Whippin’ Giants

Notes below based on sermon preached at One Church Home on July 31, 2022

How does a teenage shepherd boy end up facing, and as Pastor Steve said, “whippin’” a 10-foot giant to defend the name of the living God while the Israelite army, including their reining king, Saul, cowers in fear?

Pastor Steve explained how David did it and why we must do the same things to whip the giants in our lives.

From I Samuel 17:1-53 (be sure to read it this week):

  1. We must know our identity—who we are and whose we are In Christ (V. 26). As believers, we are “blood bought, spirit filled children of God.”
  2. We must see and take up the cause of Christ (V. 29).
  3. We cannot be easily discouraged (VV. 28, 30, and 33).
  4. We must courageously encourage others to whip the giants in their own lives (V. 32).
  5. We must overcome our giants by the blood of the lamb (VV. 34-36).
  6. We must make faith declarations (V. 37).
  7. We cannot trust natural strength, strategy, or resources (VV. 38-40).
  8. We cannot be intimidated (VV. 41-44).
  9. We must maintain spiritual perspective (VV. 45-47).
  10. We must finish the job (VV. 50-51).

Remember that Goliath means “exile” and that the battle between the Philistines and the Israelites was in Ephes-Dammam (V. 1), meaning in Hebrew, the “boundary of blood.”

As believers, we have a boundary of blood over our lives. Our redemption was purchased once and for all by the sacrifice of God’s Son, Jesus, a perfect lamb.

Revelation 5:9 “…You have redeemed us to God by Your blood….”

This is the unfolding story of the Bible… God’s perfect plan was to make for himself a people, a family, His sons and daughters; to be their God, for them to be His people; and to dwell with them forever.

Ezekiel 37:27

My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people.

It is a plan that always included redemption… before the fall, even before creation itself.

Ephesians 1:4-5

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—

The Living Bible translation says:

Long ago, even before he made the world, God chose us to be his very own through what Christ would do for us; he decided then to make us holy in his eyes, without a single fault—we who stand before him covered with his love. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And he did this because he wanted to!

And after the fall, even before God pronounced to Adam and Eve the curse, the consequences of their sin, he promised redemption—that someday, the offspring (or seed) of woman would crush the head of Satan.

Genesis 3:15

And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”

Spurgeon says of this verse, “This is the first gospel sermon that was ever delivered upon the surface of this earth. It was a memorable discourse indeed, with Jehovah himself for the preacher, and the whole human race and the prince of darkness for the audience.”

As people increased in number on the earth and as they, like Adam and Eve, rejected God, chasing after earthly pleasures, this scarlet thread of redemption continued to run through Old Testament history, always leading ultimately to the One who would fulfill God’s perfect plan of redemption.

Genesis 6:5-8

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. 9…Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.

And so God saved Noah and his family from the flood that would cover the earth, giving Noah as the “new Adam” in Genesis 9:1 as he emerged from the ark the same command given to Adam in Genesis 1:28“Be fruitful and increase in number and fill (replenish) the earth.”

As people filled the earth once again, they continued to turn away from God and, in Genesis 11:4, began to build “a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves.” Once again, they were not content with God’s plan or His provision and sought significance in their own strength instead of relying on God. God scattered them over the whole earth. And again, God looked for one man He could use to establish a people, that He would be their God and dwell with them.

This was God’s call and His covenant promise to Abram:

Genesis 12:1-3

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.

The great nation would be Israel. They would dwell in the promised land of Canaan, but only after 400 years of slavery in Egypt.

God Himself would redeem His people out of Egypt, calling Moses to lead them, parting first the waters of the Red Sea and, as Pastor Ian talked about last week, the Jordan River as they followed Joshua and stepped into the long-awaited promise, building an altar to remember Gods faithfulness to His word.

Exodus 6:2-8

God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself fully known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.

“Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.'”

And as we know, God did exactly as He promised.

Joshua 21:45

Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.

So as we turn to the story of David and Goliath in I Samuel, the Israelites are a people redeemed by God, living in the land He had sworn to Abraham, but there are still giants to face. We’d hope to find they had learned from their past and consecrated themselves as a people who relied on God, recounted His faithfulness to them repeatedly, and worshipped on the altars of their hearts. Instead, we come to read they are worshiping idols, shrinking back in fear, and asking God to give them an earthly king like all the other nations have, when the living God, their faithful redeemer, wants to be their King instead.

I Samuel 8:19-20

19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”

As we look at the battle of David and Goliath, the people’s king—Saul—is not leading or fighting. I Samuel 17:11 says that “Saul and all Israel…were dismayed and greatly afraid.” 

And perhaps they should be, for, by this time, God had already rejected Saul as king and had chosen a new king “after his own heart” (I Samuel 13:14) in David. Before David fought Goliath, although he was still only a boy, he had been anointed by the prophet Samuel to be Israel’s new king. He had been given a promise, but it would be years (at least 15, although the exact number isn’t clear) before He would actually step into the promise. Years of Saul’s murderous rage and jealousy, years of being on the run and hiding in caves, years of facing giants…but also years of great victory and celebration, years of growth and preparation, years of becoming the man that God had always known him to be so He would be ready to step into the promises God had for him.

As believers, we are redeemed from sin; we have entered into the promised land. We are children of God; God dwells with us and in us. But we still have giants to face.

And even though we belong to God, the enemy will continue to try to penetrate the blood boundary of our lives, attempting to occupy the territory where he doesn’t belong (he is an exile—he has been cast out of God’s presence) to keep us from stepping into the fullness of the promises God has for us. In short, we will face giants; as Pastor Steve said, bigger and bigger giants, the longer we follow Jesus and seek to obey Him.

How many of us have said yes—we’ve stepped into the promise, but we aren’t walking in it? We face the giants, and like the Israelites, we are “dismayed and greatly afraid.”

David would go on to face even greater giants than Goliath—the giant of his own sinfulness. It is the giant that we all face, the one we must face because of our sinful nature. And heartbroken at his failures, he would pen:

Psalm 51
For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

This leads us to ask another question (although the circumstances are different): How did King David, the man after God’s own heart, who conquered the Philistines, unified the tribes of Israel, established Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel, and wrote the timeless poetry of the Psalms covet Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, commit adultery with her, and then arrange for Uriah to be killed to cover his own sin?

Paul gives us the answer:

Romans 7:18-20

18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing.
20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

It is clear from David’s actions that he failed to do many things that, in facing previous giants, had brought resounding victory.

But our God is merciful, and as we’ve seen, no sin is beyond the reach of the scarlet thread of redemption flowing from the blood of Jesus on the cross—not David’s and not ours.

David would also pen Psalm 32:

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. 
When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them.
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

When we are redeemed, covered by the blood of the lamb, we have a blood boundary, and we can always turn back to Him, seek His forgiveness and mercy, His power and grace. And then we can go boldly forward, “whippin’ giants” for the glory of God.

Note: all scripture references are from the New International Version. (2011) BibleGateway.com

Questions for reflection or discussion: 

Of the 10 “commandments” or “characteristics” Pastor Steve shared for “whippin’ giants,” which ones are more challenging for you and why?

What does it mean to you to know that you have a “boundary of blood” over your life?

How does knowing that God planned your redemption before He created the world change how you answer these questions:

  • Who are you?
  • Whose are you?
  • How much do you mean to God?

Does knowing that such a great warrior as David could later fall into deep sin help you recognize the importance of guarding the boundary of blood around your heart and life?

Do you need to seek forgiveness for any sins that are keeping you from having the power to “whip giants” in your own life?

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