The story of David has always fascinated me. After the Lord regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel he sent Samuel to the house of Jesse to get the king among his son’s that God had provided for Himself. Samuel, having thought that Eliab was surely the chosen one because of his physical stature, was corrected when God told him not to look at the outward appearance like men do, but look at his heart.
Seven of the son’s of Jesse, one by one, passed before Samuel only to be told, “Neither has the Lord chose this one.” So Samuel asks Jesse if these are all of his young men and Jesse told him that there was one more, the youngest, tending to the sheep. So Samuel sent for him and there before him stood this good-looking skinny kid. Do you think Samuel might have been a bit confused when God told him to than anoint David because he was the one? Would you have been confused?
After David had found favor in Saul’s sight by playing his harp to rid Saul of a bad spirit, there came a time when the Philistines had come together for battle and Saul and his men had also gathered to battle the Philistines.This is when a champion, Goliath, went forth and made his presence known. And what a presence! Nine foot and six inches tall and clothed in armor that weighed one hundred twenty-five pounds, a bronze helmet, bronze armor on his thighs, a spearhead that weighed fifteen pounds, (ouch), and he also had a shield-bearer that went out before him. This guy was looking for a fight!
He bragged about being a Philistine and told them to choose a man to fight him and if this man was able to kill him then they would all be Saul’s servants but, if not, then they would be made servants. This terrified Saul and his men!
Goliath did the same thing for forty days and no one challenged him. Now Jesse had sons who went to battle with Saul and they needed a few things so Jesse asked David to deliver some goods to them. David entered camp as the armies were set against each other and ran to his brothers and while he was talking to them, Goliath announces the same thing as before and Saul’s army ran away afraid, but David listened to what Goliath had to say.Then Saul’s men were telling of how rich the man who defeated Goliath would be, that Saul would even give him his daughter and tax exemption! What a deal! But there were no takers among those men.
David pops up and says, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he would defy the armies of the Living God?” Then David is reprimanded by his older brother who asks him who is tending the sheep and why are you here? He then scolds David for being prideful and just wanting to see battle. In other words, being childish. David turns and speaks to the crowd and asks isn’t there a reason he should be there? Word of this got to Saul and so he sent for David.
David told Saul that he would go fight Goliath. Saul rebuked him telling him that he was just a youth and he couldn’t defeat a Philistine that had been a warrior since his own youth. In other words, are you crazy? David then reminded Saul of how he had fought off bears and lions when tending sheep and killed them and that uncircumcised Philistine would be killed as well since he had defied the army of the Living God. If God delivered him from the paw of the bear and lion then surely he would deliver him from this brute.
Saul told him to go and the Lord be with you boy! So Saul put this heavy armor on David and a helmet and a sword. Poor kid couldn’t even walk in all of that garb so he took them off. Instead he chose five smooth stones and took his sling shot in hand and boldly faced Goliath. Now Goliath approaches David with his front man going before him and saw that David was just a kid. He begins to make fun of David asking him if he thought that he was a dog and had come to him with sticks. Don’t you think that Goliath was just shaking his enormous head and completely dismayed at this kid standing before him? There was Goliath trusting in his proud armor and David trusting his God in his humility with a stone.
Goliath cursed David and his God and roared at David to come to him and he would leave his flesh for the birds and beasts! David then fiercely confronts this giant and tells him that he comes to him with his sword, spear, and javelin, but he goes to him in the name of God. He tells Goliath that the Lord will deliver him into his hands and he will take his head and he will be the one left to the wildlife to feast upon for that battle is the Lord’s!
Burning with fury Goliath came towards David and David did not run away, instead he ran towards the giant. David took out one stone and made it count. That stone penetrated Goliath’s forehead and he fell face down on the ground. David ran to Goliath and stood there thinking he needed to cut his head off and since he went into battle with a sling and a stone it seemed like a great idea to use Goliath’s own sword to do the task at hand. When the Philistines saw this they were the one’s who ran. David delivered the head of Goliath and Saul marveled, “Who is this young man?”
Have you ever thought that as well? David was trusted to tend the sheep and to defend them, to the death, if necessary, but a formidable opponent to a giant that was armed and protected to the max? David had to have known his limitations, but he asked God for help and he believed God would go with him. How proud of David God must have been. Is it any wonder God loved him so much?
How often do we dismiss a young person because we perceive them as childish or we see them as having a lack of experience? Sometimes it’s that lack of experience that makes them capable of doing very bold things. They are not yet jaded, disillusioned, they have few, if any, regrets and failures. They are invincible in their own minds. They are YOUNG!
God saw the heart, not the physical size, of David. He was fearless, confident, and dependent upon God. Goliath was just a brute that used his size as an instrument of intimidation and until he crossed paths with David, it had worked. David never wavered in his quest to defeat Goliath; his heart was full of courage and there was no doubt that God would go with him. If David were your son would you have let him face a giant?
Our youth is so much more competent than we often give them credit for. Listen to what they have to say. Respect their views and let them have an opinion, even if you disagree. Take the time to have real conversations with them and ask them what they think. Encourage and lift them up and never trivialize their thoughts and deeds.
Think about all of the people who witnessed the death of Goliath. What kind of terrible and belittling things were they most likely shouting at David? Even the giant poked fun at him. Do you suppose Goliath had that split second to realize that he had been beaten as the stone penetrated his big thick forehead? I hope so. Have you or I ever been guilty of creating cracks in the spirit of a youth by ridiculing them or making them feel inadequate? I bet a lot of people thought David was inadequate.
1 Timothy 4:12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
Those were the words Paul spoke to Timothy when training him for the ministry.
Jeremiah 1: 6-8 “Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
Jeremiah gave up everything from his youth up to serve God!
Time and time throughout the bible God chose young people to be strong and confident leaders and ministers of the gospel. Mary, the mother of Jesus was about 15 years old when chosen to be the one to carry the Son of God, our Savior. Josiah was eight when he became the ruler of Jerusalem, sixteen when he believed in the God of David, twenty when he had all pagan idolatry removed from Judah and Jerusalem and he reigned for 31 years and was a good and just ruler. Jesus was twelve when he stunned the teachers in the Temple. Samuel was brought up from his youth at the Temple to serve God and was the bridge between priests and kings of Israel. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were just kids who faced a fiery furnace rather than bow down to anyone but God. Encourage young people to read about the valor of these and the many other young bible examples.
Cherish, guide, love, respect, and, if necessary, correct, our youth. But NEVER underestimate their ability to do great things for God!