David and Goliath and the Holiness of God


I heard about a Methodist Church that closed down. The church became a reception center and someone said with disgust, “They have the bar, right where the pulpit used to be!”

What is the big deal?

This is a big deal because the pulpit is usually viewed as representative of God’s Word being preached and because of the preaching of the Word happening there, the pulpit is considered



“set apart”

We think the same things about our Bible, or we used to. I know of a missionary who was working in a country and she had her Bible on the floor under a chair and as she was sitting she casually allowed her foot to end up on top of the Bible. The people in that country were offended. They were offended because Bibles were hard to get and so they were set apart, holy.

The Bible is holy.

What is your view of God?

Do you view God as holy?

Do you view God as set apart?

Do you think that someday you will stand before God and you will cower in His presence?

I have a dog that is about 15 pounds and I have seen him chase deer. A few weeks ago I saw him chasing turkey. How dumb dogs can be. They don’t realize what they are trifling with. I would say the same with us. We trifle with the Holiness of God and it is a dangerous game. We chase sin, we condone sin, even corporately and we are messing with the holiness of God. Sin, is always, always, breaking the holiness of God. Technically sin is breaking relationship with God. Yet, we act like nothing is wrong. We don’t realize how awesome God is.

Just think of creation:


Tony Campolo was once confronted by an atheist who was one of his students. The young man told Campolo, “For me to believe in God, I have to have a God that I can understand.”

And Campolo replied, “God refuses to be that small!”[1]

Crazy Love, Francis Chan writes:

Have you ever thought about how diverse and creative God is? He didn’t have to make hundreds of different kinds of bananas, but He did. He didn’t have to put three thousand different species of trees within one square mile in the Amazon jungle, but He did. God didn’t have to create so many kinds of laughter. Think about the different sounds of your friends’ laughs—wheezes, snorts, silent, loud, obnoxious. 

How about the way plants defy gravity by drawing water upward from the ground into their stems and veins? Or did you know that spiders produce three kinds of silk? When they build their webs, they create 60 feet of silk in one hour, simultaneously producing special oil on their feet that prevents them from sticking to their own web. (Most of us hate spiders, but 60 feet an hour deserves some respect!) Coral plants are so sensitive that they can die if the water temperature varies by even one or two degrees. 

Did you know that when you get goose bumps, the hair is actually helping you stay warmer by trapping body heat? Or what about the simple fact that plants take in carbon dioxide (which is harmful to us) and produce oxygen (which we need to survive)? I’m sure you knew that, but have you ever marveled at it? And these same poison-swallowing, life-giving plants came from a tiny seed that was put in the dirt. Some were watered, some weren’t; but after a few days, they poked through the soil and out into the warm sunlight. 

God is awesome, God is great!

Remember the song I have used:

Our God is so big so strong and so mighty, there is nothing that my God can’t do.

The mountains are big, the valleys are big, the stars are His handiwork too.

Our God is so big so strong and so mighty, there is nothing that my God can’t do.
We sing that song not realizing the incredible implication. If God is big, strong and mighty and if He has a standard and we break that standard, then we better be more than afraid.

Prov 15:33

The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom,

and humility comes before honor.

Prov 19:23

The fear of the LORD leads to life:

Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

Rev. 7:11 and 11:16 the people fall on their faces before God. In the Old Testament we would see the same thing.

In John 18:6 the people came to arrest Jesus and they arrived and Jesus said, “Who is it you want?” They replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said, “I am He.” When Jesus said this they fell down. With just a breath of His nostrils they fell down.

In the Old Testament Moses wanted to see God’s glory:

Ex 33:18-20

Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”

And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

No one can see God and live. God is holy.

Now, I want to look at David and Goliath and I want to show you something about this passage.

As we look at the passage I must talk about correct interpretation. Bible scholars will say it is improper to look at this passage and say that God is going to take care of your giants as well. That is not the purpose of the account. David is fighting for God. In similar ways it is improper to look at the passage in which Jesus calms the storm (Matt. 8:24ff) and say, “Jesus will calm the storms in your life too.” That is not correct interpretation. That is not the purpose of that account.

It seems clear that David is fighting for God’s army. But further, I believe that David is defending God’s honor. David is offended by what offends God and that is blasphemy.

Goliath is an enemy of God’s people and God uses David to take him down. Goliath has blasphemed God. Goliath is calling curses down on God’s people by his “pagan” gods. I believe this narrative is about the holiness of God.

In  1 Samuel 16 God wants to choose a king after His own heart and so David is anointed. In 1 Samuel 17 we see why. David could not sit by and watch this guy curse God’s people and blaspheme God.

I heard a story about a man hiking in Alaska and he got too close to some bear cubs. But momma bear as behind them. This man was mauled and barely lived.

Goliath is like a big man going against a little man, but he doesn’t realize the bigger Man behind the little man. The bigger Man is God.

God is behind David. Goliath thinks he is simply mocking the Israelite people, but he is mocking God.

God’s wrath is mentioned some 700 times in the Bible. Don’t trivialize this attribute of God.

Also, we are to pursue holiness. The Bible says: “Be holy for I am holy.” (Lev. 20:7; Heb. 10:26; 1 Jn. 3:6)

The theme:

David trusts God as he defeats Goliath when Goliath was blaspheming.

The application:

Simply: Don’t mess with the holiness of God as that is what Goliath was doing.

Be ready to be used of God even when confronting sin and remember God is really the One using you. God is really the One fighting the battle. Have no fear.

Read with me 1 Samuel 17:41-50:

 Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. 42 He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. 43 He said to David, “Am I a dog that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods44 “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the  birds and the wild animals!”

45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.

50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.

  1. I want to begin with an overview of the story. As we look at this, notice this is not simply against Israel but against God.
    1. 1 Samuel 17:1-19: Goliath’s challenge
      1. First we have an introduction to Goliath. He would have been about 9 foot and 9 inches tall. There is another interpretation dating back to Josephus that he would have been 6 foot 9 inches tall. In that day the average man was about 5 foot 5 inches tall. So, Goliath is still very tall.
    2. 1 Samuel 17:20-30: David accepts Goliath’s challenge
      1. 1 Samuels 17:20-23: Prelude: David sees the battle
      2. 1 Samuel 17:24-25: David hears the fear in the Israelites and the king’s reward for the one who kills Goliath
  • 1 Samuels 17:26-27: David is shocked by the way this man is able to taunt the Israelites
  1. 1 Samuels 17:31-58: David accepts the challenge and kills Goliath
    1. 1 Samuel 17: 48-49: Goliath is killed
  2. By the way, who is the major player in this passage?
    1. Any guesses?
    2. We might think David, but I am inclined to think this story is about how God won the battle.
  • I do not think that David won by his aim.
  1. They do say that a man could hurl a stone with the slingshot at 100 mph and the stones would be the size of tennis balls, but I still believe it was God that did this.
  2. God gave David the confidence.
  3. God gave David the ability.
  • God guided those stones.
  • God allowed Saul to let David fight the battle.
  1. God made that stone knock out Goliath.
  2. God did it all.
  1. Blasphemy is the major issue
    1. As David came against Goliath, Goliath mocked him first. Then Goliath cursed David by his gods. (verse 43) This means that at this point Goliath is using the pagan gods to curse David. This is not an issue of David, this is an issue of proclaiming a god other than the true God. This is an issue of blasphemy.
    2. By the way, by cursing one of Abraham’s descendants Goliath was bringing a curse on himself. Gen. 12:3: I will bless those who bless you,
      and whoever curses you I will curse;
      and all peoples on earth
      will be blessed through you
    3. Also: According to the Torah, any individual guilty of blasphemy—even a non-Israelite—must be stoned (Lev 24:16). Perhaps this was an underlying reason why David chose the weapon he did in confronting the Philistine;59 even before serving as Israel’s king, David would prove himself to be a diligent follower of the Torah and thus a man after the Lord’s heart. At the same time, of course, David’s use of the sling and stone also must have been motivated by the fact that he was skillful in their use and the weapon was especially suited for exploiting Goliath’s vulnerabilities.[2]

Lev. 24:16:‘Moreover, the one who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him. The alien as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.[3]

  1. David was provoked. David was provoked because this giant mocked God and committed blasphemy.
  2. This was not only when David actually went against Goliath. We can go back further in the account. In verses 8-11 he is shouting out against Israel: Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” 10 Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” 11 On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.
  3. Then in verse 23 the Bible says that Goliath was speaking the same words and David was hearing them.
  4. In verses 26-27 David responds: What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgracefrom Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?
  5. Notice how David says “defy the armies of the ‘Living God’?”
  6. David is defending God in this passage, but in reality David is really being used of God. Sometimes we think we are the ones making the moves, we are the ones fighting the battle, but if we are doing what God wants us to do, He is the one fighting the battle.
  • Are we offended by what offends God?
    1. If this passage is about David defending the holiness of God, as I believe it is, are we bothered when God is mocked in our society?
    2. There is no big giant out there mocking God for you to literally and physically take out. But God’s holiness is trifled with.
    3. Jeremiah 6:15 and 8:12 says that the people do not know how to blush.
    4. The people are so caught in sin, so desensitized by it, it no longer causes them to blush.
    5. Does sin bother you?
    6. I am going to talk about sin in your life and in your family or friends, because if it is in your home and you are an adult you could maybe say something, but you are afraid. If they are your children or grandchildren you need to say something, you better. Let me repeatedly say that I am not talking about struggles , but condoned, repeated, sin with an “I don’t care attitude.”
    7. Are you bothered when your children or grandchildren use God’s name in vain?
    8. Are you bothered when the television is on at home and people are watching something that would offend God? Are you watching it?
      1. Pornography in the home?
      2. Shows that endorse sex outside of marriage?
  • Shows that endorse adultery?
  1. Shows that endorse homosexual behavior?
  2. Shows, literature, radio that makes fun of people in homosexual behavior?
  3. Racist shows?
  1. Are we stuck in sin and not getting help? When I am talking about sin that needs taking care of I am not talking about sin that you or someone else is struggling with. No, I am talking about giving over to sin. I am talking about condoning sin.
  2. What about addictions?
  3. Are you, or do some in your home entertain lustful thoughts?
  4. What about thoughts of murder and hate?
  5. What about when God is mocked?
  6. What about denying God as the creator, all powerful ruler?
  7. What about denying God as the Savior? Does this bother you?
  8. Pray and ask God to soften your heart to Him. Ask God to make it that you are convicted.
  9. Listen, if I come to your house and make fun of your spouse or your children will that bother you? Then why does it not bother you when your Savior is mocked, made fun of?
  1. Once you are offended, now slay the giant? This may be in your life or those closest to you.
    1. Now, don’t fear. If you are the one dealing with sin, you have a Goliath in your life. With God’s help we can knock it out. Talk with me, a prayer partner, seek God.
    2. If there is a repetitive condoning of sin in your family and this is a “so-called” believer talk to them.
    3. I am not saying, nor will I say, to excommunicate them, or cut off the relationship. I am saying talk to them. They may not know.
    4. I was in JROTC and the instructor said Jesus Christ in vain. He also talked laughingly about drunkenness. I later talked with him. He quoted the one verse that every pseudo Christian knows and often uses wrongly. He quoted Matthew 7:1 that says don’t judge. But the problem with that is that that particular passage is about over scrupulous judging, not talking to someone about sin. Later in the same passage Jesus talks about recognizing false prophets, so then we are judging. Also, when we use the Bible as our guide, God is judging through His Word. This NJROTC instructor later talked to the class about the dangers of drunkenness so there was a positive effect of our conversation.
    5. I have had to be involved in people abusing spouses verbally and in other ways, but I had to say something and work with the family.
    6. As you slay the giant, God is really the one doing the slaying.
    7. Some things may have waited too long, maybe it is past time to deal with this.
    8. Maybe you have family members that have the biggest GIANT, they don’t know Christ and you are there to share Jesus with them. Slay that giant.

I must say that in the Old Testament they were called to do drastic things like stone people to death for sin. We don’t need to even consider this. We must be full of grace and full of truth. They had to do that because they were setting up a Jewish Nation State. They had civil and religious laws in the Old Testament.

This also was showing the intense holiness of God.

God is Holy.

Ps 66:18

If I had cherished sin in my heart,

the Lord would not have listened…

Hab 1:13

Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;

you cannot tolerate wrong.

Isaiah 6: even the angels cover their eyes at God’s holiness:

Isa 6:1-5:

 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;

the whole earth is full of his glory.”

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

We are sinners in the hands of an angry God. The only way to fix this is to repent and turn our lives over to Christ.


How does this relate to today?

David conquers Goliath.

But why does David conquer Goliath. It is not so simple as that Goliath  was challenging the Israelites. No, he was challenging God. He was even committing blasphemy.

I always thought of this story simply about a common iron age battle. It is not a common iron age battle. I always thought of this story to be about fearless David who was simply not afraid to be the warrior they needed, but that is not the whole truth.

David was convicted to battle Goliath. David was provoked as a young child around 13 years old. He was provoked when the whole Israelite army was not.

David was called by God to confront the sin of blasphemy and he didn’t bat an eye. David was fearless because he feared God and defended God’s name knowing that he was on the Lord’s side, he stood firm in his faith.

In this passage David is confronted. David is appalled at the way the Israelites refuse to respond to defend God. So David responds.

Slay the Giant. This may be not tolerating sin in your life or others in your household. This may be confronting sin.

There was new recently of a pastor of a church in Canada who came out as an atheist some 12 years ago. For some 12 years her church has condoned having a pastor who does not believe in God. Be ready to be used of God to confront sin as David did, but not with a sling and a stone, but with the Bible and the Holy Spirit.

James 5:20

remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

Gal 6:1

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

Do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)



[1] (From a sermon by Jeff Strite, Trusting in Ravens, 8/8/2011)

59 Whether or not Goliath’s blasphemy was the primary reason for David’s use of the slingstone to kill Goliath, the writer of 1, 2 Samuel has certainly gone to considerable lengths elsewhere in the presentation of David’s life to demonstrate that this king was scrupulous in his observance of Torah regulations—with one tragic exception (2 Sam 11:3–4).

[2] Robert D. Bergen, 1, 2 Samuel, vol. 7, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996), 195–196.

[3] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Le 24:16.

2 thoughts on “David and Goliath and the Holiness of God

  1. Really appreciate the article on the whole truth being the story of /David & Goliath. \I agree when using our bible as a guide we need to pay close attention to the reference being made and what specifically is being addressed, what is Jehovah God saying teaching us.
    Currently my Goliath is finding out that my husband has been having an affair for the last 4 years of a 5 year marriage. it involves taking trips over those four years to where the other person lives, although conveniently those trips appeared to being family oriented- no I did not go on those trips. sending money via western union, endless conversations, various times through out the day. For example. when he kisses me bye for work or not and leaves in the morning, soon as he gets in the car there were calls made or conversations., birthday dinner and graphic details of their intimacy, pictures, all proof of the affair. just recently, he mocked me saying: I did it right under your face and you didn’t even know it”. I have asked for a plan going forward how we are going to work through this adulterous affair. I have been told he has moved on and I need to let it go.
    How do I get pass these feelings of betrayal, rejection, unfaithfulness, deception, lies, trickery. Four years of suspecting he was cheating and he denied it!
    You mentioned that you worked with families who’ spouse was abusing them condoning sin in their lives. What Is your advise in this situation?

    S. Cole Griffiths Brampton ON Canada

    • Hi Sherryl, I am so very sorry to hear this. That must be devastating for you. So, I want to sympathize with what you are going through. This is a public forum so I will keep this short. First, I would encourage you to find a Bible believing church, if you don’t already have one. Meet with the pastor and talk with him or her about this. They can help more in person than I can remotely. Second, talk with a Christian counselor. If you go to Focus on the Family’s website you can find a Christian counselor near you. A Church should help you find one as well. What you are going through is too hard to handle alone. God does not want us to handle things alone. Third, talk with God as a friend. Read the Bible. Let me ask, do you know Jesus as Lord and Savior? Jesus wants to help you through this. Read passages like Phil 4:4-13; Psalm 42; Psalm 63; Psalm 121 and others. Talk with a Christian friend. I just prayed for you and God does hear prayer. Go to this link and you can hear and read more about the Gospel: https://www.gotquestions.org/Romans-road-salvation.html

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