1 Samuel 17:12-51a (Part 3) – How Do You Eat An Elephant?

Posted: February 21, 2018 in 09-1 Samuel

1 Samuel 17:12-51a
David Kills Goliath

New jobs, no matter how much experience you have, are daunting in those first few days when people are training you in what your responsibilities are to be. It all can become a blur of information and procedures. New names. New software. Things that don’t necessarily make much sense right now will become clearer over time but its all like looking at a giant mountain that you have to climb or big elephant that you have to eat. That’s the way the first day felt being the new guy on the job for the first time in 10 years. Day 2, yesterday, felt a little better. Maybe Day 3 will be even better. The job is just different. I am out of the comfort zone that I have built for myself over the last 9 ½ years of the previous 10. I am sure I felt like a complete idiot those first few months on the job back then but all that is a distant memory. This is now. This is me now.

I have to remember that I have been new at a lot of things over the past 55 years. There have been a lot of firsts. And 39 ¼ years of those firsts were without Christ as my Savior. All the first since then have been under the protection of my Lord and Savior. I must remember that the reason that I have this job is not because of my own power. It was God’s doing all the way. I must remember that in order for me to excel at this job I must begin. I must begin at the beginning that God has set forth for me. You can’t start at the middle. You can’t have the trust and experience that Pastor Rod, who I am replacing, has right now after 9 years in this position. I must walk that road myself. I must learn the lay of the land as it lays right now. I can’t come and expect to know everything and change everything immediately. I must learn how everything works as it works right now before I can figure out if there is anything that needs changing. I must first understand everything as it operates right now. And that is going to take some doing. Have you ever gone from feeling like you are one smart dude to like a really dumb dude all within a week?

If this was all my doing, I would not even be here. It was after all God that coordinated all this. It may not seem like it right now as I have waded my way into the muddy waters of the early part of a new job. It may feel like oh crap what I have got myself into. It may feel like that this was the dumbest decision ever. If it was all my doing, that would be the feeling totally at the moment. I have stepped onto the battlefield and I don’t know the armor that I have been handed. I am like David trying to figure out if he can work with the armor that he was given. It’s all new and foreign to me. If I was doing this all under my own power, like I said, I would not even be here. I would still be in my comfort zone back in Lyman where it’s 60 degrees right now (while here it is 21 degrees). I would still be at Fujikura America, Inc. and still be giving of my time to LifeSong as their chief finance guy on the side. I would still be making the good money and I would still be well-connected in our church and our community. I would not be here.

But I am here and it’s all new and scary but I do have the trust of knowing that God orchestrated all this and I should not be making rash judgments after only 2 days on the job. It is a big and scary thing to take on a new job in any field. It is an even bigger and scarier thing to take on a new job and new career (as primarily a pastor first and a secondarily an accountant). Do I see the giant and want to run? Or do I see this thing through God’s eyes? With that idea of having a giant in your path, Let’s read this passage, 1 Samuel 17:12-51a, one more time, now:

12 Now David was the son of a man named Jesse, an Ephrathite from Bethlehem in the land of Judah. Jesse was an old man at that time, and he had eight sons. 13 Jesse’s three oldest sons—Eliab, Abinadab, and Shimea[a]—had already joined Saul’s army to fight the Philistines. 14 David was the youngest son. David’s three oldest brothers stayed with Saul’s army, 15 but David went back and forth so he could help his father with the sheep in Bethlehem.

16 For forty days, every morning and evening, the Philistine champion strutted in front of the Israelite army.

17 One day Jesse said to David, “Take this basket[b] of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread, and carry them quickly to your brothers. 18 And give these ten cuts of cheese to their captain. See how your brothers are getting along, and bring back a report on how they are doing.[c]” 19 David’s brothers were with Saul and the Israelite army at the valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines.

20 So David left the sheep with another shepherd and set out early the next morning with the gifts, as Jesse had directed him. He arrived at the camp just as the Israelite army was leaving for the battlefield with shouts and battle cries. 21 Soon the Israelite and Philistine forces stood facing each other, army against army. 22 David left his things with the keeper of supplies and hurried out to the ranks to greet his brothers. 23 As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, came out from the Philistine ranks. Then David heard him shout his usual taunt to the army of Israel.

24 As soon as the Israelite army saw him, they began to run away in fright. 25 “Have you seen the giant?” the men asked. “He comes out each day to defy Israel. The king has offered a huge reward to anyone who kills him. He will give that man one of his daughters for a wife, and the man’s entire family will be exempted from paying taxes!”

26 David asked the soldiers standing nearby, “What will a man get for killing this Philistine and ending his defiance of Israel? Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?”

27 And these men gave David the same reply. They said, “Yes, that is the reward for killing him.”

28 But when David’s oldest brother, Eliab, heard David talking to the men, he was angry. “What are you doing around here anyway?” he demanded. “What about those few sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of? I know about your pride and deceit. You just want to see the battle!”

29 “What have I done now?” David replied. “I was only asking a question!” 30 He walked over to some others and asked them the same thing and received the same answer. 31 Then David’s question was reported to King Saul, and the king sent for him.
32 “Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!”

33 “Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.”

34 But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, 35 I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. 36 I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! 37 The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!”

Saul finally consented. “All right, go ahead,” he said. “And may the Lord be with you!”

38 Then Saul gave David his own armor—a bronze helmet and a coat of mail. 39 David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before.

“I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off again. 40 He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine.

41 Goliath walked out toward David with his shield bearer ahead of him, 42 sneering in contempt at this ruddy-faced boy. 43 “Am I a dog,” he roared at David, “that you come at me with a stick?” And he cursed David by the names of his gods. 44 “Come over here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!” Goliath yelled.

45 David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! 47 And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!”

48 As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him. 49 Reaching into his shepherd’s bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground.

50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with only a sling and a stone, for he had no sword. 51 Then David ran over and pulled Goliath’s sword from its sheath. David used it to kill him and cut off his head.

In this passage, we see what a difference perspective makes. Most of the onlookers saw a giant. David saw a mortal man defying the almighty God. Goliath was too big a target to miss. David knew that he would not be alone when he faced Goliath. God would be there with him in the fight. He looked at the situation from God’s perspective. Who or what are the “giants” in your life? Viewing impossible situations from God’s point of view helps us put giant problems into perspective. Once we see clearly, we can fight more effectively.

The thing about slaying giants or eating elephants is that they both begin with the first step or the first bite. I know that I could easily turn and run because the giant out there seems so big right now. But, I must remember that God brought me here to this fight. He wanted me in this fight in this place in this time working with these people in this fight. There is something that God has in store. I cannot see it for the giant in my path right now but I must endure. I must trust that God will reveal. I must trust that God will make my path clear. He will make me feel more confident as the days progress. He will make one day wonder why I was so scared way back in February of 2018. One day this job will be second nature to me just as my previous job became. I must remember that God brought me here and he will bring me through it.
It is so easy at the beginning of a journey that God has set you on to turn and run and say that you cannot do it. He puts us through trials to make us more dependent on Him. He allows things to happen to us that throw our confidence in ourselves out the window so that we will find our confidence in Him. What giants are you facing? Trust in the One who brought you to the battlefield. He will show you how to slay the giant. It begins with the first step – trust in Him.

Amen and Amen.

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