Ten Tips For Killing Giants

Bible Book: 1 Samuel  17 : 28-51
Subject: Courage; Strength; God's Power; Purpose

A rugged old-time cowboy said he had learned life’s most important lesson from some Hereford cows. All his life he had worked cattle ranches where winter storms took a heavy toll among the herds. Freezing rains whipped across the prairies. Howling, bitter winds piled snow into enormous drifts. Temperatures might drop quickly to below zero degrees. In such a display of nature’s violence, most cattle would turn their backs to the icy blasts and slowly drift downwind, mile upon mile. Finally, intercepted by a boundary fence. They would pile up against that barrier and die by the scores.

But the Herefords were different. Cattle of this breed would instinctively head into the wind. They would stand shoulder to shoulder facing the storm’s blast. “You most always found the Herefords alive and well,” said the cowboy. “From those cows I learned how to weather life’s storms. I learned to face things head-on. It’s something I’ve practiced all my life.”

How did he exemplify courage? Are we like that? Well, unfortunately, few people exemplify courage successfully. David is a positive example. Let’s see what this Bible character can teach us about exemplifying courage.

I. Be Realistic About Your Abilities.

David examined his track record and considered his past successes. The Scripture says, “David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it” (I Sam. 17:34-35).

In facing the present situation David wasn’t being boastful or grandiose. He had solid evidence to support his claims. That’s important! Solomon said, “Like clouds . . . without rain is a man who boasts of gifts he does not give” (Prov. 25:14).

In order to exemplify courage we need to analyze our talents and skills and experience. So don’t be unreasonable and overly optimistic. Be realistic about your abilities.

II. Make A Public Decision.

The Scripture says, “David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him” (I Sam. 17:32).

This young man gave a simple, clear declaration of his intentions. There was no hesitation or uncertainly.

Making such a commitment of intent seems to ensure follow-through. Paul emphasized the importance of stating our purpose. “If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9).

In order to exemplify courage we need to take a stand, openly declare our intention and put our faith into works. So, don’t duck responsibility or evade personal involvement. Make a public decision.

III. Be Prepared For Criticism.

The Scripture says, “When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle” (I Sam. 17:28).

Isn’t that amazing? Sibling rivalry was alive and well in ancient Judea. It’s unfortunate that a person’s family and friends are often the most negative concerning a person’s decision. Jealousy and resentment are inevitable. Jesus said, “Only in his hometown, among His relatives and in His own house is a prophet without honor” (Mark 6:4).

In order to exemplify courage, we need to have self confidence, fortitude and strength. So, expect opposition and be prepared for criticism.

IV. Be Prepared For Advice.

The Scripture says, “Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head” (I Sam. 17:38).

Well meaning spectators can be very generous with advice. Words are cheap. Everyone wants to make recommendations; but their ideas may not be wise or practical. Solomon said, “The plans of the righteous are just, but the advice of the wicked is deceitful” (Prov. 12:5).

In order to exemplify courage, we need to know our own mind and stand firm. So, be respectful of others’ input, and be prepared for advice.

V. Be Prepared For Discouraging Comments.

“Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth” (I Sam. 17:33).

People can be very negative in their predictions. These “nay-sayers” can crush hopes and dreams. The Psalmist said, “Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord” (Psa. 31:24, KJV).

In order to exemplify courage we need to be optimistic, determined and self-assured. So, expect some pessimism and be prepared for discouraging comments.

VI. Be Prepared For Ridicule.

Even worse than unproductive advice and negative comments are the direct threats of enemies. The Scripture says, “(Goliath) looked David over and saw that he was only a boy, ruddy and handsome, and he despised him. He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!” (I Sam. 17:42-44).

This bully talked big. His words plus his imposing size could have stopped almost any opponent, but David had a secret weapon. Elisha said, “Don't be afraid . . . Those who are with us are more than those who are with them" (II Kings 6:16).

In order to exemplify courage we need to be strong, resolved and persistent. So expect threats and be prepared for ridicule.

VII. Consider Options But Do It Your Way.

The Scripture says, “David fastened on (Saul’s) sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. ‘I cannot go in these,’ he said to Saul, ‘because I am not used to them.’ So he took them off” (I Sam. 17:39).

The more information we have the better. Therefore, it’s always wise to listen to admonitions and consider what others have to say; but in the final analysis we must follow our own heart and mind.

In order to exemplify courage we need to be open and willing to hear all sides. So think things through, and try different approaches. Consider all options but do it your way.

VIII. Don’t Be Overly Confident.

The Scripture says, “Then (David) took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. ” (I Sam. 17:40).

It’s significant that David didn’t take just one stone. He knew success is not always realized on the first try. He had some back-up ammunition.

Paul urged us to be cautious. “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (I Cor. 10:12).

In order to exemplify courage we need to be thorough in our preparation, and build in some redundancy. So always have a “Plan B,” and don’t be overly confident.

IX. Have Faith In God.

The Scripture says, “ 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 hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head . . . and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. ” (I Sam. 17:45-46).

David relied on his spiritual heritage and his relationship with God. He said, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you” (Psa. 56:3)

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man” (Psa. 118:8).

Evil tends to be self-destructive. In fact, Goliath was killed with his own weapon. “ David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the scabbard. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword. ” (I Sam. 17:51).

In order to exemplify courage, we need to have a positive attitude. So develop trust, and believe that good is greater than evil. Have faith in God.

X. Finally, Realize Your Courage Will Empower Others.

The Scripture says, “Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines - Their dead were strewn along the Shaaraim road to Gath and Ekron” (I Sam. 17:51b-52).

Isn’t that ironic. The same timid soldiers who had discouraged David now became bold. Furthermore, those same Philistines, who had boasted and bragged now ran like scared rabbits. This demonstrates that one person’s determination will influence others. When one courageous individual acts, evil tends to lose it’s strength. Many people won’t be the first to stand up for truth, but they will recognize and follow a strong leader’s example. That’s why Paul said, “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness” (Titus 2:7).

In order to exemplify courage, we need to be an example. So, be the first to respond if necessary and realize that your courage will empower others.


Many other Scriptures speak to the subject of courage: Moses said, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deut. 31:6).

The Psalmist said, “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.

What can man do to me? ” (Psa. 118:6).

Jesus said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28).

Paul said, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).

Courage doesn’t come easy. The shepherd boy, David, often faced hardship while protecting his sheep. Occasionally he faced a bear or lion and had to kill the beast that threatened his flock. In addition, David slept among the rocks, ate wild game and learned survival lessons. These experiences equipped, taught and toughened the man who would one day have to face Goliath.

During the Battle of Britain, when the German Air Force was bombing nightly and Western civilization seemed to be on the brink of extinction, there were only 300 British pilots standing between Germany and Great Britain. That was it! When a military man looked at the motley crew and asked Winston Churchill, “What is your backup?” He said, “There is no backup. This is it. If these men fail, there’s nothing else.”

Times like that demand courage!