Thursday, June 5, 2008

Lessons from David and Goliath

I don't know about you, but I am a very big fan of "Do Hard Things" by Alex and Brett Harris. So, here is another post that takes the "Do Hard Things" twist.

Have you ever had an issue that you were afraid to confront...perhaps that many people were afraid to confront? Do you know of a "giant" in your life? There is a real life story about just this kind of issue. At youth group a couple of weeks ago, we studied David and Goliath. While we were going though the lesson, I came up with some thoughts that I would like to share.

First of all, the story is found in I Samuel 17

The nation of Israel was faced with a say the least. Being in a bloody battle with the Philistines was bad enough, but then their champion came out--a terrifying giant. Goliath
mocked Israel and challenged them to send their best man forward. If Goliath defeated the Israelite, the Israelites would become the Philistines' slaves; if the Israelite defeated Goliath, the Philistines would be the Israelites' slaves.
[picture from Veggietales "Dave and the Giant Pickle"]

The Israelites were terrified--and many armies would have been (see the terrible description of Goliath in verses four through seven). An entire army was rendered useless because of fear for 40 days as Goliath taunted them and defied their God (vs. 16).

As an army--a nation--trembled in fear, one "youth" stood up and declared that fear to be meaningless. David, the son of Jesse, had come to the battlefield on a simple errand when he heard the giant speaking and taunting the armies of Israel. With enormous faith, that youth conquered the giant with just a sling and a stone. Is there something that we can learn from this? Most certainly. This story can be applied to any "giant" that we face in our lives--whether literal or figurative. There are several things that I want to point out from this story.

1. The fact that David was a youth.

David, according to verses 33 and 42, was an ordinary, good-looking young man. Why do I bring this up? Well, if David could do it, then so could we! No one is too young to take a stand. As I Samuel indicates, this was a major step in his rise to adulthood and to the kingdom, where he was said to be a "man after God's own heart." Doing hard things--taking a stand--has the same implications for young people today. As slaying Goliath was somewhat of a defining point in David's life and an enormous step in his growth, so it can be with the youth of today.

I Timothy 4:12 states, "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity." David was a prime example of this verse. Especially in the context of this story, David never let anything stop him from being an "example to the believers," even when people looked down on him. His oldest brother Eliab ridiculed him in verse 28; Saul (the king, who should have faced the giant 40 days before) looked down on him in verse 33; and Goliath mocked him in verses 42 through 44. This is a true sign of character, which happens to be my next point of emphasis.

[picture edited from the cover of the "Do Hard Things" study guide]

2. David's character.

In all of the passage, there is no recording that David was in any way hesitant or even fearful. David heard someone defying God's people--he wasn't happy. He knew that God was with him and that He would see him through--the battle was the Lord's. He had unmatched faith, as far as the army was concerned, and he threw off anything that might hinder him (i.e. Saul's armor, but it can also be referenced to Hebrews 12:1). There was no hesitation because of the curses of the enemy. Rather, he ran towards the giant and didn't hold back.

How did David obtain this faith...this character? Sure, God was with him, he was a man after God's own heart, and he was wise in all his ways (18:14), but what does he himself say?

32 Then David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”
33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.”
34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock,
35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it.
Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.”
Moreover David said, “The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”

David was a shepherd. Part of the reason he gained character was by doing the task of shepherding. He gained faith about Goliath because of God's faithfulness when David did this often dangerous task. And think about it, does not learning to lead a flock teach one things about leading a nation? Just a thought.

3. The result of his stand.

David shows enormous faith and valor as he slays the giant...but that isn't all that happens. What happened when he took a stand and with God's help overcame? The entire nation was heartened!

52 Now the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted, and pursued the Philistines as far as the entrance of the valley[a] and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell along the road to Shaaraim, even as far as Gath and Ekron.
Then the children of Israel returned from chasing the Philistines, and they plundered their tents.

Can we not learn from this? Is this not true for us today? Take a stand and others will join you.

Let's Summarize

Let's see...David, a youth, took a stand. David had character and enormous faith. When he took a stand, others were heartened and joined him. The battle was the Lord's...and guess who won? I wonder what Jesse said when he heard what David had been doing on his errand...


Does anyone else have thoughts/lessons from this passage? These are just a few points I came up with.


Anonymous said...

Great lesson. I have really found it helpful. God definitely used you today.

Jaziman said...

hi Im jaziman thompson and i just became the youth leader at my churh to six youth i had been thinking about doing a sermen on David and golith for a very long time i was wondering What would be the biggest strong point to get the youth motivated to go out and battle t he world with confidence if you have any advice for me could you e - mail me at this is my passion and i beleave im going the right direction we just need to GEt MOTIVATED and PUMPED Up for God !!!!! Thank you fo r Your Help ...

Anonymous said...

I think it's interesting to look at the fact that God gave David work to do with his everyday life that prepared him for battle with Goliath. We can apply this to our lives in that even if we feel we are doing meaningless work, as long as we are seeking God and pursuing righteousness, He is always using us and preparing us for his work.

The Bible Bruh said...

Here is a cool youtube video about David and Goliath intended for youth.

The Bible Bruh said...

Here is a cool youtube video about David and Goliath intended for youth.