Grades 3-6 Sunday School Lesson
David: Facing the Danger
Lesson 2: A Giant Slayer
This week’s lesson will be one of the best known and most loved stories of the Old Testament – David and Goliath. We’ll take a look at David’s courage and faith, as he stands up to yet another challenge. And we’ll be reminded that the same God who helped David defeat a giant is the One who is still here for us, today.
Lesson 2 Handout
Who is the biggest person you know?
Throughout the centuries, there have been people in the world that we might label as “giants.” According to Guinness World Records, the tallest man since they started keeping records was named Robert Wadlow, from the United States. His height was recorded at 8 feet 11 inches (2.72 meters). [If you have a wall high enough, show the students just how high each of these measurements would be.] He lived from 1918 – 1940. The tallest person alive today is a man from Turkey. His name is Sultan Kosen, and he’s 8 feet 3 inches (2.51 meters) tall.
And giants are not new to the human race. One of the emperors of Rome, whose name was Maximinus Thrax, is said to have been the first person recorded with giantism, back in the second century. He lived from 173 – 238, and is said to have been 8 feet 6 inches (2.59 m) tall. *
So it should not seem beyond belief to find an account in the Bible of a man who was also a giant. The Bible tells us that Goliath of Gath was from a family of giants (the Anakim, spoken of in the books of Numbers and Joshua). There is some question as to exactly how tall Goliath really was. The Bible records his height at six cubits and a span. But the length of a cubit has changed throughout history.
The better known length of a cubit (which, by the way, is the length of the forearm of whoever is making the standards of measurement) is about 18 inches. And that measurement puts Goliath around 9 ½ feet tall. But according to historians, when the account of David and Goliath was written, a cubit was 25.2 inches. That measurement would put Goliath somewhere around 12 feet 9 inches tall.** Can you imagine that? That would probably be like taking the two tallest people you know, and having one stand on the others head. And the two of them, together, would be around the height of the giant, Goliath. That’s a really big man!
And as we learned last week, he was a really big problem for the Israelites. But there was one young man in Israel who could see that his God was bigger than any old giant. That young man was David. And today we’re going to see just how he went about facing that giant. Our memory verse for today is a big clue. Let’s learn it together.
Memory verse: (Have the children repeat this verse with you several times, until they are able to say it themselves. And encourage them to repeat it to others several times during the week, so that it’ll have a place in their hearts.)
“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” Mark 9:23
Opening prayer: Lord, thank You for each student who’s here, today. And thank You for the examples of Your faithful servants that we find in Your Word, the Bible. Help each one of us here, today, to be attentive to what You would have us learn. Give us open ears and hearts, ready to listen to Your words. Amen.
This Week’s Lesson: David is a Giant Slayer (1 Samuel 17:1-53)
In our last lesson, we saw David, as a shepherd, stand up to some pretty serious challenges. While watching over his father’s sheep, he encountered both bears and lions who tried to carry off some of the sheep. But each time, he trusted the Lord to help him. And with the Lord’s help, David was able to kill both a bear and a lion when they threatened him and his sheep.
Today, we’re going to see David face a new challenge; a bigger challenge. It’s almost as if the bear and lion were practice rounds for the big fight. And David was ready. We were introduced to Goliath last week. But let’s review that introduction, and dig in a little more.
(1 Samuel 17)
1 Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim.
2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines.
3 And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them.
So we have two armies: the Israelites and the Philistines, each lined up for battle, but staying put on their own sides of the valley. Except for an occasional, small skirmish, no one crossed their invisible line at the bottom of their mountain, except for one man. One giant man named Goliath.
4 And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.
How tall did we say that was? He was at least 9 ½ feet tall. And possible more like 12 ½ feet. Now imagine that size of a man covered in heavy armor.
5 And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass.
6 And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders.
Have you ever picked up something made of brass? Is it a light-weight metal, or heavy? Brass is very heavy. So Goliath would have to be very strong to wear a helmet made of brass. And the coat of mail that he wore would have weighed around 125 pounds! That’s like carrying a whole extra person around with you.
7 And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.
So the spear that Goliath carried was also very large. The tip of the spear would have weighed 15 pounds. That might not sound like much. But it is when you try to throw it; or worse, when you get hit with it!
8 And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me.
9 If he be 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 shall ye be our servants, and serve us.
10 And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.
Goliath had a very interesting proposal for the Israelites. They didn’t need to send their whole army to fight against the Philistine army. What was Goliath’s challenge? He said he would represent the Philistine army. And wanted one man to step out to represent the Israelite army. Then only the two of them would fight. Whoever lost the battle would lose for their whole nation. And the losers would become the servants of the winners.
That almost sounds fair, except for one not so tiny detail: Goliath was a giant. And the Israelites did not have any giants among them. So it wouldn’t even be close to a fair fight. Goliath and the Philistines knew that. And the Israelites realized it, too. How do you think the Israelites reacted? The next verse tells us.
11 When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.
What did the Israelites think of Goliath’s idea? They were scared! Have you ever noticed that’s just the way bullies tend to be? They pick on the littler guys; never going after someone their own size who might be able to give them a challenge. And that’s the way Satan is, too. He often puts huge challenges before us so we’ll lose to discouragement before the fight even begins. Can you think of a challenge or test Satan may have put in your path this week? Maybe you were tempted to tell a lie, or say something mean about someone else. Maybe you were tempted to disobey your mom or dad, or your teacher at school. Sometimes those temptations just seem too strong to handle.
But should we react to Satan’s challenges the way the Israelites did to Goliath? Should we run and hide? Should we give up before we even try to stand against him? No! And why not? Because we have the Lord on our side! And “…If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
And we’re about to see that there was one person in Israel who was able to look past the big giant to see an even bigger God!
12 Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehemjudah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul.
13 And the three eldest sons of Jesse went and followed Saul to the battle: and the names of his three sons that went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next unto him Abinadab, and the third Shammah.
14 And David was the youngest: and the three eldest followed Saul.
15 But David went and returned from Saul to feed his father's sheep at Bethlehem.
16 And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days.
David had spent some time with King Saul. He was sometimes called in to play music for him when he became agitated or upset. But where is David during this time of Goliath’s daily challenges? He is back at home, tending to the sheep.
17 And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the camp of thy brethren;
18 And carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge.
Whose idea was if for David to go and see how his brothers and the Israelite army were doing? The idea came from Jesse, David’s father. He wanted to know if his sons were okay. They didn’t have television, or radio, or computer updates to let them know how the war was going. The only way to find out was to go and see. So David did just that, as his father asked.
19 Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.
20 And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle.
21 For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army against army.
22 And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren.
What was going on when David arrived? The armies were actually in the battle field, fighting one another. This is probably what David had expected to find. What he didn’t expect was what happened next.
23 And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them.
24 And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid.
25 And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father's house free in Israel.
This was the first time David had seen and heard Goliath. And it was his first time seeing the reaction of the Israelite army. And he was shocked by both! Listen to his reaction to the words of the giant.
26 And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?
27 And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man that killeth him.
Does it sound like David was afraid of Goliath? No. How would you describe David’s reaction? David actually sounded like he was offended by Goliath’s challenge, and angry that someone would defy the very God of Heaven, with no one taking action against him.
David wanted to know why nobody was standing up to this enemy of God. And he wasn’t afraid to say so. But, as we mentioned last week, this boldness on David’s part seemed to embarrass his oldest brother.
28 And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.
29 And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?
Why do you think David’s brother, Eliab, reacted the way he did? Maybe he wasn’t as much embarrassed about David as he was about his own actions, and those of his fellow soldiers. They had listened to Goliath for forty days. Yet none of them had any desire to stand up to the challenge. Then along came the little brother, who didn’t seem scared at all. In fact, he called them out on their hesitation to defend God’s honor. And that couldn’t have felt very good to a big brother…being shown up in front of his buddies.
Have you ever tried to do the right thing, or tried to get others to do so, only to have them get mad at you? Maybe you’ve been in a group where someone has asked you to do something helpful, like clean up a yard. But others around you don’t want to obey. You know you should do it anyway. And the others get mad because it looks like you’re just trying to get them in trouble. What should you do in that situation? You’ve just got to go ahead and do the right thing, whether others do or not. That’s what God would want you to do. And His opinion is much more important than anyone else’s.
Eliab’s bad attitude didn’t stop David. He just turned the other way, and continued his quest to find out why no one had stepped forward to fight this Philistine.
30 And he turned from him toward another, and spake after the same manner: and the people answered him again after the former manner.
31 And when the words were heard which David spake, they rehearsed them before Saul: and he sent for him.
David’s brother may not have been impressed by David’s persistence. But others were. Who did those others tell about David’s questions? They told King Saul. So the king asked to have David come and see him. And when the king asked David what he was thinking about Goliath’s challenge, David was ready with an answer.
32 And David said to Saul, Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.
33 And Saul said to David, 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.
What was David prepared to do? He was ready to go and fight Goliath, himself. But Saul wasn’t sure this sounded like a good idea. After all, David was just a kid; and had no military training. How would he be able to fight anyone, let alone a giant?
And why did it matter to Saul if David wanted to put his own life on the line to fight Goliath? Keep in mind that the outcome of the fight wouldn’t affect only David. He would be representing the entire Israelite army. If he lost, they lost. And all of Israel would become slaves to the Philistines. So it’s understandable that Saul might hesitate to let David take on such a big challenge.
But the one thing bigger than David’s size was his faith. He simply needed to remind Saul that there was Someone bigger than both of them who would determine the outcome of the battle. And David had prior experience with God’s deliverance. Because of that, David was not afraid. Do you remember, from last week’s lesson, what God had already done for David?
34 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:
35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.
36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.
37 David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the Lord be with thee.
Why was David not afraid to face the giant, Goliath? He was not afraid because he knew he wasn’t going alone. God would certainly go with him. And it would be God who give David the victory. Saul couldn’t argue with that reasoning. So he did what he could to help, which turned out to be nothing.
38 And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail.
39 And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.
How did Saul try to help David? He gave David his own armor to wear for protection. But was it any good to David? No. It was too big for him. So it made it too hard for him to move with the armor on. But David wasn’t concerned. He had all the protection he needed… the Lord was on his side.
(Faith in Action)
So the time came for David to put his faith into action. Just saying he trusted the Lord wouldn’t be enough to kill the enemy. David needed to step out on that battlefield, and stand face to face with the giant. All he would take with him was the tools he was familiar with: his staff and his trusty sling. And the rest is history!
40 And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.
41 And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him.
42 And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.
43 And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
44 And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.
Was Goliath concerned, at all, that one of the Israelites had taken up his challenge? No. In fact, he looked at David’s age and size, and mocked him that much more. He had no idea that those mocking words were the last that would ever come out of his mouth.
45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.
What did David believe was his most effective weapon against Goliath? He brought the Lord of hosts with him. And he believed that was all he needed. He could almost feel the victory, already!
46 This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
47 And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hands.
48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came, and drew nigh to meet David, that David hastened, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.
49 And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.
50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.
51 Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.
52 And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron.
53 And the children of Israel returned from chasing after the Philistines, and they spoiled their tents.
Who do you suppose guided that single stone to the very place it needed to be to bring the giant Goliath to the ground? God made sure the stone struck Goliath exactly where it needed to. He gave David the victory over Goliath; and also gave the Israelites victory over the rest of the Philistines. It seems they didn’t have any plans to honor the proposal their champion had made. They weren’t going to stick around and be slaves to the Israelites.
What did the Philistines do when they realized Goliath had been defeated? They ran! And the Israelites chased them all the way back to the city they had come from. Then, when the Israelites returned from the chase, they went through the Philistine’s deserted tents, taking everything of value they could find. That’s what the winning armies typically did to their defeated enemies.
What an incredible victory it was for David, and the whole Israelite army. Because David put his faith in the Lord, and had the courage to step out onto the battlefield, armed with that faith, all of Israel gained the victory, that day, over their longtime enemy, the Philistines. God used a simple shepherd boy, with a single stone in his sling, to bring down a mighty, heavily armored giant. What an amazing God we have!
And the same God who helped David defeat the giant is the same God that is here for you and me, today. When we are faced with big challenges, we can remember, like David, that our God is much bigger than any challenge we will ever face.
In fact, God often brings those giant challenges into our lives so we will learn to trust Him even more. He allows the challenges to come, then gives us the victory over them, so we will see just how powerful and faithful He is!
Have you faced any giant challenges in your life? How about this very week? (allow your students to share struggles they may have faced, or may still be facing) Were you able to see God at work, helping you win the victory? Sometimes we can’t see how He helped right away. Sometimes it’s only when we look back over time that we are able to see His hand at work on our behalf.
But don’t let that ever stop you from trusting Him to deliver you. He has promised that He will. And He always keeps His promises. His Word, the Bible, is full of examples of how He delivered His people. And if you put your faith and trust in Him, He’ll do the same for you! Remember, “…all things are possible to him that believeth.”
Closing Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of David, and his faith and courage to stand up to some giant challenges. Thank You for reminding us that You are always there to deliver us, and give us victory over the challenges we face, too. Help us, Lord, even this week to remember to put our complete trust in You. Because You have proven Yourself faithful over, and over again. For I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.
Activity: (Review Questions)
Fill in the Blanks
True or False
1. When the Israelites heard Goliath’s challenge, they ran away in fear. (true)
2. David’s brother encouraged him to go and fight Goliath. (false – he mocked David for asking questions about Goliath’s challenge)
3. David told Saul he was willing to fight Goliath. (true)
4. David thought his most effective weapon against Goliath was a sword. (false – he considered his most trusted weapon to be the Lord of hosts)
5. When David killed Goliath, the Philistine army surrendered. (false – they tried to run away)