Confidence in the Lord
By Dr. Charles Stanley
Looking to other people for affirmation is natural. We want them to believe in us and accept us. Likewise, it's normal to experience crippling emotional pain when others doubt our ability or fail to value us. However, God desires that we place our ultimate hope in Him and His perspective. In this study, we'll examine the confidence David had as a young man, even when those around him weren't supportive.
A. Others doubted David's capability.
1. David's family sometimes perceived him as insignificant.
Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13.
- Why do you think David was not included when Jesse assembled his sons for Samuel?
- What does God say to Samuel when he wants to anoint the firstborn son?
- What does this statement imply about Eliab's heart?
In 1 Samuel 15:8-11, Saul disobeys the Lord by refusing to completely destroy the Amalekites. Subsequently, he loses his divine calling to be king.
- Based on God's rejection of Saul, what quality did the Lord value most in a ruler?
- In chapters 16 and 17, how does David demonstrate he has the qualities of a godly king?
- How is David described physically (16:12)?
[Note: The Hebrew word translated as "ruddy" is commonly thought to describe pinkness or redness in complexion, but some scholars believe it indicates that David had auburn or red hair. Red hair and fair skin were rare in the Hebrew culture.]
Ancient armies were typically fed by their families, not the king. At his father's command to bring food to his brothers, David traveled the four miles to the camp, carrying provisions. When the young man arrived, he expressed surprise that the army allowed the Philistine to shout such irreverent insults.
- Why do you think David's question bothered Eliab (1 Sam. 17:26-27)?
- What did Eliab imply through his questions in verse 28?
2. Warriors saw David as young and inexperienced.
Saul called David a "youth," which indicates he was probably around 20 years old and had not yet come into his full strength.
- What did Saul think of David's chances against Goliath (17:33)?
Goliath proposed a duel—one representative from each side fighting on behalf of his entire army (not an uncommon battle arrangement in biblical times). The giant was certainly an intimidating opponent at "six cubits and a span." Since a cubit is about one foot, six inches, Goliath towered over most Israelites at approximately 9 feet 9 inches tall.
- Why did Goliath disdain David (17:42)?
Notice that Goliath disdains him partly for his pinkish complexion, which may have given him an effeminate look. Most warriors had brown, weather-beaten faces from exposure to the elements.
- In what areas of your life do people tend to discount your worth as a person or doubt your ability? How do you cope with such rejection?
B. David knew how to rely on the strength that comes from the Lord.
1. David had confidence based on his victories in smaller battles.
In 1 Samuel 17:36, the Hebrew verb indicates that David had not fought just one lion and one bear, but that on many occasions, David fought and killed lions and bears.
- What is David's reasoning as to why God would deliver him from Goliath (vv. 34-37)?
- What is Saul's opinion of David's rationale?
2. David believed that the fight with Goliath was the Lord's battle.
- Why do you think God allowed the Israelite army to cower in fear when so many brave warriors were in the camp, including Saul and Jonathan (see 1 Sam. 14)?
- What provoked David to take action against Goliath (17:26)?
- From David's perspective, what purposes would killing Goliath serve, spiritually speaking (17:46-47)?
David was evidently an expert marksman with the sling. It consisted of two leather straps with a pouch in the middle to hold a stone. The sling was used to release the stone like a fast, underhanded softball pitch. David's skill with the sling gave him an advantage that the giant probably didn't realize.
- How did David approach the battle (17:48)?
- Read Psalm 9, written by David. What does this psalm reveal about why and how God delivers believers?
- Write out one truth from Psalm 9 that encourages you.
Closing: You can be bold and confident, even when others disapprove of you. Doing so requires that you find your worth and identity in God. Focus on the Lord's acceptance, and He will help you overcome discouragement and insecurity. He can equip you to emerge victorious from every spiritual battle you face.
Prayer: Lord, help me learn to rely on You in the small struggles I experience and to believe You and Your Word about bigger challenges as well. Teach me to trust in Your perspective, rather than worrying about the opinions of others. In Jesus' name, amen.