Saturday, February 18, 2012

David Hears Goliath's Challenge

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 17

From David's Journal

My father sent a messenger to me this morning. I was working in the fields. "Come home, I have an errand for you." The messenger took over my job caring for the sheep and told me to hurry home. 

Father waited for me outside our home. He had a bundle in his hands. "David, I haven't seen your older brothers in forty days. Take this grain, and bread to them. Also take this cheese to their commander of thousands. Bring me something from your brothers to show me they are well. Now go, quickly."

"Yes, Father." I hurried off to the battlefield. It wasn't too far away. Still, Father was concerned and needed to hear my brothers were well. 

I crept close to the Valley of Elah, not knowing where the battle might have shifted, and searched for my brothers. Up ahead the Israelites stood in a line, ready for battle. King Saul stood in the middle. 

In order to be in the army, boys had to be a certain age. I was too young, but, I wanted to fight in the worse way. If only I could stand with our country's soldiers. Maybe I could sneak close and watch for a little while. I hurried to the supply person and left the food with him then ran to the battlefront.

The soldiers didn't look dirty, or have blood stains. It seemed they hadn't fought at all. How strange, forty days had passed. I crept closer to the battle line and found my brothers. Eliab, my oldest brother, glared at me. "David, what are you doing here?"

"I brought food from Father. it's back with the supply person."

"Fine, you delivered the food, now get back home." He pushed me behind him.

I opened my mouth to protest but stopped when some Philistine soldier started yelling at us. "...send a man to fight me. If he wins we will be your slaves. If I win, you shall be our slaves."

My brothers and all the Israelite army turn and ran from the battle line. Eliab grabbed my tunic and shoved me ahead of him. "Get back or that Philistine will think you want to fight him." He pushed me all the way back to his tent. 

Back at the camp, the soldiers paced. I couldn't believe my eyes. No one would fight? They talked about Goliath. They must have meant that Philistine soldier. So what if he's big? We have the Lord! 

The soldiers walked around the camp like scared little kids. They said, "King Saul says he will give riches to the man who volunteers to fight Goliath. He will even give his daughter in marriage and free his family's house from any taxes if he wins. Still, I'm not going to volunteer."

I couldn't believe my ears. These are soldiers of Israel, the chosen nation of God. They were afraid? I pushed my way into the conversation. "What is the matter with you? Who wouldn't want to fight and take away the shame of Israel brought about by this heathen Philistine."

The men shook their heads. "If you want to take him on, you can have all the reward from Saul."

Eliab yanked me back out of the crowd. "What are you doing here, David? Who's taking care of the sheep that you abandoned? You're so selfish for leaving Father's sheep unattended to come see the battle. Go on. Get back to the sheep where you belong."

That's it. Big brother or not, he went too far. "What have I done now. Didn't I speak only a word? What's your problem, Eliab?"

I walked over to another group of soldiers and asked them my question, "Who wouldn't want to fight and take away the shame of Israel brought about by this heathen Philistine? Someone must go fight him."

The second group answered the same way. No one wanted to get up and fight the giant and save the shame of the Israelites.

What was the matter with these men? We have but one life to live for God.

1. What was David doing when his father called him?
2. Where did his father send him and what did he ask him to do?
3. What was going on when David arrived?
4. What did Eliab do when he saw David there?
5. What did the Israelite soldiers do when Goliath spoke?
6. What did David do back at the camp?
7. Why was Eliab mad at David?

Photo courtesy of Christian Religious resources

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