The text for this lesson is 1 Samuel 17:31–50
- God commands that we respect His name. Through faith in Christ, I have forgiveness for my sins against this commandment, and I am moved to praise God’s name.
- Law: Just as Goliath relied on his own strength and scoffed at David and David’s God, so I, too, break the Second Commandment today by cursing and lying, by using God’s name in thoughtless ways, and by failing to honor and praise God.
- Gospel: Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, kept the Second Commandment perfectly for me. He never once used vain language, but instead called upon His Father in heaven, trusting in Him at all times, all the way to the cross, where He paid for my sin.
- God remained faithful to the people of Israel, meeting their needs despite their failure to trust in Him and call upon His name in prayer. Through the leadership of Moses’ successor, Joshua, God gave the Israelites victory over the inhabitants of Canaan, the Promised Land. The Israelites, however, failed to rout the people of Canaan in their entirety as the Lord had commanded them to do, and they turned away from God. In mercy, God sent judges to rule, guide, and protect His erring sheep. The hard-hearted, grumbling people of Israel were not satisfied with judges, however, and instead demanded a king as the other nations had. The Lord granted their request in Saul, who, once anointed as king, himself turned from the Lord. Casting Saul off as king, God prepared the royal way for a faithful shepherd boy from Bethlehem.
Both King Saul and Goliath fell into the sinful trap of trusting more in God’s gifts than in the giver Himself. God made Saul king over the people of Israel. Samuel anointed the man with oil, and the people confirmed him at Gilgal. As king, Saul had extensive power and prestige. He was wealthy and powerful, commanding a grand army. Goliath, champion of the pagan Philistines, enjoyed physical strength, battle prowess, weapons, and armor, all by God’s allowance and providence. Despite all these gifts, neither King Saul nor Goliath called upon the name of the Lord.
In the same way, unbelievers and Christians alike fail to use God’s gift of speech in a righteous manner. God has faithfully demonstrated that He is almighty, the source and giver of every good thing. Nevertheless, we fail to give God glory for our lives, goods, and most especially, salvation in Jesus Christ. Conversely, we use God’s name falsely to make empty promises, curses, and insulting remarks.
Trusting in God instead of in strength or weapons of war, David faced Goliath, calling upon the name of the Lord. David stood up to Goliath with only a sling and a few stones, gaining victory through the power of the Creator of the universe. Unlike Goliath, who spoke curses in the name of his own gods, David used this violent confrontation as an opportunity to speak honorably of God before the heathen Philistines. In David, we have an example of not only trusting in God but also using words to give Him glory before men. David’s victory over Goliath is a victory over every evil foe that blasphemes the name of God.
More than just an example, David foreshadowed the Messiah, Jesus. Jesus Christ kept the Second Commandment in our stead. How easy it would have been for our Lord to call down curses on His enemies: the Pharisees, Sadducees, and teachers of the law. In moments of frustration, Jesus also may have been tempted to use sinful words against His cowardly, slow-to-understand disciples. Nevertheless, Jesus, even when rebuking sinners, used only the truth. He prayed to His Father in heaven for strength and brought news of the kingdom of God to a world lost in sin.