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Protecting the Sheep

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Sermon on 1 Samuel 17:34-37

Title:  Protecting the Sheep

Theme: Courageously trust that God protects his people

Goal:  to encourage God’s people live courageously in their trust in God’s protection.

Need:  we often don’t live courageously in trust that God protects his people.


Introduction about my lack of courage

Theme:  courageously trust that God protects his people

  1. David was courageous in the face of dangers
  2. David was courageous because of his faith
  3. What would your courageous faith look like
  4. David’s courageous faith was in a God that protects his sheep always.  Reminder of Psalm 23.
  5. Our courageous faith steps out because we know God protects his sheep always.


          Have you ever been up to Cambellford to the suspension bridge at Ferris Park.  My family took a drive up to the park a couple of weeks ago because it sounded like a fun adventure to take the kids on.  Walk across the bridge, have some dinner in the park, and then go into to town to take some picture by the humongous toonie. 

          We set off down the trail together.  I had Lydia in a backpack baby carrier Ang my wife walking with me and Cory and Haley running and playing like two excited little lion cubs.  Coming up to the suspension bridge we walked along, the kids charged out on to the bridge first looking over the edge of the bridge and then through the grating down to the water 50 or 60 feet below. 

          I took a step onto the bridge and looked down right away the first part you are still over top of the ground that is only a couple of feet below.  Then the bridge takes you past the edge of the gorge.   My knees went all funny.  I got a little woozy. I held on to the side rail of the bridge.  The kids are running up in front.  Jumping and playing.  My legs were turning into jello jigglers.  When it comes to heights, I am not that courageous.  No thanks.

          Acrophobia.  Is what its called.  Scared of heights.  I wouldn’t say I’m that scared of being up high.  It’s more the thought of suddenly not being up high anymore.  Anyone else have that.  Acrophobia.

          I wonder what the fear of following Christ would be called?  Don’t we all suffer from that in our lives?  Some of us worse than others?  Go, make disciples of all nations, or at least starting with your friends.  Wouldn’t your hands start sweating and your heart start pounding if you set out to call and invite that unbelieving friend to church sometime? 

That following Christ o phobia leads us to choose the easier path.  Set your minds on things above not on earthly things.  Maybe after Grey’s Anatomy is finished.  Did you see what’s happening between Meridith and Derek?  No matter how important we know it is, we still have this evangophobia.  You won’t catch me telling people about Christ.  I suffer from openexpressionoffaithophobia.  I think I have a pretty bad case of it too.  I hope I am allowed to talk about it like that.  I also suffer from it as well.

          But Scripture calls us all to something greater.  We can courageously trust that God protect us through any challenge since we belong to him.

          David is an awesome guy isn’t he?  He’s the guy who would eventually be the king one day.  He was the one who wrote many Psalms.  And if he was ever afraid, he really didn’t show it.  David courageously faces all sorts of danger because he trusts that God protects his people.

          Don’t the stories just make you think, wow, this guy David was really something special.  I don’t know of anyone that could match his courage.  How many of you friends had the chance to go to the zoo this year?  Anyone?  Do you know what my favorite exhibit at the zoo is?  The gorillas.  They really know how to take life easy don’t they.

          I am always disappointed going past the lion exhibits.  They must know I am coming or something.  I get there and they are never out.  But I have watched the discovery channel and I wouldn’t want to mess with a lion.  A bear wouldn’t be much better.  If ever I see an animal like that, I am so happy they are on the other side of the glass at the zoo.

          David saw these animals right up close.  They weren’t at a zoo.  These animals were planning to make some his father’s sheep their lunch for the day.  Daivd was a young shepherd boy.  His job was to make sure the sheep found grass to eat, water to drink, and to make sure the sheep were kept out of danger.

          A Lion and a Bear, I would call that danger.  But I don’t think most of us would do like David did.  I might have gone running home to momma.  Not David.  Look at the courage of just a young guy.  He tells King Saul all about the dangerous situations he’s faced.  He says it like this.  I am a shepherd and when I was watching my dad sheep a lion attacked and then a bear attacked trying to get a easy lunch of lamb.  I went after the lion and the bear.  I grabbed them by their hair and a killed them with my shepherds staff. 

          That is courage plain and simple.  He could have been killed by those animals.  But he wasn’t going to let his fathers sheep get killed.  Can you feel the adreneline rush that must have come on just before going in?

          That’s courage.  Mark Twain said it this way.  Courage is resisting fear, mastering fear—not the absence of fear.”  That’s david.  He may have been afraid, but he mastered that fear because he judged it to be more important to save his father’s sheep than to be afraid of the lion and the bear.  That’s courage.

          Perhaps in our lives we need a little more courage.  When that big encounter with the boss is coming over the way you disapprove of something.  Can you master your fear to share what’s on your mind?  What about standing up in front of your friends when they are busy getting drunk or high.  Are you going to have the courage- and that’s courage- are you going to manage your fear and say forget it.  This isn’t right!  What about when you are asked to sing in front of the whole church.  How about when you are reminded that we need to share the gospel with others?  What about when the culture continues scoffing at Christians for our moral standards?  Will you be courageous?

          David’s courage comes from his faith.  Listen to that.  Its so important.  David’s courage comes from his faith.  Even as a young man, his faith in God moved him to be strong. 

          This is different from the sort of courage that we might often think of today.  Where does your courage come from?  I know we have many courageous soldiers going out to fight the enemy in Afghanistan.  They have courage of one kind where you are a person of strong character.  They have learned through their training and discipline to be courageous.

          Courage to do what Christ calls Christians to do comes from the faith in us.  Faith, not in our own abilities or our own stick to itness or our training.  Faith in the god that deserves our trust and allegence.

          What does this courageous faith look like?  Its like Abraham tying his promised son to an altar, trusting God to provide.  Its like the 22 year old wife who tells her husband to trust God as she lays on her deathbed with a rare form of cancer.  Courageous faith is Father Damien who moves to a leper colony in Hawaii to share the love of Christ by loving them.  Courageous faith makes the hard conversations with that family member.  It means taking a chance with something that hasn’t been done before in church because we trust that God is with us.

          That brings us to the last part.  The key to the courage of David.  The reason why David has to tell about his battle with the lion and bear is because he has just stepped forward for a much bigger challenge.  The giant.  Goliath.  The Philistines are threatening God’s people.  They are making fun of God.  That just isn’t right.

          David says, no one else has the courage to do it.  I will do it.  I have faith that God is with me and that God is going to save Israel from the Philistines.

          The trust that David has is that God is a good shepherd who takes care of his sheep.  And we know how the story ends. 

          Only a boy named david.  Only a little sling.  Only a boy named david, and could pray and sing.  Only a boy named david.  Only a rippling brook.  Only a boy named david and five little stones he took.  And one little stone went into the sling and the sling went round and round.  And one little stone went into the sling and the sling went round and round.  And round and round and round and round and round and round and round.  And one little stone went up in the air.  And the giant came a tumbling down.

          Goliath was killed.  God takes care of his people. 

          Knowing this you can see why David wrote Psalm 23.  The lord is my shepherd I shall not want.  With is rod and his staff they comfort his sheep.  Even in the valley of the shadow of death.  We don’t need to fear.  We can be courageous and master our fear.

          God takes care of his sheep. 

          And God is still doing that even though we don’t have goliath taunting us today.  God sent his own son Jesus Christ to protect us in the greatest way.  Sin was standing like a giant and death like the spear and shield.  We were in trouble.  But because Jesus Christ came and died on the cross we are made free.  We can conquer our fears and our anxieties because we know this very special thing about God.  God is the protector of his people.  He will not let his church fail.  He will not let his chosen people fall away into the grips of hell.  He will use his people to speak the message of salvation even more bravely.

          We can do this.  We can be courageous in living as a Christian in a non Christian world.  We can stand up when the rest of the world is trying to knock us and Jesus Christ down.  We can be couter cultural, never fearing doing something different from what is familiar and popular to the world.

          This is a message for you from God.  Courageously step out into the rest of your life with full faith that God keeps his people in his care. 


This is the encouragement from God’s word.  And all God’s people say.  AMEN.


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