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David went back and forth between helping Saul by playing the harp and caring for his father’s sheep out in the fields. But three of David’s oldest brothers stayed with Saul’s army and fought for him. They were in a war with the Philistines again.
One day, David’s father, Jesse, told David, “I want to hear how your brothers are doing. Take this grain and bread to them and give this cheese to their army commander.”
So the next morning, David got up early, asked someone else to take care of the sheep, and did just as his father told him.
David arrived at the battle camp right as the men were lining up to fight. He dropped off the food and ran to the front of the group of Israelite soldiers. Across the valley, he could see the enemy army.
David saw his brothers and made his way over to them to see how they were doing. “Hey! Dad wanted me to bring some food to you. How are you? Are you all doing ok?”
Just at that moment, both armies started to stir. Someone over in the enemy’s camp had started yelling across the valley. David looked over and saw a giant of a man — he was over 9 feet tall! (That’s really tall. A man that tall would have to bend over to get through your front door, and then he would bump his head on the ceiling once he came in!) He was taller than any man David had ever seen — way taller than even Saul, who was the tallest man around. David had heard of giants before, and this was definitely one of them.
The giant was yelling terrible things about God and His Family. “If anyone is brave enough to fight me and kills me, then your army wins. But if I win the fight, our army wins. You and your God ain’t nothing to me.”
“How dare he?!” thought David. David looked around to see which of the soldiers would be the first to jump up to fight this arrogant giant who dared to speak to God’s Children, His Lambs, like that. But when David looked around, instead he saw soldiers panicking and running away! Everyone was too afraid of the mean giant man.
“Who is that guy?” David asked the soldiers around him. “Who does he think he is that he dare defy the army of our God, who Lives!”
“Oh, that’s Goliath. He’s been making fun of us and God for 40 long days and no one’s stood up to him. The king will reward the man who fights him!”
At this, something started to rise up in David’s heart. Godly anger began to burn hot inside him. “Forty days! We can’t let this go on! That’s not ok with me, Mr. Giant. You aren’t going to treat God’s Lambs like that any longer.” David wasn’t about to let Goliath continue trash-talking God and His Family.
David’s brothers could tell that David was getting worked up. They didn’t like it. They said, “David, you’re just trying to show off. Who did you leave those few sheep with anyway? Go back home to your sheep. We know you’re just prideful and deceitful. You only came to watch the battle.”
David replied, “What have I done now? Can’t I say anything?” It didn’t matter to David what anyone else thought. Somebody had to do something, and he was not going to just walk away and assume someone else would take care of it. Some men nearby overheard what was happening, and David was taken to King Saul.
“King Saul, don’t let anyone be discouraged about this,” David told Saul. “I can beat this guy.”
King Saul didn’t believe it. He said, “There’s no way. It’s just not possible. You’re just a little fella, and Goliath’s big and strong and well-trained. You’re just a boy! You’ll get killed!”
“No, I won’t, King Saul. I know God will help me kill this giant!” David answered. “God has helped me kill a lion and a bear when they were trying to hurt my father’s sheep. This is NO different than how I protect the sheep at home. Who does this Philistine think he is, making fun of God and His Family! I have to protect what belongs to God!”
“Alright, you can go and fight. God be with you. But, at least put on my armor and take my spear…” Saul told him.
David put on Saul’s armor… but they were heavy and didn’t fit. “King Saul, I can’t even walk in these. I’m not used to them.” David knew he couldn’t use those, and that he didn’t need them.
David left the King’s tent, quickly grabbed his sling and his shepherd’s staff, and ran down to a little stream. He grabbed 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 little stones. These stones would be all he needed to face the giant. He was ready.
When Goliath saw David walking toward him across the valley without armor or even a sword, he was actually offended and angry.
“What kind of joke is this?” he bellowed. “I am a great champion! Who is this little nobody coming at me with a stick as if I were a weak dog?”
David replied bravely, “I’ll tell you who is coming to fight — one who trusts completely in the Lord his God to win. You’ve got your sword and spear and javelin, but I’ve got the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the One you’ve been trash talking. So now you’re goin’ down. I’ll destroy you, and your army will be wasted. All the land will know that Israel has a Living God, and everyone here will know that it is not by sword and spear that God saves. The fight is the Lord’s, and He will let us beat you.”
Goliath had heard enough! He stomped toward David to kill him, just like he had killed warriors much bigger than David in the past.
David ran toward Goliath. He grabbed one of the stones from his shepherd’s bag and put it in his sling. He swung it around — whoosh, whoosh, WHOOOOSH! Out the stone flew, flew, flew, and landed — right in the middle of Goliath’s forehead. The giant’s head bobbled, his legs wobbled, then he toppled — THUD! The giant hit the ground. Dead! David took Goliath’s own sword and lopped off his head. No more Mr. Giant!
I suppose you can guess what the rest of Goliath’s army did — they took off running in fear. When God’s army saw what had happened, they took off after them. God’s army won a great victory that day.
As God’s army plundered their enemies, David decided he’d take a few things himself. “Thank you, Mr. Giant,” he said as he picked up Goliath’s sword, spear, and javelin. “I’ll take these. You won’t be needing them anymore.”
David discovered that day that just as he had protected his father’s wooly sheep in the hills of Bethlehem, that he must also care for and protect God’s Family — everyone who loves God. In the days to come, David would be a protector of many sheep, and not just the wooly kind.