1 Samuel 17:1-3 Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim. And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines. And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them.
Philistines gathered together at
• Shochoh: meaning- bushy, thorny, hedged in
• Azekah: meaning- dug up, broken, fenced in
- Interesting theme already in place when examining where the enemy (of God) is camped. How thorny and broken and hedged in are the places sin causes us to reside. While we remain at enmity with God we are hedged in and kept by the certain knowledge of the coming wrath, whether we acknowledge this truth to ourselves or not.
The Philistines are set in array against Israel
• Their sole purpose- to do battle with Israel.
- An aside: the word array used here certainly means to arrange or prepare, but it also means ordain. So within the context perhaps we could look at this as the Philistines being ordained by God to this event and specifically to be set in array against Israel in the thorny, hedged in, broken place they find themselves, to bring Glory to God when He delivers His chosen people.
Saul and the children of Israel are pitched by the valley of Elah.
• Elah: a strong hardy tree, an oak
One does not have to look too hard in scripture to find the associations made with trees; strength, healing, steadfastness, shade, and so on. So, here we have Israel’s campground as a place of strength and steadfastness contrasted with the Philistines hard place. It is sad that we can relate events in our own lives where God has us in the palm of His hand- we have all the promises of scripture. And yet when an enemy is arrayed against us, we like Saul and Israel are immobilized by fear…
The Philistines stood on a mountain across from Israel with a valley in between them.
From this we can infer that for David to meet and battle the giant he has to enter into the valley.
How often we would try and avoid the valley as these are the places of enduring trial, but we must pay attention to location.
Verse 2: And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah; Elah, that strong hardy tree (that blessed place in God).
- Psalm 1:1-3 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Remember where the Philistines are:
o Verse 1: pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim
- Ephesdammim: boundary of blood
Boundary of blood, that is just coincidence, right? Oh! that scarlet thread, that crimson flow that washes away my sin and makes me whole! That boundary of blood that cleanses me, separates me…
What can cross that boundary to do me harm?
- Romans 8:37-39 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
For the giant to do any harm to David he would have to cross that boundary of blood. Of this we are assured he cannot.
Because we walk by the great strength found from within ourselves? NO! Because we walk not by sight but by faith!
BY FAITH! See Hebrews 11 for the 16 times this phrase is used to describe the workings of faith in the lives of those who surrender their trust to the Living God.
The giant declared (or better- the enemy raged, roaring like a lion):
- 1 Samuel 17:10 And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.
Yet BY FAITH David responded with:
- 1 Samuel 17:26 And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?
BY FAITH David knew his strength was in God, not himself.
He rightly put his perspective on God, the enemy was not only coming against the Israelites, but against the armies of the Living God. Against God. Who can succeed in that?
BY FAITH David entered into the valley- protected by faith (protected by that boundary of blood).
Sure the giant was a man of war, well armored and well armed.
And David just a lad, a shepherd.
Yet, BY FAITH David armed only with a sling chose 5 stones.
Wait! 5 stones, did he doubt that God would deliver with just one?
2 Samuel 15-22 shows where David and his men destroyed 4 more giants associated with Goliath (4+1=5).
It was here, in this valley of Elah (BY FAITH) that David knew God was going to destroy not only this giant, but ALL the giants in his life.
God is sufficient for ALL the things we will face in life if we will stop looking at the surroundings and begin looking to Him.
Not only did David
- enter the valley
- pick up the stones
- face the giant
But when the moment came, that moment where his faith was to be put to the test, he ran towards the giant.
But wait! Scripture tells it differently.
- 1 Samuel 17:48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.
BY FAITH in the Living God, David ran not only toward the giant but toward the entire army of the Philistines! How great a testimony, a witness to the power of God.
God delivers David with a stone, and also makes a way that his (David’s) enemy is vanquished by the very weapon meant to destroy David.
David stands ON TOP OF the giant’s body and uses Goliath’s own sword to remove his head. Proving in a most dramatic and final way to the Philistine army that their champion was destroyed.
How many giants and their armies will be destroyed in our lives when we begin to trust God and allow Him to work?
How many weapons formed against us will become tools in our hands to dispatch our enemies once we begin to run towards our enemy whilst BY FAITH looking to the One, True, Living God!