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Women Who Win

A Teenagers Story

(1 Samuel 16-18)



In the Bible we read about many teenagers. One such is David. When we are introduced to him, he is probably fifteen or sixteen, trying his father’s razor. The historian takes us to the jungle to meet him shepherding his father’s ‘few’ sheep (1 Sam 17:28). Looks like he was not from a very well to do family. Saul had backslidden and God sent Samuel to Bethlehem to anoint one of the sons of Jesse in his place. But the stripling was not to be found there. God’s eyes picked him up from the obscurity of the jungle. What a lesson we have here! We cannot be away from God’s sight. “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” (2 Chron 16:9). Youth should not worry about their family background or menial job. God knows where to reach you (1 Sam 16:1).

Samuel arrived at Bethlehem to consecrate Jesse and his sons (sans David) and invited them to the sacrifice. When he saw the tall, smart, warrior, Eliab, Samuel was all praises for God for His wise choice. ‘Surely this is the Lord’s anointed,’ he thought. God’s answer to Samuel is a lesson to remember forever, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (vv 5-7). The next, Abinadab and down to the seventh all were rejected.  My little children, it is not the flashy dresses you wear or your pony tail or your lipstick matching your dress and the hangings in your ears that attract the attention of our great God, but your heart. If you go for an interview, your clothes and make-up speak for you. Nobody  looks at your heart. But for God, it is your heart that counts. Quit worrying about your pencil heels and Adidas shoes, start working on your heart. Train your conscience according to the
Bible, wherever you may be. David was not thought fit to be invited for the sacrifice. He was sent to tend the sheep. At the insistence of Samuel, David was brought and the Lord told Samuel to anoint him. Never get agitated when you are ignored. People may push you down, sideline you or reject you. But God will pull you up and bring you to where He wants you to be (v11).  “The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David” (v13). This was the secret of David’s successful life. He leaned heavily on the Holy Spirit. He was his guide at every turn of life. God has promised the Holy Spirit to each of us. “Ask and it will be given to you ...


For everyone who asks receives ... how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Lk 11:9-13). He will be your constant companion. When an evil spirit came upon Saul, a musician was sought after. Then a servant of Saul
said, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine looking man. And the Lord is with him” (v18). See how people observe you! Your family observes you, your neighbours watch you,  your classmates have an eye on you, your teachers and professors make a mental assessment  of you. That’s why Paul admonished the young Timothy, “Don’t let anyone look down on  you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in  love, in faith and in purity” (1 Tim 4:12). That’s what brought the teenager David to the  royal court. Take care of the way you live.  So, whenever the evil spirit disturbed Saul, David would play the lyre and Saul would be  relieved. David did not consider his gifts or job as mean. Out of sight of everybody, deep in the jungles, he was developing his musical gift. That’s how he was able to write so many  psalms that found their place in the Bible. He didn’t think playing the lyre for just one man
was a waste of time. He used every God-given opportunity (v23). Develop your gifts even though they may be rudimentary. Everything comes by practice. Find out your gift and be at  it. Use it for God’s glory. If you are faithful in a little, God will give you authority over much (Lk 19:17). Nowadays youth lust for the stage. They want the lift, not the painful stairs. Shooting stars fall down very fast. Develop yourself gradually. “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Pet 5:6). For 45 years till today, I don’t have an office or table. I do all my writing on the dining table, now and then getting up and going into the kitchen to stir the curry. At meals time all my papers and Bibles are shoved away to the shelf to come back later. So was David. We don’t need a big office to develop our gifts. “David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem” (17:15).

David was diligent in his work. Amidst the comforts of the palace and light work, he did not forget his responsibility towards his father’s sheep. God honours diligence. God chooses the diligent for Him. Now is the time for you to study. You must also help at home. This is not the time to fall in love or be distracted by other pleasures. Don’t become a victim of bad friends, drugs, drinks, cigarettes, sex, TV or Internet. They will ultimately destroy you. David’s father wanted him to take some victuals to his brothers who were in the army. Even though he was old enough to defy his parents, David was obedient to them. “David rose early in the morning, left the sheep with a keeper, and took the things and went as Jesse had commanded him” (17:20). David was not giving excuses to escape the task, as teenagers do today. If he had told his father, “Daddy, I cannot get up so early; let me go a little later,”


he would have missed the lightning experience of the day. As he entered the army camp, Goliath made his appearance. It was no fluke. Many young people are missing great spiritual experiences because of disobedience to parents and laziness. Youthhood is an age of hormones and energy. If your energy is not channelized in the right direction the devil will drive you in the wrong path. So never be lazy. Be active in studies, work, sports, games, ministry and witness God’s miracles (17:15,17,20-23).
David came to meet his brothers. Israel was facing a fight or flight situation. David heard of a very tempting offer: The King would give his daughter in marriage to the one who defeats Goliath (v25). David was captivated by the attractive offer indeed. But his mind focussed on something else — Goliath defied God and that hurt David. David wanted to kill Goliath that the whole world may know that there was a God in Israel (vv 26,46). Now the credibility of the God of Israel was hanging in a balance and David was ready to put his life on the line for God. Sexual thoughts are at their height during teenage. Unless controlled, they will destroy you. Instead of dreaming about the king’s daughter, which had by now started obsessing him  I’m sure, he channelized his mind and muscle on the challenge before him. 

Do not be driven by your hormones. Pray for self-c ontrol every day. Sexual awareness is not sin. Sexual thoughts become sin if you act upon them. Being active is the solution to minimize sexual thoughts. If you let loose your imagination you will be wasting your time and energy and that will push you to sex. The Bible explicitly condemns premarital sex as sin. “Flee sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but  whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body” (1 Cor 6:18). Flee means literally flee. It is a great risk to be in places, with persons where you will face sexual temptations. Do not trust your self-control. When you are alone with the opposite sex, your emotions will overrule you. So avoid being alone with a girl/boy. Always be in company to be safe.  Premarital sex will destroy your body, soul and spirit. Your body: because you expose  yourself to sexually transmitted diseases, some of which have no cure. Your soul: because it  is sin. Your spirit: because the guilt will haunt you for life. Do not sacrifice a good testimony for a moment of pleasure. Like David, focus on God’s glory, whatever you may do (v26). David had to face the fury of his elder brother Eliab. Eliab burned with anger and shouted, “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 wick ed your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle” (v28). David was not irresponsible. He left the sheep with a caretaker. God looked at David’s heart and chose him (1 Sam 16:7). But here he is charged with a wicked heart. That’s the way the world will treat you. Don’t be discouraged. “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31). Go ahead in life in spite of the demoralizing comments you hear. We can’t choose our circumstances but we can choose how to respond  to our circumstances.

Here comes the obscure shepherd boy to stand before the king. “Do you see someone  skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low  rank” (Prov 22:29). “Well done” is heavy with meaning. How well do we do a job? Do we do it to the best of our ability? Can we improve on our work? Is my superior satisfied? Am I ready to correct myself and improve? Do I get irritated when someone shows a better way of doing it? Ponder the questions. May David’s noble tribe increase. But Saul discourages David that he being a debutant was no match for the veteran Goliath (vv31-33). Saul was wondering what the heck that guy was going to do. Youth face more disheartening, flippant comments rather than words that boost their enthusiasm. Go to only senior, seasoned, spiritual leaders for counsel who can cheer you up rather than pour cold water on your ideas. David recalled the time when he single-handedly assaulted a bear and lion and saved his sheep in the jungle. No one knew of his heroic victory until he told it to Saul. He was hoisting the flag in his private battles before he faced a public challenge. That’s what made him a daredevil.

There are many secret areas in your life, out of sight of anyone, where you need to prove yourself. First take victory in your private battles. Outwardly you may be an excellent Christian. But your private life is in God’s radar. He is keeping a close watch over you.
What is hidden to the public is not hidden to God. It could be your sexual life or honesty or relationship or whatever. If you want God to make you an open witness, first deal with your closed areas. Only then you can prove yourself publicly (vv34, 35). Defeat in private life means defeat in public life. 

David was not only developing his physical muscles behind the curtain, but also his spiritual muscles. God was training his arms for war by hands-on experiences (2 Sam 22:35). It was a slow, gradual and hidden process. But a time came for David to face a public challenge and he was undaunted because his past experiences came in handy. He was confident with utter disdain that Goliath would be like the bear or lion. It was like a mouse declaring war against a lion and the odds of David winning were astronomical.
Soon you will face the Goliaths of your life. It could be a trial, choosing a PG course or a career or anything else. God has given you enough training. Now you must face the giant boldly. It will be a test of your faith. Don’t try worldly methods like David trying out Saul’s armour. The sling and the stone was best for David. Go by God’s method in prayer and faith (vv38-42).


I don’t think David was inwardly bold. He must have been trembling and praying, “Oh, my God, I am only a boy. This man is a warrior. Without your help I cannot defeat him. Please don’t let me down. Please act on my behalf,” He was in no way super human. It is always like that when we face Goliaths in life. But be sure, the Lord will fight your battles (v45).

Whatever we do in life, the ultimate motive should be that the whole world should know the true and living God (v46). Whether we study or work or earn or marry or whatever, our one goal should be to make our Lord known to the world. You have to live life all the way, take risks and do things you can’t imagine. You must expect miracles in life. David brought down Goliath by a stone which was a scientific fact. The stone hit Goliath at the right spot. Polka dots swam in front of Goliath’s eyes and he swooned and died. So David ran and cut off his head with Goliath’s own sword. Miracles should be an everyday part of our life. “It is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s” (v47).

Once the victory was won the Israelites plundered the enemy camp. But David did not go for material gain. He was after the Philistine’s head and weapons. Once we start going after worldly gain, our enemy will have his heyday (v53,54). The world and its riches will attract you in many ways. Never fall for it. They will perish but the Lord’s glory will stand forever. David became an instant celebrity and was catapulted from obscurity to limelight. But God would not want him to exalt himself. So He let David go through a major blow. Saul cheated him. Instead of giving his daughter Merab to David, he got her married to somebody else. May be David was walking around in a rapture, dreaming about Merab. He must have felt like being punched in the solar plexus. He would have seen her during his stay in Saul’s house and he would have built a dream castle when he heard Saul’s promise. Now it lay crumbled at his feet. He endured the excruciating pain. It is solacing to see that the greatest things in the world come from suffering and the most beautiful things arise from disappointments and struggles. 

What did David do? Contemplate suicide? Throw acid on Merab or Saul? Stage a dharna in front of Saul’s house? When you recognize yourself starting to glide into one of the mind traps, steady yourself. David quietly accepted the vacuum, the hole, the blackness left by the disappointment; for he trusted God to give him the best (18:19,20). This generation exhibits a thirst for instant gratification. A Chinese proverb goes like this: “When the winds of change blow, some people build walls, others build windmills.” I have
seen teens just fall apart. And they go and do something stupid, hurt somebody or hurt themselves or give up on themselves. “As soon as you give up and want to die, you start the


countdown to your last breath,” says Suthasinee, a social worker in Thailand. Survivors are the ones who are most adaptive to change. Horrible things may happen to you, but you can get beyond them and come to a new place in your life. Suicide is not an option. Violence should not be in your dictionary. If you believe God is alive, then put your trust in Him. Wait patiently. God will bring the right person at the right time. If any one cheats you, bless them a happy life. ‘Bless your enemies’ is the medicine Bible prescribes. Advanced medicine has yet to find a cure for heartbreak. Think it’s all for the best and soon you’ll mature into a strapping adult.

My potpourri of advice may leave you wondering where to start. When I was your age, I thought life was a stringhopper — full of threads and knots. I did nothing but hold on to God’s hand. He unravelled the tangles one by one and today at age 72, life is a straight line for me with no knots or tangles. Even if there comes a knot, I don’t bother. I know my Lord is able to carry me thru’. I have become a hard-core Christian. Often my boat gets lashed by a storm and I sing, “Master the tempest is raging ...” He replies, “The winds and the waves shall obey My will, peace be still.” When you are young, you are awkward. Don’t get frightened looking at life. Take one day at a time. God walks with you through life to lead you to your desired heaven and make you a person of mettle (Psa 107:30).



   Address for Correspondence & Contributions:

Lilian Stanley
13 Church Colony
Vellore 632006, India
Tel: +91 9843511943
Email: lilianstanley@gmail.com

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