BibleJack McNielOld Testament StudiesSermons

The Faith of a Shepherd Boy

The Faith of a Shepherd Boy | Oak Grove Church of Christ

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 ÔÇô 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 giantÔÇÖs challenge.
  • Strong enough to overcome a brotherÔÇÖs criticism.
  • Strong enough to overcome a kingÔÇÖs concern.

A Faith Strong Enough to Overcome A GiantÔÇÖs Challenge (1 Sam. 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 Sam. 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 Sam 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 BrotherÔÇÖs Criticism (1 Sam. 17:28-31).

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

Eliab asked a number of sarcastic and critical questions.

  • ÔÇ£Why camest thou down hither?ÔÇØ (1 Sam. 17:28).
  • ┬áÔÇ£With whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness?ÔÇØ (1 Sam. 17:28).
  • ┬áÔÇ£I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battleÔÇØ (1 Sam. 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 Sam. 17:22).
  • ┬áÔÇ£What have I now done?ÔÇØ (1 Sam. 17:29).
  • ┬áÔÇ£Is there not a cause?ÔÇØ (1 Sam. 17:29).
  • After defending himself, David went right back to do what he had done before.

Is our faith strong enough to overcome a brotherÔÇÖs 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 someoneÔÇÖs 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 KingÔÇÖs Concern (1 Sam. 17:32-58).

When King Saul learned of DavidÔÇÖs words, he sent for the young man (1 Sam. 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 kingÔÇÖs concern and negative characterization of his ability was a great test of DavidÔÇÖs faith.

David could have just walked back out of SaulÔÇÖs tent and returned to keeping his fatherÔÇÖs sheep.

  • He told Saul of his credentials. (1 Sam. 17:34-36).
  • He told Saul of his companion. (1 Sam. 17:37).
  • Throughout the context, we see DavidÔÇÖs reliance upon God (1 Sam. 17:45-47).
  • Notice SaulÔÇÖs words, ÔÇ£Go, and the Lord be with youÔÇØ (1 Sam. 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