1 Samuel 17

* Goliath's challenge. (1-11) David comes to the camp. (12-30)

David undertakes to fight Goliath. (31-39) and goes to meet him.

(40-47) He kills Goliath. (48-58)

1-11 Men so entirely depend upon God in all things, that when

he withdraws his help, the most valiant and resolute cannot find

their hearts or hands, as daily experience shows.
12-30 Jesse little thought of sending his son to the army at

that critical juncture; but the wise God orders actions and

affairs, so as to serve his designs. In times of general

formality and lukewarmness, every degree of zeal which implies

readiness to go further, or to venture more in the cause of God

than others, will be blamed as pride and ambition, and by none

more than by near relations, like Eliab, or negligent superiors.

It was a trial of David's meekness, patience, and constancy. He

had right and reason on his side, and did not render railing for

railing; with a soft answer he turned away his brother's wrath.

This conquest of his own passion was more honourable than that

of Goliath. Those who undertake great and public services, must

not think it strange if they are spoken ill of, and opposed by

those from whom they expect support and assistance. They must

humbly go on with their work, in the face not only of enemies'

threats, but of friends' slights and suspicions.
31-39 A shepherd lad, come the same morning from keeping sheep,

had more courage than all the mighty men of Israel. Thus God

often sends good words to his Israel, and does great things for

them, by the weak and foolish things of the world. As he had

answered his brother's passion with meekness, so David answered

Saul's fear with faith. When David kept sheep, he proved himself

very careful and tender of his flock. This reminds us of Christ,

the good Shepherd, who not only ventured, but laid down his life

for the sheep. Our experience ought to encourage us to trust in

God, and be bold in the way of duty. He that has delivered, does

and will continue to do so. David gained leave to fight the

Philistine. Not being used to such armour as Saul put upon him,

he was not satisfied to go in that manner; this was from the

Lord, that it might more plainly appear he fought and conquered

in faith, and that the victory was from Him who works by the

feeblest and most despised means and instruments. It is not to

be inquired how excellent any thing is, but how proper. Let

Saul's coat be ever so rich, and his armour ever so strong, what

is David the better if they fit him not? But faith, prayer,

truth, and righteousness; the whole armour of God, and the mind

that was in Christ; are equally needful for all the servants of

the Lord, whatever may be their work.
40-47 The security and presumption of fools destroy them.

Nothing can excel the humility, faith, and piety which appear in

David's words. He expressed his assured expectation of success;

he gloried in his mean appearance and arms, that the victory

might be ascribed to the Lord alone.
48-58 See how frail and uncertain life is, even when a man

thinks himself best fortified; how quickly, how easily, and by

how small a matter, the passage may be opened for life to go

out, and death to enter! Let not the strong man glory in his

strength, nor the armed man in his armour. God resists the

proud, and pours contempt on those who defy him and his people.

No one ever hardened his heart against God and prospered. The

history is recorded, that all may exert themselves for the

honour of God, and the support of his cause, with bold and

unshaken reliance on him. There is one conflict in which all the

followers of the Lamb are, and must be engaged; one enemy, more

formidable than Goliath, still challenges the armies of Israel.

But "resist the devil, and he will flee from you." Go forth to

battle with the faith of David, and the powers of darkness shall

not stand against you. But how often is the Christian foiled

through an evil heart of unbelief!

Copyright information for MHCC