1 Samuel 17:40 (NIV) Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
Imagine being challenged by a man that measured 9 Ft. 6 inches tall and weighed anywhere between 500-650 lbs. Would you stand up to the challenge?
Goliath the Philistine was so large and powerful that none of the experienced warriors of Israel dared to answer his challenge.
The Bible tells us that Goliath would take a stand in the valley between the Israelites and the Philistines, twice a day- every morning and evening, for 40 days straight in order to challenge and mock the Israelite army.
Goliath knew what he was doing. Not only was Goliath taunting the Israelite Army for their cowardice, but also he was taunting the God that the Israelites claimed to believe in.
First of all, when God gave the 10 Commandments to Moses, the old prophet had spent 40 days up in Mount Sinai in fasting and prayer. When the Israelites were led out of Egypt by God, they lived in the wilderness for 40 years before they entered the Promised Land. Goliath the giant warrior knew what he was doing.
In addition to that, the Philistines knew that in the Tabernacle of the Lord, the Priests sacrificed 2 Lambs without blemish each day- every morning and every evening. (Numbers 28:6)
This means that whenever the Jewish soldiers prayed together at the time of the sacrifice, that Goliath interrupted their prayers in order to steal their trust in God and fill their hearts with fear.
But isn’t that exactly what the devil and his demons do to you? How many times have you planned to pray at a particular time for a need- and yet its at that time when the devil tries to steal your faith in God and his promises.
How many times have demons whispered in your ear that your prayers to the God are in vain, and that your condition is helpless?
Not only that… the demons that try to destroy you always try to distract you from keeping your eyes upon God, by showing you how powerful they seem in comparison to you. Not only was Goliath almost 10 Ft. Tall and weighed about 600lbs of pure muscle… Goliath seemed like an impenetrable tank of flesh and blood before the eyes of the puny Israelites.
An Israelite soldier of that time that weighed about 150 lbs. was considered to be a mighty man. But the Bible says that Goliath’s chain-link armor alone weighed about 125 lbs. That means that Goliath could could probably take an average Israeli soldier by the neck and throw him across the valley with one hand.
Not only did Goliath seem to be an impenetrable, walking tank- but he was also a mature, extremely confident, experienced warrior of many, many years.
My dear friend… How old are you? Most of us are between the ages of 30-60 years old. Now let me ask you a question:
How old are the demons that challenge you on a daily basis? How old are the spirits that taunt and torment, and fill your hearts with fear? Not even Mr. Ray Moritz with his 90 years of life-experience could compare either in age or experience to the demons that you and I fight on a daily basis.
You and I, if left to our own devices, regardless of our sacrifices, could only guarantee our own demises. Before our Goliath’s you and I are by all intents and purposes defeated chaff in the wind.
But among us there is a champion. When no human being could walk down to the valley of the shadow of death, God sent his only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to descend to the darkness of this world, so that in his weakest state on the Cross, he could defeat the enemy of God’s people by the power of his Resurrection. And it is that victory that Jesus Christ has to offer today for anyone who decides to take a stand and place his trust in the power of the blood of God’s only Son.
When young David heard the taunting of Goliath and saw the fear, even of his own brothers who were experienced fighters… David asked: “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
You see my friend, when demons attack and torment you- it’s not you who they’re really defying, but it is the God who created the heavens and the earth. But there isn’t a battle that God has lost yet.
So before David descended to the Valley of the Shadow of Death in order to confront Goliath and defend God’s Name and honor… the young shepherd went down to a stream of water that was nearby, in order to collect some smooth stones for his sling… Perhaps it was there by that stream of water, that David was inspired with the words found in Psalm 23:
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
For 40 Days, Goliath taunted Israel twice a day at the time when the burnt offerings were offered. He knew what he was doing… But so did that young ruddy shepherd called David.
The Bible says that David chose 5 smooth stones from the stream. Those 5 smooth stones represented 2 things.
First- the Bible teaches us in 1 Samuel 6:17, that Philistine Nation had 5 major cities known as Ashdod, Gaza, ashkelon, Gath and Ekron.
Just like in modern warfare, where soldiers will write messages and names on bombs and planes, young David chose 5 smooth stones that represented the cities of the Philistines.
David was taking a stand in Faith… the point that David was making that God was not going to defeat the nation of the Philistines by means of a mighty army or the latest technology… but that God would defeat the Philistines by the power of the Name that Goliath was desecrating, and upon which the Jews had lost Faith.
But greater still- each one of those stones represented each one of the 5 different types of Sacrifices that God had given to Israel and that are found in the book of Leviticus- that atoned for the sins of God’s people.
But even greater still… Just as those 5 stones represented the 5 types of Sacrifices in the Old Testament… those sacrifices pointed to the 5 wounds of the one who would descend from the line of the Shepherd boy— the Son of God, known as the Son of David, Jesus Christ, our Lord- who gave his life as a ransom and sacrifice on the Cross on our behalf… and by who’s 5 wounds we are healed of every spiritual sin and disease… and every and anything that could ever separate us from the Love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Shepherd, King and Lord.
Notice that David went down to the stream to pick up those 5 stones… in the same way, when a man, woman or child is baptized in the waters of salvation, that person is given everything he or she needs in order to defeat the Goliaths that will stand in our way.
When Goliath saw David holding on to his shepherd staff, and seeing that he was a young, ruddy boy… the godless Giant mocked him and said: “Am I a dog that that you come at me with sticks? Come here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field.”
Notice how the source of Goliath’s deprecation towards young David was based on Pride. Goliath’s Pride blinded him in such a way, that he thought that his own physical strength and stamina would be sufficient to defeat a seemingly, inexperienced and weak, young person that relied solely upon the strength and grace of God.
Back in 1998, before Liz and I started our first church-mission in Long Island, we tried to help a Hispanic congregation. True, we had no ministerial experience… True, there were probably old members in that divided church that new more Bible than me…
But our Faith in God led us to drive every Sunday for almost 2 hours each way from New Jersey to Long Island- simply because we felt the call from God to go and be of encouragement to those Christians who had let the pride of this world defeat them.
You would think that our Faith would inspire them to love each other and re-unite under the Cross, especially that Liz and I would travel from so far with 2 little boys and a newborn baby in the car.
We had the support of our Pastor. We had the support and recommendation of our Association. We had the support and recommendation of the Bible School in which I was studying… You would think that all these qualities would be inspirational to them. Instead, some of the prideful leaders that had lead the church division, despised us… One of them who opposed my presence even dared to point to me one day and say:
“What is this young fatty going to teach us?
Proverbs 16:18 says: Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.
But in the midst of all that deprecation and pride, David stood before the haughty Giant and said: “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give all of your into our hands.”
The Bible says that when Goliath heard these words… that he began to move towards David in order to attack him… But instead of David running away- the Bible says that he ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him, and that reaching into his bag, he took one stone and slung it towards Goliath… striking the Philistine Giant on the forehead…
Have you ever seen Russian soldiers, how when they stand in attention, that they stand with their foreheads raised? A raised forehead is a symbol of pride- and it was upon the symbol of Goliath’s pride that the one stone struck down the Giant.
And not only that… the Bible says that when his forehead was struck by the stone, that he fell face down to the ground in a posture of adoration and submission…
You see, nobody can get away with mocking God. Galatians 6:4 says: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” In the same way that prideful Goliath was humiliated before the humble shepherd boy… so was Satan humiliated and defeated by the humble-Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. And that victory of Christ is yours, if you put your trust in Him.
A few years ago I had a vision… In that vision it was time to start the service… When I stood before the Altar, I noticed that there were a few of the old leaders behind the Altar, while on the left side of the Altar, there was a main leader- who although in person is of small stature, in the dream he was as big as Goliath. I looked down at my garments and noticed that I was not dressed with my robes… When I noticed this, I panicked… I began to run to and fro all over the church, looking for my Alb… which is the white robe that we use for the Liturgy. When I was about to give up and whither away in shame, an angel came to me and said: “Your Alb is in the Sacristy.” I then went to the Sacristy…and there it was- shining like a blazing sun. I took the robe, walked towards the Altar, and put on my Alb right there… And the moment that put on the Alb, the Giant was gone- and I began the Liturgy.
The Alb that we wear is a reminder of our Baptisms…its the white robe that are placed on little children when they’re going to be baptized. The Alb is a symbol of Christ himself… For the Bible says in Galatians 3:27- for all you who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. The Bible also says in 1 Peter 2:4, that each person who comes to Christ, comes to the living Stone, that although was despised by men, was chosen by God and is precious to him.
My dear friend, like the young shepherd boy- when you were baptized you were brought by God himself to the baptismal streams of eternal life- where not only did he dress you with the humble garments of Christ, but also gave you A PRECIOUS STONE with which to defeat your Goliaths.
No matter how your Goliath calls itself… whether it is Anger, or Pride, Adultery or Homosexuality, Drunkenness or Gluttony; Gossip or Hate, Impatience or Thievery… You have been given One Precious Stone with which you can defeat your Goliath… for every Goliath there is a Stone, and He is Called Jesus Christ- the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Take a stand against your Goliath- place your Faith on the Cross- claim the Faithfulness of God, and stand upon the knowledge that you are victorious by the power of the Christ’s resurrection and the assurance that God’s love for us never fails.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.