NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.
Bible Passage: 1 Samuel 17
— What kind of leader was Saul in this situation? Why do you think that was?
— How do Saul’s and God’s ways of preparing David to battle Goliath contrast? What lesson would God have you learn from this contrast?
— Who has infected you with contagious faith? Which are people catching from you — faith or fear?
Food for thought:
Everybody knows the story of David and Goliath, right? Simple story. Good versus evil. Little versus big. Right versus might. Overwhelming odds. The underdog wins. Face your giants. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt to prove it. Heard it all before. Nothing new to learn here, is there?
Well, maybe there is. One contrast is obvious. But Phil Tuttle, president of Walk Thru the Bible ministries, suggests that the greater lesson to be learned is not from the conflict between David and Goliath. The greater lesson is in the contrast between the personal approaches to the conflict by David and King Saul. Tuttle wrote the Crucible, the book from which this week’s MasterWork session is drawn.
Tuttle states, “A crucible is a place of purifying, a place of extreme stress or duress where elements are broken down.” This conflict with the Philistines and their champion, Goliath, was a crucible for both David and King Saul, yet with different results.
For 40 days Goliath had challenged Saul and the armies of Israel and defied their God. Each day turned up the heat in the crucible, but the results were not pretty: “On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified” (1 Samuel 17:11). Saul was terrified along with the men he led, or at least was supposed to be leading. His terror was contagious and had spread throughout the troops. He was indeed being broken down within the crucible of the situation, but apparently there was nothing of substance to purify.
David, on the other hand, saw the same giant of a man and heard the same demeaning taunt as all other trained military, but the pressure of the situation did not arouse terror within his heart. Instead, it stirred up righteous indignation within his spirit: Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God (v. 26)?
With David having fought both a lion and a bear in the solitude of tending sheep, God used the crucible of this latest challenge to bring out in David a confidence-inspiring leadership that served him for years to come.
MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at www.lifeway.com/masterwork.