David was the youngest of his father's sons. He was not just a simple shepherd boy, but a mighty youth full of the Spirit of the Lord. (I Samuel 16:13) He was skilled with the harp, and spent much of his quiet time writing songs of praise to God. David had a warrior spirit, which empowered him to fight off wild animals that threatened his father's sheep. He was ruddy, and pleasant to the eyes. David was submissive, and a diligent worker, and obedient to his father's commands. And he was a marksman with a slingshot. But the most remarkable characteristic of David was his love for God, even in his youth.
The time David spent tending his father's sheep taught him many things that served him well when he became the king of Israel. Because shepherding was his entire life as a youth, it gave David a clear understanding of the ways of God. David experienced the peace of quiet rest, and the refreshment of God's presence. He learned to worship during the long days spent in solitude. But most importantly, a passion stirred for defending those who could not defend themselves.
God knew the hearts of each of Jesse's sons, but looked with favor on David because he had the qualities necessary to lead the people of Israel. Since David was a shepherd by trade, he knew how to carefully and skillfully watch over a flock. He knew full well the time and attention it took to care for sheep that were prone to wander. Because David sought the presence of God, he was called a man after God's own heart. (I Samuel 13:14) He had humility, knowing that it was God who delivered him in times of trouble. David took ownership of his relationship with God, and was not afraid to put his own life in danger in order to defend those who belonged to God.
In the Valley of Elah, Goliath stood fully armed with a bronze coat of mail, his sword, a javelin and a gigantic shield carried by one of his men. To the Israelite army, Goliath appeared impenetrable, and they were paralyzed with terror. However, Goliath's continuous angry curses against God and the malicious threats against the Israelite army did not frighten David. When David approached Goliath, he had what he needed to stand in the gap between the Israelite army and the champion Philistine.
David came to battle with a simple shepherd's staff, a slingshot and five stones, but they were nothing compared to the weapon of his faith. He came armed with trust in the saving power of his God, whose ways David had carefully learned while tending his father's sheep.
Goliath saw a mere boy that knew nothing of warfare. He didn't realize that David was a warrior who stood ready to defend the armies of the living God. And just as God delivered David from the wild animals that tried to snatch his father's sheep, God delivered him from the giant Goliath who threatened his Heavenly Father's beloved people. One stone, skillfully pitched from David's slingshot, hit Goliath and embedded itself in his forehead. The prized Philistine soldier fell face down on the ground, and with a slash of Goliath's giant sword, David cut off his head, defeating the arrogant enemy of Israel. Because of his faith in and love for God David was used by God from his youth. And the skills he learned as a boy eventually shaped him into one of Israel's mightiest and most beloved kings.