Choices That Determine Destiny - Lesson 9

By Dudley Chancey

Choosing God's Own Heart

Text: 1 Samuel 17; 24; 2 Samuel 11-12:25; 23:8-17

Background Information for the Teacher


  1. The student can explain that sin is not a respecter of persons

Preparation: (Some items are for extra work if time allows)

  1. Bible for every student (NIV is used for quotes and handouts in this series)
  2. Copies of student handout
  3. Bible concordances or Bible computer program
  4. Chalk or markers for board work


The story of David is actually many stories. He kills Goliath, bears, and lions; he writes beautiful psalms; he plays music; he is a good friend; he sins; he is a good father; he is a bad father; his life is filled with triumph and tragedy. Most likely students that have grown up in church have heard many lessons and sermons centered around David and his life. David is the only named person in the Bible that was after God's own heart (there were others, can you find them?) 1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22. Once again, the providence of God is so powerful in the life of David. He is truly an example of a person that never gave up. He is also one of the great grandfathers of Jesus.

Lesson Plan for Conducting the Class

Introduction: (5 minutes)

  1. Prayer time (ask for requests, ask for answered prayers)
  2. Check calendar of events coming up
  3. Connect any students visiting, to individual students and the youth group

Review from Lesson #8: (5 minutes)

  1. Go over the answers to the handouts. Take these up if you are using them for some type of reward (mission trip credit).
  2. Give a one-minute summary of Josiah's choices in last week's lesson.

Learning Experiences: (20 minutes)

  1. Remember the two general points that provide a background for our story (see Lesson #1 for a more detailed description).
    1. First, we will be studying a method of making godly choices in our everyday living
      1. The 4 C's. Consider the choice. Compare our attitudes and actions to God. Commit to God's ways. Count on God's protections and provision.
      2. We are studying principles rather than rules.
    2. Second, we will see how much the people we hang out with influence our lives.
  2. The Bible study today comes from the books of 1 and 2 Samuel. David was one of Israel's favorite sons. "Saul has killed his thousands, David has killed his 10,000's" the people would chant. He captured the hearts of the people (and God's heart) at a very young age. While David chalked up many victories on the battlefield, his home life didn't fair so well.The study of David's life is important because it provides a backdrop to see God working in a person's life that isn't perfect. God working in David's life is a shadow of the work he does in our lives through Jesus Christ.
    1. Choosing young to trust in God The early life of David may be the ultimate lesson for young and old alike to witness the complete trust that a human being puts in God. God's presence in David's life as a shepherd boy instills in him a confidence that he leans on the rest of his life. As a young man he chooses to trust God and fight Goliath. He probably appeared quite cocky to some of the Israelite soldiers as he went to take on Goliath. It appears from the text that he never blinks or thinks twice about whether with God's help he can take Goliath and the whole Philistine army. That is confidence, faith and trust in a mighty God. David would display and write about this trust all his life. It all began when, as a young person, he chose to be God's person.
    2. Honoring God's choice In chapter 24 of 1 Samuel David is confronted with a tough choice-to kill King Saul or to let him live. Many urged David to kill King Saul when he had the chance. David's reply to them and to King Saul is that he could not lift a hand against God's anointed one. David had the opportunity several times to take King Saul's life. Each time he would spare him-even though King Saul would have killed David in an instant if he could have ever caught him. David was so bent on honoring God's chosen one (King Saul) that he left the country and went and lived with one of the enemies of the Israelites for over a year.
    3. Choosing poorly Probably one of the best-known stories in the Bible is that of David and Bathsheba. It is a story of tragedy and yet, God uses David and Bathsheba to change the whole world. God allows them to be grandparents of his only son Jesus Christ. Event hough this may seem to be a great ending to a bad story, do not overlook the consequences of this poor choice. The prophet Nathan is quick to point out to David that God has forgiven his sin with Bathsheba, but he also points out that the baby will die and David's house will always be wrecked by fighting. This is a great lesson to be taught to young and old alike about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. David should have been in battle with his army (2 Samuel 11:1; 1 Kings 20:22,26; 1 Chronicles20:1). It is believed that because of the winter, most armies did not fight-they readied themselves for battle in the springtime, after the grain harvests. He should have been more disciplined to look away when seeing Bathsheba. He should have had sense enough to leave a married woman alone. He should have thought about God's heart and desires instead of his heart's desires.
    4. Choosing to honor others The story of David's mighty men (2 Samuel 23:8-17) is one example of the heart of David. These three mighty men risk their lives to please the king. If anyone knew and understood the risk that these men took to get a drink of water, David did. It may seem trite to us today to get a cup of water and then just pour it on the ground. David was not only honoring the men, but he was offering up to God the best that he had at that moment. (For more on offerings, see More Background.) These are obviously the kind of friends you want to hang around. People that are lifting you up and serving you-not tearing you down and destroying you. David is the kind of person that we all want to be like- a mighty warrior, a man after God's own heart. We excuse him for the bad, pity him for his family situation, love to read his Psalms, and dream about killing giants with him. This man and his life should give Christians an example of how to please God, how to confess to God and others, and how to put your complete trust in God.

Applications: (10 minutes)

The point here is that you not only want them to know about the Bible text, but you want them to take action on it. What are the "giants" in your life that need killing? How much do you trust in God for all your needs? 1. You want students to understand that even the strongest people can fall prey to sin. Why did David make a poor choice with Bathsheba? What was he thinking? This is a great opportunity to talk about purity in relationships. You might consider bringing in someone that has gone through an affair. There are many couples that go through this. Many get counseling and repair their relationship. Many don't. (See More Background for help in this area) 2. Using the concordances, look up several Bible verses on some of today's discussion. For example, students could look up the following: Timothy, Josiah, sackcloth and ashes, adultery, repentance, Hittites, etc. Ask students to discuss the definitions and descriptions of these different words and names and give some of the Bible contexts in which they are used.

3. What does repentance mean in this new millennium? How does your youth group express repentance? What do you think James had in mind when he wrote, "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (James 5:16). Confession is good for the soul. But it is not enough to just say, "I'm sorry." How does one show he/she is truly sorry? Do you have an older Christian that you can talk with? Have you helped any new Christians with their Christian walk? We are all in constant need of confession and repentance. Be available to others, and take advantage of help from older Christians in your personal walk with God. 4. Honoring others should be high on our list of things to do. It should almost be a natural thing for Christians since they spend a lot of their time honoring God (or do you?). Giving honor where honor is due is a strong biblical principle (see More Background on honor). What is a way that students could show honor to someone this week-individually, and as a group? Do you have to give up anything to honor someone else? How do you feel inside when someone else is being honored for something? Are you proud for them, or are you jealous? 5. Read Psalm 23 and discuss the confidence and trust that David had in God.

Assignment: (2 minutes)

  1. Pass out the handouts to take home. Encourage the students to fill in the answers to the questions about David sometime during the next week and bring these back to class with them. The "fill in the blanks" section is straight out of the text for today's lesson. This assignment will give students time to "be in the Word." The following may help you next week as you go over the thought questions:
    1. What are the specific things in students lives that are dragging them down, following them around- killing them spiritually? The need to know that you don't just seek God on Sunday morning at church, but you better be seeking him on Friday night after the ball games, and Saturday night at the mall.
    2. 4C's. This is not a perfect process, but it is better than nothing, and that is what most students are using to make choices. Take advantage of this and share with students how they can walk through this process for every important decision in their lives.
    3. Make sure that students know that the devil is prowling around looking for them. He is looking for every opportunity to make them stumble and fall (1 Peter 5:8). Praise the students that are seeking God and doing well. You don't have to have a "crash and burn" testimony for your life to be a witness to how good God is.
  2. Read Nehemiah 1-2; 4; 6. The story of Nehemiah for next week.

Evaluation: (5 minutes)

  1. Ask students to explain the providence of God in David's life.
  2. Ask students to name one principle from the lesson today.
  3. (After class) Have an intern or another adult evaluate your teaching. Occasionally, ask some students to blind review the class. Ask questions like, "What was the main goal of the class tonight?" "What really made an impression on you tonight about the lesson?"

Further Resources:

(You do not have to have these to make these lessons work)

Putting Marriages Back Together. Contact Joe Beam at, Bundschuh, R. & Finley, T. (2001). High school talksheets psalms and proverbs-updated! 50 discussion starters for high school youth groups. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing Company. More Background: Offerings — Leviticus 1-7 gives the most detailed description of Israel's sacrificial system, including five types of sacrifices. The sacrifices and offerings that were brought by the people were to be the physical expression of their inward devotion. They were: 1) Burnt offering (Numbers 28-29; 2 Kings 16:15; 2 Chron. 2:4; 2 Chron.31:3; Ezra 3:3-6), 2) Grain offering (Leviticus 2:13), 3) Peace offering (Leviticus 7:11-21; 7:28-36;1 Kings 8:63; 2 Chron. 29:31-36), 4) Sin offering, and 5) Guilt offering (Leviticus 5:6-7).Honor — esteem, respect, (high) regard, or (good) reputation. To honor is to recognize the value of someone or thing and to act accordingly. See (Exodus 20:12; 2 Chron. 16:14; Esther 6:8-11;Proverbs 5:9).

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