1. LEARNING DEEPER TRUST
a. How did David cooperate with God’s providences to gain wisdom and experience to handle future challenges? 1 Samuel 16:14–23.
“In the providence of God, David, as a skillful performer upon the harp, was brought before the king. The shepherd boy was employed to play before the ruler of Israel, and, if possible, to charm away the brooding melancholy which had settled, like a dark cloud, over the mind of Saul.”—The Signs of the Times, August 3, 1888.
“David was growing in favor with God and man. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he now set his heart more fully to do the will of God than ever before. He had new themes for thought. He had been in the court of the king and had seen the responsibilities of royalty. He had discovered some of the temptations that beset the soul of Saul. . . . But while he was absorbed in deep meditation, and harassed by thoughts of anxiety, he turned to his harp, and called forth strains that elevated his mind to the Author of every good, and the dark clouds that seemed to shadow the horizon of the future were dispelled.
“God was teaching David lessons of trust. As Moses was trained for his work, so the Lord was fitting the son of Jesse to become the guide of His chosen people. In his watchcare for his flocks, he was gaining an appreciation of the care that the Great Shepherd has for the sheep of His pasture.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 643, 644.
2. PRIORITIES REVEALED IN CRISIS
a. What serious problem befell all Israel at this time? 1 Samuel 17:1–11.
“The Philistines propose their own manner of warfare, in selecting a man of great size and strength, whose height is about twelve feet.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 2, p. 1018.
“For forty days the host of Israel had trembled before the haughty challenge of the Philistine giant. Their hearts failed within them as they looked upon his massive form. . . . Upon his head was a helmet of brass, he was clothed with a coat of mail that weighed five thousand shekels, and he had greaves of brass upon his legs. The coat was made of plates of brass that overlaid one another, like the scales of a fish, and they were so closely joined that no dart or arrow could possibly penetrate the armor.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 646.
b. What was David’s main concern in the crisis? 1 Samuel 17:21–26.
“[David] was fired with zeal to preserve the honor of the living God, and the credit of the children of Israel. He could not endure to see this bold idolater permitted day after day to mock the chosen of the Lord, without making an effort to overthrow his proud vaunting and derision.”—The Signs of the Times, August 3, 1888.
c. Contrast the attitude of David’s eldest brother, Eliab. 1 Samuel 17:28, 29.
“Eliab, David’s eldest brother . . . knew well the feelings that were stirring the young man’s soul. Even as a shepherd of the flocks of Bethlehem he had manifested daring, courage, and strength not easily accounted for; and the mysterious visit of Samuel to their father’s house, and his silent departure, had awakened in the minds of the brothers suspicions of the real object of his visit. Their jealousy had been aroused as they saw David honored above them, and they did not regard him with the respect and love due to his integrity and brotherly tenderness. They looked upon him as merely a stripling shepherd, and now the question which he asked was regarded by Eliab as a censure upon his own cowardice in making no attempt to silence the giant of the Philistines.”—Ibid.
3. DAVID AND GOLIATH
a. How can we incorporate into our own experience the faith manifested by David? 1 Samuel 17:32–37.
“Whenever a special deliverance is wrought in our behalf, or new and unexpected favors are granted us, we should acknowledge God’s goodness.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 187, 188.
“Our preparation to meet opponents or to minister to the people must be obtained of God at the throne of heavenly grace. Here, in receiving the grace of God, our own incompetence is seen and acknowledged. The dignity and glory of Christ is our strength.”—Evangelism, pp. 166, 167.
b. How did David reveal the secret of victory? 1 Samuel 17:38–40, 43–51.
“Goliath trusted in his armor. He terrified the armies of Israel by his defiant, savage boastings, while he made a most imposing display of his armor, which was his strength. David, in his humility and zeal for God and his people, proposed to meet this boaster. Saul consented and had his own kingly armor placed upon David. But he would not consent to wear it. He laid off the king’s armor, for he had not proved it. He had proved God and, in trusting in Him, had gained special victories. To put on Saul’s armor would give the impression that he was a warrior, when he was only little David who tended the sheep. He did not mean that any credit be given to the armor of Saul, for his trust was in the Lord God of Israel. He selected a few pebbles from the brook, and with his sling and staff, his only weapons, he went forth in the name of the God of Israel to meet the armed warrior.
“Goliath disdained David, for his appearance was that of a mere youth untaught in the tactics of warfare. . . . He felt that it was an insult upon his dignity to have a mere stripling, without so much as an armor, come to meet him. He made his boast of what he would do to him. David did not become irritated because he was looked upon as so inferior, neither did he tremble at his terrible threats, but replied: ‘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.’ ”—Testimonies, vol. 3, pp. 218, 219.
4. FAITH DESPITE APPEARANCES
a. What can we learn from David’s deep and abiding trust in God and His law? Psalms 19:7–11; 20:5–9.
“The Lord would have us awake to our true spiritual condition. He desires that every soul shall humble heart and mind before Him. The words of inspiration found in the nineteenth and twentieth psalms are presented to me for our people. It is our privilege to accept these precious promises, and to believe the warnings. . . .
“In the night season I seemed to be repeating these words to the people: There is need of close examination of self. We have no time now to spend in self-indulgence. If we are connected with God, we shall humble our hearts before Him, and be very zealous in the perfecting of Christian characters. We have a grand and solemn work to do, for the world is to be enlightened in regard to the times in which we live; and they will be enlightened when a straight testimony is borne. They will be led to earnest examination of self.”—The SDA Bible Commentary, [E. G. White Comments], vol. 3, pp. 1145, 1146.
“We should examine our own hearts, and see that everything that is not in accordance with God’s will is separated from us.”—The Review and Herald, May 10, 1887.
b. How did Jesus confirm that through His power, His people can overcome the seemingly insurmountable giants of sin and selfishness? Mark 10:26, 27; 11:22, 23; Philippians 1:6.
“In Christ, God has provided means for subduing every sinful trait, and resisting every temptation, however strong. But many feel that they lack faith, and therefore they remain away from Christ. Let these souls, in their helpless unworthiness, cast themselves upon the mercy of their compassionate Saviour. Look not to self, but to Christ. He who healed the sick and cast out demons when He walked among men is the same mighty Redeemer today. Faith comes by the word of God. Then grasp His promise, ‘Him that cometh to Me I will in nowise cast out’ (John 6:37). Cast yourself at His feet with the cry, ‘Lord I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.’ You can never perish while you do this—never.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 429. [Italics in the original.]
5. THE FINAL WORK
a. How must all entrusted with the present truth in the last days learn from Jesus and avoid falling prey to the spirit of Goliath? Jude 9.
“In the presentation of unpopular truth, which involves a heavy cross, preachers should be careful that every word is as God would have it. Their words should never cut. They should present the truth in humility, with the deepest love for souls and an earnest desire for their salvation, and let the truth cut. They should not defy ministers of other denominations and seek to provoke a debate. . . . The defying, the boasting, and the railing must come from the opposers of truth, who act the Goliath. But none of this spirit should be seen in those whom God has sent forth to proclaim the last message of warning to a doomed world.”—Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 218.
b. What hope does God offer His tiny remnant in the last days? Zechariah 4:10 (first part); Luke 17:6. What is to enlighten the earth? Revelation 18:1.
“In this last generation the parable of the mustard seed is to reach a signal and triumphant fulfillment. The little seed will become a tree. The last message of warning and mercy is to go to ‘every nation and kindred and tongue,’ ‘to take out of them a people for His name’ (Acts 15:14; Revelation 18:1). And the earth shall be lightened with His glory.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 79.
“The revelation of His own glory in the form of humanity will bring heaven so near to men that the beauty adorning the inner temple will be seen in every soul in whom the Saviour dwells. Men will be captivated by the glory of an abiding Christ.”—Ibid., p. 420.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How did David grow while soothing Saul with his harp?
2. How did the attitude of David differ from that of his brothers?
3. Why did David refuse to wear Saul’s armor?
4. How can we apply this lesson in confronting today’s figurative “giants”?
5. Differentiate between the spirit of David and that of Goliath today.