Bravity Lifts Us Up


Sermon Outline By Terry Siverd

Cortland Church of Christ / June 12, 2016

We are now just five weeks away from our summer youth retreat - - Camp 2:52.

Over the years our camp experience has proven to be a genuine blessing to many - -

not just campers, counselors and cooks, but to our entire congregation.

This summer (our 40th Annual Retreat) will focus on the theme, “Brave”.

We need to thank God in advance for the attention David & Lara Brazle have given to choosing this topic.

It is a vital topic, not just for pre-teens and teenagers, but for all of us.

Every time I talk to David, he is multi-tasking with the kids while working on camp stuff.

I honestly don’t know how he and Lara do all that they do - - especially with the kids in tow.

During this “homestretch” over the next five weeks I want us to think Biblically about what it means to be brave.

I’m planning to have three or four sermons that will begin to stir our thinking on this important subject.

I do not know the precise lessons that the camp Bible class teachers or devotional speakers will be addressing.

David has not ask me to speak in advance on any particular sub-categories, it’s just something I like to do.

So what I speak about over the next few Sundays may or may not come up at camp.

But what I am hoping is that it will serve as food for thought (in advance of camp) on the topic of being BRAVE.   

Daily memory verses have been chosen with this theme.

e.g., Rom.8:32 / If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare His own Son,

but gave Him up for us all - - how will he not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things.

Songs will be sung (several new ones) that highlight and emphasize this powerful theme.

Likewise, for daily Bible classes with discussion groups and our evening devotionals,

And journaling … and a number of other faith-strengthening instructional events.

Some will even test their bravery throughout the week - - slip-n-slide … floating the river … riding horseback (Logan).

Survival-of-the-Fittest … sporting events (dodge-ball) … talent show … memory work … etc.

A few years ago, I might have included the nightly hayrides as an exercise in bravery.

All in all, it is setting up to be another wonderful weeklong retreat to energize us in our daily walk with Christ.

We hope you’ll encourage & recruit campers.  J Lombardi has a contact at a school that is promoting our camp.

I want to thank you in advance for contributing in various ways.

Our cooks - - Michelle has been busy getting grocery goods.

Some have given (are planning to give) financially to assist - - your generosity helps us keep our camper fees very low.

Some will be helping us with transporting goods and picking up cots (loaned from airbase), and in various other ways.


When you think of bravery, what Bible stories come to your mind?

One Old Testament story immediately jumps out at me - - - the story of David and Goliath.

It’s a story that many of us have heard from the days of our youth.

But it is not just a children’s story.  This story is given to all of us by God for our edification and learning.

Open your Bibles to the book of 1Samuel chapter 17

Read from 1Sam.17:1-11

We studied earlier this year about Jonah and the whale.

Goliath was a whale of a man - - the text says he was a CHAMPION from the armies of the Philistines.

He stood 6 cubits and a span - - a cubit equal 18 inches and a span equals 6 inches.  This translates into 9’ 6” tall.

LeBron James is 6’ 8” - - imagine LeBron being three feet taller than he is.

Bob Lanier who played basketball for the Detroit Pistons was 6’ 11” and worn a size 22 shoe (largest in NBA history).

Back to Goliath.  He was a native of Gath (1Sam.17:4), a Philistine stronghold city. And he was a GIANT.

In the Old Testament several terms are used to describe an exceptionally large tribe of people: 

Anakim, Arba, Emim & Rephaim.  cf.  Deut.2:10-11 & 20-21 and 9:1-2 with Josh.11:21-22.

Prior to conquering the land of Canaan (the promised land) Moses sent out twelve spies to investigate.

Ten of them came back scared to death.  Only Joshua and Caleb had faith that they could conquer the land.

In Num.13:32-33 Caleb reiterates the report of the ten who feared: 

So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying,

 ‘the land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants;

and all the people whom we saw in it are men of GREAT SIZE

They also saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim);

and we became like grasshoppers in our sight, and so we were in their sight.’

Recovered skeletons of equal height from archaeological exactions at Gezer and other sites bear out the unusually tall

stature of individuals in ancient Palestine at roughly the same period. / Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia, Vol.I, pg..709.

GOLIATH WAS A GIANT (an Anakim) who wore a bronze helmet and bronze shin guards.

His body armor weighed five thousand shekels (125 pounds).

His bronze javelin was like a weaver’s beam and the head of the spear weighed 15 pounds.

And if his physical constitution was not threatening enough, he had a giant-big chip on his shoulder.

He was NASTY and very intimidating, “chose a man for yourselves and let him come to me” (vs.8).

If your man can kill me, we (Philistines) will be your servants, but, if not, you will become our servants (vs.9).

He was daunting and he was taunting - - he challenged the army of Israel every day for forty days straight (vs.16).

Mark Lombardi is our big guy.  He’s our “church bouncer” should we ever need one.

He often stands at the back of assembly … just in case.

As an ex-Marine (once a Marine, always a Marine) and a former police officer, he stands ready to defend us.

His well-trained eye surveys our gathering for any potential problems.

But to be fair about the comparison - - Mark is no GOLIATH - - Goliath would stand three feet plus above Mark.

Enter David …

David would one day become a king of Israel, but for now he is just a young (and small) shepherd boy.

He was the youngest son of Jesse.  Three of David’s older brothers were serving in King Saul’s army of Isralites.

David was sent by his father as a messenger boy to check on his brothers and to deliver them bread (vs.17).

He was also directed to give cheese to commander - - perhaps to persuade him to watch over his brothers (vs.18).

When David arrived at the camp, he left his goodies with the baggage keeper, and ran to the battle line to greet his brothers (vs20).  While there, Goliath made another appearance to taunt and tease the Israelites (vs.23).

Vs.24 states, “when all the men of Israel saw (Goliath), they fled from him and were greatly afraid”.

David quickly ascertained that Goliath was proposing a mano-a-mano challenge - - one man against one man.

He asked, “what will be done for the man who kills this Philistine?”.  They told him (vs.25).

When his older brother overheard David’s inquiry, his anger burned.  He scolded his younger brother saying, why aren’t with the sheep and why are you acting so brash (vs.28)?   David responded by saying, “all I did was ask a question”.

King Saul was desperate and when he heard of David’s comments, he sent for David (vs.31).

David bravely told King Saul (vs.32), there’s no need to fear the giant;  I will go and fight with this Philistine (vs.32).

King Saul told David, “you are but a lad, and Goliath is a life-long, professional warrior”.

Jonah was in the belly of the whale - - David on his tippy-toes would have be starring at the belly of this Giant.

David assured King Saul - - he had killed a lion and a bear while protecting his sheep and he could kill Goliath.

Actually, David full testimony is given in vs.37:

The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the bear, HE will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.

The battle begins …

They attempted to dress David, but the protective gear was heavy and he was not equipped for the equipment (vs.38f).

He took his sling, and chose five smooth stones from a nearby brook, and headed out to meet Goliath (vs.40).

No helmet, armor, shin guards, javelin, shield or sword - - just David with a slingshot & stones and his rod and his GOD.

Goliath was insulted and full of disdain when David appeared (vs.40ff) - - Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?

Goliath said to David, “come to me and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and beasts of the filed.”

David said back to Goliath (vs.45), I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel…

This day THE LORD will deliver you into my hands, and I will strike you down and cut off your head.

This battle belongs to the Lord (vs.47).

David loaded his sling and sank a stone into Goliath’s forehead and he fell on his face to the ground dead (vss.49-50).

He borrowed Goliath’s big sword to cut off the giant’s big head.

Jeannie once asked a Sunday school class, what did David do to Goliath?

One student answered to the dismay of another, “He cut off his body!”.  J

Gravity is a thing of nature that draws us downward and often causes us to stumble and fall.

BRAVITY (a word that I made up) is a thing of God that draws us upward and lifts us up and brings us victory.

What gave David such BRAVITY ?

(1) He was willing to TRUST IN GOD.

He had turned things over to God.  He rejected the armor and the typical tools of war, and relied upon God.

Sometimes we struggle so badly with our problems.  In looking for solutions, we often look everywhere but UP!

David heard Goliath’s defiance and disrespect for God and he was unwilling to cower to the Giant.


The lion, the bear, and who knows what else David had confronted (coyotes, wolves, panthers, etc).

Bravity is as much about FAITH as it is about raw courage.  Faith comes from hearing God’s word (Rom.10:17).

We’re not told precisely that God has spoken to David in his early years, but David was certain that God was with him.

When we find ourselves in a fix, it is helpful to think back on other occasions when God came to our aid.


He took his slingshot didn’t he?  And he loaded four extra stones (“bullets”) in shepherd’s bag.

When we go to battle (for some that’s every day), we need to give some thought to what we might encounter.

When you teen girls go out on a date, you need to have a backup plan - - what happens if…

When you teen boys go to a party, you need to plan ahead as to what you’ll do if someone offers you alcohol or drugs.

Being prepared requires that we do some thinking (studying) in advance!

P.S.  Isn’t it amazing how one man’s faith (the faith of one young boy) can make such a radical impact on others.

The outcome of David’s expression of faith was more far-reaching than we’ll ever know.

One person (standing with God and for God) can make a gigantic difference!

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