Five Smooth Stones - Giant #2: Brute Strength of Goliath
PULSE CHRISTIAN CHURCH - www.pulsecc.org
Offering Thought: Five Smooth Stones
The Arnold Sports Festival is taking place in Columbus this weekend. I did not know this but the “Arnold Sports Festival is the largest multi-sport event in the nation.”[i] Event competitions include boxing, fencing, cheerleading, skateboarding, martial arts, arm wrestling, archery, table tennis and of course – the Arnold Classic featuring 15 of the top male body builders in the world. Some of the “towers of power” include Dennis Wolf from Germany. Better known as the Big Bad Wolf – Dennis age – 32 is 5’11” and weighs 270 lbs. This guy, Ronny Rockel, another German, placed 6th in last year’s classic. Can you believe it – HE placed sixth! Here’s USA born Toney Freeman, better known as the X man. This guy is 44 yrs old, stands at 6’2” and weighs 295 lbs. Now here’s what’s crazy – none of the three I just mentioned is considered the favorite. Here’s this year’s favorite. Meet Mr. Dexter Jackson.[ii] Dexter stands at 5’6½ inches tall and weighs a chiseled 235. Dexter won this competition in 2005, 2006 and in 2008 and stands a good chance of winning it again!
I think I could take Dexter! Arm wrestling? No problem. Straight dead lift. Piece a cake. Don’t you think so? I am taller! Picture yourself out in a parking lot somewhere and you happen to run into Dexter and he’s mad. I don’t know what made him mad. He’s just mad and he’s going to take his aggression out on your face! Now you have a slight idea about what David is up against! Turn in your Bible today to 1st Samuel 17. I love many things about this church, but one thing in particular – we are a generous church! One way we demonstrate our generosity is by giving away Bibles. Do you need a Bible today? Just raise your hand! Dexter Jackson is impressive, but Dexter pales in comparison to a champion named Goliath! Find verse 4 in 1st Samuel 17!
Opinion was David’s first giant to conquer. Samuel had no opinion, his father Jesse had a low opinion and his oldest brother Eliab had a negative opinion of David. This first giant was more mental; even emotional. Comments, opinion, words from people can mess with your mind and cut deep into your heart. But not this 2nd giant! This 2nd giant just wants to kill him. Goliath is a massive mound of humanity. Verse 4 tells us Goliath is over 9 feet tall. THE NIV is correct, but the KJV of “six cubits and a span” totals about 9’9” of humanity. In comparison a basketball rim stands 10’ off the ground. I’ve smacked my head against a door before but never on the rim of a basketball goal – whether walking or leaping! Dr. James Smith said that “Goliath comes from an Arabic word meaning “strong.”[iii] Let’s find out just how strong. One of the most detailed descriptions of anyone in the Bible starts in verse 5. (Read 5-7)
Do you think Goliath thinks anyone can beat him? In Goliath’s mind - he’s invincible. Which is why he presents this challenge in verse 8. (Read 8-10) I don’t care who you send over. Dexter Jackson, Zydrunas Savickas (the world’s strongest man[iv]), Arnold himself or this guy – the Undertaker. Because no one can beat me! That’s exactly what Goliath thought and so did all the Israelites. Find verse 11.
I opened up a bag of individually wrapped Life Savor winter green mints and pulled one out. This is what I found. (MINT IMAGE) That’s a big rip off. It should have been this. Tell me folks! Who’s the most qualified man to take on Goliath? SAUL! This is a rip off. He’s the King. Samuel tells us that Saul was an impressive young man without equal.[v] Saul was head and shoulders taller than anyone else. But right now he’s cowering in his tent. He’s dismayed and terrified. Dismay means “to be shattered or broken.”[vi] That’s what fear will do to you! Personally, I think right now is a good time to ask “so what?” “So what Greg, David & Goliath makes a good story. Intriguing! Entertaining, but I’m not facing any 9’9” giants. Don’t be too sure. A giant is anything that has you dismayed or terrified. Maybe you are a child or teenager and your physical 9’9” giant is a bully. You can get help. Pray to God and go to an adult. If that adult won’t help you another one will. Get help! Don’t let fear paralyze you like it did to Saul! Maybe your physical 9’9” giant is addiction! I heard a man on the radio last week say he was addicted to watching you tube videos. He said he watched you tube videos on average - 5 hours a day. Are you addicted to much more than TV? I did a funeral for a young woman less than a year ago and let me be clear on this - drugs cost her - her life. God didn’t take her – drugs did! Addiction is defined as “a state of physiological or psychological dependence on a potentially harmful drug.” All kinds of drugs but prescription drugs prematurely ended this woman’s life. WHY? When someone is addicted they feel they can handle it. First, there’s denial. “I don’t have a problem. This is not an issue for me!” Often pride follows denial. “I don’t need anyone’s help.” I beg you – if you need help today for any addiction in your life – don’t wait until it’s too late. This church is full of people who know the pain of addiction, but because of Jesus Christ – they are free.
Maybe your physical 9’ 9” giant is depression! I invite to listen to a sermon I wrote on depression. Just go to our website and click resources and then media. People get depressed for various reasons. For some it’s genetic. Meaning if you have several family members - aunts, uncles - grandparents all struggling with depression - the chances are you might too. But know this – because of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit working through you – you can break the cycle of depression! Now genetics isn’t the only cause of depression. Brian Davis is a MP and Christian Counselor. Brian gave me several depression triggers: poor sleep, poor diet, lack of exercise, sin, demonic attack, loneliness, perceived failure, job loss, divorce, the normal stresses of life and poverty all can create depression. Death is a normal stress of life. Would you open your Five Smooth Stones brochure? Find Giant #2. Westerville Christian wants to kill the giant of despair. Despair is life without hope. When a person is diagnosed with cancer they often feel hopeless. This bike right here belonged to Sam Bish! In memory of Sam Bish and Matthew Barr and Kris Reffett and anyone else you know who’s died from cancer. I would love to see us give the single largest donation in the history of this church - $50,000 to help fund pediatric cancer research! On March 20th I think we should auction off Sam’s bike – it’s worth at least $50,000, don’t you think! Children without parents are called orphans. A child without a parent is lost! They have no direction. No hope. People living without a home – a tarp is not a home – they can’t function as they should. WE can do something about these giants! But it takes faith. It takes faith to beat a giant! Our giants may not be 9’9” but David’s Goliath is! Go back to 1st Samuel 17:16! A little boy is sent to bed by his Dad. Five minutes later: "Da-ad..." "What?" "I'm thirsty. Can you bring a drink of water?" "No, you had your chance. Now go to sleep." Five minutes later: "Da-aaaad..." "WHAT?" "I'm THIRSTY. Can I have a drink of water?" "I told you NO! If you ask again, I'll have to pop you!" Five minutes later: "Daaaa-aaaad..." "WHAT!" "When you come in to pop me, can you bring a drink of water?"
(Read 17:16) That kid is persistent. Goliath was persistent and grew more confident. He would trash talk and as he did look what happened in verse 24! By this time David has arrived. He came because his father said “go!” As he drops off his snack supplies and then greets his brothers Goliath opens his mouth for the 81st time. Find verse 23. Go to verse 26. The answer is wealth, Saul’s daughter in marriage and tax exemption for life! That alone should produce at least one candidate right? Eliab maybe or Abinadab. That’s what fear will do to you! But David’s not afraid – he’s irritated. Now find verse 36. David is convincing Saul because “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (Read vs. 36-37)
And God was with David - and when God is with you, your perspective changes. David knew Goliath was big, but God is bigger. Goliath thought he was invincible, but he was wrong! Goliath in one word is intimidation. Who is intimidating you? What is intimidating you? David wasn’t intimidated. Why not? Find verse 45. (Read 45-50a)
David triumphed because he put his trust in God! I am not a good scary movie watcher. The reason being and I quote my wife – “you don’t blink!” I get all tense – when watching JAWS, Arachnophobia, Signs or Cujo! My Dad used to tell me, “Greg, scary movies are just people in costumes.” Really scary costumes. Some things aren’t worth fearing! Let me see if I get this straight. There’s good debt and bad debt, good cholesterol and bad cholesterol and good fear and bad fear. David triumphed over Goliath because he feared God more than Goliath. Fearing God is good fear. Doing what God says is good fear. Give a portion of your money back to God. Why? Because he said so and that’s good fear! Do you recognize this guy? This is Steve Ells – the founder of Chipotle. Steve doesn’t scream restaurant owner. I don’t know what David looked like but it doesn’t matter he shouldn’t have defeated Goliath, but he did! He put his trust in God – will you?
[iii] James E. Smith, CP NIV Commentary, 1 & 2 Samuel 220
[v] 1st Samuel 9:2 (NIV)
[vi] Logos Bible Software, Dismayed in 1 Samuel 17:11