DoNotDefyTheArmiesOfTheLivingGod Image.001


Do Not Defy the Armies of the Living God 

Who will stand up for the armies of the living God?

First Samuel 17

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • January 4, In the year of our Lord, 2015

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Larry Amberg – Onward Christian Soldiers, and similar songs


  1. First Samuel 17.1–3 – The Enemy Does Not Give Up

    1 Now the Philistines gathered their armies together to battle, and were gathered at Sochoh, which belongs to Judah; they encamped between Sochoh and Azekah, in Ephes Dammim. 2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and they encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array against the Philistines. 3 The Philistines stood on a mountain on one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side, with a valley between them.

    1. The armies of Philistia and Israel gathered for battle, but
      1. neither side wished to begin the battle,
      2. both having lost badly to the other in the past.
    2. The Philistines antagonized Israel relentlessly for centuries.
    3. Wherever you see God’s people, either
      1. Israel in the Hebrew Scriptures, or
      2. the church in the Books of Acts and Revelation and in church history,
        1. you will also see her enemies.
        2. The enemies of God’s people,
          1. might back down for a while, but then
          2. they will return in strength.
      3. Remember the wording of Luke
        1. when he recorded the failure of Satan to tempt Jesus
        2. that Luke noted Satan departed,

          13 Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time (Luke 4.13).
      4. James 4 does say that we can make Satan go away,

        7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you (Jam 4.7).

        1. He will flee, but
        2. he will return as soon as he can.
  2. First Samuel 17.4–7 – The Enemy Intimidates

    4 And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. 6 And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders. 7 Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; and a shield-bearer went before him.

    1. If the cubit was 18 inches, and the span 9 inches Goliath was 9 feet, 9 inches.
      1. If the cubit was 21 inches, and
        1. Don Patton believes that it was based on his discoveries on Mt. Ararat,
        2. then Goliath was 11 feet, 3 inches tall!
      2. Either way, he was a big guy!
        1. No wonder the ten spies said they felt like grasshoppers.
        2. Remember another Canaanite, Og with a bed 9 cubits by 4 cubits.
    2. See how strong this man was.
      1. He wore a helmut made of bronze.
      2. He wore a coat of mail,
        1. which weighed 5,000 shekels of bronze,
        2. equaling 125 pounds.
      3. He wore bronze armor on his legs.
      4. He carried a bronze javelin between his shoulders.
        1. The staff of the spear was like a weaver’s beam.
        2. The spearhead weighted 600 shekels, over 9 pounds.
      5. Also, a man went before him to bear Goliath’s shield.
    3. The enemy almost always has God’s people
      1. outnumbered,
      2. outgunned,
      3. outfinanced,
      4. outskilled,
        1. Yet, what does all of that matter,
        2. if the Lord is on your side?
          1. The power is the Lord, but
          2. He teaches us how to battle our enemies.

            31 For who is God, except the Lord?
            And who is a rock, except our God?
            32 It is God who arms me with strength,
            And makes my way perfect.
            33 He makes my feet like the feet of deer,
            And sets me on my high places.
            34 He teaches my hands to make war,
            So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
            (Psa 18.31–34)

            1. Yes, we need people, weapons, finances, skill, but
            2. the Lord provides those things.
    4. Think of the chief enemy of the armies of the living God today.
      1. The secularists, including atheists and evolutionists,
        1. they have taken over the government,
        2. they have taken over the educational system, and
          1. most Christians act like King Saul and the rest of Israel,
          2. full of fear, doubt, topped with a defeatist attitude.
            1. We believe we have to be in the majority
            2. to be able to do anything.
  3. First Samuel 17.8–10 – Enemies Defy God’s People

    8 Then he stood and cried out to the armies of Israel, and said to them, “Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. 9 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.” 10 And the Philistine said, “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.”

    1. Goliath believed his size, experience, intimidation, and Israel’s fear
      1. guaranteed victory for him and the Philistines.
      2. Therefore, he could make a bargain
        1. that he knew he and his fellow-Philistines
        2. would never have to honor, but
          1. that the fearful Israelites would accept easily.
    2. The New Atheists want to battle.
      1. They care nothing for civility.
      2. They are not like Carl Sagan and others.
        1. They have every intention of shutting us down.
        2. They believe we are fools for what we believe.
          1. They have momentum on their side.
          2. Most things now go in their favor, and
            1. for the things that do not,
            2. they pursue it relentlessly until they get it.
    3. Look at verse 10.
      1. Goliath defied the armies of Israel,
      2. the very armies that defeated
        1. Egypt,
        2. the nations during the wilderness wanderings, and
        3. the Canaanite nations.
      3. Yes, he would feel pumped up to know
        1. that he stood up against the mighty Israel army and their God.
        2. Goliath defied the God before whose Ark, Dagon had fallen down.
  4. First Samuel 17.11 – God’s People Will Be Dismayed

    11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

    1. Israel forgot her history.
      1. Listen to us talk about the world versus the church today.
      2. It is as though it never occurred to us
        1. that the church has faced mighty enemies in the past 1985 years, and
        2. that they have all been vanquished and we have won!
          1. Do not criticize Israel too much for not knowing their history,
          2. how well do you know church history?
    2. I listen to us today talk, and
      1. we defeat ourselves before we even get started.
      2. We say,
        1. “Well, I really don’t know what we can do.”
        2. “The tide is against us.”
      3. Why then don’t we just close up shop and go home?
        1. Do you know what most Christians say to me when I talk like this?
        2. “It was different back then, Don.”
          1. What was different?
          2. No, it was not different!
    3. Israel cowered in fear, but the Lord sought a man who could do the job.
  5. First Samuel 17.12–15 – God Will Raise Up an Unknown

    12 Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehem Judah, whose name was Jesse, and who had eight sons. And the man was old, advanced in years, in the days of Saul. 13 The three oldest sons of Jesse had gone to follow Saul to the battle. The names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, next to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. 14 David was the youngest. And the three oldest followed Saul. 15 But David occasionally went and returned from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.

    1. While men prepared to butcher one another,
      1. the Lord turns our attention to a young man,
      2. running back and forth between
        1. playing music for the king and
        2. feeding his father’s sheep.
          1. What does this have to do with
          2. a massive man defying the armies of the living God?
            1. Do not despise the day of small things,

              For who has despised the day of small things?
              (Zec 10.4a)
            2. You never know what the Lord is cooking up!
    2. Also, remember
      1. that Samuel anointed this young man to be the next king of Israel,
      2. that Gideon took 300 men and defeated 135,000,
      3. that the Lord loves to do the unexpected.
  6. First Samuel 17.16 – Enemies Are Relentless

    16 And the Philistine drew near and presented himself forty days, morning and evening.

    1. If we run like deer frightened by a breaking twig,
      1. the enemy will feel empowered and
      2. they will challenge us relentlessly.
    2. Therefore, this one-man wrecking machine of armies,
      1. challenged and defied the armies of Israel
      2. for forty days, twice everyday!
    3. Mr. Goliath, did you do this for forty days?
      1. Mr. Goliath, you know Israel’s history.
      2. You know that great things happen for Israel’s benefit after forty days.
        1. Not a good idea, Mr. Redwood Tree.
        2. You are about to go down!
  7. First Samuel 17.17–19 – Your Work May Go from Grain to Giants

    17 Then Jesse said to his son David, “Take now for your brothers an ephah of this dried grain and these ten loaves, and run to your brothers at the camp. 18 And carry these ten cheeses to the captain of their thousand, and see how your brothers fare, and bring back news of them.” 19 Now Saul and they and all the men of Israel were in the Valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.

    1. Goliath challenged Israel, but the Lord shows us a harp-playing shepherd.
    2. Dad gives him a job to take grain and bread to his brothers at the battle.
      1. Oh my goodness, this young man’s world is about to change,
      2. change not only his life, but
        1. the life of Israel, and
        2. the story of the Scheme of Redemption.
          1. Something is about to happen
          2. that will make this man a type of the Christ.
  8. First Samuel 17.20–24 – What Will a Man with God’s Heart Do?

    20 So David rose early in the morning, left the sheep with a keeper, and took the things and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the camp as the army was going out to the fight and shouting for the battle. 21 For Israel and the Philistines had drawn up in battle array, army against army. 22 And David left his supplies in the hand of the supply keeper, ran to the army, and came and greeted his brothers. 23 Then as he talked with them, there was the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, coming up from the armies of the Philistines; and he spoke according to the same words. So David heard them. 24 And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were dreadfully afraid.

    1. The delivery boy arrives, but
    2. he heard the champion of the Philistines defy the armies of God, and
      1. witnessed all the men of Israel flee from one man!
      2. What shall the harpist think about that and do about it?
  9. First Samuel 17.25–27 – God Shall Reward You

    25 So the men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel; and it shall be that the man who kills him the king will enrich with great riches, will give him his daughter, and give his father’s house exemption from taxes in Israel.” 26 Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, “What shall 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 defy the armies of the living God?” 27 And the people answered him in this manner, saying, “So shall it be done for the man who kills him.”

    1. The men of Israel gave David the latest news:
      1. A massive man has come to defy Israel, but
      2. the king has offered special rewards for the Israelite who defeats Goliath:
        1. Great riches,
        2. marriage to a princess, and
        3. exemption from taxes!
    2. What did the sweet singer of Israel think of the Philistine champion?
      1. The Philistine brought reproach on Israel.
      2. The Philistine was uncircumcised.
      3. Therefore, who was he to defy the armies of the living God?
  10. First Samuel 17.28–30 – Turn from Critics

    28 Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David, and he said, “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” 29 And David said, “What have I done now? Is there not a cause?” 30 Then he turned from him toward another and said the same thing; and these people answered him as the first ones did.

    1. Did David get blamed for many things that went on at home?
    2. Here, he believed there was a legitimate cause for his question.
  11. First Samuel 17.31–37 – Trust in God

    31 Now when the words which David spoke were heard, they reported them to Saul; and he sent for him. 32 Then David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”

    1. “Here am I, send me!”
      1. Even as Goliath believed fully in victory for himself,
      2. so David believed fully in victory,
        1. not just for himself, but
        2. for all Israel so that none needed to fear.
    2. Saul tried to persuade David from going, but
      1. what do you say to a man who has confronted
      2. a lion and a bear with his bare hands and killed the predators?
        1. To David, an uncircumcised Philistine did not differ from wild animals.
        2. David did not refer to Goliath’s size, only
          1. that he was uncircumcised, and
          2. that he defied the armies of the living God.
  12. First Samuel 17.38–40 – Use What You Know

    38 So Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail. 39 David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” So David took them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine.

    1. Saul tried to make David like Goliath to fight Goliath on his terms.
      1. However, even as David did not go into this battle without experience,
      2. so he did not want to go into battle not having experienced Saul’s armor.
    2. Therefore, he took what he knew.
      1. He gathered five smooth stones,
      2. perfect for speed, accuracy, and for sinking into the flesh of your target.
  13. First Samuel 17.41–44 – Enemies Will Despise You

    41 So the Philistine came, and began drawing near to David, and the man who bore the shield went before him. 42 And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him; for he was only a youth, ruddy and good-looking. 43 So the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 And the Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”

    1. David did not have a battle-experienced appearance, because
      1. his battles did not last long.
      2. He won them immediately.
    2. Goliath mocked not only David’s appearance, but
      1. his weapons,
      2. just like the Goliath of evolution mock our Bibles.
    3. By his gods, the uncircumcised Goliath cursed David.
  14. First Samuel 17.45–47 – Glorify God

    45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with 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 defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”

    1. The Philistine trusted in his weapons.
      1. The Israelite trusted in his God, and
      2. the fact that the Philistine had defied that very God.
        1. With David’s confidence not in himself, but
          1. in the Lord, and
        2. with the Philistine defying God ultimately,
          1. David knew he was the victor before the fight began.
    2. David also promised that with the defeat of Goliath,
      1. all the Earth would know there is a God in Israel, and
      2. that the Lord does not gain His victories with man’s weapons.
        1. Was David right?
        2. Here we are 3,000 years later,
          1. not living in the land of Israel,
          2. speaking a different language, but
            1. we are nevertheless, speaking of David’s victory over Goliath.
            2. Even the world uses the imagery of David and Goliath.
  15. First Samuel 17.48–51 – Go from Trust to Fearlessness

    48 So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 49 Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. 50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David. 51 Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.

    1. The stone fired away in excess of 60 mph.
      1. Goliath never saw it coming.
      2. That should not surprise us,
        1. I saw a man bring down our steer to its knees instantly
        2. with a .22 right between the eyes.
    2. David finished off the job by cutting off Goliath’s head with his own sword.
    3. Wait, did you read that last sentence?
      1. I thought the Philistines were to become servants of Israel.
      2. Why did they flee?
  16. First Samuel 17.52–54 – The Enemy Will Not Submit

    52 Now the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted, and pursued the Philistines as far as the entrance of the valley and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell along the road to Shaaraim, even as far as Gath and Ekron. 53 Then the children of Israel returned from chasing the Philistines, and they plundered their tents. 54 And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his tent.

    1. The Philistines were down and Israel finished the job.
    2. All of Jerusalem needed to see the head of their great enemy.
  17. First Samuel 17.55–58 – Let God Exalt You

    55 When Saul saw David going out against the Philistine, he said to Abner, the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is this youth?” And Abner said, “As your soul lives, O king, I do not know.” 56 So the king said, “Inquire whose son this young man is.” 57 Then, as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. 58 And Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?” So David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.”

    1. David had played music for Saul while distressed with a spirit, but
    2. he did not know who was in his house serving him.


  1. Do not defy the armies of the living God! 
    1. That means, do not defy the church of the living God.
    2. That means, you will go down just as Goliath did and
      1. as all of Israel’s enemies did and
      2. as all of the church’s enemies have in the past 1,985 years!
  2. In fact, why don’t you join the winning side? 
    1. Jesus is our David.
    2. Therefore, no enemy can withstand us.
      1. He will also raise up unknowns
      2. who will follow the heart of God and
        1. defeat all the church’s enemies.