Printer-friendly versionSend by email

    [1 Samuel:17:1-58].

    Lesson No.: 
    Memory Verse: 

    "Wherefore take unto you the whole Armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (Ephesians 6:13).

    Cross References: 

    I The Champion of the Philistines
    1. The armies of Israel and the Philistines are set in battle array, [1 Samuel:17:1-3].
    2. Goliath, a giant about 9 feet 9 inches tall, carries an armour weighing more than 200 pounds, [1 Samuel:17:4-7].
    3. He challenges the armies of Israel, [1 Samuel:17:8-10]; [1 Peter:5:8].
    4. Saul and his men are afraid, [1 Samuel:17:11], [1SM:24]; [Luke:12:4-5].

    II David's Trip to the Scene of Battle
    1. Jesse sends David to visit his brothers, [1 Samuel:17:12-22].
    2. David hears Goliath's challenge, [1 Samuel:17:23-25].
    3. David is stirred by the challenge, [1 Samuel:17:26-27]; [Acts:17:16].
    4. Eliab sneeringly reproves David, [1 Samuel:17:28-31]; [2 Chronicles:36:16].

    III David's Acceptance of Goliath's Challenge
    1. David converses with Saul, [1 Samuel:17:32-37].
    2. Saul's armour is exchanged for the simple, proved weapons of a shepherd, [1 Samuel:17:38-40]; [Ephesians:6:13]; [2 Chronicles:10:4].
    3. Goliath boasts and David replies, [1 Samuel:17:41-47]; [1 Kings:20:11]; [1 John:4:4].
    4. One stone fens a giant, and the armies flee, [1 Samuel:17:4B-58] [Hebrews:11:32-34].


    Without the Spirit
    "The Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul" (I Samuel:16:14). This portion of a verse explains the dismay and fear that Saul feels when he and the armies of Israel are challenged by a giant from Gath. Saul is still able to set his army in battle array, but lacks the courage to go forth into the fight. God had promised that one Israelite should chase a thousand, but now one Philistine defies the entire army of Israel. For forty days the mighty men of Israel quake and tremble because their leader has lost the Spirit of the Lord from his life.

    When the Spirit of the Lord departs from one, he may say, as Samson, "I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself" (Judges:16:20), but soon he will realise that he is bound hand and foot and left helpless in the hands of the enemy The battle formation is there, the front lines are manned; but they are like guns without shells, tanks without gasoline, batteries without spark. Without life with which to answer the challenge, without courage to hold their ground, they just drop their arms and flee when defied by one lone Philistine.

    A Shortage of Spirit Filled Men
    Surely the Spirit of God must have yearned, as He searched the hearts from the front lines to the rear echelon, to find a man whom He could trust with the Spirit to go forth in His name. But in the whole camp Of Saul He found not a man. We are told that "the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him" (II Chronicles:16:9).

    In these days of evil, with the challenge of the enemy on every hand, the Lord is offering to pour out His Spirit upon all flesh, that He might have men and women to combat the forces of hell. What great opportunities God offers! And, yet, how few are responding to the call! "I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none" (Ezekiel:22:30). Will no one respond?

    A Shepherd
    From the sheepfolds near Bethlehem a youthful shepherd turned his sheep over to the hands of a keeper and prepared to run an errand for his father. Loaded with bread and parched corn for his elder brothers who followed Saul in the army, David started on his way. It was an errand for Jesse, but it became a mission for God, for the Heavenly Father had His eye upon the land. For forty days the armies of Israel were at a stand still until God brought the shepherd who was to lead His people. Upon the mountainside he had meditated upon the glories of God. He thought of God looking after him, as he had looked after the sheep -- "The LORD is my shepherd." He had tested God's care as he tried his strength upon the lion and the bear, and he had come through, realizing that he was serving a powerful God.

    A Heart Stirred
    In camp he expected to hear news of victories and tales of valour; but, instead, he found anxiety and fear. He was filled with indignation when he heard the defiance of the champion of Gath. "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?" Who is any vain creature of the dust that he should defy his Creator?

    An Answer
    The challenge stirred a response in his soul, and his courage mounted as he thought of the Shepherd of Israel who neither slumbers nor sleeps. A lion, a bear, a giant -- what did it matter so long as God was David's Keeper? From the sergeant to the captain, up through the chain of command, the words of David were rehearsed until Saul sent for him. "Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine," were the words of a stripling as he gazed up into the face of the stalwart king of Israel who stood head and shoulders above him.

    David's spirit remained undaunted, though the king told him plainly, "Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth." He had withstood the sneer of his brother who in essence told him to go home and take care of those few sheep. When a man gets the Spirit of God within him it takes more than a sneer or grin to change him. He has his feet planted upon the Rock that all then cannot shake.

    Unproved Armour
    David's zeal did not weaken through the delays in being outfitted -- trying on armour and putting it off again. Saul offered his armour -- probably the best in the country -- but it hampered the spirit of the free shepherd lad. "I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him."

    There is a difference between the armament that the world would use to equip a man, and that which God ordains that he should have. Physicians would perform a major operation, when faith and prayer would bring a cure. Some would suggest a coat of mail, when faith with a stone from the brook would do. God does not save a host by a multitude Of horses. He is not restricted to man made methods of war. He sent three hundred men armed with lamps, pitchers, and trumpets against a multitude. When a call comes to preach, the world would load a man down with philosophy, sociology, and psychology, and never point him to the way of prayer, faith, and salvation. Kingdoms have been subdued with the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit, but today men think of battleships and bombers.

    David put off Saul's armour, but took with him the armour of God. "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds" (II Corinthians:10:4). Faith in God has been proved. It took the three Hebrew children through the fiery furnace without their being burned; it protected Daniel all night in a den of lions; it brought Paul safely to shore after a night and a day in the deep. Saul's armour may have looked better in the eyes of the world, but David was safer in the armour of God.

    The Victory
    With a prayer, a sling, a shepherd's crook, and five stones from the brook, David ran to meet Goliath. The Philistine arose to meet David, cursing him by his gods as he came. He was filled with disdain that an unarmoured youth should come to fight him with a shepherd's staff. "Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves?" Here was Goliath with a helmet of brass, a coat of mail, and greaves of brass upon his legs; and before him pranced his armour bearer, holding high a tremendous shield. David, reaching into his shepherd's bag as he ran, put a stone into his sling -- and let go! With sword still sheathed and spear clattering to the ground Goliath fell flat on his face. The stone had hit its mark. The pride of mar; lay with face in the dust. With no sword in his hand, nor helmet on his head, but with faith in his God, David had prevailed over the giant of Gath.

    A shout went up from the camp of Israel. Those who had lost courage rallied and pursued the Philistines. Fresh zeal fired every Israelitish heart that day, because one lone shepherd boy trusted in his God. The man after God's own heart came to the front in the hour of Israel's need.

    A Call
    Spiritual Israel today is in dire need of leaders -- men with fortitude to stand against the onslaughts of the devil. A Prophet once said, "I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd" (I Kings:22:17). Today there are many sheep but few shepherds. Need the enemy's challenge go unanswered? Is there no one to go forth in the name of the Lord to stir fresh ardour in the souls of the sleeping church? God forbid that Christianity be defeated for want of a man!


    1. How tall was Goliath (in feet)?
    2. About how much did his armour weigh (in pounds) ?
    3. How many giants are mentioned in the Bible?
    4. What happened to the Philistine's offer given in verse 9?
    5. How long was the challenge of Goliath given before David appeared on the scene?
    6. How did David happen to be with the army?
    7. What was Eliab's attitude toward David?
    8. Why did David feel capable to fight the Philistine?
    9. Why did not David wear Saul's armour?
    10. What was the effect on the army of Israel when David killed Goliath?
    11. To what may we liken this effect today?