Lesson Fifty One
DAVID AND GOLIATH
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I know someone with an amazing talent. You won’t find it on the typical list: singing, drawing, or athletic ability. This individual can see what isn’t there but will be. Let me give an example.
Recently she found a used hallway table. It wasn’t old enough to be an antique or new enough to be trending. It was one of those pieces of furniture that when you see it, you simply look past it.
But she saw its potential. She removed the veneer, sanded the entire piece, and refinished it to perfection. It now stands in her home, completely transformed and unrecognizable from its first appearance. Who knew this ordinary table could become extraordinary? What she saw was what most of us struggle with—seeing possibilities.
Who knew this ordinary table could become extraordinary? What she saw was what most of us struggle with—seeing possibilities.
1 Samuel 8-17 repeatedly presents the same lesson: God sees in ways we do not. First, people saw Saul as a king, but he proved unworthy of the task. Next, no one, including Samuel, saw David as a king, yet God chose him. Now, David arrives at Israel’s military encampment just as Goliath steps out on the field of battle.
Israel saw a giant of a man and a serious personal threat. Day after day Goliath called someone—anyone—out to battle. The persistent and continual insults led first to embarrassment, then to shame, and finally to despair, because there was no response. Not from the soldiers. Not from the captains. Not from the king.
David, though, was immediately incensed because of what he saw. Notice it is different than everyone else. Everyone described Goliath as “this man,” (1 Samuel 17:24), while David (verse 25) sees him in spiritual terms—“this uncircumcised Philistine.” Do you hear the difference? They saw a threat to themselves. David saw a worshipper of lifeless idols speaking against “the living God.” David had learned to see what God sees—the heart.
David saw a worshipper of lifeless idols speaking against “the living God.” David had learned to see what God sees—the heart.
Goliath is described in great detail from his height to his armor to the size and weight of his spear. David, in contrast, is only pictured again as a youth, ruddy, and good-looking. Big against small. Experience against youth. Arrogance against indignation. Undeterred, David saw what was possible—a mighty warrior would be conquered by a God-directed stone hurled from the pocket of an ordinary sling.
The person I referenced doesn’t see only furniture with potential, but people as well. I think she may have seen it in her husband, who had a history of being an unruly teenager and young adult but is now a passionate man for God. She’s also training her children to see differently. How? By enlisting their help in making treasures out of things that others saw only as trash. One day her children, whose eyes are being trained to see past appearances, will also apply it to people and this new-found eyesight will change their world.
How are you seeing today? It takes time. It takes practice. But like David, we too can see as God sees. When we do, we are renewed.
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The story of David is well-known and possibly told more than any other from the Bible. Everyone, both Christian and non-Christian, seems to be able to relate to the little guy going up against the giant. It’s easy to apply this to everyday life or to the society around us. But to do so and move on would be to miss some of the more important lessons within this story. Consider these three lessons:
- The first is obviously appearance—God asks us to look upon the heart. David saw Goliath as a threat to God and His people. Interestingly the narrator tells the story using the Hebrew word that can be used for either “hand” or “paw” (verse 37). David saw Goliath no differently than the lion or the bear that attacked his flock.
- David’s confidence stands in marked contrast to everyone else. Because David was focused on God and fueled by his righteous indignation, he stood for God alone when no one else did. When was the last time you stood on God’s behalf? There are times today when God is maligned, His name misappropriated, or His sanctuary defiled. Will you stand for Him even if you are alone?
- David was undeterred in his quest to vanquish Goliath. It never occurred to David that Goliath would not be conquered. We also need to move forward with holy boldness on God’s behalf.
- David fought Goliath on his own terms. He was not persuaded to fight in Saul’s armor or to use the traditional methods. He went up against Goliath in a way he felt most comfortable. The lion and the bear were challenging, but now it can be seen that they were life experiences that bolstered David’s ability to slay the bigger foe. Life throws curve balls and we sometimes wonder, “why me?” It may be that God is preparing you for an even bigger event where you need to stand on His behalf.
Making it Real
David and Goliath is a great story and one that you should celebrate during family worship this week. Here are some ideas for each day:
- Sunday: Memorize what David said to Goliath (1 Samuel 17:45): Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”
- Monday: Figure out how big Goliath was by laying on the floor and measuring out the length. If there are several children, line up head to toe until you are as big as Goliath. Repeat the memory verse from Sunday.
- Tuesday: Sing “Only a Boy Named David” complete with the motions. Repeat the memory verse.
- Wednesday: Act out the story with someone playing David, Saul, soldiers, and, of course, Goliath. Use the memory verse at the appropriate time in the story.
- Thursday: Goliath was big. David was small. Can you identify something or someone that is bigger than you and makes life hard? Repeat the memory verse.
- Friday: Goliath represented someone who was against God and those who follow Him. What kind of “enemies” do we face who are like Goliath?
- Sabbath: David chose five stones from the brook. What tools does God give you to fight the enemy?
Respond & Share
Can you think of a time when you stood up on God’s behalf? If not, watch for an opportunity to be His champion. Share with us in the comments below!
Merle Poirier writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she works as the operation manager for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines as well as the designer for KidsView, a magazine for 8-12-year-olds. She enjoys spending time with her family including being the grandmother of two active little boys, who greatly enjoy Starting With Jesus.