Church Weekly
25 Feb 2024



Dear Members in Christ,

A character study of a man after God’s own heart (Part 5) – The man who won a great victory with God’s help (1 Samuel 17:38-46)

We have often heard it said, “From a tiny acorn grows the mighty oak.” The formative years of the future king of Israel had his humble beginnings in the sheep pasture of Judea. There, King David learnt about responsibility and care for his sheep. A shepherd’s task is no simple matter, it takes a loving and caring heart. It also takes courage, as David’s past encounter with a lion and a bear demonstrated. 

Young David, although not considered by men to be of age to be a warrior, yet in the sight of God and by the grace of God, he demonstrated courage way beyond his years. This is the kind of courage which enables King David years after this encounter with the Philistine giant to write Psalm 27, a Psalm of David in which he said,

“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

Indeed, it is raw courage to say “of whom shall I be afraid?” This kind of courage is undergirded by a strong faith in God, and an unwavering reliance on the Almighty, instead of looking for the devices of men to give him help and protection. We have much to learn from the character study of young David, a man after God’s own heart, and a man of exemplary Christian courage.

A.  David’s confidence in God - he discarded the armour Saul provided him

The first observation in reading chapter 17 of 1 Samuel is that David was no more than a youth, not even old enough to be admitted into the army of Israel. Yet, the so called “grown-man” and “warriors” of the army had no intestinal fortitude to stand up against the Philistine. Yet, when he stood up to face the challenge of the blasphemous Philistine giant, it seems that no one had any faith in David’s victory. He was, it appears to be championing a lost cause, he was deemed to be dead even before the battle commenced. Even King Saul had nothing but words of discouragement, for it was recorded,

“And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.” 1 Samuel 17:33

And, almost as a faint consolation, Saul further offered David his personal coat of armour.

 “And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.” 1 Samuel 17:38-39

But David rejected the generous offer, for it was of no use to him, he was not accustomed to the heavy armour, instead he took five stones and his shepherd’s sling to the battle. Dearly beloved, this is a learning point for us. Heavy armour can sometimes be a hindrance in spiritual battles. We do not need great talent or intellect, or great wealth to serve God. What we need is a heart like David, simple, childlike faith in trusting and relying upon God to protect and provide. We may be a small church, with limited resources, but courage must rise with the task at hand. Let us be courageous and trust in God to strengthen the ministry of His work. Let us pray for courageous hearts which will glorify God in our spiritual battles. 

B.  David’s source of courage in the face of the giant Goliath

When David came before Goliath, the giant continued to blaspheme against God. The proud Philistine was so sure of a quick victory against what he saw as a little boy, poorly armed, ready not for battle, whose end is sudden and violent death in the field.

“And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.” 1 Samuel 17:43-44

It is here on the battlefield that David reveals the source of his courage. The source of his strength and courage is none other than the “the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel”. In David’s mind, God will vindicate His nation, God will grant him the victory.

“Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” 1 Samuel 17:45-46

Dearly beloved, pray that God will grant us courage whatever the difficulties and testings that happen to us. Our cunning adversary will stop at nothing to tempt, test or make us fall. But we must battle on courageously. Courage means a readiness to discard worldly means to save, and relying only on God. God will grant us the victory, whatever our challenges and battles may be. To Him be glory forever and ever, Amen!

In His Service,
Rev. Lim Seh Beng, Pastor