1 Samuel 17.16-37
Now Jesse said to his son David, ‘Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance from them. They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines.’
Early in the morning David left the flock in the care of a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry. Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other. David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and asked his brothers how they were. As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. Whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear.
Now the Israelites had been saying, ‘Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his family from taxes in Israel.’
David asked the men standing near him, ‘What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?’ They repeated to him what they had been saying and told him, ‘This is what will be done for the man who kills him.’
When Eliab, David’s eldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, ‘Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.’
‘Now what have I done?’ said David. ‘Can’t I even speak?’ He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before. What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him.
David said to Saul, ‘Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.’ Saul replied, ‘You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.’
But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.’
Saul said to David, ‘Go, and the Lord be with you.’
Wow, quite a long Bible reading! But it’s good to listen to the Bible read out loud in a group. This is what the people would have done when Jesus went to ‘church’ (called the Synagogue).
OK so for some of you, things are about to change going to high school in Year 6 or 7 – or maybe to a college in Year 12 (or even off to work or Uni). It’s a time of going from one thing to the new thing, from one place to another place. And it can actually be a bit scary and exciting at the same time. But we can learn from what happened with David in the Bible. No matter what age you are, we can all learn!
So here we go..!
One day, David was in the fields looking after the sheep. The next day, his dad asked him to do something else – take some food to his brothers who were fighting on the ‘front lines’ against the enemy. Then the next thing was that he offered to fight Goliath. Then he actually fought Goliath and defeated him. And then David ended up famous for how God had used him! Not a fame like we know today, but known as someone who believed God and who God used. So the glory went to God not David – something we need to make sure happens.
So David went from the fields – to the front lines – to fame (God-glorifying fame!)
There were some things that David had to do. It’s a bit like that if we leave school and go to another school. Or maybe we’re moving from Junior School to High School. As you get older you will find all kinds of new challenges and changes. But like David, it’s not what happens to us, it’s how we react that is important.
So we can learn from David about things that we can do in our daily lives…
David is a great example for us. He was faithful in feeding and looking after the sheep. When his Father told him to go and take some food to his brothers, he went and did it just as he was asked to. Are you the kind of person that does what people ask you to completely? David took all the food to where he was told to take it. God wants us to obey him fully and all the time. He will help us do this and he’s with us even when we mess up. He doesn’t mind, he just asks that we get back up and keep on asking him to help us!
David also stood up for himself (against his nasty brothers who gave him some abuse). And he was also faithful to God, asking why no-one stood up to the evil Goliath. He then went and did something about it as well. The truth is that not everyone is a nice person, usually because they have had bad things happen in their life. It’s not an excuse for behaving badly, but it can help explain it. When we are faced with people, it’s good to stand up for yourself and be strong. It’s also good to speak out when you see bad things happening. There’s a famous saying that says something like, ‘All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.’
David did something (about Goliath) even when he was the only one! Maybe you can be the ‘only one’ in something and then this will encourage other people, just like we can be encouraged by the faith of David!
We should also obey our parents (as long as they’re not telling us to do wrong!) We can also stand up for ourselves by knowing that we have God’s power on the inside of us. We can stand up against injustice and we can take action – perhaps helping someone who has been bullied. And we can stay true to God even when it’s hard. You may have ‘Goliaths’ at your school – things that scare or worry you. But with God’s help we can ‘face our giants’ – this means we can keep on going with God’s help, even when worried. God will never let us down.
We can also know that the experiences we have had will help us in the future. You may remember some hard times and how God helped you through, even if they were small things. For example, I remember how it felt to move from the inner-city to a school in a different part of the country. So that experience helped me when I then moved to High School a bit later. David was happy to fight Goliath because he had fought other battles in the past (against lions and bears!) You may not have fought off lions (!!) but we can use the things that have happened in our lives (good and bad) to help us for the next thing.
In this new term or new part of your life, determine to be an example like David
When David got to the camp, he didn’t expect everything that happened next. But he was prepared to act in a Godly way. This is the same for you and me. As we face new terms, new things in our life, we won’t know everything that will happen. But we can be prepared by deciding to the right things, by trusting in God, by praying for his help in small things and big things (even if it’s just saying ‘help me God!’) when we face a new situation. This will help us build up a ‘character’ (the way we are and what we say and do) which will help us all through life.
Imagine you are a plot of land with just mud on it. Suddenly people and machines come along – they dig here and put some bricks down here. You’re thinking ‘what’s going on?!’ New people come along, new building materials arrive and things change. But the very end result is an amazing, beautiful house.
This is what is happening in life and as we face a new chapter in our lives at school, college, work, Uni, getting married, moving house, changing areas or something else. God is working with us all the time to build a ‘amazing home’ where God lives and where God can shine from – and that place is you! So pray for God’s help, keep moving forward, keep reading the Bible and going around doing good – just like Jesus!
Ephesians 2.19-22 – …You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Lord please help me in this new season of my life. I know that you are always working all things for good for those who you love and who love you. Thank you that I can do all things through your power that strengthens me inside. Thank you that you walk and run with me in every stage of my life and that you have a good plan for my life. Help me in this new part of my life. Thank you that you go ahead and smooth the way and that you keep me on track. I pray for good friends, for good people around me and for your protection and help in everything. I especially pray about… (tell God anything you are worried about)… and I thank you that you love me, will never leave me and that you in me are way greater than anything else in this world. Amen!