5-The Mystery of Childhood

Highlighting CHILDREN OF THE BIBLE

Part 5: David

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Remember the story of Samuel and how he grew to be a great leader. He didn’t sit on a throne or wear a crown as most kings do, but he was a ruler and teacher for the people of God. He was also called a prophet because he was given special messages from God.

All was going well, but when he got old the people decided they wanted a real king like all the other nations around them. They wanted someone who could go to war and help them fight their enemies.

Samuel was sad about this because God was to be their king, and besides kings cost lots and lots of money, and sometimes they were not honorable and just in the way they lived or ruled. Samuel was worried, but God told him, “You might as well let the people have their way. They’ve made up their minds, and besides, through their mistakes they’ll learn some important lessons.”

So the people chose a handsome young man named Saul, and sure enough, it wasn’t long before he began to mess things up horribly by not obeying God. So God told Samuel to go to a family in Bethlehem and He would help him choose another king there. “This King, he said, will be ‘a man after my own heart,'” meaning he would love God, listen to Him, and also obey Him.

When Samuel reached the little town of Bethlehem a feast or party was going on at the home of a leader of the town called Jesse who was the father of seven sons. As they visited Samuel explained that God had sent him to anoint one of his sons as the future king.  So the sons were called together, and as each one passed before him, Samuel couldn’t help but notice good qualities in each one. For example, one might have been friendly, another handsome, another helpful and so on it went until Samuel had seen six of them. Strangely God kept silence and did not indicate in any way that one of them was to be anointed king. Samuel was confused and shook his friend. Are these all the sons you have?” he asked Saul.

“Well, the seventh is just a boy and  he’s out taking care of the sheep.”

“Would you please have him come in?” Samuel asked

Jesse  hunched his shoulders before sending out a servant to replace his youngest boy. When the boy David walked in Samuel knew without a doubt that this young man was the one God had chosen to be the next king, and so anointed him by pouring oil on his head. This meant that God had indeed chosen him to become king some day.

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When the feast was over David, most likely in a daze, went back to the sheep that had become his pets. He knew each one by name and when he called them they’d run to him to get their wooly heads petted or to receive a little treat. Some among them, alas, were sometimes quarrelsome. David would scold them and repeat again and again,  “Be kind one to another.” Sometimes one or more of them would wander off, so David would call them back to his side. “Stay close to me,” he’d say, “I don’t want to loose you.

He always had his eye out for predators like lions or bears or snakes. It had already happened a number of times and he’d managed to run them off or kill them. Once he even took a lamb out of the mouth of a lion.

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Whenever the sheep were afraid, or when they needed to calm down for the night, he’d call them to himself to gather around him. Then he’d sooth them with sweet melodies that he played on his harp and sometimes he’d add words to the music while they nuzzled close to him and fell into a deep sleep.  There was no reason for them to worry because Daniel was watching over them most diligently. It felt so good to be near him.

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As David was growing up his brothers were fighting in a war with a people called the Philistines, who do not love God, and quite often would try to hurt His people. So at one time when he was sent by his father Jesse to take food to his brothers, he saw that a big giant called Goliath was boasting and teasing God’s people to send contest with him or fight against him. Sadly, the Israelites were afraid of the mean giant.

David was angry when he heard the evil giant yelling awful threats and insults at God’s people while also mocking  their God. “This is just too much. Why doesn’t someone fight against him and eliminate him?” David asked the people around him.

The soldiers laughed at this young fellow who was probably by now a teenager, “Little fellow,” one said condescendingly, “can’t you see the size of his feet?  One kick and you’re out. ” Some of the soldiers, however, winked among themselves, when they heard him say that he’d be willing to try to eliminate him. Most thought it was a joke, but his brothers said, “Who do you think you are? Why don’t you get out of the way”

The other brother added, “Yea, go home and mind your own business.”

” But David was determined to try. So he was  brought before King Saul who laughed as he looked at the skinny young fellow who appeared as if he’d  hardly the strength to inflict the slightest injury on the massive giant almost twice his size. But there was no one else around willing to try, so he called upon a soldier nearby and ordered him to arm David.

David tried the helmet, the heavy shield and clumsy sword, and shook his head. “Just let me face him with my own favorite weapon that I use when guarding my sheep”

“Let him do whatever he wants?” the king ordered, while some of the men around snickered.  “It’ll be interesting for us to watch and see how long he’ll last.”

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As David walked down to the river between the two hills that separated the two armies, he picked up some stones, and while doing so he prayed to God as he’d always done when danger approached. Then, as he started climbing the hill, he began swinging his sling shot around and around, and as he neared Goliath he yelled, “You come to me with sword and spear, I come to you in the name of the LORD Almighty…. “ and by then a stone was already flying through the air and that one stone struck Goliath smack on the forehead. In seconds Goliath lay flat on the ground. The battle was over.

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That evening there were big celebrations when the people praised David, but David cared little about that. He knew it was God who had helped him and had won the victory. None but his brothers knew that he was destined to replace King Saul as God’s chosen king who would also become the greatest king the Israelites ever had.

 

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