40 Days of Discipline

40 Days of Discipline: Day 5 – Group Bible Study


David and Goliath

20 Early in the morning David left the flock in the care of a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry. 21 Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other. 22 David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and asked his brothers how they were. 23 As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. 24 Whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear. 25 Now the Israelites had been saying, “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his family from taxes in Israel.” 26 David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” 27 They repeated to him what they had been saying and told him, “This is what will be done for the man who kills him.” 28 When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.” 29 “Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?” 30 He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before. 31 What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him. 32 David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” 33 Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.” 38 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. 41 Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. 42 He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. 43 He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!” 45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” 48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. 50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. (1 Samuel 17:20-50)


Our group Bible Study is based on the popular story of David & Goliath. This passage has been chosen because our focus this year is on Overcoming Challenges that hinder us from practising the Disciplines.  The passage above is an excerpt from the story.   We will answer questions from this passage over the next three days.

The entire army of Israel faced a giant of a problem (literally), but only one unlikely individual successfully faced the challenge. What principles can we derive from David’s winning approach to his challenge? How can we apply these principles to the challenges we face when we seek a closer walk with God through habitual practise of the Disciplines?

Please prayerfully read and reflect on the passage above and answer the questions below. Remember, the group benefits when you share your comments.


Today’s Questions:

  1. Verses 20 – 30 of the passage paint a picture of David on a fact-finding mission. How was his information gathering important in confronting his challenge?
  2. What is the significance of the opposition David faced from his eldest brother in verse 28, and David’s response?
  3. What principles do you derive from David’s circumstances that are applicable to challenges you face?

15 thoughts on “40 Days of Discipline: Day 5 – Group Bible Study

  1. 1. David’s info gathering enabled him to :
    Assess the magnitude of the challenge(note the magnitude of the reward being offered)
    Assess the benefit to himself and also to God’s people to be derived by overcoming the challenge
    Assess the impact on a wider audience… that people who were not serving God might see the power of God in a seemingly hopeless situation.
    2. There are times when opposition comes from those closest who see the challenges we face as beyond the scope of our abilities but David was not put off by his brother’s derision as he understood from past experience that God is able to provide the strength to overcome the greatest challenges faced.
    3. Persistence, keeping focused on the bigger picture…. on God who is bigger than any challenge we might face.

  2. 1) David asked two questions apparently repeatedly in his quest to get answers. I believe that he asked the questions repeatedly to probably encourage himself in order to confront the challenge.
    2) David did not lose his focus because of what his brother said. His brother tried to serve as a hindrance to what he was focused on doing but he did not let that stop him. Who knows he might have felt a bit discouraged because it came from his brother but he did not let that stop him. Instead he chose to turn away and keep focused on the mission at hand.
    3) Sometimes when I face challenges given the circumstances the people that I think would or should be on board to support me in overcoming those challenges are not but even though this might be the case God still requires me to keep focused.

    • David wanted to be sure he had all the facts available to tackle the problem .This is important in overcoming challenges. This will enable us to be very specific in our prayer….What to pray for and how to pray and also prepare us for the physical implementation of God’s answer in prayer.
      being focused on God and his Greatness we gain perspective through God’s eyes. The problem diminishes in comparison …the bigness of our God to the smallness of the problem.
      This focus helps us to ignore distractions that would try to move our focus from our God to the problem David was able to ignore the distraction sent by his btother . David focused and became resolute in his determination that this uncircumcised philistine’s challenge to the Living God must be overcome not through his own strength but through His living God .

      • I really like your interpretation, especially ” the problem diminishes in comparison-the bigness of our God —–.

  3. 1. I believe David was trying to assess what he was up against. many times God will send us to accomplish a huge feat and although it may be a miracle that it gets done, we still have to put out some work and effort using the skills and experiences he has equipped us with. That is what David did.

    2. His brother not believing in him was something I think he was used to with his whole family but he didn’t need people to believe as his faith was strong enough to remember how BIG his God is.

    3. The main lesson is really about acting on the faith. As Jesus said, we could move mountains if only that faith was as big as a mustard seed. it is a reminder that I should never forget he is well able tof overcome any obstacle!

    • David showed me on point 2 where you mentioned David was used to his family etc. that he had the strength to ignore “NEGATIVE COMMENTS”. A lesson I am still learning. He did not need people as you said and that is Awesome as he had FAITH>

  4. 1. Count the costs! (see Luke 14:28) – David had to weigh the situation carefully, assessing the risks and rewards of the challenge – whether he had what it took to complete it to the finish.

    2. Be strong and of good courage! – David had the courage to follow his convictions despite vitriolic opposition from his brother. Strength and courage is needed to follow God’s commands when people and circumstances do not support you.

    3. I derive the following principles from Davids circumstances:

    (i) I am already equipped to do all that God calls me to do! He is not partial. You do not need to be gifted! Victorious living is for the ordinary, everyday Christian. For the first time everything is within reach! Only obey.

    (ii) The battle is not yours, its the Lord’s! David knew this – this was the source of his confidence. When God fights my battles – victory is certain. What is needed is submission to God’s commands even when it is hard to do. God will do the rest!

    (iii) Have faith in God! He is the same yesterday, today and forever – reflect on God’s faithfulness in the past to shore up confidence in what he will do today! Lack personal experience? Scripture is set forward as a testimony to God’s faithfulness – He is the same God today. Like David, you will not be disappointed! (See Romans 10:11, Psalm 25:3).

  5. Very Effective —” When God fights my battles–“.

  6. I am really gaining a lot from the comments so far.

    How often do we confront our challenges without useful and truthful knowledge that is available? Furthermore, sometimes when we seek information about our challenge there are so many different points of view on the topic, especially in the internet age. This highlights the importance of truly Biblically based information. David’s zeal was not without knowledge and maybe there is a lesson in that for us as we think about the challenges we face, including challenges to practicing the disciplines.

    I’ll address the topic of persistence later.

  7. David wanted to know his enemy and the reward for defeating him. He heard directly from the enemy and his comrades.

    His brothers saw him through one lens – annoying younger brother. David saw no wrong in his approach.

    It helps me today to see my challenge through God’s eye. The soldiers of Israel saw Goliath as defying Israel. David saw him as opposing the armies of the Lord. Two different enemies. Time robbed from being with God or more importantly an investment in my personal relationship with Christ with eternal impact.

  8. David was a brave young man with God’s given knowledge. He made enquiries but was rebuffed by his older brother who saw his youthful innocence. The young man David had God’s anointing and grace. However most importantly had a strong faith in the living God like you and I participating in this devotion, thus challenged Goliath and without a shield or armour but with just a pebble struck him down. The crust of this discipline is that faith in God, can crumble all our earthly challenges.

  9. David was smart enough to get “background information” pertaining to his opponent. Sometimes we are quick start to begin a “battle” before getting all the pertinent facts, causing us to lose the fight before we’ve even begun.
    The fact that David’s brother wasn’t joining, supporting, or helping him didn’t seem to bother David. David had a plan and he was going to execute it with or without his brother’s assistance or approval.
    When it comes to the challenges we face, David teaches an incredible lesson. It was obvious David had not a single doubt that he was going to face AND defeat the giant. David’s words were wrapped in his confidence that the giant was going to be defeated in the name of God. That’s it! Awesome, isn’t it? Can you even to begin to imagine how uncomplicated and less stressful our lives would be if we realized we can face any battle, (yes, there will be battles in our lives), and face them with ultimate confidence if we had the faith of David?

  10. 1. Understood his challenge (knew the enemy)
    2. Prepared and sought counsel
    3. Knew what worked well for him (not Saul’s tunic, armor, helmet and sword, but his own sling with the shepherd bag and five smooth stones)
    4. Remembered and Trusted God, who had helped him to kill the lion and bear, to be with him.
    5. Executed his part well.

  11. 1) He was defining the true challenge.
    2) We will face opposition, often from those closest to us, and yet David chose not to engage or defend himself, or to allow himself to be distracted from his purpose. Also, this opposition took the form of a personal attack – but for David it was not about him but about the Lord.
    3) His confidence was in the Lord, as was his motive, to defend the glory of the Lord, in the knowledge of the fact that God would support him as long as his motives were pure and the need real.

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