Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Saturday, June 16, 2018

“The Lord Looketh on the Heart”




*Scripture references have been highlighted in red and are hyperlinked to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window. Please click to read!  
  Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end of the blog.



If we saw a word that we were unfamiliar with such as diaspora what would we do?  Would we guess at what the word meant and move forward?  No, we would look the word up wouldn't we?  We would find a dictionary, now days online, and find out exactly what the word meant because guessing at the definition would get us no where.

In a similar fashion, guessing the definition of an unknown word can be like making decisions based on our own understanding. Just as we turned to a trusted source to find out the definition of a word we did not know, we need to trust the Lord and seek his will to make correct decisions in our lives.  Proverbs 3:5–6

5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
As we move forward in the Old Testament we can learn how to and re-enforce doing this by studying and contrasting the lives of Saul and David.  In these excerpts from 1 Samuel 9-17 we learn about trusting in the Lord and seeking his guidance in all we do as apposed to leaning on our own understanding.

1 Samuel 9-17 History and Context

The first book of Samuel contains a historic announcement: "all Israel from Dan even to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord" (1 Sam. 3:20). For the first time since the days of Moses and Joshua, the tribes became somewhat united, first under the prophet Samuel and then under the first two kings, Saul and David. Samuel was an inspired judge and a prophet, able to motivate the people to defense or to repentance. He influenced Israel to begin again to become the holy people they were called to be (Ex. 19:5-6).

As we learned previously, when the people first requested a king (1 Sam. 8), Samuel reasoned with them, comparing civil government to the government of the Lord and warning them against it; but they persisted, and the Lord granted their wish.  Moving forward, Samuel was inspired to choose Saul, of whom he said, "See ye him whom the Lord hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people?" (1 Sam. 10:24).

But Samuel and Saul were not able to convert Israel to be the "peculiar treasure" and "holy nation" intended.  Samuel's own sons diminished his potential effectiveness, and Saul deteriorated from a man of faith and humble confidence to one imbued with vain jealousy, violence, and spiritual degeneration to the tragedy of his suicide.

As Saul's behavior worsened, the Lord, through Samuel, chose and prepared David to become king (1 Sam. 16). Saul jealously tried to assassinate David, and finally, without divine guidance or hope, Saul went into his last battle against the Philistines and died by his own sword.

Part 1:  Saul seeks guidance from Samuel and is anointed to be king.  1 Samuel 9–11  

At this time in the history of Israel, the tribes were under the domination of the Philistines.  They had no central government and even fought amongst themselves.  They had no united strength and thus the Israelites wanted a king like those of the nations around them. Yielding to the Israelites' request the Lord told Samuel to anoint Saul as Israel's first king.  Saul was "a choice young man,...and there was not amont the children of Israel a goodlier person than he" 1 Samuel 9:2

When the Lord spoke to Samuel about elevating Saul, he made it clear that the objective of the new king must be to "save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me." (1 Sam. 9:16.) 

The infinite patience of the Lord in dealing with Israel in the face of their constant disobedience can only excite wonder and amazement. But he is God, and he had made covenants with Abraham, Moses, and Joshua to preserve his people. The Lord gave them constant opportunities to repent, and this was one of them.  

Who was Saul?  Although the people rejected the counsel of the Lord in demanding a king, the Almighty nevertheless endeavored to make the best of the situation.

Since the people had demanded a new ruler, the Lord determined to give them the best man available for such a high place, and to enable him by special blessings to conduct a proper reign. He would give the king "a new heart," bless him with his Holy Spirit, and even confer the gift of prophecy upon him. What more could God do?

Saul, the son of Kish, of the tiny tribe of Benjamin, was selected by the Lord for this position. The scripture says that he was a "choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he." (1 Sam. 9:1-2.)  (Three Kings of Israel Mark E Peterson)

What did Saul do before he was anointed king and shortly thereafter that demonstrated his good qualities?  

He was diligent in his search for his father’s donkeys (1 Samuel 9:3–4).

He was willing to listen to and follow the wise counsel of his father’s servant (1 Samuel 9:5–10).

He trusted the prophet Samuel and communed with him (1 Samuel 9:18–25).

He was humble (1 Samuel 9:20–21).

He was spiritually reborn, and he prophesied (1 Samuel 10:6–10).

He forgave his critics (1 Samuel 11:11–13).

He recognized the help of the Lord in Israel’s victory over the Ammonites (1 Samuel 11:13).

The scriptures indicate that “there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he” (Saul) The word goodly seems to indicate many of the qualities that made Saul a logical candidate to be Israel’s first king. All that the Bible reveals indicates that Saul was honest, reliable, considerate of his parents, and altogether a very promising person for the great task ahead.  

Goodly also described Saul’s physical attributes. In this regard, Saul was potentially the hero and man of valour all Israel sought. He was about a foot taller than those of his generation. Yet subsequent events show that the Lord was teaching Israel a lesson about people and about kings when He chose Saul. For the Lord certainly knew the end of this thing from the beginning, as He does in all things. Though Saul had, at first, a great regard for the law of Moses and for God, yet “the consciousness of his own power, coupled with the energy of his character, led him astray into an incautious disregard of the commands of God; his zeal in the prosecution of his plans hurried him on to reckless and violent measures; and success in his undertakings heightened his ambition into a haughty rebellion against the Lord, the God-king of Israel.” (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 2:2:79.)  


Part 2: Saul offers a burnt offering without proper authority.  1 Samuel 13:1–14.

Two years after Saul was anointed king the Philistines gathered a mighty army to fight against Israel.  Saul's men were so afraid that many of them hid and scattered.  Saul asked for Samuel the prophet to come to him.  1 Samuel 13:7–8.

Why did Saul want Samuel to come to him at this time?  Saul wanted Samuel to offer sacrifices on behalf of the people because they were very afraid
7 And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.

8 And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him.


What did Saul do when Samuel did not come to him at this time?  Saul offered sacrifices himself even though he did not have the priesthood authority to do so.  1 Samuel 13:9.
9 And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. 
It was not long before Saul began to have an exaggerated opinion of his power and importance. This tendency is natural to men who forget the Lord and trust in themselves. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion” (D&C 121:39). It is true that this was a time of great crisis. The Philistines were amassed in great strength and the people were deserting from Saul’s army (1 Samuel 13:6). When Samuel was late in coming, Saul took things into his own hands and offered the sacrifices. This action was a great sin.
“Think also of Saul who had been called from the field to be made king of the nation. When the Philistines were marshalled against Israel in Michmash, Saul waited for Samuel, under whose hand he had received his kingly anointing and to whom he had looked in the days of his humility for guidance; he asked that the prophet come and offer sacrifices to the Lord in behalf of the people. But, growing impatient at Samuel’s delay, Saul prepared the burnt offering himself, forgetting that though he occupied the throne, wore the crown, and bore the scepter, these insignia of kingly power gave him no right to officiate even as a deacon in the Priesthood of God; and for this and other instances of his unrighteous presumption he was rejected of God and another was made king in his place.” (Talmage, Articles of Faith, pp. 184–85.)
The circumstances were critical, but one of the purposes of mortality is to demonstrate that one will remain faithful and obedient under all circumstances (D&C 98:14–15). Saul failed that test and thereby lost his right to be God’s representative of the people.  (Old Testament Student Manual) 
What was Samuel's response to Saul's offering of an unauthorized sacrifice?  1 Samuel 13:10–14
10 And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him.
11 And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash;
12 Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.
13 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.
14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee.
What did Sauls offering of an unauthorized sacrifice reveal about him?  He was no longer a man after the Lord's own heart.  He had grown impatient, failed to trust the Lord and disobeyed.  In addition his presuming the authority to offer sacrifice suggests that he had and exaggerated opinion of is own power and importance.  
In what ways are we sometimes impatient with the Lord or his servants?  
What may be the consequences of such impatience? 
 How can we come to trust the Lord fully?
Part 3:  Saul disobeys the Lord in the battle of the Amalekites and is rejected as king.  1 Samuel 15.
 In 1 Samuel 15 Saul is commanded to destroy the Amelkites and all their possessions, but he saves some of their animals for sacrifice.15:1–9  The Lord then rejects Saul as king and Samuel tells Saul that obedience is better than sacrifice 15:10–35
What exactly did the Lord command Saul to do to the Amalekites? 1 Samuel 15:1–3 
1 Samuel also said unto Saul, The Lord sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the Lord.
2 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.
3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.  
What did Saul do instead? 1 Samuel 15:4–9
4 And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah.
5 And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley.
6 And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye shewed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites.
7 And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt.
8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.
9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.  
What did Saul's actions reveal about him?  He followed his own judgment rather than the Lord's will. 1 Samuel 15:11.  
How did Saul try to justify his disobedience in saving the best of the Amalekites animals? 1 Samuel 15:13–15, 20–21, 24  He blamed his people for wanting to save the animals to sacrifice to the Lord.
It is not clear that Saul's saving some animals for sacrifice was a capital sin, although the lesson taught is valid: "to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams" (1 Sam. 15:22). Saul's confession, "I have sinned . . . because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice," does indicate an uncharacteristic weakness in leadership. But the dread message to Saul was final: "the Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbor of thine." That decree stood even though Saul humbly sought forgiveness and though Samuel himself mourned for him (1 Sam. 15:28-31, 35).  (Latter-day commentary on the Old Testament Ellis T Rasmussen)
In what ways do we sometimes try to justify disobeying the lord?  The following quotation from Elder Spencer W. Kimball may be helpful as you discuss Saul’s disobedience with regard to the Amalekites:   “Saul rationalized. It was easy for him to obey as to the disposition of the kings, for what use were conquered kings? But why not keep the fat sheep and cattle? Was not his royal judgment superior to that of lowly Samuel? …“How like Saul are many in Israel today. One will live some of the Lord’s revelation on health except that he must have his occasional cup of coffee; she will not use tobacco nor liquor for which she has no yearning anyway but must have the comforting cup of tea.  “He will serve in a Church position, for here is activity which he likes and honor which he craves, … but rationalization is easy as to tithepaying which he finds so difficult. He cannot afford it. … He is not sure it is always distributed as he would have it done, and who knows anyway of his failure?  “Another will attend some meetings but Saul-like rationalize as to the rest of the day. Why should he not see a ball game, a show, do his necessary yard work, or carry on business as usual?  “Another would religiously attend his outward Church duties but resist any suggestions as to family frictions in his home or family prayers when the family is so hard to assemble.  “Saul was like that. He could do the expedient things but could find alibis as to the things which countered his own desires” (Conference Report, Oct. 1954, 51).
How can we overcome the tendency to excuse or justify sin?  
How did Samuel respond to Saul's explanation for saving the animals?  1 Samuel 15:22.
22 And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
How can Samuel's words apply to us? Being Obedient is the most important thing we can do

When reprimanding Saul for being stubborn and rejecting the word of the Lord Samuel told him "stubbornness is as idolatry...1 Samuel 15:23
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king. 
What was the result of Saul's becoming stubborn and rebellious?  1 Samuel 15:23, 26, 28.
26 And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.
28 And Samuel said unto him, The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.
How are we sometimes stubborn and rebellious? 
What are the results of our stubbornness and rebellion? 
How can we recognize and overcome these attitudes? 

Part 4:  The Lord chooses David as king 1 Samuel 16
In 1 Samuel 16 the Lord chooses David, a young shepherd boy, to succeed Saul as king.  The Holy Spirit departs from saul, and an evil spirit takes possession of him (16:14–16; note that the Joseph Smith translation corrects these verses to show that the evil spirit was not from God). Saul then chooses David to play the harp for him and to be his armor bearer (16:17–23). 
The beginning of this chapter tells of Samuel looking for the new king. In 1 Samuel 16:1–13 these verses contain the Lord’s directions to His prophet in the selection of a new king. Note the Lord’s special counsel in verse 7. Mortals tend to see the outward appearance, but the Lord has the power to look to the very depths of men and things. The “horn of oil” was probably a ram’s horn filled with olive oil and used to anoint those chosen of the Lord.
1 And the Lord said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Beth-lehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.
2 And Samuel said, How can I go? if Saul hear it, he will kill me. And the Lord said, Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the Lord.
3 And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will shew thee what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name unto thee.
4 And Samuel did that which the Lord spake, and came to Beth-lehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, Comest thou peaceably?
5 And he said, Peaceably: I am come to sacrifice unto the Lord: sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice. And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice.
6 And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.
7 But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
8 Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen this.
9 Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. And he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen this.
10 Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The Lord hath not chosen these.
11 And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither.
12 And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.
13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.
What did Samuel learn while trying to determine which of Jesse's sons should be the next king?
6 And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.
7 But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.  
How did the Lord's method of choosing David compare with the way he chooses leaders today?  Its all about the heart.. The Lord chooses his prophets, and his other servants, by what he sees in their heart. He chooses his servants because they are humble and willing to what the Lord asks them to do.
What does 1 Samuel 16:7 teach about how the Lord evaluates us? 7 But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. 
 Elder Marvin J. Ashton said:  "We...tend to evaluate others on the basis of physical, outward appearance: their 'good looks,' their social status, their family pedigrees, their degrees, or their economic situations.    "The Lord, however, has a different standard by which he measures a person.... He does not take a tape measure around the person's head to determine his mental capacity, nor his chest to determine his manliness, but He measures the heart as an indicator of the person's capacity and potential to bless others." (Ensign, Nov 1988, p15)
What does the Lord look for in our hearts?
It is important that in our relationships with others that we see beyond the outward appearance and look on the heart.  How can we improve our ability and commitment to do this? 
Because Saul had been disobedient the Spirit of the Lord departed from him. 1 Samuel 16:14 How did he seek relief from the evil spirit that then came upon him?  1 Samuel 16:15–23.
15 And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee.
16 Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.
17 And Saul said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me.
18 Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Beth-lehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the Lord is with him.
19 Wherefore Saul sent messengers unto Jesse, and said, Send me David thy son, which is with the sheep.
20 And Jesse took an ass laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them by David his son unto Saul.
21 And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armourbearer.
22 And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he hath found favour in my sight.
23 And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.
1 Samuel 16:14–23. Did the Lord Really Send an Evil Spirit to Trouble Saul? Evil spirits are not sent by God, nor does God give revelations through the evil spirits which sometimes trouble men. He cast these evil spirits out of heaven long ago for their rebellion against Him. The Joseph Smith Translation corrects this passage to say, “An evil spirit which was not of the Lord troubled him” (JST, 1 Samuel 16:14; emphasis added). Recorded here are the first effects of Saul’s rejection of the Lord. More and more Saul failed to find peace with himself until at last he became a miserable, guilt-ridden man.  (Old Testament Student Manual)

 

What outside sources to people turn to today to sometimes find relief from their sins? Excusing behaviors...
What is the Lords way to find relief for us from our sins?  Matthew 11:28–30; D&C 58:42.
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
42 Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.
What characteristics did David have that qualified him to be a leader? 1 Samuel 16:18
18 Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Beth-lehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the Lord is with him.
Samuel was lead and chose David to become king of Israel but he did not become king right away.  He was anointed when chosen but it wasn't until the death of Saul that he actually took the thrown.  In this, David was a man "after God's own heart." So determined was he to serve the Lord in all he did that he constantly refused to retaliate when Saul attacked him. Always in his mind was one great principle: He would not lift his hand against the Lord's anointed.  What a lesson this is even for us today! He would not raise his hand or his voice against the Lord's anointed. He constantly served Saul in everything the king assigned him. He fought the king's enemies and won victory after victory, all to the glory of the king. But Saul still sought his life relentlessly.
Part 5:  David slays Goliath in the strength of the Lord. 1 Samuel 17
Although it seems peculiar in this day and age, in ancient times it was not unusual for opposing armies to select one representative from each side to fight a personal contest.  The outcome of that contest determined the winner of the battle this is what we have with the story of David and Goliath.
The story of David and Goliath is so well known that some readers take David’s courage for granted. But his courage was not born of self-confidence alone, although he did believe in his own skills in battle. As a young shepherd, he had much practice at slinging stones. It was an effective way both to keep wolves and other vicious animals away from the sheep and to attract the attention of straying sheep and drive them back to pasture. As a result of his experience, David had confidence in his skills, but the true source of his courage was faith in the power of the living God. In fact, the contrast between David and the other Israelites was as great in terms of faith as in courage. David was incensed that “this uncircumcised Philistine [one not of the covenant but of the world] … should defy the armies of the living God” (v. 26). There was no similar anger in the men of Israel, only a quaking fear because of Goliath’s size and strength. And David’s answer to Goliath’s laugh of derision at the unprotected boy who came out to accept the challenge provides a classic study in faith as well as in courage. “Thou comest to me,” he said to Goliath, “with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts. … This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand, … that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. … for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands” (vv. 45–47).  (Old Testament Student Manual)
What could Israel gain or loose in the fight with Goliath? 1 Samuel 17:8–9.
8 And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me.
9 If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us.
Why were Saul and his army afraid to fight Goliath? 1 Samuel 17:4–11  They did not think they could defeat him because of his size, strength, armor and weapons.  
Goliath’s height was six cubits and a span. The most widely accepted opinion of the length of a cubit is about eighteen inches or, roughly, the distance from the elbow to the tip of the extended middle finger. A span is said to be one-half the distance from the thumb to the end of the little finger when the fingers are spread as wide as possible. These measurements would make the height of Goliath approximately nine feet, nine inches! It is not too surprising that the Philistines would have picked such a champion or that no man in Israel wanted to be Saul’s champion.  
It is unusual that anyone today is over seven feet tall, but it is commonly believed there were men in ancient times whose height far exceeded seven feet. There are references in the scriptures to giants in the earlier periods of history: in the time of Enoch (see Moses 7:15), in the days of Noah (see Moses 8:18; Genesis 6:4), and in the time of the Israelites (see Numbers 13:33; Deuteronomy 2:10–11; Joshua 15:8). Called Anakim (meaning “long-necked” or “tall” in Hebrew) by the Israelites, this race of giants seems to have been virtually destroyed in the conquest of Canaan under Joshua (see Joshua 11:21). In fact, it is recorded that none of the Anakim were left except in Gaza, Ashdod, and Gath (see Joshua 11:22), which was Goliath’s hometown (see 1 Samuel 17:4).
Experts have estimated the weight of Goliath’s armor to be about 150 pounds (see Clarke, Bible Commentary, 2:261). A weaver’s beam is a strong, thick piece of wood on which thread is strung in preparation for weaving. The weight of Goliath’s spearhead has been estimated from twelve to twenty-six pounds, depending on which authority is consulted and what weight he selects for a shekel. (See the table on weights and measures in Maps and Charts.) A greave is a protective piece of armor that fits on the front of the leg and extends from just below the knee to the ankle.  (Old Testament Student Manual)
How did David get the courage to fight?  David recognized that the Lord had delivered him from a lion and a bear while tending his father's sheep, and he trusted the Lord to help him fight. 1 Samuel 17:32–37, 45–47. 
What did Goliath say when David came to fight him? 1 Samuel 17:42–44
42 And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.
43 And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
44 And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.
What did David say in response?  1 Samuel 17:45–47.
45 Then said David to the Philistine, 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, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.
46 This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
47 And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands
How can remembering David's response help us when we are mocked or threatened? 
As a youth, David's victories over a lion and a bear helped prepare him to face the greater challenge of Goliath.  What challenges might we face now that prepare us for greater challenges?  
How do our responses to these challenges affect our ability to battle the Goliaths that may come later? As we defeat the lions and bears in our lives we will develop the confidence, character and faith to defeat our Goliaths.  
What Goliaths do we encounter today? What can we learn from David about how to overcome them? 1 Samuel 17:45; Ephesians 6:11–18
45 Then said David to the Philistine, 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, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
President Gordon B. Hinckley said:
“There are Goliaths all around you, hulking giants with evil intent to destroy you. These are not nine-foot-tall men, but they are men and institutions that control attractive but evil things that may challenge and weaken and destroy you. Included in these are beer and other liquors and tobacco. Those who market these products would like to enslave you into their use. There are drugs of various kinds which, I am told, are relatively easy to obtain in many high schools. For those who peddle them, this is a multimillion-dollar industry, a giant web of evil. There is pornography, seductive and interesting and inviting. It has become a giant industry, producing magazines, films, and other materials designed to take your money and lead you toward activities that would destroy you.
“The giants who are behind these efforts are formidable and skillful. They have gained vast experience in the war they are carrying on. They would like to ensnare you.
“It is almost impossible to entirely avoid exposure to their products. You see these materials on all sides. But you need not fear if you have the slingshot of truth in your hands. You have been counseled and taught and advised. You have the stones of virtue and honor and integrity to use against these enemies who would like to conquer you. Insofar as you are concerned, you can hit them ‘between the eyes,’ to use a figurative expression. You can triumph over them by disciplining yourselves to avoid them. You can say to the whole lot of them as David said to Goliath, ‘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, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.’
“Victory will be yours. … You have His power within you to sustain you. You have the right to ministering angels about you to protect you. Do not let Goliath frighten you. Stand your ground and hold your place, and you will be triumphant” (Conference Report, Apr. 1983, 66; or Ensign, May 1983, 46, 51)
How has the Lord helped you overcome Goliaths?   
Conclusion
We must trust and obey the Lord.  I promise you that by doing so we will grow strong and have the Lord's assurance that he will help us triumph over personal Goliaths. The Lord has given us weapons to defeat our Goliaths: trusting in the Lord, praying, studying the scriptures, learning the truth, being morally pure are some of these, this is how he helps us defeat and overcome.  As we call upon him and use him we will be victorious and as we remember that the Lord looks upon our hearts not upon our wealth, or position, or conformity to popular standards we will develop our hearts so that they are pure and righteous before Him. Then there is victory, there is safety there is peace.  
Resources
Old Testament Student Manual
Conference Reports
Ensign
Latter-day Saint Commentary on the Old Testament Ellis T Rasmussen
Three Kings of Israel Mark E Peterson
Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary
Talmage, Articles of Faith



































The Fall of Adam and Eve

  Scriptures are hyperlinked to Scriptures at ChurchofJesusChrist.org Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end...