Facing the Giants: David & Goliath: my lesson from VBS


This year the theme of our Vacation Bible School was Facing the Giants and I taught on David & Goliath. Following is pretty much the lesson I taught. I have reordered a few things, added some, and taken out others, but the main points and thoughts remain. I also varied it slightly for the different age groups.

Also, I thought it was interesting how I was able to teach this lesson. In the first VBS meeting, the theme was announced as Facing the Giants. As soon as I heard that, I knew I was going to teach this lesson. Then it was announced there would be 4 stories that would be used: David & Goliath, Noah’s Ark, Daniel & the Lions’ Den, and the 3 Hebrew Boys. I was asked first which one I wanted. I wanted to say David & Goliath, but I said to let the others pick first. The other 3 teachers then picked which ones they wanted and the only one left – the one I would teach – was David & Goliath.


Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. John 5:39

And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. Luke 24:27

All scripture is about or points to the Lord Jesus Christ. The entire Bible is God’s revelation of himself and his plan of redemption. While there are some good examples of exemplary behavior as well as bad behavior in many of the scripture passages, if we do not grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus, then we are not learning the main point of the passage. It is all about him. In him, we have our being. As Charles Spurgeon has said about how he preached, from whatever text we preach, we need to make a beeline to the cross.

Let us look at the passage about David & Goliath in I Samuel 17:17-54 and look for Christ.

Sent by his father

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 to thy brethren; And carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge. Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines. 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. For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army against army. 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. 1 Samuel 17:17-22

David’s father, Jesse, sent him to his brothers. Jesus was sent by God the Father to his brethren.

As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. John 6:57

But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Matthew 15:24

He was rejected by his own

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. And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid. 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. 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? And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man that killeth him. 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. 1 Samuel 17:23-28

David’s brothers were not happy to see him. They wanted him to leave. Jesus was rejected by many of the Israelites. The Pharisees feared he would take away their power and authority.

He came unto his own, and his own received him not. John 1:11

And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine. Mark 11:18

God’s people feared the enemy

And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid. 1 Samuel 17:24

All the Israelites, the people of God, feared the enemy Goliath and fled from him. There is an enemy that we face today that people fear and try to flee from it. That enemy is death.

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 1 Corinthians 15:26

And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Hebrews 2:15

He defeated the enemy that the people could not

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. And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 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. 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. 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. 1 Samuel 17:40-51

David faced the giant. He knew God would deliver the giant – the enemy that the people feared and could not defeat – into his hands. Jesus defeated death. He rose from the dead to show that he had power over death. He gave the victory to the people.

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57

Why is death our enemy?

It is an enemy that everyone must face eventually. No matter how healthy we try to eat and live, death will come. Some will face it sooner than others, but all will face it.

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: Hebrews 9:27

The reason we all have to face it is because of sin.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23

What is sin?

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 1 John 3:4

Sin is the breaking of God’s law. When we break one of man’s laws, it is called a crime. When we break God’s law, it is called sin.

What are God’s laws?

Some of God’s laws are what we call the Ten Commandments.

I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. Exodus 20:2-17

God tells us not to murder, not to steal, not to lie, to obey and honor our parents, and to always put him first. If we are honest, we have to admit that we have broken some if not all of God’s laws. Who hasn’t told a lie? Who hasn’t stolen something? It doesn’t matter how much the item costs – it could be a stick of gum or a little toy. Taking something that belongs to someone else is stealing. Now, some may say they haven’t murdered anyone, but God says if you hate someone, that is the same as murdering that person in your heart. God doesn’t just see our actions. He can see our hearts. He knows what we think and feel. When he sees that hatred in our hearts, he sees us as a murderer. How many of us haven’t disobeyed our parents? How many of us always put God first in everything?

We’ve all broken God’s laws. We’ve all sinned. And just like a criminal who has to stand before a judge for his crimes, we too must stand before God who will judge all the earth in righteousness. God is holy and just and cannot let sin go unpunished. The Bible tells us how God punishes sin.

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Revelation 21:8

The Good News

We cannot just tell God we are sorry for our sins or promise to not sin anymore and expect him to let us go free. A murderer who says he is sorry must still face the penalty for his crime. Promising to not murder anyone else will not cause the judge to excuse him. Justice must be served. The crime must be punished. We must either face the punishment for our sins or have someone else face it for us. Thankfully, God provided someone else to take our place of punishment. God sent his son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die in our place and to endure all of God’s wrath for our sins. Jesus was able to take our place because he did not have to face punishment for himself. He was perfect. He never sinned. He did always those things that please the Father. When Jesus was on the cross, he endured all of God’s wrath for your sins and for mine. Isaiah wrote that when God saw the travail – the suffering – of Jesus’ soul, he would be satisfied. That means God’s justice was satisfied by the suffering of Jesus. After suffering on the cross, Jesus died, was buried, and then rose again. He is now seated at the right hand of the Father.

Just because Jesus died on the cross does not mean that everyone goes free. We must have his righteousness applied to our account – to our record. The Bible says we must be found in him not having our own righteousness, but the righteousness which is of the faith of Jesus Christ. So how are we found in him? Scripture says we must have repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance towards God means that we turn from ourselves – from trusting in ourselves to get us to Heaven, from serving false gods (our idols) – and turn towards God – seeing him as holy & just & good, hating sin and unrighteousness. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ means that you trust that Jesus’ suffering was sufficient to satisfy God’s justice for your sins, and that he has power over death and the grave to be able to raise you from the dead to life everlasting.


David’s defeat of Goliath was not necessarily written as an encouragement for us to face the giants in our lives. It is written as an encouragement to let us know that the Lord Jesus Christ has already defeated the giant that we cannot defeat. What have we to fear when our King has already given us the victory?

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