November 12, 2023 – 1 Samuel 17

Lesson Date: November 12, 2023

Focal Scripture Passage: 1 Samuel 17:1-53

AIM: To lead students to discover three different ways to face fearful “giants” in our lives, and to encourage them to commit to facing obstacles and challenges by trusting God.


Before class: Read the notes on 1 Samuel 17 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Write the words “Obstacle,” “Challenge,” and “Problem” on the board.


INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the students’ attention to the words “Obstacle,” “Challenge,” and “Problem” written on the board (or screen).

Ask: “What are some of the biggest obstacles, challenges, or problems you have ever faced?” (they might name a cancer diagnosis or other health problems, loss of their job, financial problems, or family problems).  Comment that some of those problems seem almost insurmountable, like giants blocking our path.

Ask: “How did you face your problem or obstacle?  Whose advice did you follow?” (allow time for some responses).

Tell the class there are many different ways to face obstacles and problems.  Tell them as we study the familiar story of David and Goliath, we will discover three ways to face fearful “giants” in our lives.  The title of today’s lesson is How Will You Face Your Giants?



  1. Review.
    • Remind the students that we are studying the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (How’s Your Heart?; we learned that God judges us by our hearts, not merely by our outward appearance).
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (1 Samuel 16:7).
    • Remind the class that we are going to discover and evaluate three different ways of facing problems in our lives.
  2. The Devil’s Way – Fear and Paralysis.
    • Read 1 Samuel 17:1-3.
    • Tell the class that the armies of the Philistines and the Israelites faced off in preparation for battle at the Valley of Elah (locate on the Map); the armies were on opposite mountains, with the valley in between.
    • Read 1 Samuel 17:4-7.
    • Explain the following:
      • Goliath was 9 feet, 9 inches tall!
      • His armor alone weighed over 150 pounds, which was undoubtedly more than the weight of an average soldier.
      • He had a very fearsome appearance.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 17:8-10.
    • Ask: “What challenge did Goliath make to the Israelites?” (he offered to fight one select Israelite soldier rather than the two armies engaging in a bloody battle; he said the loser’s army would be servants [slaves] to the winner’s army).
    • Ask: “What did Goliath boldly declare in verse 10?” (“I defy the armies of Israel”).
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 17:11.
    • Ask: “How did King Saul and his army respond to Goliath’s challenge?” (they were fearful and dismayed).
    • Read 1 Samuel 17:12-16.
    • Tell the class that Jesse’s three oldest sons were in Saul’s army, but David went home from being Saul’s armor bearer (1 Sam. 16:21) to tend his father’s sheep.
    • Ask: “According to verse 16, how long did Goliath challenge Israel’s army?” (twice a day for forty days).
    • Ask: “How did Saul and Israel’s army react to the fearful obstacle of Goliath?” (they were paralyzed with fear, doing nothing about Goliath for forty days).
    • Read 1 Samuel 17:17-22.
    • Explain that Jesse sent David with provisions to the Israelite camp.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 17:23-24.
    • Ask: “What happened while David was talking with his brothers?” (Goliath came out and made his usual challenge).
    • Ask: “How did Israel’s army react to Goliath’s challenge?” (they ran away in fear).
    • Tell the students that Saul and Israel’s army responded to a great challenge the devil’s way: they were paralyzed with fear.
    • Ask: “What does the Bible say about us being afraid of obstacles, problems, and challenges?” Allow time for responses.
    • Tell the class that 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
    • Summarize: One way to face problems in our lives is the devil’s way: to be paralyzed with fear. The devil wants us to be so afraid that we can’t go on.
  3. Man’s Way – Worldly Wisdom and Weapons.
    • Read 1 Samuel 17:25-30.
    • Ask: “What three things did King Saul promise to do for anyone who killed Goliath?” (he would be given great riches, marry the king’s daughter, and his family would be free from taxes).
    • Ask: “According to the last part of verse 26, what was David’s attitude toward Goliath?” (he thought “this uncircumcised Philistine” had no right to “defy the armies of the living God,” and must be silenced).
    • Ask: “Why do you think David’s brother was angry with him?” (allow time for responses).
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 17:31-33.
    • Tell the class that King Saul heard about David and sent for him.
    • Ask: “What did David say to Saul in verse 32?” (no one should be afraid because he would go fight with Goliath).
    • Ask: “How did Saul respond in verse 33?” (you are not able to fight Goliath because you are too young).
    • Stress the fact that Saul’s worldly wisdom told him that David had no chance of defeating Goliath.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 17:38-39.
    • Ask: “What did King Saul do to try to help David face and overcome the obstacle?” (he gave him the best armor and weapons available).
    • Ask: “Why didn’t David use Saul’s armor and weapons?” (he hadn’t proved or tested them; he wasn’t familiar with them or comfortable with them).
    • Stress the fact that Saul tried to equip David with man’s best weapons, but they weren’t what David needed to face Goliath.
    • Tell the class that Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
    • Summarize: One way to face problems in our lives is man’s way: relying on worldly wisdom and weapons; but man’s best wisdom and weapons can’t accomplish God’s will.
  4. God’s Way – Faith and Trust.
    • Read 1 Samuel 17:34-37.
    • Ask: “What past experiences gave David confidence that he could defeat Goliath?” (he had killed a lion and bear that tried to steal sheep from his father’s flock).
    • Ask: “In verses 36-37, David confidently said he would kill Goliath. What gave him that confidence?” (Goliath defied the armies of the living God [v. 36], and David knew God would protect him and give him victory [v. 37]).
    • Ask: “What was Saul’s response?” (he agreed to let David face Goliath).
    • Read 1 Samuel 17:40-44.
    • Ask: “What weapons did David take with him?” (his staff, his sling, and five stones).
    • Ask: “How did Goliath react to the sight of David?” (he ridiculed, verbally abused, and threatened David).
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 17:45.
    • Ask: “What was the most powerful weapon David brought against Goliath?” (the name of the Lord of hosts).
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 17:46.
    • Ask: “Why did David say the Lord would give him victory?” (so all the world would know there was a God in Israel).
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Samuel 17:47.
    • Ask: “What would Israel’s army learn from David’s victory over the great obstacle of Goliath?” (that the Lord doesn’t need our best weapons to win a victory, because the battle is the Lord’s).
    • Tell the class that Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
    • Summarize: The best way to face problems in our lives is God’s way: with faith and trust in Him to see us through and give us victory.
  5. Results of Trusting God for Victory.
    • Read 1 Samuel 17:48-53.
    • Ask: “What happened when young David trusted God and faced mighty Goliath?” (God enabled David to kill Goliath).
    • Ask: “What happened to the Philistine army when they saw Goliath defeated?” (they ran away in fear).
    • Ask: “What happened to the army of Israel?” (whereas they had previously been demoralized and paralyzed with fear, they became encouraged, strengthened, and pursued the fleeing Philistines).
    • Stress the fact that one man’s faith encouraged an entire army; if we trust God to overcome fearful obstacles in our lives, it will encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ.
    • Summarize: When David trusted God to give him victory over the giant, the enemies of Israel fled in fear and the army of Israel became bold and strong.


PERSONAL APPLICATION: Direct the students’ attention once again to the words “Obstacle,” “Challenge,” and “Problem” on the board or screen.  Remind them that the title of today’s lesson is How Will You Face Your Giants?  Tell them that we discovered three different ways to face fearful giants in our lives.

Ask: “What is the devil’s way?” (to be paralyzed with fear).

Ask: “What is man’s way?” (to rely on human wisdom and weapons or methods).

Ask: “What is God’s way?” (to face the problem with faith and trust in God).

Tell the students that from time to time, all of us face giant obstacles, challenges, and problems in our lives.  Tell them it is not a question of whether we will face giants, but when we will face them and how we will face them.  Stress the fact that in all the struggles and obstacles we face, we must remember that “the battle is the Lord’s.”

Ask: “How are you going to face your current problem and your next one?  Are you going to do it the devil’s way, man’s way, or God’s way?”

Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes.  Encourage them to place their faith and trust in God to enable them to face whatever fearful obstacles come their way.  After a moment of silence, voice a closing prayer.


CONCLUSION: Tell the students not to be surprised when opposition or difficulty comes their way this week.  Encourage them to reject the devil’s way and man’s way of facing their problems, but to trust God to give them victory.

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