We all will face giant problems in our lives. Mine are different than yours. Yours are different than your neighbor’s - but they are all giants of problems. There are evils of sickness, financial, and relationships that we will all be forced to face at one time or another. In today's sermon notes blog post, we'll learn 5 lessons from the story of David and Goliath about life's biggest challenges.
Every week I publish my sermon notes so that you may read them for yourselves. For my parishioners, this could be a good review from the weekend before. And it gives you a chance to see what I intended to say! For other pastors and ministers, feel free to borrow and use any of this material. I'd love for God to be glorified by you incorporating these notes into your own worship.
Summer Singles: "Overcoming Giants - Part 1" 08.26.12
Listen to this week's CR Sermon & Podcast (fast forward to 20:30 to listen to sermon):
Intro: Today we consider the story of David and Goliath - what may be the most well known in the OT. I don’t think God included this for just our entertainment. 1st - it really happened. 2nd - God wants us to know that this isn’t just about David. It’s also about us and for us!
We all will face giant problems in our lives. Mine different than yours. Yours different than your neighbor’s - but they are all giants of problems. There are evils of sickness, financial, relationships that we will all be forced to face. The moral of David and Goliath is found in 1 John:
“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world.” 1 John 5:4a ESV
You are not meant to be overcome by the world. God designed you to be overcome the world! Evil can seem overwhelming. God’s solution is His power combined with YOUR faith! The Bible paints this epic battle in black and white contrasts:
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21 NIV
We are going to consider the giant story of David and Goliath this weekend and next. It’s just too big to fit into one week! Over these two weeks, we’ll learn 10 Giant Killing Lessons. Next week we’ll talk about overcoming. This week we want to put our toughest problems under God’s microscope. We learn 5 lessons about our toughest problems.
It’s important right up front not to minimize life’s most difficult problems. We should not take away from the story of David and Goliath that somehow Goliath wasn’t really all that large. He really was a giant among men.
“Then a champion named Goliath, from Gath came out from the Philistine camp. He was nine feet, nine inches tall!” 1 Samuel 17:4 HCSB
This is one of those places in the Bible that is most precise. The actual language - in ESV - states Goliath’s heigh at six cubits and a span. Our problem is that we don’t know precisely how to translate this into feet and inches. The NIV says simply “over nine feet tall.” The idea we should take away is not that this was simply a big guy. He was so big, THEY MEASURED! Not just “over six cubits.” He was “six cubits and a span.” He was bigger than anyone they had ever seen before.
Our toughest problems are like this. They are BIG problems. It’s not just that these are problems that we cannot easily overcome. They don’t appear to be overcomeable at all! The best we can muster is to measure the problem, rather than come up with a solution. This same David, who smote the giant, later penned this psalm:
“For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me.” Psalm 40:12 NIV
Goliath is described not only for his height, but for his strength. He appeared undefeatable! When we think of someone really tall - like a basketball player, we also tend to think of someone skinny. Not Goliath! Listen to how much detail the Bible gives us about him.
“He had a bronze helmet on his head and dressed in armor - 126 pounds of it! he wore bronze shin guards and carried a bronze sword. His spear was like a fence rail - the spear tip alone weighed over fifteen pounds. His shield bearer walked ahead of him.” 1 Samuel 17:5-7 MSG
We must not lessen the frightening appearance of Goliath. Not only was he a giant among men with his height, also he was a giant with his strength. (Go over details.) If his own strength wasn’t enough, Goliath was a package deal - he even had a 2nd person carry shield.
This is what our biggest life problems look like. No out. No means of escape. An unfair, overwhelming, insurmountable evil that makes us shrivel to our smallest fearful child inside our soul.
One of the strangest parts of the story of David and Goliath is the “winner-take-all” - my biggest against your best challenge.
“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.” 1 Samuel 17:9 ESV
Really? Who decided that rule? Nothing is said here about the size of the Israel army against the Philistine army. Surely there were other options. But that is the nature of giant, insurmountable problems in life. It’s like we are playing by someone else’s rules. We feel like we have no options left us.
When life’s biggest GIANT problems stand up in our face it’s easy to be fearful. Fear compounds within a group without Godly leadership.
“When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.” 1 Samuel 17:11 ESV
The NIV says “terrified.” The God’s Word (GW) says they were “gripped with fear.” That’s a great description because when fear has ahold of you, it’s like a vice-grip and won’t let go.
When you are afraid of life’s biggest problems remember this acrostic: F.E.A.R. - False Evidence Appearing Real. The biggest problems are very real problems. But they are not bigger than the God we serve. We don’t have to get locked into the either-or options that these giant problems give us.
The problem with fear is that we stop moving. We stop solving. We become accustomed to the problem. We become so used to it that it feels almost normal. We tell everyone we know our problem.
“For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand.” 1 Samuel 17:16 NIV
That’s the real problem with unconfronted evil. It gains strength when it goes unchallenged. The more fearful we are, the more emboldened our problems become against us.
Next week we’ll continue the study of David and Goliath and see how David responded. We’ll learn five lessons about overcoming giant problems. This week, I want to leave you with an acrostic to confront F.E.A.R. The next time you face something really frightening, I want you to T.H.I.N.K. instead of F.E.A.R.
Test Every Thought. Don’t believe everything you think. We all have a mental illness called sin. This means we can’t believe everything we think. Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth and told them to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:5. Would your fearful thoughts meet this challenge - to be obedient to Christ? Would your fearful thoughts honor Him and bring Him glory?
Helmet Your Head. Put on the helmet of salvation. We fight not just a physical battle, but a spiritual one too. Ephesians 6 tells us to put on the full armor of God. The helmet and sword are the last to be described - “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Eph. 6:17. How foolish would we be to put everything else on and forget the helmet? When Pastor Steve rides his motorcycle, he always wears a helmet. Why? Because if he gets his head hurt, he’s in serious trouble. Why helmet of salvation? Because until you are saved you have NO PROTECTION against the fiery darts of Satan.
Imagine What God Could Do. You and I are not God. We don’t know what He would or will do. God did, however give us a great imagination. Rather than dwell on our fear - really another word for worry - we could consider this problem from God’s viewpoint. How big is the giant problem when compared to God? When Paul is closing his prayer for the Ephesians, we see his imagination at work. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work with us Eph. 3:20. Allow your imagination of God’s power to work for you rather than imagining problem against you.
Nourish a Godly Mind. Base your imagination of what God could do not on popular culture, but upon the Word of God. Make sure that you are growing and developing your mind in God’s Word. Psalm 119:15 NLT says “I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways.” Nourishing a godly mind is 2 things: studying - learning what the Word says and then reflecting - imagining what it means in your life, how you might change in response to what you are learning.
Keep On Growing. All too often we are satisfied with way too little of God’s work in our lives. Sometimes people say they have been a Christian for 30 years, when really they’ve lived one year over and over. They’re immature, baby Christians unfit for the deeper things of God. When it comes to God, you can never get enough. There’s always more to know, more to do. 1 Timothy 4:15 NIV: “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.” Our continued growth requires our whole diligence to God and to the truth of His Word.
Conclusion - Giant problems are real in our lives, but they don’t have to be the end of our story. As we’ll see next week with David’s response to the giant Goliath, we too can be so immersed THINKing about God and His ways, that giant problems don’t seem so big when compared to God.