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1 Samuel 17

(Watch the Bible Bricks video below if you'd like the Lego version to get you prepared for this epic story!)

Read 1 Samuel 17:1-30

  • What do you notice about the description of Goliath? Why do you think the author wants us to know so many details about his height and his armour?

  • How do you think the Philistines hoped the strategy of using Goliath as a champion would play out for them? How did Saul and the Israelites think it was going to go?

  • What was young David's view on the situation?

  • Do you think Eliab's reaction to David's comments and questions was warranted? Why/why not?

  • What do you think God is up to here so far?

Read 1 Samuel 17:31-40

  • What do you notice about how David speaks to Saul?

  • What do you notice about how Saul speaks to David?

  • What does this contrast show us about these two men?

  • Why do you think Saul agrees to David's plan, and lets this young man face Goliath on behalf of the nation of Israel? What does this show us about Saul's faith?

Read 1 Samuel 17:41-58

  • Why do you think God helped David? What is His big-picture plan here?

Pay close attention to David's words at the climax of the story (verses 45-47) - the way the story is told, it seems that these words hold the keys to the meaning of the story.

  • What are we supposed to understand about God through this story?

  • What hints are there here about the bigger picture (including the nature of the coming Messiah, Jesus, and His salvation)

They didn't tell us that at Sunday school...

A key element of the story that is often overlooked is Saul's promise of reward for the successful champion who can defeat Goliath. Saul offers three rewards in verse 25: great wealth, his daughter in marriage, and tax-exemption for his family. The second of these three rewards is the most interesting: David has the opportunity to become the King's son-in-law! This is why the chapter ends with Saul enquiring about David's family of origin (verses 55-58) - he wants to know whose family he is marrying his daughter into. David does eventually marry Michal in chapter 18, and thankfully she does love him (at least at first) and isn't just forced into the marriage as often happened in the ancient world, but that is another story that they didn't tell us that at Sunday school (probably because it involves two-hundred Philistine foreskins!)
  • Why does God seem to favour David, making it possible for him to marry the king's daughter? (Consider the events of 1 Samuel 16 - where Samuel anoints David)

  • How can we see the plans of God playing out in this way?

  • What does this show us about the sovereignty of God and his way of using the plans and actions of sinful human beings to his own ends?

  • In the generations after this, David comes to be seen as a forerunner to the Messiah, "the Son of David". In what ways does Jesus fulfil this expectation and follow in David's footsteps from this chapter? (See how many parallels you can find throughout the story)

What did you learn?

  • David trusted God enough to go and fight Goliath on his own, knowing God was with him. How does your faith in God compare?

  • Saul didn't trust God, and wanted to put his armour on David - although he still trusted enough to let David go and fight the giant on behalf of the nation. How does your faith in God compare?

  • David is a forerunner of the Messiah. How do you respond to Jesus as the one who can save you? Do you respond like Elias, or like Saul, or like Jonathon in 1 Samuel 18:1-4?

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