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Sermon Notes

Please note that these are only notes, not transcripts, and as such are not identical to the recorded sermons. They also contain frequent abbreviations.


    1. The predicament: About 10 miles from Bethlehem, where Christ should be born, in the territory of Judah, Israel was in grave danger.

      1. Israel stood in peril of losing everything which Jehovah their covenant God had given to them.

        1. The Philistines, through their champion, Goliath, dictated the terms of the battle: a man to man fight in which the winner would enslave the loser (vv. 8-9).

        2. If no champion could be found to defeat Goliath the Philistines would possess the land of Canaan, the inheritance of God’s covenant.

      2. This would be virtually a return to Egypt, to bondage and misery.

        1. But if the Israelites become the slaves of the Philistines what would become of the promises and the covenant of God to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?

        2. What then of the Promised Messiah who must come out of Israel, out of Judah, where the Philistines were now encamped?

    2. The cause of Israel’s predicament was her unfaithfulness.

      1. If Israel had been faithful to Jehovah the Philistines would have posed no threat because Israel’s promised inheritance included the land of Philistia (Ex. 23:31).

        1. Israel had begun well in driving the heathen out of Canaan but by the beginning of the period of the Judges the Philistines were still in the land.

        2. Worse than this, the Israelites, instead of driving out the Philistines, worshipped their gods, and God in chastisement delivered Israel into their hands.

      2. The result of this unfaithfulness is that the carnal king Saul sits on Israel’s throne leading an Israelite army paralyzed by fear.

        1. Led by a carnal king, Israel is spiritually weak. For over a month the battle has remained at stalemate. No spear is thrown, no arrow is shot and no sword is brandished on Israel’s side. Meanwhile, the Philistines gloat certain of victory.

        2. But although Israel has forgotten the great deliverances of God, God has not forgotten His covenant. As Israel trembles in her tents, God is preparing deliverance and victory from a most unlikely source.



I. The Enemies

II. The Issues

III. The Victory


  1. The Enemies

    1. OT: Of Israel and David:

      1. As such: The Holy Spirit describes the enemy before whom all Israel quaked in terror: a Philistine champion, Goliath of Gath.

        1. Goliath was an intimidating foe (vv. 4-7).

          1. He towered above Israel at “six cubits and a span” (v. 4), the equivalent of about 11 feet tall! (That’s one foot higher than the basketball rim).

          2. His bulk matched his height. His weapons were mighty and his protection was thick armor which weighed 5,000 shekels of brass, about 170 lbs!

          3. Nor was he a lumbering, clumsy oaf. Goliath had been a man of war since his youth, well trained and skilled in military combat, a formidable foe!

        2. Goliath was an arrogant foe (v. 10).

          1. Goliath’s motive is clearly expressed: “I defy the armies of Israel this day. Give me a man that we may fight together” (v. 10).

          2. The word “defy” means to scorn. This scorn originated in Goliath’s hatred of Israel as Israel represented the cause and covenant of God in the world.

        3. Goliath was a persistent foe (v. 16).

          1. Every day Goliath would issue his challenge so that what the Israelites heard first when they awoke from sleep and last before the setting of the sun were Goliath’s words of scorn: “Give me a man that we may fight together!”

          2. This continued for forty days, over a month! All that time Israel was dismayed and greatly afraid, literally “broken” with fear (v. 11).

      2. Israel quaked before Goliath especially because she was spiritually weak.

        1. Although not all the Israelites were unbelievers like King Saul, they were weakened by unbelief.

          1. Israel had forgotten that she is the army of the living God, called to fight God’s enemies in the world.

          2. Jehovah had promised to be the friend of Israel for ever for the sake of the promised coming Christ, but where was Israel’s confidence in that promise?

        2. Because of this serious spiritual weakness Israel reacted shamefully before her enemies.

          1. Instead of courage rooted in faith there was cowardice and the despair of unbelief.

          2. This was God’s judgment upon Israel and especially upon Saul for their unfaithfulness in the covenant.

          3. This was reproach upon Israel, a state of shame and disgrace (v. 26).

    2. NT: Of Christ and the Church.

      1. Identify: Goliath is typical of the frightening enemies which rise up against the church today and before which we too are tempted to quake with terror.

        1. The first enemy of the church is Satan himself.

          1. Like a roaring lion, or like a bellowing Goliath, Satan seeks to devour the church of Christ by whatever means possible.

          2. The Belgic Confession (12) says of Satan and his hosts that they are “enemies of God and every good thing; to the utmost of their power as murderers watching to ruin the Church and every member thereof

        2. The second enemy of the church is the ungodly world.

          1. The world is humanity as it develops under the power of sin in opposition to God in Jesus Christ.

          2. The world is hostile toward the church: either it persecutes the church or the world seeks to seduce the church away from Christ and His Word.

      2. Characterize: Like Goliath our enemies are intimidating, arrogant and persistent, and seek to humiliate, enslave and finally to destroy us.

        1. Like Goliath our enemies are intimidating because of their power and size.

          1. The influential men of the world are on Goliath’s side. The scientists, the politicians and the media belong to that vast army arrayed against us.

          2. The true church of Jesus Christ stands like tiny David before these Goliaths, hopelessly outnumbered and outclassed. Victory for us is humanly impossible.

        2. Like Goliath our enemies are arrogant because they know they are powerful and they sense the church’s natural weaknesses.

          1. The Goliaths of our day see the church and they laugh.

          2. Look at the puny church of Christ; no political influence, no mighty men among the members, few resources and no weapons worth mentioning!

        3. Like Goliath our enemies are persistent

          1. The entire Christian life is an exhausting, relentless battle against the world and the devil. Often our hearts fail within us; we lose courage and we are tempted to despair.

          2. It is our sense of helplessness before our enemies that drives us to Christ. Only by the power of His cross do we have the courage to fight another day.

      3. If Goliath conquers in the battle, the consequences are dreadful: Israel will be slaves to the Philistines and Israel will lose everything. The consequences are equally dreadful for us if our enemies conquer us.

        1. If our enemies conquer us we will lose our spiritual inheritance.

          1. God has given us a precious inheritance, the truth of the Reformed faith, and He has preserved that among us for many generations.

          2. Make no mistake about it! Our enemies want to rob us of that precious inheritance, so that we renounce the truth and embrace the lie.

        2. If our enemies conquer us we will lose our spiritual freedom and return to the bondage of sin.

          1. We enjoy the freedom which comes from knowing the forgiveness of our sins in the blood of Christ. Nothing is more precious than that knowledge.

          2. But we only have that knowledge through faith in the Christ of the Scriptures and that is exactly where the enemy attacks! (I Cor. 15:1-3).

          3. If we give up the Scriptures, the battle is over. God will still gather His Church but not among us and we will go lost in our generations.

        3. Much of the church world is on the verge of surrendering to the enemy. The enemy today sends especially three Goliaths into the fray.

          1. The giant of Darwinism has intimidated most of the church world to compromise on six-day creationism for fear of being thought “unscientific”.

          2. The giantess of feminism has screamed “Chauvinism” so often that she has forced most of Christendom to open their pulpits and consistory rooms to women despite the clear teaching of Scripture.

          3. The giant of militant homosexuality shrieks “homophobia” and threatens “hate crime” legislation. This has caused many churches to tremble before him so they do not preach against sodomy and even tolerate it among their members.

  2. The Issues

    1. The Background (transitional): The turning point in this history is the arrival of a young shepherd named David.

      1. His father, Jesse, sends him to the battlefield with food for his brothers and in obedience to his father David goes.

        1. It was no coincidence that David arrived early in the morning just as the uncircumcised champion of Gath was spewing forth his morning tirade of scorn.

        2. God had a purpose in bringing David to the battle. He was preparing salvation and blessing for His beloved Israel and cursing and judgment for His enemies.

      2. David did not expect to arrive upon such a scene of blasphemy and cowardice.

        1. Upon hearing the words of Goliath David’s God-fearing heart was filled with righteous indignation.

        2. But more perplexing to David was the attitude on display in the camp. He asks around: is there no-one willing to defend the honor of Jehovah against this defiant blasphemer, this uncircumcised Philistine?

        3. Having discovered that there is indeed no one willing to step into the fray, David without hesitation offers himself as the representative of Israel to fight against Goliath: “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine” (v. 32).

      3. The battle lines are now drawn: At long last, after 40 long days, a challenger has been found to represent Israel against the representative of the Philistines: young David, of Bethlehem-Judah!

    2. Negatively: The issue in the battle is not who is the strongest, the largest or the best experienced in combat.

      1. This was the case in the Old Testament: In God’s hand David’s physical weakness was no barrier to victory.

        1. Israel did not understand: “And all the men of Israel when they saw the man fled from him and were sore afraid” (v. 24).

        2. Saul did not understand: “Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him for thou art but a youth and he a man of war from his youth” (v. 33).

      2. Today, too, the victory is not given to the biggest or strongest.

        1. The world boasts huge numbers and an impressive array of scholars on its side.

        2. But none of that is important. The true church is small but the Captain of our salvation is Jesus Christ! The victory has already been won!

        3. Young people, you, too, are equipped through catechetical instruction, education in the Christian schools and good preaching to defend the faith like David did. You are! Let no man despise your youth!.

    3. Positively:

      1. The issue is the covenant.

        1. David was zealous for the covenant of Jehovah whom he loved as his God.

          1. The covenant is that beautiful bond of fellowship and friendship that Jehovah established in sovereign mercy with His people in Jesus Christ, signified and sealed to them in circumcision.

            1. David grew up in a covenant home, was instructed in God’s covenant and even as a young man demonstrates his love for God’s covenant.

            2. What a blessing to see the young people here like David, zealous for the covenant of God: baptized, catechized, attending public worship, attentive and obedient to true preaching, leading godly lives in thankfulness and confessing the name of Christ in the church and the world!

          2. David’s love for the covenant determines how he views Goliath, the mighty champion of Gath. He calls him, “this uncircumcised Philistine” (vv. 26, 36).

            1. Circumcision is important to David because the cutting away of the foreskin of the flesh is a sign and seal in David’s own flesh of the cutting away of the flesh of sin and the forgiveness of sins in the blood of Christ.

            2. David as a circumcised Israelite, both in the flesh and in the heart, is a beautiful example of the fulfillment of God’s promise in Deut. 30:6, “And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart and the heart of thy seed to love the LORD thy God …”

          3. Goliath belongs to the uncircumcised Philistines and as such is an enemy of Jehovah and therefore David counts him as his enemy.

            1. Goliath, along with the entire nation of the Philistines, has no part in the covenant of Jehovah: he is reprobate and ungodly, eternally hated by God and predestined to everlasting hell according to God’s righteous decree.

            2. Goliath is called uncircumcised because he is an enemy of the covenant, actively opposed to the covenant and to the people of the covenant, Israel.

        2. In the NT Church the issue is still the covenant, the friendship with God in Jesus Christ.

          1. We treasure our friendship with God in Jesus Christ above everything else.

            1. Because we love God we love His Word and His Church.

            2. We love the gospel, our inheritance of eternal life and the forgiveness of sins. We will fight fearlessly for that inheritance against God’s enemies.

          2. We are opposed to the world because the world is the enemy of God.

            1. Just as David was called to hate God’s enemies the Philistines so we must hate the world: “friendship of the world is enmity with God. Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4).

            2. This does not mean that we hate all unbelievers, but it does mean that we hate the ways of the world and oppose them and are not friends with them.

      2. The issue is faith versus unbelief.

        1. David’s faith here shines brightly against the dark background of unbelief within Israel.

          1. In faith David urges the Israelites not to fear: “Let no man’s heart fail because of him: thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine” (v. 32).

          2. And David confesses his faith before Saul, before Goliath, before the Philistines, and before the whole assembly of Israel.

        2. The issue in the NT is faith versus unbelief

          1. When the church compromises any part of the truth, she is guilty of unbelief.

          2. Unbelief in the Word of God causes the church to quake before her enemies.

      3. The issue is the salvation of God’s people in the cross of Jesus Christ.

        1. From all earthly perspectives Israel was doomed.

          1. After forty days the only representative Israel can produce is a young shepherd boy. God’s word calls him a “youth” and a “stripling.”

          2. The Israelites must have been thinking: “Surely, this is an exercise in futility. What was Saul thinking anyway? What a tragic waste of life!”

        2. But this battle is infinitely more than a confrontation between a giant and a shepherd boy, an exciting story that the children love to hear.

          1. Beloved, do you see that young lad facing Goliath? If he dies in this battle, we are all doomed to hell!

          2. This is because David is the one through whom Christ Himself shall come.

          3. Goliath is just one more attempt of Satan to destroy the Seed of the Woman promised in Eden. Destroy David and all hope of salvation is lost forever!

  3. The Victory

    1. David’s victory is so well known that even the smallest child here knows what happened next.

      1. David enters the battlefield carrying his shepherd’s staff and armed only with a sling and 5 smooth stones. But David has a secret weapon: the name of Jehovah.

        1. The Name of Jehovah is the revelation of His being, His perfections and His works.

          1. David declares. “Thou comest to me with a sword and a spear and with a shield, but I come unto thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied” (v. 45).

          2. The name of God is particularly Holy Scripture because there God has given us an infallibly inspired, sufficient and clear revelation of Himself: “Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name” (Ps. 138:2).

        2. David reveals something of God’s name to Goliath.

          1. David reveals to Goliath Jehovah’s wrath against the enemies of the covenant.

          2. David reveals this name of Jehovah to Goliath in a unique way.

            1. David runs toward the giant, takes a stone out of his bag and slings it at Goliath with such force that the stone sinks into Goliath’s forehead.

            2. Goliath crashes to the ground with a mighty thud, and David cuts off Goliath’s head with Goliath’s own sword.

      2. The victory of David over Goliath is the beginning of many victories for David and the beginning of the end for King Saul.

        1. Overnight, David becomes a national hero as the women of Israel sing, “Saul hath slain his thousands and David his ten thousands” (18:7).

        2. David’s victory is the cause of Saul’s hatred, which will be the undoing of Saul. In this way, God is pushing Saul off Israel’s throne to make way for David.

        3. This is necessary for the sake of Christ. David is both a type of Christ and the one through whose line Christ Himself will be born. Christ will eternally occupy the throne of David but first David must sit upon his own throne.

    2. Through the Name of Jehovah the church prevails against the Goliaths of the world.

      1. The only weapon of the church is the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.

        1. The Word of God is living and sharper than any two-edged sword and cuts through every vain philosophy of man which exalts itself against the truth of God.

        2. By the power of the name of Jehovah, especially the preached Word, we have strength to face Satan and the world who rise up daily to vex us.

      2. Jesus Christ, Jehovah Salvation is the Son of David and the Name of Jehovah. In Him alone we have the victory over every Goliath who seeks to destroy us.

        1. For Jesus the way to the heavenly throne of David involved a death-struggle with one greater than Goliath.

          1. The Goliath of Satan bruised Christ’s heel, but Christ crushed Satan’s head at the cross, just as David smashed Goliath’s head with a stone from his sling.

          2. Having smitten Goliath on the cross, Christ purchased for us our heavenly and spiritual inheritance: in Him we have forgiveness of sins, peace with God, liberty from the bondage of sin, and the covenant blessings of salvation.

        2. In this history, God taught Israel to look away from Saul, the king they had demanded and to look to David, the king God would provide.

          1. Our enemies, like Goliath, are intimidating, arrogant and persistent, but our God is almighty and faithful to His covenant promises.

          2. We look beyond David to the Son of David, Jesus Christ, who as our King defeats His and our enemies by the power of His cross.

          3. Therefore, Christ says to us, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. I am the servant of Jehovah. I have fought and destroyed the uncircumcised Philistine.” In that knowledge we have assurance of victory and the hope of eternal life. Amen!