Children of the Bible, Part 7 by Allan McGuirl
1 Samuel & 1 Kings
Lately we have been talking about different children of the Bible and what we can learn from them. This time I want to look at a teenager who was born around 907 B.C. He lived in the area of Bethlehem and his dad was Jesse. Jesse had eight sons before David was born. We know nothing really of David’s mother but his dad was a shepherd. David, his youngest son, was often left to care for the sheep, and he spent countless days and nights out in the fields – a real country lad!
We learn from Scripture that David was a handsome lad and because of the use of the word “ruddy” some suggest he may have had red hair – of course that is conjecture. What we do know is that he was very musical and played the harp extremely well. This talent he probably honed during his long days out in the fields watching the sheep. I can picture this teenage boy out on the hillside with harp in hand, looking over the pasture land and writing those beautiful words of Psalm 23: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.” Another skill he developed out on the hillside was the use of a sling. We are all very familiar with his accuracy when it came to using his sling.
Scripture also reveals that he had a very close relationship with the Lord like few teenagers have. This is evident throughout his life. We are told that while tending his sheep, a lion and a bear came after his flock. When they tried to carry off a young lamb the Bible says, “David went after it, struck it, and rescued the sheep from its mouth.” It goes on to say that when the lion or bear turned on him, “he seized it by its hair and killed it.” Now, a lion can grow to be over five feet high and eight feet in length and weigh from 330 to 500 lbs. It can attack at 50 mph (80 kph). Yes, David not only took on these dangerous animals, but it says the Lord delivered him from the paw of the lion and the bear. Wow, what a great God we serve!
But what happened next is a far greater challenge for this country boy to experience. In 1 Samuel 17:8 we read, “Goliath stood shouting at the ranks of Israel, ‘Who will come out for battle?’” This went on for 40 days until David arrived on the scene. Jesse sent David to see how his brothers were doing in the war against the Philistines and to take them food. Interestingly, what David heard from Goliath’s taunts was different to what all the other soldiers heard, including King Saul.
They saw Goliath’s height of six cubits and a span. Even with a short cubit of 18 inches, that makes this challenger over nine and a half feet tall. Using the typical Hebrew cubit of 22 inches, Goliath would have been about 11 ½ feet in height. They saw his armour sheathed over most of his body. They saw his armour-bearer who stood in front of him with a huge shield. They saw his javelin – the length of a weaver’s beam….and they saw defeat.
David, on the other hand, saw a man daring to insult the God of Israel who needed to be silenced; and beyond Goliath, he saw God’s enabling power as more than enough for victory.
Once David passed King Saul’s scrutiny, he chose five smooth stones for his trusty sling and advanced toward Goliath. When Goliath saw who was coming to fight him, he was astounded and amused. “Why, this is just a boy!” Goliath taunted him, but David says in I Samuel 17:45, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down ….” This young country boy went in the power of God and with one little stone took down the giant, and with Goliath’s own sword, removed his head. Time does not permit here to tell of all of David’s exploits or to refer to the many songs he wrote in the book of Psalms. But God called him “the man after His own heart.” What a tribute. David didn’t wait until he was a full-grown man to start serving the Lord. He started as a young boy out in the fields looking after a bunch of dumb sheep.
Maybe you are still a teenager and you are wondering what you can do to serve the Lord. Start where you are now. Develop and use the abilities God has given you to do what is right and good. Get to know God better every day through His Word. Seek His wisdom and trust Him to lead you. As David says in Psalm 55:14 and 17, “I call to God and the Lord saves me…evening, morning and noon, I cry out in distress and He hears my voice.” There’s no time like the present to start your journey with Him.