One of the most exciting Bible stories for kids to learn is the story of David and Goliath. It’s the age-old story of how the underdog wins over the favorite, but in this case the underdog happens to be a young boy who doesn’t listen to all of the negativity around him, but instead, puts his complete trust in God’s ability.
You can find tons of different ways to teach the David and Goliath story by scouring Sunday school curriculum or by delving into various children’s ministry ideas, but it’s really a very simple story – and it’s easy to convey to small children.
Show Dave and the Giant Pickle from VeggieTales to grab your students’ attention. The show is a fun visual that will help with teaching kids this faith lesson.
David, the Young Boy
Who was David? Ask your students if any of them know who David was. David was the youngest of all of his brothers, so ask your students how many of them are the youngest.
Explain that sometimes when you have older siblings, they see you in a different way than you’d like to be seen. In Dave and the Giant Pickle, how did Dave’s brothers see him? Open this up and ask your students if something like this has ever happened to them.
In the case of David and his brothers, David was seen as too young to be part of the battle. The people of Israel had been in conflict with the Philistines for a long time, so all of his brothers were fighting in the battles. David was just visiting the battlefield to find out current news.
David was young, he was small, and he was not a warrior. None of these characteristics describe someone God could use, right? Of course not! We know that God can use anyone He wants! But what about David’s opponent?
Goliath – The Giant Warrior
This is what I Samuel 17:4-7 (NIRV), says about Goliath:
A mighty hero named Goliath came out of the Philistine camp. He was from Gath. He was more than nine feet tall. He had a bronze helmet on his head. He wore bronze armor that weighed 125 pounds. On his legs he wore bronze guards. He carried a bronze javelin on his back. His spear was as big as a weaver’s rod. Its iron point weighed 15 pounds. The man who carried his shield walked along in front of him.
To show your students just how big Goliath was, use a large piece of table covering paper and lay it down on the floor of your room. Take a measuring tape and ask a student to hold one end and unwind the tape to show nine feet. Make a line across the paper at the top and at the bottom with a marker. Then ask for a volunteer to go to the bottom of the paper and lie down. Make sure their feet are on the bottom line, then point out to them just how big Goliath was. If more than one child wants to lie down, give them the opportunity. After they’ve finished, take the paper and try to hold it up with the bottom hitting the floor. This will give your students a visual understanding of just how big Goliath was.
Once they understand Goliath’s size in comparison to David, continue on with the story.
Goliath knew he was big and tough, so he got too confident. He put his confidence in himself and not God; this was mistake #1. Mistake #2 was underestimating God’s methods and God’s power.
In 1 Samuel 17:8-16 (NIRV), we read how Goliath’s overconfidence caused his to make this wager to the Israelites:
Goliath stood there and shouted to the soldiers of Israel. He said, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? I’m a Philistine. You are servants of Saul. Choose one of your men. Have him come down and face me. If he’s able to fight and kill me, we’ll become your slaves. But if I win and kill him, you will become our slaves and serve us.” Goliath continued, “This day I dare the soldiers of Israel to send a man down to fight against me.” Saul and the whole army of Israel heard what the Philistine said. They were terrified.
David was the son of Jesse, who belonged to the tribe of Ephraim. Jesse was from Bethlehem in Judah. He had eight sons. When Saul was king, Jesse was already very old. Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul into battle. The oldest son was Eliab. The second was Abinadab. The third was Shammah. David was the youngest. The three oldest sons followed Saul. But David went back and forth from Saul’s camp to Bethlehem. He went to Bethlehem to take care of his father’s sheep.
Every morning and evening Goliath came forward and stood there. He did it for 40 days.
So we have an overconfident giant, a frightened army, and a young boy who didn’t see Goliath as an obstacle, but as too big to miss. David decided to take him on!
Does anyone know what David used to battle Goliath? We read about it in 1 Samuel 17:40-50 (NIRV):
Then David picked up his wooden staff. He went down to a stream and chose five smooth stones. He put them in the pocket of his shepherd’s bag. Then he took his sling in his hand and approached Goliath. …
David said to Goliath, “You are coming to fight against me with a sword, a spear and a javelin. But I’m coming against you in the name of the Lord who rules over all. He is the God of the armies of Israel. He’s the one you have dared to fight against. … .Then the whole world will know there is a God in Israel.
As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly to the battle line to meet him. He reached into his bag. He took out a stone. He put it in his sling. He slung it at Goliath. The stone hit him on the forehead and sank into it. He fell to the ground on his face.
So David won the fight against Goliath with a sling and a stone. He struck the Philistine down and killed him. He did it without even using a sword.
David beat a guy who was much bigger and scarier than him. Why do you think that is? It’s because David’s confidence was in God.
Teaching kids about Jesus and the Bible are great opportunities to show them how Bible stories can relate to our everyday life. Ask your students if they have any scary “Goliaths” in their life, then encourage them to put their trust and belief that God is bigger than any problem. But most importantly, remind them that He cares about us and is willing to fight our battles!