«STUDIES IN THE LIFE OF DAVID Taught in Ambassador's Class of Peninsula Bible Church, Palo Alto, California April 1979 through December 1979 by Robert ...»
STUDIES IN THE LIFE OF DAVID
Taught in Ambassador's Class of Peninsula Bible Church, Palo Alto, California
April 1979 through December 1979
Robert H. Roe, Pastor
I Samuel 16:18-17:30 Lesson #4 April 29, 1979
Today we will see how the Lord, in his sovereignty, has the man who is to be replaced bring his replacement
into the palace. You will recall that Samuel anointed David King of Israel, at which time the Spirit came
mightily upon David and departed from Saul. God, then, sent a spirit of evil, which even Saul's courtiers recognized was from the hand of the Lord, to bring Saul to repentance. To combat the depressions brought on by this spirit, Saul's servants requested permission to seek a man who was a skillful player on the harp. It was very common to do that in those days. It was even common in the Greek world. So, in I Samuel Chapter 16, Verse 17, we see Saul requesting his servants to provide such a man.
We pick up now in I Samuel 16, Verse 18:
Then one of the young men answered and said, "Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is a skillful musician, a mighty man of valor, a warrior, one prudent in speech, and a handsome man; and the LORD is with him. So Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, "Send me your son David who is with the flock." And Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread and a jug of wine and a young goat, and sent them to Saul by David his son. Then David came to Saul and attended him, and Saul loved him greatly; and he became his armor bearer. [This is another word for "aide-de-camp" They might have up to 10 armor bearers, as Joab, David's general, did] And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, "Let David now stand before me;
for he has found favor in my sight." So it came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand; and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him.
It is worthy of note that, as part of David's training to be a shepherd of Israel, God has made him a shepherd of sheep. Looking at some of the results of that wilderness training, we see that David is a "skillful musician."
Not only would music benefit David, but it would also quiet his sheep. Animals are calmed by the voice of a man singing, especially if it is the voice of someone they know. David would look at the stars, think of the God behind those stars and make up beautiful songs which he set to music. So, out of his loneliness and his desire to quiet his sheep came up to probably 73 Psalms, [at least he is named in 73 of the Psalms]. This affected not only his sheep and himself, but down through the ages when people are troubled most of them turn to the Psalms. When I do hospital visits, I generally read in Romans and in Ephesians, to give patients assurance about what they possess in Christ. Then I read the Psalms to calm and quiet them and to get their eyes off their circumstances [the nurses, the doctors, the tubes, the I.V.s] and onto their God. David was deeply troubled many times and expressed his thoughts and feelings in words with which God gifted him, so the patients I visit can relate to those words even though they come to them across 3,000 years. The Comforter given to David is the same Comforter that reaches into their hearts.
We also see that David was "a mighty man of valor." Out in the wilderness with his sheep, he was also faced with marauding bears and lions. Since he was alone and without help, he bore the sole responsibility for protecting those sheep. God was preparing him with a courageous heart.
Page: 1 He was also "a warrior." The Philistines came and went as they chose. Even though Scripture calls them "uncircumcised", they were a highly intelligent and highly civilized people. They came from Greece, the Aegean area, and had a very complex, although a very vicious, culture. They were a wicked warrior people who knew how to fight. They invaded Egypt where they remained until they were driven out. They then went into Judah, the Southern part of Palestine, where they remained. They also had control of iron smelting and did not allow any blacksmiths in Judah. So the Israelites had to go to the Philistines to have their iron plows and pruning spears sharpened and repaired. The Israelites were essentially left with wooden weapons, spears, javelins, bow and arrows and, of course, the sling shot. As a result, they became experts with the sling shot.
The Book of Judges [Chap 20, Verse 16] speaks of 700 men from Benjamin who could "split a hair" with a sling shot. So, alone in the wilderness, David became an accomplished warrior using only a sling shot or a wooden javelin to protect his sheep from warriors armed with iron weapons.
We also read he was "one prudent in speech." If you are the smallest boy in a huge family, you would probably either become prudent in speech or become the most bruised boy around. He was number eight son, even possibly, as Psalm 51 hints, an illegitimate son of Jesse's marriage in his old age. In Judah in those days, in the Jewish culture, that was a real stigma. The Lord faced exactly the same stigma 900 years later when he was considered the bastard of Nazareth.
He was also "a handsome man."
But, finally, the most important thing about him, according to this Scripture, is that "the Lord is with him."
His life was such that one of Saul's servants, in the court way up in Gibeah, recognized that the preincarnate Jesus Christ, the Lord God Almighty, Yahweh of the Old Testament, was with David. There was something that made this apparent. When the king suffered from a spirit of evil from Yahweh, then, who else but someone who had Yahweh with him could be of help? So, Saul himself brings David into the palace, and loves him greatly because when David plays and sings, the spirit of evil from the Lord is indeed driven off and Saul is calmed. The only problem is that Saul's love for David is fleshly and selfish. He loves David essentially for what David can do for him. Down the road he discovers what David can do to him and his love turns to hate. For fear of losing his kingdom, he then begins a planned and premeditated campaign to eliminate David. That is the tragedy of fleshly love. It lasts only as long as it benefits the one being loved.
Ponder a moment on why a spirit of evil sent to Saul to discipline him would depart when David sang a Psalm.
The Psalms of David were created by the inspiration of God, literally the "outbreathing" of God and are just as inspired by the Spirit of God as the prophesies. So when David was singing to Saul he was singing inspired Scripture. Do you see the graciousness of God here? In a compassionate attempt to reach Saul, he takes the very Scripture of the Bible, the Word of God, and has it sung to Saul. [A Psalm is just a sacred song put to music.] God really wants him to repent. We have, along with this beautiful picture of the grace of God, also a picture of the sovereignty of God. God has had Saul bring into the palace the very man God has ordained to replace him on the throne.
Chapter 17 now brings us to the confrontation with Goliath. In Chapter 14, thanks to Jonathan's bravery, the Israelites under Saul defeated the Philistines, but because of Saul's rash oath that kept the Israelites from eating all day, they did not destroy nearly as many as they should have. Now the Philistines are back again.
All through Scripture the Philistines are a picture of those things that hinder, enslave or place in bondage the people of God. Goliath of Gath, as the champion of the Philistines, pictures a particularly besetting sin, one that is entrenched. In the episode of David and Goliath, we see not only an historical event, but also a beautiful spiritual application of how a Christian can deal with the areas of life that are Philistine, invaders, alien and particularly with the Goliaths that are so entrenched in a life.
So let us look at Chapter 17, beginning with verse 1:
The valley was a dry wash with very high cliffs and a brook in the middle. It was a typical dry wash, or wadi, filled with a rushing torrent during the winter rains but dry the rest of the time, and it ran northwesterly into the Philistine strongholds of Ekron and Gath. The Philistines, having just been beaten rather badly by the Israelites, are not about to go down the hill and then have to fight the Israelites on an uphill slope. It is also possible that, in their rout of the Philistines, the Israelites picked up a lot of iron weapons. On the other hand, the Israelites have no desire to go down into the valley and fight uphill against the Philistines who are fully equipped with iron weapons. So they do what is quite common in ancient warfare, they decide on representative conflict. Instead of the two armies fighting, each army chooses a champion to fight. The outcome of their battle determines which army wins the victory, and which one takes over the territory in question.
The Philistines had what they thought was an ace in the hole, "Goliath of Gath." Goliath was an Anakim. He was of the sons of Anak, the giants. In those days there was a whole civilization of giants that went right up the Jordan Valley. [Hundreds of skeletons of giant people have been found up the Jordanian Valley.] They were called Rephaim, Zamzummim, Emim, Anakim, Nephilim. You find them both before the flood of Noah and after the flood of Noah. They were at least "six cubits and a span." [Using the 18" cubit, that is 9-1/2 ft tall; using a 21" cubit that is 10-1/2 ft tall.] It is called a megalithic civilization, mega = big, lithic = stone. They built huge stone buildings. There really was a race of giants. They really did inhabit the Jordanian Valley around the hill country of Hebron. They were driven out of the area by the Mesopotamian Chedorlaomer and his coalition in the days of Abraham. They were driven out again by the Jews under Joshua, but they were never driven out of the country. They ended up in the southwest part of Palestine where they joined forces with the Philistines. So, we have Goliath of Gath who is no Sunday School tale made up by a Sunday School teacher. He is historically accurate and comes from a whole civilization of giants.
So from the Philistines point of view, picking champions this is really the way to go, "Wait until you see our champion."
Chapter 17, Verse 4:
Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span [either 9-1/2 or 10-1/2 feet tall. Men, at that time, were about 5-1/2 feet tall, so David is looking at someone about twice as big as he is]. And he had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was clothed with scale-armor [overlapping scales] which weighed five thousand shekels of bronze [that is about 160 lbs. His armor weighed more than David did soaking wet]. He also had bronze greaves [or shin guards] on his legs and a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders.
He came out morning and evening when the sun was at the right angle, a solid hunk of shining metal 10-1/2 feet tall walking like a robot down that hill, and there stood the Jews on the other hill with their slings and their wooden weapons. [Some had swords, but many did not.]
Chapter 17, Verse 7:
Goliath came out each morning and each evening when the sun was at the right angle and stood there flexing his armor and flashing it around, giving this taunt and humiliating the people of God, because their trust was in size, and their "size" was a coward.
Here is a typical contest between the flesh and the Spirit. On one side you have all the might of the flesh, Goliath of Gath. He stood head and shoulders above the Philistines, and he demanded a mighty champion like himself as an opponent. On the other side there was Saul. The Israelites chose him as king because of his physical stature. He stood head and shoulders above all of them. But what made him a mighty warrior, the Spirit of God, had now departed from him. What he had at Michmash was gone, and without the Spirit, he was a spineless coward. When the Spirit of God came mightily upon him, he took over the armies in Israel, defeated the Philistines, and rescued Jabesh-gilead. But, when the Spirit of God was withdrawn, we see him as he really was, a coward and also a murderer, ready to kill anyone who might try to usurp his throne. Since, as the leader goes so goes the nation, the fear of Saul infected the whole nation. When he ran, they ran. Their courage was all based upon what looked great rather than upon what was great. They did not realize that the courage of Saul was not based upon his stature but upon the Spirit of God.
Now we come to David and his errand here. He has already been anointed king. He is God's ruler and he knows it. Saul is a usurper, and he knows that. Look at how God trains his anointed king who is already filled with the Spirit of God.
Chapter 17, Verse 12:
Now David was the son of the Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, whose name was Jesse, and he had eight sons. And Jesse was old in the days of Saul, advanced in years among men [Jesse is a very old man. David has no model for a father with whom he can identify]. And the three older sons of Jesse had gone after Saul to the battle. And the names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the first-born, and the second to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. And David was the youngest. Now the three oldest followed Saul, but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father's flock at Bethlehem [Whenever a mood came upon Saul, he would snap his fingers and up would come David to play his harp. When Saul was through with him, back he would go to the flock. Again he was the lowest man on the totem pole]. And the Philistine came forward morning and evening for forty days, and took his stand David is nothing more than a messenger boy for Saul. He comes at the beck and call of the king he is to replace. Look at what else he is made to do.
Chapter 17, Verse 17:
Then Jesse said to David his son, "Take now for your brothers an ephah [35 quarts] of this roasted grain and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to your brothers [These are the brothers who do not accept him, who pick on him, who treat him like the runt of the litter].