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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: F.E. Marsh :: Readings 101-150 (Countenance - For)

F.E. Marsh :: 106. David and Goliath

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I. SAMUEL 17:38-51

IN the valleys mentioned in Scripture, there have been enacted many wonderful scenes, and not least among them is the Valley of Elah (1 Sam. 17:2). A valley is suggestive of lowliness, fruitfulness, and fertility. The valleys of Scripture bloom with the truths of graces, and are fruitful with the triumphs of God.

  1. Trained. The central figure of this reading is David. Up to the time of the incident before us, he had appeared very little in public, but the Lord had been fitting him for His service. He had learnt to know God in secret, hence he can now bear testimony of Him in public. David knew that the Lord, whose strength had proved sufficient in giving him the victory over the lion and the bear, would give him the victory over the Philistine (1Sa 17:36-37). “The Lord had been preparing an instrument for this new and difficult work. He trains in secret those whom He is about to use in public. He makes His servants acquainted with Himself in the secret solemnity of His sanctuary, and causes His greatness to pass in review before them, that they may be able to look with a steady gaze at the difficulties of their path. Thus it was with David. He had been alone with God while keeping the sheep in the wilderness; his soul had become filled with the thought of God’s power; and now he makes his appearance in the Valley of Elah, in all the self-renouncing dignity of a man of faith.”
  2. Trammelled (1Sa 17:38-39). Saul arms David with his armour, but David is only trammelled by the coat of mail, and puts it off. He cannot go to the Lord’s battle with man’s equipment. Satan often seeks to tempt the Lord’s servants to put on some suit of mail out of his armoury. He endeavours to influence the man of prayer to adopt the covering of half-heartedness; he will try to induce the separated man to wear the robe of worldly conformity, and he will seek to trammel the Christian warrior with fleshly armour.
  3. Taunted (1Sa 17:42-44). The Philistine taunts David with jeers and sneers. As with David, so with the Christian. The man of faith is sure to be taunted with the scantiness of his implements of war, with the unwisdom of his methods, and with the foolishness of his faith in an Unseen Power; but let them laugh that lose, they are sure to who win. The only thing that Christ has told us we shall receive from the world is persecution (John 16:33). They who live godly in Christ Jesus will have to suffer for it (2 Timothy 3:12), but that only brings us into closer fellowship with Him who suffered (1 Peter 4:1) on our account, and gives us a great blessing of happiness (1 Peter 5:10).
  4. Trusting. The man of faith does not trust in his weapons (1Sa 17:40), but in the Lord Himself (1Sa 17:45), and in His action on behalf of the trustful one (1Sa 17:46-47). “It is interesting to observe David’s address to Goliath. He does not say, ’I come to thee with a sling and a stone.’ No; but, ’in the name of the Lord of Hosts.’ With him the means were nothing-God everything.” Thus faith ever honours God, taking no credit to itself; and God honours faith in consequence, by giving complete victory.
  5. Triumph (1Sa 17:50-51). The triumph of David is a type of David’s Son and Lord triumphing over all the power of the enemy, as one has remarked, “The claims of justice could not be met-death and judgment frowned in the distance, and man could only tremble at the prospect. But, blessed be the God of all grace, a Deliverer has appeared-One mighty to save, the Son of God, the true David, the anointed King of Israel, and of all the earth. He has met the need, filled up the gap, satisfied the yearnings of the heart. But how? When? Where? By His death on Calvary, in that terrible hour when all creation was made to feel the solemn reality of what was being transacted.….The poor trembling sinner may stand by and behold the conflict, and the glorious issue thereof-may behold all the power of the enemy laid low by one stroke of his glorious Deliverer, and feel the crushing burden rolled, by the same stroke, from his struggling spirit. The tide of Divine peace and joy may flow into his soul, and he walk abroad in the full power of his emancipation, purchased for him by the blood, and proclaimed in the Gospel.”

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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