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The Lion and the Bear

1 Samuel 16, 17:33-36; Psalm 23; Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 637-648


The Message

I can’t save myself; Jesus saves me.

Memory Verse

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures” (Psalm 23:1, 2).

When he had to write a report about sheep, Jamie remembered something his mother had read to him from the Bible. This is what he recalled . . .


David looked over the flock of sheep that dotted the field. These woolly animals were his friends, and he was their shepherd. He walked with the sheep by the still pools of water in the heat of the day. He led them to green fields of grass. He was usually by himself, but David did not feel afraid or alone. He knew that God was with him. Just as David took good care of the sheep, God, his Shepherd, was taking special care of him.

“I must stay alert!” David reminded himself when he felt like napping. “A little lamb might stray from the flock while I sleep.” To keep himself awake, he often sat on a high rock and strummed softly on the harp he carried with him. Then in a clear voice he sang, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing” (Psalm 23:1).

One day David saw a movement out of the corner of his eye. He dropped his harp and grabbed his sling. He always carried smooth round stones, ready for anything that might try to hurt the sheep.

A lion crouched in a thicket at the edge of the water. Just as the huge lion was ready to spring on a sheep, David released the stone. Zing! The stone flew through the air and hit the lion. Then David fought the lion until he knew the lion could no longer hurt the sheep. Quickly David laid down his sling and walked among the sheep, counting them carefully. They were all there, and none were hurt! The Lord had helped him protect the sheep.

Soon David sat on his rock again, playing his harp. This time he sang, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (verse 4).

Another day David decided to lead the sheep into the hills. Here the sheep could graze on new grass. But danger lurked in the hills. Bears lived in dens in the hillsides and often wandered out searching for food.

David carefully watched the lambs. Suddenly he saw something move in the tall grass nearby. Instantly, he was alert! A huge brown beast moved in the grass near the lambs. Suddenly it rushed forward!

Quickly David loaded his sling, swung it, and let go. The stone hit the bear so hard that it fell and never got up again. Once more God had helped David save his sheep.

That evening, as David led the sheep home, he might have sung, “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (verse 6).

Like the sheep, we need someone to watch over us. We need Jesus, the Good Shepherd. We can’t save ourselves. But Jesus can. Only Jesus saves us.