Bible Lesson: Samuel anoints the shepherd boy David

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The free Bible lesson is based on the events surrounding David being chosen as King for Israel. It was adapted for older elementary students and helps them discover that God’s power helps believers defeat their enemies. Please modify it to best serve the children you are teaching.

Bible Passage: 1 Samuel 16-17
Bible Story Title: Samuel anoints a shepherd boy
Target Age Group:  Ages 9-11 (3rd-5th Grade U.S.A.)
Target Time Frame: 60 Minutes
Original Teaching Context: Sunday School
Image CreditsSweet Publishing and Distant Shores Media

Supply List:  Bibles, poster board with a bull’s eye, penny or object to toss onto bull’s eye, activity pages, pens/pencils
Learning Goal:  Students will learn that God’s power defeats all of our enemies.
Learning Activity #1:  Activity pages for students to work on while waiting for others to arrive.
Learning Activity #2:  Review game.  Use a poster board with a bull’s eye (with point values on it) on it and place 9 feet away from students.  Divide students into 2 teams and when they answer correctly they can toss the penny on to the bull’s eye.
Test: Review Questions
Memory Verse:  Zechariah 4:6  “So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel:  ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.”

Bible Lesson:  Samuel anoints a shepherd boy

(Open in prayer)
How can believers defeat their enemies?
God gives believers His Holy Spirit’s power to defeat all our enemies.
There are two ways we can choose to live our life: God’s way or the world’s way.
God’s way is to put your faith in Jesus Christ who died for our sins, was buried and rose again.  When we put our faith in Jesus His Holy Spirit comes and lives in our hearts and empowers us to live a life that pleases God.  The Word of God, the Bible teaches us how to live God’s way. Believers who trust and obey God’s Word are examples of living God’s way.
Everything else falls into the category of the world’s way.  If the definition for God’s way is to trust and obey His Word what does the phrase the world’s way mean?  Any person, attitude, action or thing that opposes/defies God’s Truth is living according to the ways of the world.  The ways of the world are enemies to God.  “Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” James 4:4b
Let’s look again at our question to prepare us for our lesson.  If you and I are believers what are some enemies we face?  (Allow responses) People, our own sinful attitudes/actions or things that turn us away from God’s way are enemies to believers.  Believers have God’s Holy Spirit living in our hearts.  His power defeats all of our enemies.
Let’s get into God’s Word and discover someone who was given God’s power to overcome an enemy. Turn to 1 Samuel 16.
Last time we learned that Saul had a rebel heart and God rejected him as king over His people.  Samuel left Saul and went back to his home in Ramah and he never went to see Saul again.
Let’s read 1 Samuel 16:1-3.  Where was God sending Samuel? (Bethlehem, Jesse) Why was God sending Samuel to Bethlehem? (To anoint a new king)  Why was Samuel afraid to go to Bethlehem? (Saul might kill him) If Samuel feared Saul would kill him, what do you learn about Saul’s heart?  (He had not repented of his rebel heart towards God)
Samuel obeyed God and went to Bethlehem.  (Choose volunteers to be Jesse’s 7 sons and Samuel) Samuel gathered Jesse and his sons to the sacrifice.  (Have first student to come stand before Samuel)Samuel thinks to himself, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.”
The Lord told Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him.  The LORD does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
Next Jesse’s second son came before Samuel.  Samuel shakes his head “no”.  Next comes the third son, again Samuel shakes his head “no”.  (Have the remaining 4 come before Samuel)  After the 7th son comes before Samuel and none of them are God’s chosen king, he asks Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”
Jesse said there was one more but he was taking care of the sheep.  Samuel said, “We won’t sit to eat until he is brought here with us.”
Let’s read 1 Samuel 16:12-13.  What do these verses tell us about David?  (Ruddy-healthy complexion, fine appearance and handsome, he was anointed king in front of his brothers, God’s Spirit came upon David in power)
In the Old Testament God’s Spirit came upon people and could leave people.  (Samson, Saul) In the New Testament when Jesus returned to Heaven all who in Him received the gift of the Holy Spirit who came to live in the heart of all who believed.  A true believer never needs to fear that the Holy Spirit will leave.  He will remain in a believer’s heart until the day he/she is taken to heaven. (Ephesians 1:13-14, 4:30)
God’s Spirit came upon David with power.  Saul once had God’s power on his life (1 Samuel 10:9-10, 11:6) but chose not to repent from his rebellious sinful ways and God’s Spirit left him.
Read 1 Samuel 16:14-17.  Saul chose to disobey and God allowed an evil spirit to torment him. In the NASB translation the word is terrorized.  When Saul rejected God’s truth and rebelled against Him he forfeited His power and peace in his life.
One of Saul’s servants recommends Jesse’s son David to come play his harp to help Saul feel better.  Let’s read how this servant describes David to Saul in verse 18.

  • If you are a believer how do people describe you to others?  Would they say the LORD is with you?

David came from Bethlehem and served King Saul.  Whenever an evil spirit came upon Saul David played his harp and he would feel better.
As we move into chapter 17 the Philistines have gathered to fight against Israel.  The Philistine army set up camp on one hill and Saul and his army were set up on another hill with a valley dividing the two armies.
Let’s read 1 Samuel 17:4-7.  What facts do you learn about Goliath? (Over 9 feet tall, etc.) This giant stood and shouted at Saul’s army.  He challenged them to have someone come and fight him.  If they could kill him the Philistines would become servants of Israel.  If he killed the one they sent, Israel would become servants of the Philistines.
Read 1 Samuel 17:10-11.  What does defy mean? (To challenge the power of; resist boldly or openly) Who was Goliath defying? (Israel’s army)  How did God’s people respond to this enemy’s challenge? (Dismayed and terrified)
The Israelites were God’s people.  He was their king they rejected.  He was their power to defeat all their enemies.  Listen to what Moses told God’s people before they reached the land God promised to give them:  “When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do no be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army.  He shall say:  “Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies.  Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them.  For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” Deuteronomy 20:1-4
Meanwhile back in Bethlehem, David was at home taking care of his father’s sheep.  He went back and forth from playing harp for Saul and going to Bethlehem to care for his father’s sheep.
David’s three oldest brothers were in Saul’s army facing the Philistines.  Jesse wanted David to take some food to his brothers.  Early in the morning David left his father’s sheep with a shepherd and took food to his brothers.
David arrived at the military camp and as he was talking with his brothers he heard a loud voice shouting from the Philistine camp.  When Goliath started shouting the Israelite men all ran from him in great fear.
David is called a man after God’s own heart.  (1 Samuel 13:14) What does that phrase describing David mean to you? (David loved God, knew His Word and tried to obey God’s Word)
While the Israelite army is fearful of Goliath, David is shocked at what he sees and hears.  This enemy of God is challenging His power by taunting God’s people morning and evening for forty days (1 Sam. 17:16). Let’s read 1 Sam. 17:26.
David’s older brother burns with anger when he hears David talking with the soldiers about Goliath.  He accuses him of having a conceited, wicked heart that only came to watch the battle.  Why do you think Eliab would feel this way about his brother David? Were his accusations about David’s heart true?
David was brought before Saul. Read 1 Sam. 17:32.  Saul looks at David’s outward appearance and doesn’t think he is old enough to fight this giant who has been fighting since he was a young man.  David shares with Saul how he has rescued his father’s sheep by killing a lion and a bear who threatened the flock.
Read 1 Sam. 17:36-37.  Who did David say delivered him from the lion and bear? (God) Who would deliver David from the hand of the Philistine? (God)
Saul allows David to go and took chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in his shepherd’s bag and with his sling shot in hand went to meet Goliath. This is a very familiar story but let’s read it from God’s Word.  Read 1 Samuel 17:41-44.
Goliath’s trust was in his own strength and power and David looked ridiculous to him.  How could this young man kill him with no sword or shield?  David answers Goliath.  Read verses 45-47.
David’s trust was in the Lord.  He believed that God would fight this battle and the whole world would see God’s power and know there is a God in Israel.
David put a stone in his sling and shot it at Goliath’s forehead.  The stone sunk into his forehead and Goliath fell dead facedown on the ground.  When the Philistines saw that Goliath was dead they ran away.
At the beginning of the lesson we asked “How can believers defeat their enemies?” Just as God gave David power to defeat Goliath, He gives believers the power of His Holy Spirit to fight all our enemies.
In our lesson Saul and the Israelites symbolize living according to the world’s ways.  David symbolizes living according to God’s ways.  David’s actions showed what he believed about God by trusting His power to defeat Israel’s enemies.  His actions showed a strong faith in God and His promises.  Saul and his army reveal their lack of faith by their response to Goliath.
We have the same choices as Saul and David.  We can choose to believe God is who He says He is in the Bible and trust Him.  We can also choose to be like Saul and be a person who lacks God’s peace and power to face our every day circumstances.
Only believers have the Holy Spirit’s power to fully trust and obey God’s Words.  The more you spend time reading God’s Word and obeying what you learn,  the stronger you grow in your faith.
If you want to switch sides from being an enemy of God and become a member of His family you must choose to acknowledge that you are a sinner, believe that Jesus died on the cross in your place, was buried and rose again, and confess that Jesus is the Lord. If you need to know more about how to become a follower of Christ talk you can talk to me after we pray.
Close in prayer.
Review Questions:
Divide students in teams. Use a bull’s eye with points in each circle. Place the bull’s eye on the floor and put tape 9 feet away for students to stand on to toss a penny.  When the team answers question correctly they get the points from the bull’s eye toss.

  1. Why was Samuel afraid to go to Bethlehem? (He was afraid Saul would kill him)
  2. How many sons did Jesse have? (8)
  3. What does man look at and make decisions? (Outward appearance)
  4. What does God look at and make decisions? (The heart)
  5. Where was David when Jesse’s sons came before Samuel? (Tending sheep)
  6. What was tormenting Saul? (An evil spirit)
  7. How did David help Saul when the evil spirit came upon him? (Played his harp)
  8. What was Goliath’s challenge to the Israelite army? (If someone killed him the Philistines would be Israel’s servants, if he killed them Israel would become servants for the Philistines)
  9. Why did David go to the Israelites camp? (Jesse sent food to his 3 older sons)
  10. How did David respond to Goliath’s challenge? (He wanted to know what would be done for the one who killed Goliath and removed this disgrace from Israel)
  11. What weapons did David take to fight Goliath? (5 smooth stones and a slingshot)
  12. Who gave David power to fight and defeat Goliath? (God)
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