David Fights Goliath The Giant
“David fights Goliath the giant” is the latest in our series of bible stories. We learnt about David in a previous story called David the Shepherd boy.
We are now going to learn more about how David allowed God to make him a blessing. He used his sling to fight and kill an enemy giant called Goliath, who was an enemy of his nation.
The lesson for you, boys and girls, is that God will use your skills and gifts to help others even if you are small.
The Philistines came to fight Israel
War had broken out. The fierce Philistines had come up with their great armies to try and conquer Israel. Every man in Israel who could fight was called up to protect his country. David’s three elder brothers had joined Saul’s army, which was preparing to fight the enemy.
The two armies faced each other on either side of a narrow valley. It was divided by a stream that ran along over smooth stones. The two armies were encamped there. They were like wild beasts, ready to fly at each other’s throats.
The fight might begin at any moment. The Philistines were far very strong, and it seemed that the Israelites had very little chance of victory.
Jesse sent David to check on his three brothers.
This valley was seven or eight miles away from the little town of Bethlehem. Jesse waited anxiously, day after day, for news of his three sons. At last he could not bear the anxiety. He decided to send David to the camp to carry food to his brothers. He would also bring back news about their wellbeing.
So, very early one morning, David set out on his errand. He had carefully put his sheep under the care of another shepherd. He took parched corn and loaves of bread for his brothers. He also carried ten pieces of cheese that his father sent to the officers under whom they served.
David soon came within sight of the valley. His heart began to beat with excitement because he saw that something was about to happen on his arrival. The armies were ready to fight. Suddenly a great shout went up from both sides. It was the battle-cry of the two armies that David heard.
David hurried to find his brothers
There was no time now to carry food and gifts, so David quickly left his load at the entrance of the camp. He hurried on to search for his brothers. He had learned to find his way about a camp, since he had been Saul’s armour-bearer for a short time.
David went swiftly among the soldiers, until at last he found his brothers. He eagerly asked about their wellbeing and how they were doing.
But even while he spoke there was a stir among the Philistines. All eyes turned to watch. All ears strained to hear the enemy’s challenge, which rang out clearly across the narrow valley.
A giant in the Philistine army dared Israel to send someone to fight him.
Out of the rank of the Philistines there had stepped a man so tall and strong that he appeared to be a giant. He was more than nine feet high. The armour that he wore was so solid and heavy that it would have crushed any ordinary man to the earth.
This was Goliath, the great champion of the Philistines. Every morning and every evening he strode proudly out and defied the Israelites. He dared them to find a champion who would come and fight with him.
Once again his challenge rang out on the clear air:
“Choose a man, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and to kill me, then will we be your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you will be our servants and serve us.”
“I defy the armies of Israel this day. Give me a man that we may fight together.”
No one in Israel’s army was brave enough to fight the giant.
A great silence fell after the champion had shouted his last words of defiance. There was no answer from the Israelites. No man had courage enough to dream of accepting the challenge.
David looked round him in amazement. His cheeks burned with shame. He wondered why the people allowed this boasting, heathen Philistine to defy the armies of the living God!
He eagerly turned to the men around him and began to ask them what it meant. The soldiers answered him in irritation. No one dared to go forth and fight Goliath.
The king had promised great rewards to any man who would kill the giant. But no one had dared to try.
David’s brothers became angry at his questions.
David’s elder brothers heard his questions. They became very angry when they saw how amazed he was. Did he mean to reproach them? Perhaps he thought of offering himself to fight the champion.
It was time that the put this shepherd boy in his proper place. So his eldest brother turned to him with a sneer.
“Why did you come here?” he asked. “Who did you leave the sheep with in the wilderness? I know your pride and the naughtiness of your heart. You came here to see the battle.”
David said that he would kill the giant
It could not have been very easy to bear this taunt. However, David had learned to conquer himself before he set out to conquer giants. So he answered quietly instead of flashing back an angry reply.
“What have I done?” he asked. “Can’t I not ask a harmless question?”
There were many questions he still wished to ask. The soldiers began to repeat his words one to another. At last the report was spread that some one had been found ready and willing to answer the challenge of the giant Philistine.
Of course, the news soon reached the king’s ear. Saul sent immediately and ordered that the shepherd lad should be brought to him.
He had quite forgotten about the boy who had changed his unhappy moods with the heavenly magic of his harp. Moreover, David had grown and changed since those days.
David told King Saul that he would fight Goliath.
As David stood before the king, Saul had no idea who he was. As he looked at the slender youth, he felt that it was madness to send a boy to fight the great giant.
“You cannot fight this Philistine,” said King Saul, “you are just a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.”
But David answered eagerly. He did not boast, but spoke steadily and wisely. True, he had not been trained as a soldier, but his courage and his strength had both been already proved.
He told the king that he had often to defend his father’s sheep from wild beasts. He told the king that he had once fought with a lion and a bear single-handedly and had killed them both.
David trusted in God for strength.
It was not in his own strength that he trusted. He bravely told the king:
“The Lord that delivered me from the paw of the lion and out of the paw of the bear, will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.”
Faith in God was David’s sure defense. Saul bowed his head in shame as he listened because he had lost his faith in God.
Saul knew that faith could win the victory. David’s words echoed the confidence he had once felt when his whole trust had been in God. Sadly, the king recognized the true ring of the boy’s courage.
“Go,” he said, “and the Lord be with thee.”
King Saul tried to dress David in his armor.
The king was eager to put his own armour on David. He commanded the soldiers to arm the teenager with the royal sword and to put a brass helmet on his head.
David was not accustomed to wearing heavy armour. He had never been trained to use a sword. No, he would do his best with the only weapon he thoroughly understood.
David armed himself with his shepherd’s sling.
So putting on once more his shepherd’s coat, David took his sling in his hand. As he crossed the brook at the foot of the valley, he filled his shepherd’s bag with smooth stones.
He fitted one of them into his sling. Then with springing steps he began to climb the opposite side.
Goliath began to rage when he saw the slender boy. To make matters worse, the boy wore no armor. He did not carry a sword but boldly approached the giant.
“Am I a dog,” Goliath shouted, “that you come to me with sticks?”
David challenged the giant.
Instead of running away, David replied:
“I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied,” rang out his clear answer.
“The Lord does not save with swords and spears. The Lord will fight this battle, and He will give you into our hands.”
The great giant lifted his spear, ready to end this unequal fight with one blow. David did not wait to come within reach of the spear.
Before Goliath came near, the boy stopped suddenly and sent a stone whizzing through the air. He aimed it straight at the giant’s head.
The stone sank into Goliath’s forehead, and the great figure reeled and fell with a mighty crash to the earth. Instantly David seized the giant’s sword and cut off his head.
God used a teenager to save His people Israel.
All of Israel’s army began to cheer. God’s people were saved. Once again, God made use of the shepherd boy’s training and skill, to win a great victory for His people.
The teenaged shepherd boy had done his duty faithfully in the fields on the hillside at home. No one paid much attention to him there.
However, he had always tried to do his best at keeping the sheep or practicing with his sling, or learning to play the harp. Suddenly, the great opportunity had come and found him ready.
He had entered the camp an unnoticed country boy, carrying provisions to his brothers. Now every soldier in the camp was shouting his name, and the king was ready to shower rewards and honors upon him.
David was the hero of the hour.
The pleasant days in the Bethlehem fields were now over for David. There was no thought of allowing him to return to his work. No, the king declared he must remain as a soldier in the army, ready to defend his king and country. Though he was still a mere boy he was placed in command and set over the men of war.
It was much more difficult work than looking after sheep, and as time went on and dangers and difficulties beset him on every side, David must often have longed for the old quiet days on the hillside.
His path was rough and dangerous now, and sad to say his feet often slipped and he wandered far astray. However, he held fast to his faith in God, and found his way back to the straight path.
29As the years went by Samuel’s promise was at last fulfilled, and David was made king over God’s chosen people. David had often forgotten God, but God had never forgotten him.