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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!