The most popular movie out today, Avengers Endgame, focuses on the power of six stones. Comic book characters are fictional, but I believe there is great value for men to look at the foundational stones of biblical manhood from the story of David. The foundational stones of manhood are character traits that Godly men learn about and grow in through times of challenges and decisions.
The first foundational stone of manhood is courage. Most men know that as a boy, David had the courage to face and fight the giant Goliath. Before you say, I know that story let me ask you – Do you know who the third person in the fight was?
In 1 Samuel 17, we read about the compelling scene of David and Goliath facing off and watched by thousands of warriors on each side. The Israelites and Philistines were at war to acquire land which equaled wealth, survival, and power. Yet, each side was stationary not wanting to concede the high ground first.
1. Having courage comes from overcoming your own fear and negativity.
Both sides of this battle did not want to make the first move out of fear they might lose. Men, we are already defeated if we are frozen in fear and fear losing more than anticipating succeeding.
Finally, the Philistines send out their biggest warrior, Goliath, to try to taunt the Jewish men to agree to a one-on-one battle. Since the average man in David’s time was 5’ 6” tall, no man who saw Goliath at 10 feet tall wanted to accept such a challenge. (1 Sam. 17:4-11)
2. Having courage comes from overcoming the doubts, discouragement, and intimidation of others.
People will use intimidation to destroy your courage and confidence. If someone can make you doubt yourself, you can feel defeated even before you try.
Also, Goliath repeated his challenge and ridicule of the Jewish Men and God for 40 days. Like a form of brainwashing, when a man hears over and over, he cannot do something he may start to believe it.
When David comes to the camp to bring supplies to his brothers, he hears Goliath for the first time and has the courage to respond. What his brothers hear from David as false bravado is David having the courage that is based on a relationship with God.
When others heard David’s faith response to Goliath, they tell King Saul. David did not have arrogance or pride to approach the King, but King Saul calls for David. King Saul, at 6’ 6” is the most likely person to fight Goliath, but he did not have the courage to fight, so he offered a reward for someone to fight and kill Goliath.
David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”
1 Sam 17:32 (NIV)
David recognized that Saul was desperate. I believe that fear can you lead you to give up and lose hope. I like the what the old western actor John Wayne is credited to saying – “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”
3. Having courage comes from drawing strength from your past decisions of faith. (34-37)
David faced lions and bears as he protected his father’s sheep, and with each victory, he gave God credit. David had courage because he learned that God was faithful and would help him as he confronted Goliath. David picked five smooth stones to fight Goliath because he was confident enough to stay with his strengths instead of fighting with the oversized weapons of his enemy.
4. Having courage comes from not being distracted from your mission. (41-44)
Most of you know that David goes to the battle, uses his sling to fire a stone, stuns Goliath, and then uses his sword to finish the giant man. During this conflict, Goliath has his shield bearer there holding his weapons. At no time did the shield bearer attack or even try to stop David from finishing off Goliath. David not only beat Goliath, but he did not allow himself to worry about the shield bearer.
When the rest of Israel saw David’s victory, they had the courage to run and chase the enemy. One person with faith and courage can inspire many. David had faith in God and displayed courage. The shield bearer had faith in a man and fled in fear. Do you have faith in God or man? What are the giants in your life that are intimidating you? Will you have courage?
Jesus was fully man and fully God. Jesus showed us the ultimate courage as he died for us.
When I shared a version of this sermon when I was a pastor, I handed out stones before people sat down. That took courage as there is a story in the Bible about people throwing stones! When I wrapped up the sermon, I said, “This is your courage stone. A stone for you to put on your dresser, desk, in your car to remind you to have courage like David OR to give to someone to encourage them to have courage like David.”
Men, start today to have the courage to believe that God is God Almighty and with faith instead of fear, you can live with strength and hope with this crucial foundation stone of Biblical manhood.
Paul Arnold is a husband, father, grandfather, and currently serves as a chaplain to a senior living facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He hosts several podcasts – Man to Man (career advice for men) and Pardon the Confusion (Sports) that are found on iTunes and www.redcircle.com