Confirmation Sunday May 20-21, 2023
“Lessons From a Little Boy” I Samuel 17
Rev. John R. Larson Ascension Lutheran Church Littleton, Colorado
(This sermon is especially written for the 2023 Confirmation Class: Lexi Anderson, Eli Faulk, Emma Ginkel, Ben Williams.)
What do you learn from kids? Lots. You can learn what makes them afraid and what makes them happy. You can learn how simple life can be. You can watch how laughter can be turned into a temper tantrum within seconds. Kids can teach you about life – the good and the bad.
Today I want to tell you about the life of one little boy – little David – and I want us to learn from him. As I speak about his life and how it intersects with ours, I will be using three words which I want you to remember. The three are: Confess. Commit. Collapse.
The account of David and Goliath is one of the great stories in the Bible. It is the story of the impossible. It is an account of the sure outcome becoming utterly reversed. I Samuel 17 tells us that the Philistines were in a battle against the Israelites. But this challenge was made – one person from Israel would fight against one person of the Philistine’s. No reason to have hundreds or thousands die in battle. One against one. Winner takes all.
The Philistine’s had a guy named Goliath and he shouted to the Israelites on the other side of the valley, “Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” (I Samuel 17:8-9)
But there were no takers!! Goliath was a mismatch. He was 9 feet tall. His armor weighed 125 pounds. The iron point on his spear weighed 15 pounds. He was a trained soldier. Israel had no one to step forward. He came out every morning and every evening for 40 days and this was the response, “On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelite’s were dismayed and terrified.” (I Samuel 17:11)
I’m using three “C’s” to help us understand this account. The first is “Confess”. The confession that the people of Israel made is that they faced a hopeless situation. They were going to lose. When we look at ourselves and our sins we had better start with a confession of our sin and how deeply we need God’s intervention in our life.
But there is another “confess” that you make. In our Sunday School I have heard our kids sing, “My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there is nothing my God cannot do.” That’s true. Our confession is our confidence of God’s deep love in Jesus and His unwavering faithfulness to us.
Goliath is persistent in his mocking of the God of Israel. All those soldiers of Israel had a confession and it was, “We confess that we are scared of you.” But David, just a little boy, had been sent to bring a care package to his three older brothers. He brought some grain, 10 loaves of bread and 10 rounds of cheese. While David was there he heard the taunts of Goliath and though he was just a boy he had a bolder confession than any grown-up there.
David insisted on going to the king – Saul – and made this request, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” (I Samuel 17:32) Dumb idea!! This little boy was speaking out of emotion. He wasn’t using his head. He had idealism but not practicality. Saul put an end to that thought immediately, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth.” (I Samuel 17:33)
But his “Confess” wasn’t about him and the impossible situation that he faced but it was about his mighty God. David speaks back to King Saul, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (I Samuel 17:37) The confession that we make all the time about our God is a confession of confidence in what God has done for us by His strong hand and in His great mercy. We can’t rescue ourselves from some situations that are bigger than us – but God does this by His great and mighty ways. We confess that our sins are overwhelming and damning, but we confess that Jesus answered every one of them by giving His life for us. I pray that your life is always alive with your confession of need for God and your trust in Jesus.
First “C” – Confess. Second “C” – commit. David knew how mighty God was. He had seen His rescue many times in his life. But eventually he had to walk out and face the giant. Saul wanted to give little David his own armor. Saul was a head taller than any of the other Israelites – his armor wasn’t going to fit this boy, David. David walks out to face Goliath only with a sling shot and five stones. When Goliath sees this boy he can only laugh, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” (I Samuel 17:43) But David didn’t just have words, he had a backbone. He was committed. “All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s.”
Today we add 4 young people to those who confirm the faith of their baptism. Many of you have been through this. The words of promise spoken by them are words of commitment. They have been your words as well. “Do you intend to hear the Word of God and receive the Lord’s Supper faithfully? Do you intend to live according to the Word of God, and in faith, word and deed to remain true to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, even to death? Do you intend to continue steadfast in this confession and Church even to death, rather than fall away from it? And the response that is given is, “I do, by the grace of God.” Wow!! What a commitment. I’m reminded of the words in Revelation when I think of this commitment we make to our committed God, “Be faithful, even to the point of death and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10)
But there is one more “C” that I want you to remember – it is “Collapse”. What I mean with that final word is that every day you must collapse into the love and grace of Jesus. Today you are surrounded by people who stated their confession of faith and their commitment to their Savior. And you are surrounded by people who stumbled in that confession and commitment. I’ve made some sinful decisions in my life. And so have your folks and your grandparents and your godparents and everyone who is here this day. And so have you. And so will you. For every wrong door you go through, for every wrong choice you pick, for decisions you make without considering God’s directions, please, collapse into God’s grace. Paul asks the question, “Who can separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:35) Do you know the answer? Nothing. Nobody. Always, every day, collapse into the love of God – especially on those hard days.
You know how the story of David and Goliath ends, right? David wins. Goliath loses. David confesses, commits and collapses into God’s strength and grace. David didn’t take any credit for the victory but gave it all to God. “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 army of Israel, whom you have defied…All those gathered here will know that is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s.”
I’ll like to tell you that David always lived like that – confessing his God with no reservations and committing his life always to do the will of God. But he didn’t always live like that. He committed adultery, then tried to cover it up and then even committed murder. When David was confronted with his sin and when his guilt just ate him up, his heart knew where he had to go. He collapsed into the grace of God. David would say, “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord – and you forgave the guilt of my sin…You are my hiding place, O Lord; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” (Psalm 32:5,7)
He collapsed into God’s grace. He collapsed into God’s hands of forgiveness and mercy. That’s a good place for you to go, as well.
This is a big day. 4 young people teach us once again how important a life of faith is. We learn from those who are younger than us. Confess. Commit. Collapse. That is the way of God’s people from young to old. That’s the way of God’s mighty salvation. Amen!!
Thanks be to God.