David and Goliath: When the time for performance has come, the time for preparation has passed

David didn’t wait for the Lord to call him to kill Goliath.  He tells King Saul, “Let no man’s heart fall because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” (1 Same 17:32).  Other men had to be called and they were scared to death (Moses, Jonah, Gideon, etc).  David saw a problem and immediately jumped in! He was already so courageous that he was able to persuade the king to let him, a shepherd with no military experience, battle a man that would decide the fate of his entire nation.

Have we prepared today to fight our Goliaths of tomorrow?  When David woke up that morning, he didn’t know that he would have to fight a giant, nine foot-tall warrior!  But it didn’t matter because he was ready!  We need to have a testimony so strong that it doesn’t matter what trial comes our way because we are strong enough, determined enough, and courageous enough to tackle anything!  Then we can be at peace because we know that whatever comes, with the Lord’s help, we will come off conquerors.  “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  (Philippians 4:13)

Another reason Daniel was fearless is that he had past spiritual experiences to sustain him.  David didn’t know that he would someday have to fight off a terrifying monster of an enemy, but God did.  So God sent him experiences to prepare him.  As David was tending the sheep, a lion and a bear (see 1 Sam 17:34-37) came and he, with the help of the Lord, was able to kill them.  These past spiritual experiences let him KNOW that the Lord was with him and would help him.

We all have a Goliath of a problem to face (depression, divorce, abuse, grades, contention, low self esteem, friends, homework, poor health, eating disorder, loneliness, sickness, addiction, rejection, discouragement).  What would be the saddest tale of all is WHEN (not if) our Goliaths come, we are unprepared for the challenge!

To every man there comes… that special moment when he is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a special thing unique to him and fitted to his talent. What a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified for the work which would be his finest hour. -Winston Churchill

5 Characteristics of “Goliaths” in 1 Samuel chapter 17

  1. vs 4 – they seem bigger than life – insurmountable
  2. vs 5-7 they are tough to fight (well protected)
  3. vs 9 desires to make us its servant
  4. vs 16 feels it never goes away (constant nagging)
  5. Vs 11 makes us afraid (takes away faith)

HOW TO OVERCOME A GOLIATH  – Have students read through verses 26-51 and find how to overcome Goliaths.  Have them pick their favorite one and then share it with a neighbor.  Share it with the class.  Journal:  How have you overcome big problems in your life?  What do you do when you’re going through a hard trial?  Think of a time when you or someone you know, overcame a tremendous obstacle

  1. Vs 26 see the problem for what it truly is
  2. Vs 32 be willing to fight it
  3. Vs 33 don’t let others discourage you or tell you it can’t be done
  4. Vs 36 know your strengths
  5. Vs 37 have faith
  6. Vs 39 be yourself
  7. Vs 40 realize it may take several tries (David didn’t collect ONE stone; he took five)
  8. Vs 47 realize God will help you (you are not alone)
  9. Vs 50 do the little things (small and simple)
  10. Vs 51 completely kill it,

“There are Goliaths all around you, hulking giants with evil intent to destroy you. These are not nine-foot tall men, but they are men and institutions that control attractive but evil things that may challenge and weaken and destroy you. Included in these are beer and other liquors and tobacco. Those who market these products would like to enslave you  into their use. There are drugs of various kinds. . . . There is pornography, seductive and interesting and inviting. It has become a giant industry, producing magazines, films, and other materials designed to take your money and lead you toward activities that would destroy you.

The giants who are behind these efforts are formidable and skillful. They have gained vast experience in the war they are carrying on. They would like to ensnare you.

It is almost impossible to entirely avoid exposure to their products. You see these materials on all sides. But you need not fear if you have the slingshot of truth in your hands. You have been counseled and taught and advised. You have the stones of virtue and honor and integrity to use against these enemies who would like to conquer you. . . . You can triumph over them by disciplining yourselves to avoid them. . . .

Victory will be yours. There is not a [person] within the sound of my voice who needs to succumb to any of these forces. . . . You have His power within you to sustain you” (Gordon B. Hinckly, Ensign, May 1983, 46, 51).

This article is a great resource for teaching the importance of spiritual preparation.

At a recent stake conference, a returned missionary spoke on the subject of preparing for missionary service. He used the analogy of a father saying to his son, “I will be happy when you play in your first basketball game so you can learn to dribble and shoot the basketball.” He compared that example to a father saying to his son, “I will be happy when you go on your mission so you can learn to be a good person and teach the gospel.” This analogy had a significant impact on me as I reflected on my life.

When I was a young boy, my greatest desire was to play basketball. Fortunately, I had a father who was anxious to see that his son’s desire was met. Dad and I would practice the basics of passing and dribbling the basketball hour after hour in our small kitchen. I would listen to college basketball games on the radio and dream of playing college ball someday. Serving a mission was far from my mind at that time; consequently, I spent very little effort in missionary preparation. In an attempt to ensure some balance in my life, my dad—who had not held a Church calling in many years—accepted the call to serve as my Scoutmaster. He operated by the book, and due to his diligence, some of my friends and I became Eagle Scouts. I realize now that Scouting is great preparation for a mission.

My boyhood dream came true when I made the basketball team at Utah State University. During my second year at Utah State, a returned missionary befriended me. Because of his example I began looking at my associates at school, including those on the basketball team, and realized that the people I most wanted to be like were those who had served missions. With the kind and loving mentoring of my good friend—and, I am sure, as a result of my mother’s prayers and good example—my desires changed. After my second year at Utah State, I was called to serve in the Western Canadian Mission.

Three months into my mission, a new missionary from Idaho was assigned to be my companion. We had been together only a few days when I realized something very significant: my new companion knew the gospel, while I only knew the discussions. How I wished that I had prepared to be a missionary as hard as I had prepared to be a basketball player. My companion had prepared for his mission throughout his life and was immediately a valuable member of the team. How important it is for fathers and sons to work together on the basics in preparing for a mission.

I believe it is appropriate to compare the game of basketball to missionary work. The game of basketball includes not only the time you compete with another team on the court but also the hours of proper training and practice. The great work of saving souls is not limited to the two years that you serve a mission but, rather, requires years of righteous living and preparation in order to meet the standard for full-time missionary service. (Daryl H. Garn, “Preparing for Missionary Service,”  Ensign, May 2003, 46)

We love all our missionaries who are serving the Lord full-time in the mission field.  But there is a difference in missionaries.  Some are better prepared to serve the Lord the first month in the mission field than some who are returning home after twenty-four months.  We want young men entering the mission field who can enter the mission field “on the run,” who have the faith, born of personal righteousness and clean living, that they can have a great and productive mission (Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, [1988], 192).


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