“Grandpa, would you have been a soldier and gone off to fight?” Alice asked as she closed the newspaper. Edward and Sammy stopped wrestling and looked at Grandpa.
“No and yes,” he said with a smile. “I couldn’t go shoot someone, because Jesus has given me love for everybody. But I do have enemies to fight, just like David did a long time ago….
A Man of War
You remember the story of the shepherd boy who fought the giant, don’t you? Well, that wasn’t the only battle young David had to fight. Back in the hills he often had to protect the sheep from bears and lions. He had learned to be brave and trust in God to help him win. As a soldier in King Saul’s army, the brave young man soon became a hero.
But being a hero isn’t easy. Saul was jealous of David, so he tried to kill him. From then on David had to hide in caves and bear many hardships. Still he counted on God, and fought for God’s people. And God helped him win other battles—battles to forgive Saul and do right when others did wrong.
When David at last came to be king over Israel and Judah, he had a very big job. Now he had to protect the whole kingdom! There were many enemies who wanted to rule instead of David. If he was going to be a good king and keep the people safe, he had to fight. And fight he did.
First he battled the Philistines on one side, who had been big bullies for a long time. Next he subdued the Moabites and made them his servants. After that he captured the prince of Zobah with thousands of chariots, horsemen, and soldiers. And through it all God protected him.
As a man of war David didn’t get proud. He always remembered that God was the one who helped him. When other kings gave him gifts of silver and gold, David gave them to God. He praised God and thanked him for the victories he won. Soon David became known as a very good king. He ruled wisely and justly, and God blessed him.
“But I don’t really understand,” said Alice when Grandpa had finished. “David killed real people, but you said you wouldn’t want to kill anyone.”
“That’s true,” Grandpa agreed. “But in King David’s time people couldn’t have their hearts changed and so they had to fight outside enemies. But now Jesus calls us to conquer over our inside enemies.”
“What kind are those?” asked Edward.
Grandpa looked at his grandsons. “If you two were complaining about chores, what sort of enemy would you need to fight?”
“Bad attitudes?” asked Sammy.
“Complaining thoughts?” asked Edward.
“Yes, and Giant Selfish, too. God wants you to be a brave soldier like David, but your kingdom is your heart. Who will you let rule it?”
“Myself and no one else!” cried Edward.
“Isn’t that being kind of selfish?” asked Alice with a frown.
“But, I mean, I would beat all the bad things and giants that come.”
“Wouldn’t they be too big for you?” asked Grandpa.
“I’ll ask God to help me,” said Edward. “Just like King David did.”