Lighthouse Leader Study Guide
Date: March 26, 2017
Series: The kings & the King: A Study of 1 Samuel
1 Samuel 27
This Week’s Printable Resources:
Overview of this Lesson
David and Goliath. This is one of the most familiar passages of Scripture in the entire Bible. It’s one of the first Bible Stores we teach toddlers and it’s one of the most referenced phrases in our language as we use the picture of David and Goliath to picture a little guy facing impossible odds.
Our focus this week will continue to be on David: A King After God’s Own Heart. Last week we looked carefully at what it means to be a man or woman after God’s own heart, and this week we see this illustrated in graphic terms. We will connect the important principle found in 1 Samuel 16:7 to this real-life illustration from David’s life. We will also look at some key life principles for our own Christian walk: how to choose our battles wisely; how to be God-focused in our worldview, and how to fight like a shepherd instead of like a soldier. Ultimately, what we learn and need to reinforce is that God does not win battles using human power or craftiness; he wins battles using human weakness. Why? Because as we will see this week, the purpose in David’s victory was to give witness to God’s greatness.
Memory Verse for This Week
“Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and 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. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.” – 1 Samuel 17:45–47 (ESV)
This Week’s Core Virtue
Prayer (Psalm 66:16-20): I pray to God to know Him, to lay my request before Him and to find direction for my daily life.
|This Week’s Take Home Truth
“A ‘man after God’s own heart’ is one whose overarching priority is living for the honor of God’s name, wearing their true identity
- How do you respond when you are intimidated?
- What has been the most terrifying, frightening thing you have witnessed in your life?
- Looking back at your notes from this week’s sermon, was there anything that particularly caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
Make sure you ask this question this week. It gives people the opportunity to discuss questions or issues that come up beyond the written questions. People’s responses can often lead into one of the questions in the “Digging Deeper” section. Also, some weeks this question will result in a lot of discussion, other weeks, not so much.
Read the Text (1 Samuel 17)
This week we come to the story of David and Goliath, perhaps the best known passage of Scripture in the entire Bible. It is ironic that the most famous battle of all time was not fought between two opposing armies, but between two individuals—David and Goliath. As we will see this week, there is much we can learn about how God interacts with us as we continue to examine what it means to have a heart after God’s own heart. Read 1 Samuel 17.
NOTE: this is a lengthy chapter, and we will focus on 1 Samuel 17:26-47.
In this section, feel free to develop your own questions to help guide your group’s discussion. Below are some suggestions. Remember, if you are hearing from everyone in your group, chances are you won’t have to time to discuss every question. You may start with one that catches your attention so you don’t run out of time. For example, it’s not odd to start with Question #6, then go to Question #5 and if you have time come back to Question #4.
- How does David’s question in 1 Samuel 17:26 reveal a man whose heart is after God’s own heart?
These are the first recorded words of David in our study of 1 Samuel. His question reveals much about David’s character and his passion.
Last week, if you will recall, we identified a key attribute of what it means to have a heart after God’s own heart. That attribute is a singular focus. David declares this in Psalm 27:4,
One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple.
David’s life was focused on one thing and that was intimacy and fellowship with the Lord. God was David’s passion.
We see this demonstrated in v. 26 of our narrative. Again, David’s character stands in stark contrast with those of his fellow Israelites and their king, Saul.
For forty days Goliath has taunted Israel and in so doing, he has mocked Israel’s God. Saul and his army did nothing. (Saul’s only answer to Goliath was to offer his daughter and riches to the man who could kill Goliath.)
In his question in v. 26, David looks straight past the beast Goliath to the true crime that is taking place:
And David said to the men who stood by him, “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?” 1 Samuel 17:26 (ESV)
Up to this point, no one has demonstrated the least concern for the Living God of Israel. Saul is concerned about himself. The men in the army are concerned about their own safety. David instantly injects an entirely different worldview into this story, a God-centered worldview.
“Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
Do you still wonder what God sees in David that makes Him take pleasure in David’s passion? Do you still wonder how David is different? This one question illustrates the difference. David’s one passion in life, his one concern, his one focus, is the glory of God’s name.
- How does what we learned from 1 Samuel 16 regarding first impressions apply in 1 Samuel 17?
The Lord taught Samuel a valuable lesson in Chapter 16 that gives us clear insight into how the Lord sees the world. In verse 7, the Lord told Samuel,
“Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
We learned last week how first impressions deceive us. What we didn’t understand, perhaps, is that this same lesson applies to the giants in our life!
Goliath was an awe-inspiring warrior. The writer goes out of his way to let the power and size of Goliath really sink in as we read the text.
- The Philistine’s height was 9 feet, 9 inches.
- The Philistine wore a bronze helmet on his head, a coat of mail that weighed between 125 to 150 pounds.
- The Philistine had a javelin of bronze and a spear whose head weighed 25 pounds.
- The Philistine had a shield-bearer who went before him.
- The closest comparison we have to a warrior like this today is a battle tank. Goliath was the battle tank of the Philistine army.
Yet, in spite of his size advantage and the armor that protected him, if we apply the principle of 1 Samuel 16:7 to Goliath, here’s what the Lord is telling us: don’t look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, for I have rejected him.
Wow, that’s easy to say when you’re looking at one of David’s brothers, but Goliath!? Surely God doesn’t imply that we are not to worry about the size of Goliath when it comes to battle? But He does.
The Lord even forewarned Israel to not become discouraged when they encountered an enemy like Goliath. In Deuteronomy 20:1, the Lord told Israel,
“When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.
David Got this. Saul and his army did not get this.
- What does David’s interaction with his brother Eliab teach us about David’s wisdom in warfare?
It is no surprise that when David is moving towards taking a courageous stand for the Lord, Satan attacks. We learn much about Satan’s tactics in this short exchange between David and Eliab in verses 28-30.
28 Now Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spoke to the men. And Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” 29 And David said, “What have I done now? Was it not but a word?” 30 And he turned away from him toward another, and spoke in the same way, and the people answered him again as before.
First, as much is revealed about Eliab in this exchange as there is about David. Remember, Eliab is the oldest son of Jesse. He was the first one to stand in front of Samuel and hear the words, “the Lord has not chosen this one.” Then, to add insult to injury, Eliab must stand there and watch Samuel pour his horn of oil on David’s head. Eliab’s jealously and bitterness shine through in his rebuke of David. Why aren’t you with your little flock of sheep? I know your heart, you’re here to sit on the sideline and watch how real men fight in battle?
Next, and here is the important application for us, we clearly see how Satan attacks when God’s people are taking a stand for God’s name and God’s glory. Satan doesn’t use some unknown soldier to attack David, he uses his own brother! So it is with us. Seldom do the insults of unnamed, unknown people hurt us or discourage us, it is the words of those closest to us. It is a family member, a close friend, a faithful co-worker. Satan is a master discourager, and he knows that if he can get God’s people discouraged, we will stop worrying about God’s fame and God’s glory and grind to a halt in defeat and discouragement.
Finally, we see David’s wisdom in this exchange. He realizes that his battle is not with Eliab, his battle is with Goliath. Eliab is a distraction. Goliath is the enemy. David knows how to choose his battles and stays focused on the true enemy.
Oh, if only we could learn this important lesson today! Our enemy is not our brothers and sisters here at First Family, the enemy is Satan, and he is the one who is coming into our community day-after-day and taunting the Living God. Satan is the one we need to fight against, not our brothers and sisters sitting next to us in church or in our Lighthouse!
- As we face the battles with giants in our own life, what can we learn about fighting these battles God’s way for God’s glory?
First, when we take on the name Christian, we become representatives of the Living God of David. We are His people, and when the world sees the name Christian, they do not respond with love and respect, they respond with disdain, mockery, and hatred. Yes, hatred. We must learn to not only accept this reality, but embrace it, to live it. Jesus tells us in John 15:18-27,
18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’ 26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.
For many of us who are a little older, this is a new reality in America. There was a time when American exhibited the character and qualities of a Christian nation, but that is not true any more. Let’s be clear, when we take a stand for God, we stand in opposition of the world, and the world does not like that. They will resist.
Second, we must fight battles God’s way, not man’s way. We see this contrasted clearly between Saul and David. In verses 32-40 there is an exchange between Saul and David. Saul doesn’t look upon David and see a man with whom the presence of the Lord is obvious (1 Sam. 16:18), he sees a man. He is looking for ways to defeat Goliath using man’s ways, David sees with eyes of faith. Notice David’s words in v. 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.”
David’s confidence was in the Lord. Just as the Lord had delivered David in his battles with lions and bears, so He would deliver David in his battle with “this Philistine.”
In defeating Satan, God does not employ human strength, but human weakness. The theme of David’s weakness in comparison to Goliath’s strength is woven throughout this chapter. Yet, it is in through our weakness and frailty that God works in our life.
The Apostle Paul makes this clear in his second letter to the Corinthians. In 2 Cor. 10:3-6, Paul states,
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
And a couple of chapters later, Paul reemphasizes,
And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7–10
That is God’s way. When we are weak, He is strong. What matters is not the weapons you bring to the battlefield of life, but the reality that you have a Living God fighting on your behalf. In fact, our greatest qualification to fight the battle may be the very weaknesses we bring to the task. Remember, God does not look at the externals, he looks at the heart. God’s strength is manifested in our weaknesses.
Finally, David’s concern was for God’s glory, not his own reputation. This indeed is a contrast for many of us. It takes a lot of courage to stand in opposition to the world today. But, David was not concerned one bit about His reputation. The only thing that mattered to him was that the Name of God was being mocked by this Philistine, and he was so concerned about God’s reputation, that he was ready and willing to risk his life to defend God’s honor.
Can we say that? Is that the focus of our life? Is that the filter through which we make decisions and take stands in our workplace, home, school, community? Look around you. Where is God’s honor at stake today? Who is the Goliath that is mocking God and God’s people? Does this matter to you? If so, how much does it matter? Are you willing to take a courageous stand for the Lord or are you more concerned about your own reputation, job security, and standing within the community?
- What does the Battle of David & Goliath teach us about living our life as a Christian today?
There are a lot of comparisons between Goliath and Satan and David and Christ.
We see these as “types” as we read the Bible, remembering that the over-arching theme of Scripture is one of salvation and God’s grace, God sending His Son, Jesus, into the world to redeem those whom God has preordained for salvation. The battle between good and evil is threaded throughout the Bible.
Consider Goliath. He is a type for Satan. He looked fearsome. He was a tremendous warrior. He had won many battles against man. He was a champion. He was proud and boastful, and he took joy in mocking God’s people and, in turn, God Himself.
Consider David. He is a type of Christ. David was set apart to be king, he was sanctified, set apart, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. David was sent by his father with bread to look after his brothers. David was scorned by his own brothers. David did not look like a warrior, and those who knew and expected what a warrior should look like, doubted his authenticity. David approached Goliath as a shepherd, armed with only his staff and a sling, but his confidence was in the Lord. In the end, David defeated Goliath in an instant. For all of Goliath’s fearsome and intimidating words and gestures, he was no match for David.
Do you see the comparison to our Christian life today? Satan is a defeated enemy. Jesus, by his perfect life and sacrificial death, defeated the devil once and for all. We rest today not in the confidence of our own power to stand against the devil, we rest in the victory won for us by Jesus Christ.
These questions are given to prompt both reflection and learning on a personal level, and should likely be completed individually and apart from your regular group time.
9. Looking back at this week’s teaching and study, what’s the most important thing to remember
10. Winning victories is an important marker in our life. Remember them. In Old Testament times, God had His people create “memorial markers,” huge piles of stones as reminders of His victories on their behalf. These “stones of remembrance” were to remain for all to see and remember. Where do you create the “stones of remembrance” for your victories? Take some time and think back upon your life and record some victories God has helped you win. Write them down. Reflect on these victories from time-to-time. Unfortunately, we are more programmed to remember our failures than our victories. It’s time to change that habit.