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The Cloud of Witnesses

Former title Lessons From the People of the Bible



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Lesson 2: David – Stands Up For God


1 Samuel 17:1-55.

Stands Up For God

David was just a shepherd boy. He was the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons, so his job was to look after the family’s flock – the family’s livelihood and wealth.

He was away from the hustle and bustle of sibling rivalry and the pressures of Israel’s national security. He could concentrate on his sheep and their needs of food, water, shelter and protection.

However, David still had a choice – would he consider the job a burden and chore or would it be a responsibility that could bring out the best in him.

Many of us look at our jobs only as a source of income. It is a necessary evil, if you like, and so we go into each day with a sub-conscious negativity – we have to do it or we will become poor or jobless. We don’t see it as an opportunity to excel in the way we have been created and gifted. Neither do we see it as an opportunity to build relationships with our colleagues, superiors or assistants. The idea that we may be able to add value to our job is foreign to us.

On the other hand, there are others who find their whole sense of self-worth wrapped up in their employment. For them the status of the job or their individual performance in the role is paramount – particularly if they have shown or proved that they have accomplished more than anyone else – or done better than anyone else.

Whilst striving for excellence is a noble ethic, if it hides a low self-esteem it can end up as a strive for perfection that is totally unattainable. This can result in self-preservation at the expense of others or feeding a sense of rejection since no-one can live up to such unrealistic expectations.

What we need to develop is a mature sense of reality so that we see our job as a place of fulfilment – an expression and extension of who we really are. As we consider the results of our employment we can be content with our contribution – provided we have done our best.

That is why it is important that we recognise and develop our work ethics and values. Once we have established what they are, we will be able to protect ourselves from getting bored, feeling negative and unfulfilled, or worse – losing our integrity through our own actions or the demands of others.

David was establishing his character out in the hillside, away from peer pressure and the temptations of money, prestige, status and power. He concentrated on the job in hand and allowed God to do the rest. Yes, having a faith and relationship with God, his Creator, made a significant difference to him. It meant he had Someone to talk to, Someone to seek wisdom and guidance from. David was also able to experience God’s presence and power – how else would he have been able to dispose of a hungry lion or ferocious bear?

The incident with Goliath was just an extension of who David was. David didn’t suddenly become a hero – he already was a hero. He had single-handedly dealt to the lion and the bear in private. Challenging a giant in public was just the next step. Please notice that David did not see Goliath the same way as his brothers or the other troops did. They saw a giant – a huge and fierce looking man who was intent on killing one of them and winning the battle.

David saw something completely different. David saw in Goliath someone who was mocking his God. Someone who was defying the Creator of the Universe and challenging God to do battle with him. Someone who thought he could take God on and not only win but get away with it.

David kept his eyes on God, not Goliath. That is why he struggled with Saul’s armour – it was man-made. David needed to use what he knew best and leave the outcome to God. He used only a sling and a stone, and God directed the stone right into the temple of the enemy and gave him victory.

God can use us in the big things so long as we rely on Him and His power whilst we maintain our integrity in the small issues of life.

David would say to us today...

You need to get to know God in your quiet and solitary place before He will release you to stand before crowds.


Father, I long to be more like Jesus; One who longs to fulfil Your will; One who longs to hear and know Your heart’s desire, so that I may be used by You to bring it into being. Amen.

Additional readings

Daniel 6:1-28; Matthew 26:69-75; Galatians 1:11-24.


Why is it dangerous to be promoted in front of other people?

Why does Jesus call us to be the servant of others?

When and how will you stand up for God?

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Sold Out For Jesus and Ring of Truth – daily devotionals by John White
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