This lesson can help students understand how they can receive the Lord’s help to endure or overcome challenges they face.
Note: Students studied the scripture mastery passage in 1 Samuel 16:7 in this unit. You may want to review it with them and recite it together as a class.
Before class, prepare the following visual aids:
To help students visualize Goliath’s actual size, make a life-size drawing of him in the classroom or put a mark on the wall at nine feet, nine inches (three meters).
To help students understand what David used to defeat Goliath, draw a picture of a sling or construct one by using any sturdy fabric or soft leather for the pouch (an oval of about 3 x 5 inches [8 x 13 centimeters]) and something like shoelaces for the strings (any length from 18 to 24 inches [46 to 60 centimeters]). Tie a knot in the end of one string and a small loop in the end of the other string.
Begin class by asking students what they think are the biggest challenges youths face in our day. Write their responses on the board. Then ask them to think about a challenge they are currently facing.
Invite students to look for principles that can help them know how to endure or overcome the challenges they are facing as they study the account of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17.
Summarize 1 Samuel 17:1–3 by explaining that the Philistines came again to battle against the Israelites.
Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 17:4–7 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Goliath was described.
How tall was Goliath? (Explain that he could have been approximately nine feet, nine inches [three meters] tall.)
Invite students to come to the front of the class and compare their height to the picture of Goliath or to the mark of Goliath’s height on the wall.
Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 17:8–11 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the challenge Goliath gave to the Israelites.
What challenge did Goliath give to the Israelites?
According to verse 11, how did the Israelite soldiers respond to Goliath’s challenge?
Summarize 1 Samuel 17:12–18 by explaining that while the army of Israel was encamped against the army of the Philistines, David was at home tending his father’s sheep. David’s father gave him food to take to his brothers, who were soldiers in the army of Israel, with instructions to see how they were doing at the battlefront.
Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from 1 Samuel 17:19–26. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened when David arrived at the Israelite camp.
How was David’s reaction to Goliath’s challenge different from the reaction of the Israelite soldiers? (David was not afraid.)
Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 17:27–31 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how David’s brother responded to him.
How did David respond to his brother’s rebuke?
Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 17:32–37 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Saul said to David.
How might Saul’s response to David in verse 33 be similar to what we sometimes feel when we face challenges?
According to verses 34–36, what did David say when Saul told him that he was too young to fight with Goliath?
According to verse 37, why did David believe he could defeat Goliath?
Write the following phrase on the board: Remembering how the Lord has helped us in the past will …
Ask students how they would complete this statement, based on what they learned from David’s response. Students may identify a variety of principles, but be sure to emphasize that remembering how the Lord has helped us in the past will strengthen our faith to endure or overcome our present challenges.
Why do you think remembering how the Lord has helped us in the past will help us with our present challenges?
Invite students to share about a time when the Lord helped them (or someone they know) endure or overcome a challenge. Invite them to explain how that experience could help them endure or overcome the challenges they face now or will face in the future.
Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 17:38–40 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what was done to prepare David for battle against Goliath.
Why did David decide not to use King Saul’s armor? (Explain that the phrase “he had not proved it” in verse 39 means that David was not used to wearing armor.)
What did David do to prepare for the battle?
Show students the sling you drew or constructed. If you constructed one, illustrate the difficulty of using a sling effectively by inviting a few students to attempt to hit a target while using a sling and a marshmallow or another small, round, and soft object.
Explain that the loop goes over the index or third finger while the knot is held between the thumb and index finger; the object is slung by swinging the sling over the head and releasing the knotted string as the pouch begins its arc toward the target. Timing is critical. (Make sure not to let this object lesson overshadow the truths taught in 1 Samuel 17.)
Invite two students to come to the front of class to represent David and Goliath. Ask the student who represents Goliath to read 1 Samuel 17:41–44 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for phrases that show what Goliath thought of David. Explain that the word stave in verse 43 is referring to a staff or pole.
Invite the student who represents David to read 1 Samuel 17:45–47 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how David responded to Goliath.
What can we learn about David from his response to Goliath?
Read the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“David’s reply is one of the great expressions of faith and courage in all our literature. It thrilled me as a boy, and it still thrills me” (“Bible Stories and Personal Protection,” Ensign, Nov. 1992, 38).
How is David’s response to Goliath helpful to those who face mocking or ridicule in our day?
Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 17:48–51 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened to Goliath.
How did David exercise his faith in the Lord? (He ran toward Goliath knowing that the Lord would help him.)
What principles can we learn from this story? (As students express the principles they have identified, emphasize the following truth: As we exercise our faith in the Lord, He will help us with our challenges.)
What are some ways we can exercise our faith in the Lord when we face challenges?
Invite a student to read the following statement about faith from True to the Faith:
“Faith is much more than passive belief. You express your faith through action—by the way you live. … Your faith can lead you to do good works, obey the commandments, and repent of your sins” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference , 54–55).
Summarize 1 Samuel 17:52–57 by explaining that after David defeated Goliath, the Philistine army fled, and the army of the Israelites chased after them. David took Goliath’s head to Jerusalem, and King Saul marveled at David’s bravery.
To help students apply the truths they have learned, invite them to think again about a challenge they are currently facing. Ask them to answer the following question in their class notebooks or scripture study journals:
What will you do to better exercise your faith as you face your challenges?
After sufficient time, invite several students to share with the class what they wrote. Consider sharing one of your personal experiences and testifying of the principles identified in class.
Ask students to ponder the following questions: Why do some righteous and noble men, such as King David, commit serious sins? Why is it important to confess sins early rather than try to cover them up? Ask students if they have ever seen someone experience sad consequences because he or she did not listen to good advice. Explain that in the next unit they will learn important lessons from the sins David committed. They will also learn how Rehoboam, the son of Solomon and the grandson of David, did not listen to good advice, which led to the division of the kingdom of Israel.