The Faith of a Shepherd Boy

The Faith of a Shepherd Boy
April 15, 2018
Passage: 1 Samuel 17
Service Type:


Do you have faith like this young shepherd?

1 Samuel 17

  • Often, when we think about faith, we think of older Christians.
  • We think of men like Caleb and Joshua, Moses and Noah
  • However, some of the greatest examples of faith are found among the young Joseph, Josiah, Solomon, Shadrach, Meshak, Abednego, Daniel, & David.

"Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity," (1 Timothy 4:12)

In this lesson, we want to focus on a young shepherd, who had a faith.

  • Strong enough to overcome a giant's challenge.
  • Strong enough to overcome a brother's criticism.
  • Strong enough to overcome a king's concern.

A Faith Strong Enough to Overcome A Giant's Challenge (1 Samuel 17:1-27).

The Philistines were long-standing enemies of Israel.

The champion of the Philistines during the youth of David was a giant named Goliath. (1 Samuel 17:4).

  • Goliath had the skill of a champion.
  • Goliath had the size of a champion.
  • Goliath had the shirt of a champion.
  • Goliath had the spear of a champion.
  • Goliath had the sword of a champion.

For forty days, Goliath issued his challenge without an answer from the camp of Israel.

  • For over a month he defied the armies of the living God with no reply (1 Samuel 17:26).
  • The reproach upon Israel was great.
  • A small, ruddy shepherd boy on an errand from his father had the faith to fight the

What about our faith today?

  • Is it great enough to meet the giant challenges of life?
  • Is it strong enough for us to overcome the world (1 John 5:4)?

A Faith Strong Enough to Overcome A Brother's Criticism (1 Samuel 17:28-31).

When David began to inquire about the reward for killing Goliath, his older brother Eliab overheard him and became angry. (1 Samuel 17:28).

Eliab asked a number of sarcastic and critical questions.

  • "Why camest thou down hither?" (1 Samuel 17:28).
  • "With whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? (1 Samuel 17:28).
  • I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle. (1 Samuel 17:28).

It is must have been hard for David to hear the words of his older brother.

  • David dearly loved his brothers and was proud of them (1 Samuel 17:22).
  • What have I now done? (1 Samuel 17:29).
  • Is there not a cause? (1 Samuel 17:29).
  • After defending himself, David went right back to do what he had done before.

Is our faith strong enough to overcome a brother's criticism today?

  • For sure, we will face criticism from time to time.
  • However, we must not let these things move us, or better yet, stop us.
  • We must not allow someone's negative comments to cause us to stop working for the Lord.
  • There is a battle that needs to be won.

A Faith Strong Enough to Overcome A King's Concern (1 Samuel 17:32-58).

When King Saul learned of David's words, he sent for the young man (1 Samuel 17:31).

  • Finally, there was someone courageous enough to step forward.
  • As soon as Saul saw David, he judged him as unable to meet the challenge.
  • Later, in the context, we find that David was both unknown and unimpressive as far as Saul was concerned.
  • No doubt, the king's concern and negative characterization of his ability was a great test of David's faith.

David could have just walked back out of Saul's tent and returned to keeping his father's sheep.

  • He told Saul of his credentials. (1 Samuel 17:34-36).
  • He told Saul of his companion. (1 Samuel 17:37).
  • Throughout the context, we see David's reliance upon God (1 Samuel 17:45-47).
  • Notice Saul's words, "Go, and the Lord be with you," (1 Samuel 17:37).

We need to Ask Ourselves if We Have Such a Faith

Is our faith strong enough to overcome the concerns of those who are over us?

  • Will we allow others doubts of our abilities to keep us from doing what we can for the Lord?
  • Do you have the courage to stand against your Giant?
  • We have an adversary today who is much bigger, stronger and more fearsome than Goliath ever dreamed of being.
  • Our adversary, the devil, wants to consume our souls, but we must be unafraid to stand up against him.

We need the attitude and courage of a young shepherd boy,

"Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts!" - 1 Samuel 17:45

Jack McNiel
Adapted from sermon by BJ Clarke
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