By Al R. Hodges
Retired IMB Missionary

Sunday School Lessons explore the bibleFocal Passage: I Samuel 17:32-37, 42-50

Has anyone ever sought to discourage you for a task God wanted you to accomplish? Such was David’s situation. His father Jesse sent him to the place where the Israelites were at war with the Philistines. He was to take food to his three soldier brothers, and get information on how the battle was going.  Upon arrival, he found the battle at a stalemate. Every day, a huge Philistine giant named Goliath, would taunt and challenge the Israelites. “I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let’s fight each other! Winner will take all!” (I Samuel 17:8-11). David was a shepherd boy in his teens. He asked his brothers and others about Goliath’s challenges, but his brothers shunned and belittled him. Word of David’s interest got to King Saul. David was summoned to the king, where he made what must have seemed an audacious proposal.

David’s confidence was not in himself, but in God (vv. 32-37). While everyone, including King Saul, was terrified (I Samuel 17:11), David’s confidence was in the Lord. David volunteered to fight Goliath! Saul argued that such a proposal would surely meet with disaster, since David was so young. Goliath stood over 9 feet tall. He had been a wicked, experienced warrior all his life. How could David win against such odds? David explained that God had given him victory before when a ferocious lion snatched a sheep from the fold, and again when a wild bear had done the same thing. “The Lord who delivered me from the lion and the bear will deliver me from this Philistine,” proclaimed David (v. 37). David received Saul’s consent and blessings. Saul even tried to help David by lending him his armor, but that was not to be part of God’s plan to bring deliverance. David would simply use the weapons of a shepherd boy, and God would provide the rest. Carrying his sling and staff, he gathered five stones from the brook, placed them in his pouch, and proceeded up the side of the hill toward Goliath.

No doubt Goliath had won many battles. Everyone was afraid of him, and he enjoyed the power he had over others. He was totally self-confident. When he saw David, he approached him with curses, insults, and deadly threats (vv. 42-44). Goliath fully intended to kill David and to feed his body to the birds, but God had a different plan.

David’s confidence that God would give him victory was not misplaced (vv. 45-50). I am reminded of the promise in Romans 10:11: “… Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.” David’s trust in God was totally rewarded, despite the odds against him. Goliath was much larger and stronger. His weapons were more lethal. Yet, David had God on his side! The name of the Lord was at stake, and in the name of the Lord, David let fly the stone. God guided that stone to exactly the right spot on the giant’s forehead, and Goliath fell dead at David’s feet.

Often we find ourselves in spiritual battles (Ephesians 6:11-18).  We must dress in God’s armor, and always remember, “the battle is the Lord’s,” and He gives the victory.