Download PDF

Scripture Story: 1 Samuel 17.

Commentary: The Great Controversy, (or Love Under Fire), chapter 27.

know God, know yourself

Photo by Alden Ho


“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.”

(1 Samuel 17:45, NIV)


“While the Christian’s life will be characterized by humility, it should not be marked with sadness and self-depreciation. It is the privilege of everyone so to live that God will approve and bless him. It is not the will of our heavenly Father that we should be ever under condemnation and darkness. There is no evidence of true humility in going with the head bowed down and the heart filled with thoughts of self. We may go to Jesus and be cleansed, and stand before the law without shame and remorse” (The Great Controversy, p. 477).

what do you think?

Read the following statements:
• I am unique.
• I am precious to God.
• Jesus loves me immensely.
• My worth is not found in my intelligence, wealth, or good looks, but in who I am—a child of God.
• My heavenly Father measures my value through Jesus’ sacrifice to save me.

Can you relate to any of these statements?

did you know?

Many religious teachers assert that Christ by His death abolished the law, and men are henceforth free from its requirements. . . .

But not so did prophets and apostles regard the holy law of God. Said David: ‘I will walk in liberty: for I seek Thy precepts.” Psalm 119:45. The apostle James, who wrote after the death of Christ, refers to the Decalogue [the Ten Commandments] as ‘the royal law’ and ‘the perfect law of liberty.’ James 2:8; 1:25. And the revelator, half a century after the crucifixion, pronounces a blessing upon them ‘that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.’ Revelation 22:14” (The Great Controversy, p. 466).


“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?’

“They repeated to him what they had been saying and told him, ‘This is what will be done for the man who kills him.’

“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.’

“‘Now what have I done?’ said David. ‘Can’t I even speak?’ He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before. What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him.

“David said to Saul, ‘Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.’

“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.’

“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, 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. 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. 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.’

“Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 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. 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.

“Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. He said to David, ‘ Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?’ And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. ‘Come here,’ he said, ‘and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the wild animals!’

“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.’” (1 Samuel 17:26-45, NIV)


Using your own words, describe the objections, complaints and implied meaning behind the words that David hears from . . .

his family (verse 28)

Saul (the king) (verses 33, 38)

Goliath (the bully) (verses 41-44)

David was highly differentiated. He knew who he was and was not swayed by public opinion or the need for approval. From the passage, in what ways did David stay true to himself and not allow pressure and anxiety from others to control him?

In verse 45 David confidently exclaims: “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty.” Why was he so confident of God’s support? Find scriptural evidence to back your thoughts.

punch lines

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you” (Romans 12:1, 2, Message).

“What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, ‘Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well’—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?” (James 2:14-16, NLT).

“You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7:16, NLT).

“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked. . . . But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do” (Psalm 1:1-3, NLT).

“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16, KJV).

further insight

“By beholding we become changed, morally assimilated to the One who is perfect in character.”—Ellen G. White, God’s Amazing Grace, p. 94



Read Ephesians 3:17-19; Luke 15:11-20; John 15:15.

Consider the statements in the What Do You Think? section. Which ones did you resonate with? From where (or whom) did the message(s) come?

As we grew up, we received many messages from our parents, our teachers, our friends; even the results of our choices are a type of message to us. These messages can be positive (“You’re wanted and loved even if you failed your algebra exam”) or they can be negative (“I can’t come to watch your game/ play again. Work is more important than my relationship with you”).

What is the message God is sending you in today’s reading?


Read Ephesians 4:29.

Read the Into the Story section and complete the Out of the Story questions. If you were David and heard these negative messages, how would you feel? What would you feel toward those who had spoken them? In what ways are your responses similar or different from David’s, and why?


Read 1 Samuel 17:45.

Read the Key Text. David exhibited a lot of confidence in God’s ability to conquer the enemy. How do you think David acquired such confidence in God?

David was able to stay true to who he was, while still remaining close to the people important to him. He was able to choose to do what was right without being controlled by the approval or disapproval of others. Are there times when you shrink back in fear or “wear armor” that does not fit you? What kind of pressures from circumstances or forces from people influence you to do so?


Read Colossians 4:6.

Read the Flashlight section. Ellen White differentiates between true and false humility. Many of us cannot tell the difference between our true self and a false self we enact just to fit in. Take some time each day this week to reflect on the words you said and the choices you made. With each situation, complete this sentence: When I did/said. it revealed that I am. (For more space, use the Notes pages in the back of your Bible study guide.)


As you read the passages listed in the Punch Lines section of this week’s lesson, which verse strikes you as particularly significant today?

Why do you think this verse is especially relevant to you today?


Make time to answer the following questions:

1. What makes you angry?

2. What makes you sad?

3. What are you afraid of?

4. What do you enjoy?

5. What (or whom) do you love?

6. What surprises you?

7. What disgusts you?

You may or may not be able to answer all the questions. You may also have more to say on one or two questions than the rest. If that happens, stay with that question for as long as you need to complete it.


Write a prayer asking God to help you know who you really are, and who you are becoming, as you know God more and more intimately.

Texts credited to Message are from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.
Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

this week’s reading*

The Great Controversy (or Love Under Fire), chapter 27.

*Love Under Fire is a special adaptation of The Great Controversy, created for you by the Ellen G. White Estate and Pacific Press. Get more information about it at article/191/about-us/conflict-of-the-ages-companion- books#.URlhF1rBO9s. By following the weekly reading plan, you will read at least one book of the Conflict of the Ages Series each year.