PERSPECTIVE

 

TEXT:         I Sam. 17:1-58

 

INTRO:       It is always fascinating how different people can see the same thing and yet have completely different reactions!

 

Perspective plays one of the most important roles in the quality of our life.  In fact, perspective can actually determine the quality of our life ... “what you see is what you get!”

 

Have you ever seen a harmless spider under a microscope?  The normally harmless looking little thing under a microscope can be as frightening as any horror movie with a huge creature!  Under a microscope the spider can look terrifying! 

 

On your bed sheets in your bed are thousands of tiny mites that consume your flaked off flesh, you don’t see them so you aren’t normally bothered by them, but if you could see them, or feel them, sleeping on those sheets would be a very different experience!

 

This goes on in the spiritual realm too.  Many times the only difference between a successful saint and a struggling one is perspective, what they see or perceive.

 

PROP. SENT:       The Scripture will teach us that we are to focus on God and not the “Goliaths” in our lives.  What becomes the “big” thing in our life is the thing that will dominate, so let it be God!  Perspective can make the difference between power or panic, faith or fear!

 

I.      FACING PHILISTINES!    17:1-11

 

A.      Stand-off!   17:1-3

1.  Israel was locked in a stand-off with the Philistines!

a.  The Philistines controlled one mountain, Israel the other.

b.  Neither side made much progress!

c.  Sounds like many situations in our lives at times!

2.  Ever been in this situation, you are up against a “giant” problem and you aren’t losing but you’re not gaining either!?

a.  Like a “no-win” situation.

b.  Can’t seem to find a solution.

c.  The longer the stand-off, the more drained you become.

d.  Something needs to give!

3.  Nothing was changing because Israel wasn’t seeing the problem or God in the right perspective ... too much focus on the enemy, not enough on God -hence a stand-off!

 

B.      Scared!   17:4-11

1.  Like many “giant” problems, Israel was scared to deal with Goliath, and scared not too also!

a.  This led to doing nothing...

b.  How often is this the same way we deal with things in our lives?

2.  There were options however!!  (As there always are!)

a.  They could submit or fight.

b.  It was a custom of that day for nations to settle their differences by having one champion from each side fight and the winner take all; this was considered a more civilized way to decide supremacy instead of both sides causing massive death of entire armies ... and we think they were barbaric in antiquity and our weapons of mass destruction today are civilized!!

3.  They could remain frozen with fear or choose to trust God and have one man fight for them.

4.  How many of us are unwilling to trust the “unknown,” to believe God or to choose to trust the “known”- the fear of loss?

a.  They kept trusting in their own weakness and strength which they knew rather than God whom they didn’t really know well.

b.  God could bring them success even though it was unknown how!

c.  We would do well to trust in God rather than ourselves, what we know isn’t always the best choice for freedom from problems!

 

ILLUS:     An Arab chief tells a story of a spy who was captured and then sentenced to death by a general in the Persian army. This general had the strange custom of giving condemned criminals a choice between the firing squad and the big, black door. As the moment for execution drew near, the spy was brought to the Persian general, who asked the question, “What will it be: the firing squad or the big, black door?”  The spy hesitated for a long time. It was a difficult decision. He chose the firing squad.  Moments later shots rang out confirming his execution. The general turned to his aide and said, “They always prefer the known way to the unknown. It is characteristic of people to be afraid of the undefined. Yet, we gave him a choice.”  The aide said, “What lies beyond the big door?”  “Freedom,” replied the general. “I’ve known only a few brave enough to take it.”  -- Don McCullough, “Reasons to Fear Easter,” Preaching Today, Tape No. 116.

 

5.  Their fears were paralyzing them!

a.  Their perspective determined their choices.

b.  This is still true today!

 

II.    FOUNDATION & PRIORITIES    17:12-37

 

    A.      Shepherd!   17:12-16

1.  No one dared fight Goliath, they all saw the same thing -- A giant so big they can’t win!

a.  Not even King Saul who stood head and shoulders above the size of the other men of Israel was willing to challenge Goliath!

b.  Everyone saw physical size, no one thought of spiritual size!

2.  God knew someone however that had a different way of looking at “giant” problems ... a small shepherd boy that had a “giant” faith!

3.  David had fought other fierce enemies as a shepherd, his life was built on laying it down for sheep when necessary; a priority of saving sheep was what God was looking for.

a.  Saul was more interested in saving face, not faith!

b.  The armies of Israel were more into saving their lives than demonstrating God’s power.

c.  But David was more interested in saving others, not himself … and he knew God.

4.  It wasn’t military qualities God needed; it was spiritual qualities that were needed!

 

B. Servant!   17:17-22

1.    David got involved because he was use to serving his brothers!

a.  He not only cared for sheep, but also his brothers.

b.  This quality of servanthood is what later makes him such a great king!

c.  No task was too small to do, and none was too big either!

2.  A servant does not decide what he will or won’t do; he does his mater’s bidding.

3.  David would choose to fight because God’s people needed someone to fight for them; this is the servant’s heart!

 

C. Soldier!   17:32-37

1.  Though just a shepherd boy, he was also ready to serve the king!

a.  Notice how he introduced himself to Saul, “...your servant...”

b.  No task was too much or too little, the same little boy that could bring groceries to his brethren was ready to fight as a solider against a champion!

2.  The Church could use this attitude today!

a.  We have too many specialists, and not enough servants and soldiers!

b.  We need those who can see what needs to be done and then goes and does it!

3.  If we see things right, our attitude will be right!

4.  WHILE ISRAEL SAW A GIANT AND SAID, “HE’S TOO BIG, WE CAN’T WIN; DAVID SAW THE SAME GIANT AND SAID, “HE’S SO BIG, I CAN’T MISS!”

a.  Perspective made the difference in what action was done!

b.  Many times we could win the battle if we just changed how we viewed things!

 

ILLUS:     Like one man this psychiatrist met once flying:  Whenever I am flying and I engage people in conversation a confession is almost always forthcoming when they find out I am a psychiatrist.  A few years ago, before all of the modern security measures were installed at the nation’s airports, a man I was sitting next to on a coast-to-coast flight told me, “You know, I used to be deathly afraid of flying. It all started after that man brought a bomb on board a flight to Denver to kill his mother-in-law. I could never get it out of my mind that someone on board one of my flights might also be carrying a bomb.”  I asked, “Well, what did you do about it?”  He replied, “Well, I went to one of those special schools for people who are afraid of flying and they told me there was only one chance in ten thousand that someone would be on board my flight with a bomb. That didn’t make me feel much better. The odds were still too close. But then I reasoned that if there was only one chance in ten thousand that one bomb would be on the plane, there was only one chance in 100 million that two bombs would be on board. And I could live with those odds.”  So I asked, “But what good would that do you?” He quickly replied, “Ever since then, I carry one bomb on board myself — just to improve the odds.” -- Dr. Jerome Frank, professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University — James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 365.

 

5.  Our view of things does often affect our faith!

a.  Israel saw Goliath’s power!

b.  David saw God’s power!

c.  The results speak for themselves!

6.  Notice David’s words to the king:  “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine...” why?  Because God was in control, not him!

a.  David was prepared to be a soldier, because that was what was needed.

b.  His faith allowed him to do whatever was needed at the moment it was needed.

c.  He had killed the bear and the lion before, so God can help him kill this beast too!

7.  It is important that we remember past victories over smaller things and apply the same faith to the bigger things that come later!

 

III.     FEAR’S POWER    17:25-31

 

    A.      Standstill!   17:25

1.  Fear controlled Israel

a.  They weren’t losing ground.

b.  But they weren’t gaining any either.

c.  This is often how fear works in our lives too; fear keeps us sharp so we don’t lose ground, but it also keeps us paralyzed so we don’t make progress!

2.  How many Christians live this way?

a.  They have issues in their lives they need to deal with, but fear of failure keeps them from dealing with them, their fear keeps them somewhat alert so that they don’t get worse, but also paralyzes them so they don’t get better!

b.  The longer Israel simply stood on the shores and listened to Goliath’s taunts the more demoralized they got!

3.  Fear has a way over time in demoralizing our lives, this robs us of hope and faith.

a.  This had an effect on everyone in the camp!

b.  Here was the mighty army of God decked out with all its armor, demoralized with fear simply because all they saw was a “giant” problem they couldn’t beat in their own strength!

4.  Too many Christians live this way all the time too!

 

B.      Sarcastic!   17:28

1.  Ironically, when David comes along and asks them why no one goes after Goliath his own brothers snap at him!

a.  Just have faith when those around you don’t and see how you are treated!

b.  David’s faith made them all uncomfortable because it highlighted their inaction with the problem and their failure!

2.  Not only was there a “giant” problem facing Israel, but fear now created a problem among the brethren on their own side of the river!

3.  David wisely doesn’t fight his brethren and chew them out, instead he puts his energy into facing the real enemy!

a.  If David can’t change them, he will change the circumstances!

b.  We need to be careful not to be sidetracked from the real battle and fight only little ones or one another.

 

IV.  FAITH’S PERSPECTIVE    17:32-58

 

     A.      Sureness!    17:32-37

1.  “I will go” was David’s response to their sarcasm; when you can’t make others do the right thing you can choose to do the right thing yourself!

2.  David’s confidence is based on 2 things:

a.  God’s character and covenant call on Israel.

b.  David’s experience in the past in overcoming enemies!

3.  These are qualities built up over time through experience, based on faith and not fear!

4.  David was not arrogant, he was simply confident in what God wanted!

a.  And this was enough to have faith.

b.  And this was enough to have a different way of looking at the problem!

 

ILLUS:     A bounty was set on coyotes so two boys figured they might be able to make some quick cash.  They set out in the woods and camped that night hoping to hunt down some coyotes the next day.  During the night they were awakened by a strange sense that they were being watched.  As they both slowly sat up they realized they were surrounded by a huge pack of hungry looking coyotes.  The first boy simply whimpered, “Oh No!  Look at this!”  His buddy however had a different perspective, he optimistically said, “Hey Bill, we’re rich!” – Source Unknown

 

B.      Stability!   17:38-44

1.  Saul tries to outfit David in his own over-sized armor, but someone else’s strength is not David’s!

2.  David couldn’t rely on Saul’s strengths and experiences, as he says to Saul, “I am not used to them.”  17:39.

a.  It is not that there was anything wrong with armor, but it wasn’t David armor!

b.  We must learn to trust God using us for who we are and not try to be someone else!

c.  God is the one thing they both could have trusted in and won, but Saul was caught up in fear.

 

C.  Source    17:45-47

1.  Goliath came against David with man’s stuff (sword and javelin) ... but David was coming against him “in the name of the Lord.”

2.  This really is the bottom line when we face problems in life.

3.  Notice that David’s lengthy boast did not include boasting on himself, but on God!

a.  David knew God’s plan and God’s Word so he could be confident here of the outcome!

b.  God’s Word never fails, in this we can boast and have great confidence!

c.  You can bet your life on God’s character and His Word!

4.  Imagine what the other Israelites were thinking when this little shepherd boy was gathering up 5 smooth stones to fight a giant!

a.  David’s confidence was so great he gathers 5 stones!

b.  How does this show confidence?  Goliath had 4 other giant brothers according to the Bible (II Sam. 21:19-22 - all sons of Rapha) ... is it possible David was preparing himself to fight all of them if necessary to rid Israel of this “giant” problem once and for all?

 

 D.      Success!      17:48-58

1.  With God one stone per giant is enough! 

a.  David RUNS TOWARD his enemy, not away from him!   17:48

b.  We could learn an important lesson here about faith!

c.  Between God’s promise of help and David’s use of the best weapons he knew there could be no chance of failure!

2.  David simply has a huge target, it made victory actually easier!!!

a.  What Israel saw as too big to win over, David saw as too big to miss!

b.  Perspective can make all the difference in the world the way it impacts our faith and fears.

3.  Once Goliath was dead the rest of the Philistines turn and run away in fear, if Goliath’s other 4 giant brothers were there they decided they didn’t want David to use his other 4 stones on them, they all run away in fear!

a.  Faith by one man conquered the fear in many, and brought victory!  In this way David was like Christ here!

b.  Now Israel’s faith is rallied and they go after the fleeing Philistines!

c.  Israel “shouts” and goes after all the enemy ... and the renewed faith brings a great victory!

4.  Israel is able to return and plunder the wealth of the enemy’s camp, all because one shepherd saw things differently!

a.  David takes Goliath’s head and puts it on a post at the city of Jerusalem, which at this time is a Jebusite city!

b.  This act of faith precedes David taking Jerusalem for his capital and making it the capital of Israel later!  David sure had a way of looking at things through the eyes of faith, is it any wonder he kept beating “giant” problems!

c.  It is interesting to note that later in time David and his men did kill Goliath’s 4 other brothers, thus finishing the job that started here.  (See II Sam. 21:19-22)

5.  How do you see your problems as you face the future?

a.  Do you see problems so big you can’t win, or so big God can’t lose in getting glory when we choose to do the right thing!?

b.  Are you living each day paralyzed in fear, or empowered with faith?

 

CONCLUSION:   Are you facing “giant” problems in your life?  How do you see these problems?  If you look at them with only your own strength you will be afraid, but with faith they can all be conquered!  Many times it is how we see them that will determine how we respond to them!