Gracefully Truthful


Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

1 Samuel 17:45-47

45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with a sword, spear, and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord of Armies, the God of the ranks of Israel—you have defied him. 46 Today, the Lord will hand you over to me. Today, I’ll strike you down, remove your head, and give the corpses of the Philistine camp to the birds of the sky and the wild creatures of the earth. Then all the world will know that Israel has a God, 47 and this whole assembly will know that it is not by sword or by spear that the Lord saves, for the battle is the Lord’s. He will hand you over to us.”

The Original Intent

1) Why were David’s words in verse 45 to be taken seriously by the Philistines?

1 Samuel 17 is an exhilarating chapter; if you’ve never read it, I encourage you to take the next 2 minutes and soak in the narrative, taking in all the key players as you watch the drama unfold!

Verses 45-47 represent only a small snippet of this riveting passage and when studying, it’s important to take in the broader context. When we do, we find three main players in the story, well, make that four if you count the true Champion.

King Saul knew the Lord God and had experienced life-marking encounters with Him (1 Samuel 10:11, 1 Samuel 11:12-15), but his relationship was fringe, without depth at best, and non-existent at worst. King Saul knew a lot about God, but he didn’t live out what he knew. If he had, he would have boldly, with great faith, sent soldiers to defeat Goliath long before shepherd boy David arrived on the scene. (1 Samuel 17:10-11, 16) Instead of trusting God to be Israel’s Jehovah Nissi or Yahweh Sabaoth, King Saul quaked with fear.

While King Saul and Israel’s soldiers refused to lean into the truth of God’s warrior Names and caved to fear, Goliath responded with arrogance. The giant philistine warrior didn’t care one iota who David, the scruffy little teenage shepherd boy, called on; Goliath was certain he would win.

As for David, his relationship with the Lord has been developing over time. The more David understood about God and His character, the more reason he had to trust His Name to be exactly Who He claimed. David knew God as Jehovah Rohi, but he also had experienced victory against ridiculous odds and had come to know the Lord as Jehovah Nissi, The LORD is Our (victory) Banner. (1 Samuel 17:36-37)

David responded with faith to the Champion as he trusted another victory to Jehovah Nissi!
*written by Rebecca Adams

The Everyday Application

1) Why were David’s words in verse 45 to be taken seriously by the Philistines?

Imagine catching a burglar and quoting David’s words from verse 45! Calling aloud on “the name of the Lord of Armies, the God of the ranks of Israel” isn’t likely to stir up fear in the thief, though it certainly should!

How familiar we become with knowing the character of the God who bears such incredible names as we’ve studied in this Journey Theme, should stir up deep, heart responses in us. Likely, we will respond in one of three ways just as was the case for David, King Saul, and Goliath.

When you consider your relationship with God, what thoughts come to mind? Are they mostly outward actions that can easily be disconnected from your heart like attending church, giving money, buying a meal for the homeless, or another “religious” act? If so, you’d probably be most comfortable lining up with King Saul. You may know a lot about God or you may only know enough to conclude you should do good things to appease Him, but either way, the knowing is in your mind and likely hasn’t transformed your heart and life.

If words like “intimacy”, “worship”, and “peace” come to mind along with scenes of reading your Bible, prayer, heart-felt worship with other believers, and radical joy accompany thoughts of “relationship with God”, it’s likely you would stand with David, sling in hand. You’ve come to know God as deeply personal, He is yours and you are His.

For many, the idea of “calling on the Name of the Lord” is archaic and meaningless, even crazy, adding up to nothing more than a handful of chanted words. If you find yourself here, chances are you’d be cheering for Goliath with total nonchalance toward measly David and his “God”.

Each position reflects varying degrees of understanding God’s true identity. If you find yourself lacking David’s faith, spend time getting to know his God better!
*written by Rebecca Adams

The Original Intent

2) Why was David so certain of what had not yet happened? (verse 46)

We read David’s exceedingly bold words and they may seem tinged with a bit of teenage cockiness. Or we may read them and consider our own prayer life with the Lord and long for the same kind of stalwart confidence David displayed. Both of these are examples of reading our feelings or our perspective over the text instead of letting the Lord’s Word speak for itself without our overlay.

#HisWordsBeforeOurs is the GT motto, but it’s an essential study tool for everyone when reading God’s Word!

If we read David’s story before this epic battle scene, we discover interesting truths that rightly color our understanding of the fight between David and Goliath.

While handsome (1 Samuel 17:42), he was also the youngest of 8 brothers (1 Samuel 16:10-11) and spent the majority of his days away from home tending his father’s sheep. David reveals more about his time with the sheep when he speaks with King Saul in verses 34-36 telling how he saved his sheep from bears and lions, but he saves the best for last when he testifies it was “The LORD [who] rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear.” (verse 37)

David was young, but he wasn’t naïve, neither was he unskilled or arrogant; he knew the Source of his victory and it wasn’t in his own strength. Armed with years of learning to rely on the Lord (and speak and sing to Him, as the psalms record), the confidence David displayed as he faced Goliath wasn’t out of character from his everyday walk with the Lord, this was just one more opportunity to trust Him as evidenced by his own words, “The LORD […] will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” (verse 37)
*written by Rebecca Adams

The Everyday Application

2) Why was David so certain of what had not yet happened? (verse 46)

David stepped out from the battle line to face Israel’s giant foe with confidence because he deeply knew Jehovah Nissi would fight for him. His own words had already spoken of his faith in the Lord’s rescue. (verse 37) But as soon as Goliath opened his mouth, the Lord assured David of his victory because generations earlier, Yahweh had commanded, “Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord must be put to death; the whole community is to stone him.” (Leviticus 24:16)

On seeing David, Goliath cursed David by his [false] gods (verse 43), thereby blaspheming the Holy Name of the Lord. All David needed to do was take the Lord at His Word, which wasn’t difficult for him because he already knew Him to be faithful and true.

Adding confidence to confidence in his personal knowledge of the Lord God, David resounded his victory cry for all to hear, “Today, the Lord will hand you over to me. Today, I’ll strike you down, remove your head […] Then all the world will know that Israel has a God.” (verse 46)

David trusted God’s Word to be true, but before he could trust it, he needed to know it. Later as king, David built his rule on the Torah (the first 5 books of the Old Testament); he thoroughly knew God’s Word and lived it out through faith.

The same will be true for us. The more we know God and His character through His Word, the more we will walk by faith as bold as David. Not because we are mighty, but because we know our God IS faithful and true to His own character. (Revelation 19:11)
*written by Rebecca Adams

The Original Intent

3) What is the Lord’s banner over His people? (verse 47)

Looking at appearances, David should have been expecting defeat, instead he was claiming victory in God’s name for God’s glory. David’s declaration of faith speaks of a deep reliance on not only the Lord’s promises, but also his desire to further God’s mission by making His Name known to all peoples.

According to Dr. Constable, “His faith must have rested on God’s promises concerning victory against the enemies of God’s people for their confidence in Him and their obedience to His word”. ( All throughout the Bible, the Lord declares His love for His people, Israel, and the surety that He would fight to preserve them. (2 Chronicles 20:15, Exodus 14:13-14, Deuteronomy 10:15) This is what David rested his faith on: the everlasting love of God. (Jeremiah 31:3)

This great love is the banner covering and protecting Israel. Maggie Cooper proclaims, “The Lord loves His people. He loves you and me! And He will not allow evil to prevail forever.” 

Going back to the Garden of Eden, even when Adam and Eve defied God, His love was greater than their sin. So even though He banished them from the Garden, He clothed them. (Genesis 3:21) When God sent the Israelites into captivity, He preserved a remnant. (Isaiah 10:20-27) And think about all the victories He orchestrated for Israel beyond Goliath, such as Jericho, Gideon vs. Midian, and Saul vs. the Amalekites.

God will always give victory because of His unfailing love for Israel. “Darkness strikes with severity at the heart of love in strange and unexpected ways but it is precisely here that God’s light of love gloriously demonstrated itself to be an eternal and all-powerful love.” (Paul Bucknell)

David knew of God’s love and His commitment to protect His people and he acted according to the banner over him of God’s love, which resulted in protection and victory.
*written by Marietta Taylor

The Everyday Application

3) What is the Lord’s banner over His people? (verse 47)

One of the most well-known verses in the Bible is John 3:16, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” This is God’s banner over us.

The most extravagant gift ever was Jesus, hanging on a cross, high on a hill, taking all our sin so that we could come close to our Most Holy God. It is the ultimate banner of love, resulting in victory for all who stand under it.

Barnabas Piper says, “God is our banner because He gives us identity, and our label is “God’s children,” because of the saving work of Jesus.” (Bible Study Tools

Talk to any family who has a loved one with an addiction or an illness. They will likely tell you they would give or do anything to save them. It’s how I felt when my dad was dying  from a rare lung disorder. I felt it again when my daughter received a life-changing diagnosis and again when my sister died three years ago. But that power did not reside in me. It does reside in Jesus. A power and love so great Jesus did do something and it changed everything.  

Michelle Treacy says, “I cannot turn God against me because He loves me so much that He is unshakably kind in pulling me toward Him so that He can show me His everlasting and enduring love for me.” (

We don’t earn this gift. To be covered by God’s banner of love, receiving the greatest victory of eternity, we simply need to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and reject our sin. The God-man, Jesus, who gave His life for us, stands ready with His victorious love. Will you stand under His banner?
*written by Marietta Taylor

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