Date: August 11, 2002
Text: I Samuel 17
Theme: David utilized four leadership courage builders when faced with
Research the controlling factors (vs.26)
are three controlling factors
Goliath: “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that is defying the Armies of the
“What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes
this disgrace from Israel?”
“. . . the Living God?”
Rebuke the Naysayers
older brother . . . asked, “Why have you come down here?
. . . I know how conceited you are . . .?"
David then turned away to someone else.” (vv. 28-30)
Saul replied, “You
are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him, you are only a
boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth.” (v. 33)
Goliath said to
David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” (v. 43)
Remember your past victories (v. 37)
“The Lord who
delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me
from the hand of this Philistine.”
Rearm for a long battle (v. 40)
David took five stones. . .” Why
in the face of Intimidation”
I have a
confession to make. I love the
Rocky movies, or I should say the Rocky genre ¾
people who are risk takers and seem to have no fear. Our story today is one such story.
seems to have “No Fear!” In the
story we have heard from our childhood, David, with just a slingshot and five
stones slays a 9 foot giant who has totally terrorized the nation. Now David is not always fearless.
are times as he grows older that he cries out in great fear in some of the
Psalms that his enemies are surrounding him. But this day—this time—this moment, DAVID HAS NO FEAR!
What is it in this story that generates the strength in David to be a
profile in courage?
Nearly half a
century after then-Senator John F. Kennedy was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Profiles
in Courage, his masterful portrait of American heroes, the words
"politician" and "courage" are rarely uttered in the same
breath. But, as this celebration of
modern political bravery amply demonstrates, there are countless examples of
heroism among today’s elected officials. Profiles
in Courage for Our Time pays tribute to 13 such heroes, each a recipient of
the prestigious Profile in Courage award. The essays’ authors are as
noteworthy as their subjects: Bob
Woodward writes on former President Gerald Ford's controversial decision of
conscience to pardon former President Richard Nixon and how it cost him the
presidency, but saved the nation months, maybe even years, of political battles.
Kennedy, the editor of the book, says, "The Profiles in Courage Award seeks
to honor those whose lives of service prove that politics can be a noble
profession. We hope that Americans realize that there are men and women serving
at all levels of our government who are legends of our time."
In our second
message in leadership, we will examine a profile in courage—great courage in
the face of intimidation and fear. Last
week we looked at Solomon and how he lead a nation from prosperity into
turbulent time. In two weeks we
will look at five women and how they changed a nation, on our final session
together we will look at John the Baptizer, who is in prison about to be
baptized and he is scared—so much so that he doubts his salvation, his call,
his effectiveness as a leader. But
today let’s look at David.
is such a story: He uses four
courage builders to win this battle with fear.
he (Goliath) stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, and said to them,
"Why do you come out to draw up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine
and you servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to
me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your
servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our
servants and serve us." Again
the Philistine said, "I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man
that we may fight together." When
Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine they were dismayed and
Courage Builder One: Consider the Controlling Factors (vs.26)
are three controlling factors that David considers: Goliath, King Saul, and the Living God.
Yet, if we take
seriously what the New Testament says, we are told by the apostle Paul that
these stories happened to them as examples to us. I love the Old Testament and these true stories.
But they are more than historical characters. They are examples for us. But
we must interpret these examples correctly.
is this uncircumcised Philistine that he is defying the Armies of the Living
story of David and Goliath is often misinterpreted to promise us false
victories. A key to this story is
that the giant was to be defeated, but no one could except David. The story emphasizes that we can have victory over anything that is
enslaving us, such as fear and intimidation. We are promised in the New Testament that “God has not given us a
spirit of fear . . .” Fear is an
enemy that needs to be defeated. Just
as David freed Israel from the fear of the giant, God can also free us from our
We all have
giants in our lives -- perhaps a habit, or a critical spirit, or some
distressing, sin that you would like to be rid of -- you have tried desperately
to overcome it but just cannot find the way to freedom.
Those are giants. We all
There is an
important lesson here:
The Philistines were trespassers.
They were not supposed to be there.
When we interpret the giant in our life, we must make sure that God wants
that giant removed. It was obvious
that the Philistines were occupying the land that belonged to Judah.
God had given the land to the nation of Israel, and the Philistines had
no right to invade. We need to
recognize that this is true of all these invaders in our life, whatever they may
be. They have no right to be there.
Try to identify
a giant that you are facing right now. If
it is a sin that is enslaving you, you can be confident that God wants to defeat
giant. The giant might be fear
itself. God has promised that we do
not need to live in the spirit of fear, but of love and peace and a sound mind.
It might be a relationship that you know you need to break off, but are
enslaved by this relationship. But
the one thing that is clear from this story is that this giant is a trespasser
and had totally intimidated Israel and their King, Saul.
asks Saul: “What will be done for
this man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel?”
second controlling factor was Saul. Saul
doesn’t have a clue. Saul was the
King of Israel; however, Saul was a basket case.
often wondered why David asked the question, “What will be done for the one
who kills the Philistine?” It
sort of takes away the spiritual motivation of David.
It is as if he is negotiating a prize for doing something he knows he can
when we really understand the context of the story, we see why David asked the
question. We often read the story
of I Samuel 17 without understanding what has just happened in the previous
chapter. Chapter 16 outlines two
important events in David’s life before he faces the giant.
first half of chapter 16 tells how David was anointed to be the new King in a
private ceremony in the home of his father, Jesse.
So David and his family knew that David, the shepherd would be the king.
the second half of the chapter we find out that David and Saul had already met.
Look at the last verse of chapter 16.
The writer says of Saul, “Whenever the spirit from God came upon
Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then
relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave
him." Saul was a greatly
troubled man and David knew this. How?
In the verses that precede this story, we learn that Saul had so rejected
God that the spirit of God that directed Saul in his leadership, had left Saul
and an evil spirit filled that spot. Verse
14 says that Saul was tormented. Saul
is not only tormented from the giant, he has his own evil spirit that he is
dealing with. He asks his servants
for help and one of them says that he has heard of a son of Jesse, who is a
great musician and when he plays, people feel relaxed and motivated—the power
of music. So David starts
moonlighting as Saul’s personal musician—to play music for him.
When David plays the harp and sings, Saul is comforted and the evil
spirit leaves him. Bottom line,
Saul has met David before. This
gives us some insight as to why Saul is a little surprised when his musician
wants to fight the Giant. It would
sort of be like President Bush calling for the “flutists and the harpists to
go after Osama Ben Ladin.
really wonder if David, knowing that he would be king, wondered how a shepherd
would become the king. He had one
opportunity and that was playing and singing his songs for Saul.
Now he looked at this opportunity and he decided to see what would be
given for the victory. He found out
that his family would never have to pay taxes (pretty good deal), and he would
be given Saul’s daughter in marriage. (We
don’t know if that was a good deal or not ¾
although marrying her might help put him in a place to become king.)
Bottom line is that David knew Saul was an inept leader and had no
control over the situation. He was losing his leadership position and he was
floundering as a king. David saw
this as an opportunity to step in by using his God given gifts—music and
winning battles in the power of God.
. . . the Living God?”
David spoke to the men who were standing by him, saying, "What will be done
for the man who kills this Philistine, and takes away the reproach from Israel?
For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should taunt the armies of the
But when David
sees the third controlling factor, he really knows the power over fear.
does this Philistine, this pagan, have to hold at bay the armies of the living
God?" Do you see what David is doing? He is taking the first step in
overthrowing the giants in the life -- he reminds himself of the truth.
And that is where we must begin. And
that is where David began. "Who
is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the living God'?
you see God as the controlling factor?
Until May 7,
1984, the Rev. Benjamin Weir was little known outside Presbyterian Church
circles and Lebanon, where he had served 30 years as a missionary. On that day
he was seized near his apartment in Beirut by Shiite Muslim extremists.
It was the beginning of 16 months spent as a hostage, 14 of them in
solitary confinement. It was also
the beginning of a time of acute agony for the Rev. Weir's wife and four
children, who knew - as did he - that he might be killed at any time.
was particularly ironic that Benjamin Weir, and others like him who had chosen
careers of service, were slated for kidnapping.
He was as well loved as any American remaining in shattered Lebanon, a
reminder of an earlier age when selfless American men and women traveled halfway
around the world to teach and heal in the Middle East.
Such efforts, over a period of 150 years, had created the greatest
American cultural legacy in the Arab world, the American University of Beirut (AUB).
Weir was held captive by terrorists in Lebanon for sixteen months.
Fourteen of those months he was in solitary confinement, not knowing from
day to day if he would be executed, freed or left for years.
They took him into a room, a small room, and in the room there was a
mattress on which he slept and one which he sat, because one arm was always
handcuffed to the radiator. The
window had Venetian blinds. There
was no other furniture. Interesting
enough there was an old stuffed bird sitting over in one corner, a poor example
of taxidermy art. There were some
cracks in the walls, and where there had been a chandelier in the ceiling, it
had been taken away and there were three loose wires sticking down.
This was all there was in the room.
Ben said, “I
began to use what was there to remind myself of the love of God. Those three
wires coming down—well, they reminded me of the way God’s hand comes down
and touches the hand of Adam in Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling.
You remember how the gift of life is given in such a way?
This meant God’s gift of life.”
He counted the various slats in the Venetian blinds, and he used the
Venetian blind to remind himself that he was surrounded by a cloud of witnesses.
The bird, though it was very old and dirty, he used to represent the Holy
Spirit, sometimes symbolized in Scripture, as you know, by the dove.
The cracks in
the wall, the places in the plaster that were marred—each and every one of
them he identified with some promise in Scripture.
He would repeat to himself each day passages which he had long ago hidden
in his heart: “May the peace of
God which transcends all understanding guide your heart and your mind into
Christ Jesus;” “Call upon me
and I will do great and wondrous things that you know of.”
all of these things, and out of this he kept hold of himself for fifteen months
alone—a long look, a remembering and focusing upon the love of God.
courage builder in the center of intimidating fear is to refocus from the source
of your fear to the power and love of God.
Susie and I had a friend in her mid-thirties about 15 years ago who was
losing her husband to cancer. It
was a very terrible death and we would visit her in the hospital.
In talking to Sharon, she would find incredible strength in reading the
Psalms. One day she told us that
the reason she found strength in the Psalms was that she had studied them so
much in Bible Study Fellowship. She
said something that I will never forget. She
said, “Tom, when you are facing the greatest time of fear in your life, this
is not the time to try and figure out what those Psalms mean.
It is time to reflect on what the Psalms mean because you have searched
them out before.”
That is great
advice. When times are good, we
often forget to get to know God in such a deep way that we can recall his
promises when times become turbulent.
Rebuke the Critics
this text we see that David had three critics:
His brother, Saul and finally Goliath himself.
What is interesting is that David uses three different methods to deal
with his critics.
first was his older brother: How
many of you are older brothers? -- Shame on you.
How many times have we who are older brothers have been the critics of
the younger members of our family. This
seems to be the case often. We
perhaps become jealous of their potential or success when we are not
accomplishing all that we thought we could.
does David face him -- he ignores him. Sometimes
we have to ignore our critics and let them go--especially when they are family.
But he doesn’t kill him.
faces the second and third critics by using the next two courage builders.
Revisit Your Lions and Bears (v. 37)
the critic says to David, “You
are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him, you are only a
boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth.”
Look how David
replies to Saul, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the
paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
not only answers his critic, but he also encourages his own heart as he
is just like any other animal I've faced in my past. God will deliver me."
Do you see what he is doing? He is reminding himself of past victories in his
the lions and bears in your lives. Susie
and I were sharing a few weeks back about the down turn in the economy, how it
has affected our business and how it affects those who work for us.
It is not easy and you can become discouraged and feel the stress of the
kinds of decisions you make. We had
one of our Lion and Bear meetings. I
love Lion and Bear meetings. It is
when you recall similar times and how God defeated the Lions and Bears then.
recalled when we moved to Denver and Susie felt the call of God to be a high
school English teacher and there were 10,000 teachers in Denver who did not have
jobs. On the day I registered for
Seminary, Susie got one of the few positions.
We also recalled how when she was a teaching assistant at California
State University, Sacramento, and a position opened up for her—just before our
kids went off to college—to get a ten-year track full-professorship position
at the University. It was a
you had a Lion and Bear meeting lately? Let
me encourage you to recall the miracles of God in your life.
last courage builder that we see this morning is the way that David handled his
Pick Five Stones (v. 40)
said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” (v. 43)
"You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to
you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you
have taunted, this is day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will
strike you down and remove your head from you."
“And David took five stones . . ."
might wonder why David chose five stones. Some think that Goliath had four
brothers, and David was going to take them all. This is true, but using some
sanctified imagination I like to think that David had no guarantee that this was
going to be an easy fight. He had
no idea that Goliath was going to be so confident that he would leave the face
guard up and expose an easy target—a forehead of a giant.
Some must of thought that this giant is just too big to fight.
David must have thought that this giant is too big to miss.
have spent most of my life studying the lives and characteristics of great
leaders. Leaders come in all shapes
and sizes. Some are organized, some
seem disorganized. Some have clean desks and some have messy desks.
Some are always on time and some are late.
Some are outgoing and talkative while others are quiet and reserved.
But there is one characteristic that all leaders have.
There has never been a great leader who did not have this characteristic.
And that characteristic is resilience.
– leaders are resilient. They get
up when fallen.
I use to love to
teach our boys, when they were small, principles by telling stories.
I use to tell stories about two brothers named Mark and Billy, who
happened to be about the same age as our boys.
One evening I told them about Mark and Billy climbing up the mountain and
it was windy, stormy and they were tempted to quit.
But they kept saying to each other, “Keep on, Keep on, keep on.”
We would march around the room together chanting, “keep on, keep on,
keep on.” The next day, Jonathan
came home from kindergarten at noon. Susie
was teaching and I was in seminary, so Jonathan and I would have lunch together
everyday and then play a game. We
played hide and go seek. I had
hidden in a really great place and he couldn’t find me.
Now most kids give up in about one or two minutes.
But Jonathan kept looking and looking.
From my hiding place I could hear him whispering beneath his breath,
“keep on, keep on, keep on.” For
those of you who know Jonathan you know that Jonathan is resilient.
In his early 30’s now, he has worked hard in youth ministry and kept up
when many others would have quit.
happened when David did this. The entire nation was mobilized.
What they needed was a leader who was not afraid to face the giant.
David had no fear because he used these four courage builders:
And we can be sure of the same. As
you face the giant in your life, call upon God to . . .
Consider the controlling factors.
Where does God fit into the controlling factor?
Challenge your critics.
Maybe you just need to ignore them.
Recall the past miracles in your life.
Tell those stories to your critics and yourself.
Pick up five stones, knowing it can be a long battle.
But “keep on.”
Read more about Tom McKee on his web page: http://www.tommckee.com/