Independence, speaking of us having rights, but leaving out that we were endowed with those rights by our Creator. Leaving out the Creator transforms rights into privileges granted by government. It is humanism.
Here is a picture of the European Parliament, which was deliberately designed to look just like the Tower of Babel. If that is not daring God to do something about it, I don't know what is. And below it is an artist's merging of the famous picture of the tower of Babel (that you have probably all seen) with this tower to make the unfinished look of this tower more obvious. In other words, what God tore apart at the tower of Babel, these men think they can bring about by themselves.
Why do I bring these pictures up? It is because we cannot ignore the demonic nature of modern institutions. Our goal is not to make them better. Our goal is to make all of life Christian, submitting under the feet of King Jesus. All of these images are just reiterations of the prideful humanistic actions of many cultures of the past. Though their words might be different than Goliath's, they are just as humanistic.
But what is encouraging to me about this point is that humanism is self-defeating because it always alternates between prideful self-confidence and fearful despair. In contrast, the just shall live by faith. Hebrews 11 says that by faith all saints have done impossible things. "…who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the enemies of the aliens." Etc. Do not be fearful of what is happening in America, and do not be arrogant about thinking that we can easily take it on. Faith does not trust in princes, but in Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Only God's grace and law can give true liberty; the world offers slavery (vv. 8-9)
The last application is that only God's grace can offer true liberty. The United Nations can't do it. The Democrats can't do it. The Republicans can't do it. The Libertarians, Green Party, or Constitution party can't do it. Only God can bless us with liberty. In verses 8-9 Goliath knows of only two options – you can be slaves of Saul or you can be slaves of the Philistines. Oh, nice options!? That word for servants is the word for slaves. And that is the impetus of our age – the freedom of the state from any higher law means the slavery of citizens to the government's every whim. America's former liberties will never be restored until God's grace redeems men and restores them to the perfect law of liberty in God's Word.
In conclusion let me say, let's stop making false dilemmas in any area of life, including this upcoming election. Let's stop saying that our only choice is between Goliath and Saul. God had rejected both in the previous two chapters, and God had chosen a man after His own heart – David. The problem was, the people weren't ready for David yet. They could appreciate the fact that he was a Braveheart. Later in this chapter they will sing his praises. But it would be several more years before they would themselves be Bravehearts willing to lay down their lives for true liberty. And it may be that the church is not ready for a Braveheart in our own day. If that is the case, we can pray that the conflicts with the Philistines in the next few years would do a sanctifying and purifying work in the church and make her come to the place of being out and out for Jesus. But if your trust is in a big guy to take on the modern Goliaths, forget it. There is always somebody stronger than your big guy. Sure, your big guy may win this battle, but without God, the next battle he may be down. Our trust is in the Lord. Amen? Let's pray.