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In lesson 01, we studied the four ages of world history, which must always be remembered:
- The Ancient World (4000-750 BC)
- The Classical World (750 BC – 500 AD)
- The Medieval World (500 AD – 1500 AD), and
- The Modern World (1500 AD to the present day).
In recent lessons, we have studied three very important events: the life of Abraham, the Hebrew Exodus and the Trojan War. You should be able to explain the history of the world from the beginning of the life of Abraham to the Trojan War. If you cannot, spend some time reviewing your recent lessons until you can.
We learned that the Trojan War took place near 1200 BC between the Greeks and Trojans in an area north and west of the Fertile Crescent. This was an age of war and heroes: Achilles, Odysseus, Hektor, Goliath, Saul, Jonathan and David.
Christians often learn about the life of David in a children’s Bible or in videos, and they tend to think of him in a silly way. They have learned of Goliath as a big giant, like the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk, shouting “FE, FI, FO, FUM”. The silliness leads us to think it to be just one more fairy tale and we brush it aside. However, when we study the life of David in its correct historical place, we learn what a great story it is–and no fairy tale at all.
David was born last in a family of eight boys. He grew up in the fields of Israel, where he took care of his father’s sheep. David was a mysterious boy. Not only was he a shepherd, which was a very ordinary job, he was also a musician–but no ordinary musician. David played the lyre so well and sang so beautifully that once when the king was suffering the attacks of an evil spirit, David was brought in to play his music and calm the spirit of the king. To appreciate David’s skill, we must think about whether the mayor of our city, or the governor of our state, would ever be told to call one of us for help. Probably not! Only one who excels at what he does above all others would ever be called into the king’s court–and such was David.
David and Goliath
Later, we learn of David’s famous fight. The Israelites were in battle with the Philistines when David was sent from home to bring some food to his brothers. We would think that young David might be afraid to visit the battle scene, but he wasn’t. David wasn’t a wimpy kid that spent his time indoors. As a shepherd, David had to be a tough little guy. The Bible tells us that in caring for the sheep David had already won a fight against a bear and another against a lion! Having faced two of the most powerful animals, David knew what he could do in a dangerous fight and more importantly, he knew that God was his Shepherd. This gave David great confidence.
However, there was something more that David knew. Years before David ever met Saul, he was anointed king by the prophet Samuel. While David was young, the holy man Samuel visited David’s family and told all that David would one day be God’s king and rule Israel. This prophecy gave David great courage for he knew that he would never die before he was king! Surely God gave David this knowledge to encourage him for the dangers he would soon face.
When David arrived at the battle scene, he was upset to find the Israelites backing away from the fight. Rather than trusting in God and acting courageously, they were afraid of the Philistine’s greatest warrior, Goliath, who challenged Israel’s best fighter to a duel, rather than having the armies battle. Scripture indicates that Goliath was massive–over eight feet tall–and he was an experienced warrior. Remember that to be an experienced warrior you have to win. Weak soldiers don’t get much experience.
David had no fear of Goliath. He knew Goliath was powerful, but David knew that the smart always beat the strong. After all, he had beaten a bear and a lion, which are stronger than Goliath. David knew that he could strike Goliath from far off with his sling and that other Israelites were afraid for no reason. Besides, would God allow a pagan to triumph over the children of Abraham?
We all know the result. David kills Goliath with one shot straight to the head and then stands over the great warrior and cuts his head off–with Goliath’s own sword.
After his famous fight, David becomes wealthy and famous and lives happily ever after, right? In a perfect world, that may have been true, but there was a problem in David’s world. King Saul, instead of being thankful to David, envied him. Though David served him faithfully, Saul believed that David now threatened his power and therefore he sought to kill him.
So, David spent the strongest years of his life in the deserts of Israel, hiding from king Saul. As one who loved God and took pride in being a child of Abraham, David suffered terribly during this time. He hated the idea of living among other nations and he was often tempted to kill the king and save himself, but he chose God’s will over his own. If there is one thing David is famous for it is not his music nor his victory in battle: it is his suffering. As with all holy men, David patiently trusted in God and endured many, many evils. Yet in the end, David saw
God’s promises fulfilled and he sat upon the throne in Israel.
David ruled Israel for forty years with great success. He defeated all of Israel’s enemies and made his nation very wealthy. He ruled with courage and strength, balanced with wisdom and mercy. This success was not without mistakes. His son Absalom, whom David raised too loosely, rebelled against him and forced David to once again run for his life. Later, David sinned greatly in stealing the beautiful wife of one of his soldiers.
Many shamefully remember David for his few evil deeds rather than the amazing good he did throughout his life. We must remember that David did penance for his sins and that God himself spoke of David’s excellence and referred to David as “a man after My own heart”. That kind of divine praise cannot be ignored. Furthermore, David wrote most of the book of Psalms, which have served as the music of God’s worship for over 3,000 years. In his old age, when he had retired from military life, David’s wife gave birth to their famous son: Solomon. The name Solomon means “peace” and symbolized David’s life at the time. David taught Solomon carefully to seek Wisdom above all else in the world and, through God’s grace, Solomon obeyed his father’s commands.
In his last days, God gave David one last trial to bear. David’s desire was to use his wealth to build God’s temple in Israel, but God did not allow him to do so. God told David that no man of war should build his temple and that crushed David. Nevertheless, knowing that his son Solomon was to be the man blessed with the opportunity to build God’s temple, David decided to provide all of the supplies Solomon would need for the work. As he breathed his last, David left his son Solomon with these words:
“I am going the way of all mankind. Take courage and be a man. Keep the mandate of the LORD, your God, following his ways and observing his statutes, commands, ordinances, and decrees as they are written in the law of Moses, that you may succeed in whatever you do, wherever you turn.”
Thus ended the life of one of the world’s greatest men, King David. We have now studied the life of Abraham, the Hebrew Exodus, the Trojan War and the life of David. Can you tell the story thus far?
Directions: Read each date and event and recite it several times. By daily repetition, thoroughly memorize these events. Memorize them using your complete chart so that you can “see” the chart in your mind.
- 4000 BC – 750 BC Ancient World
- 4000 BC Creation of the World
- 3500 BC Ancient Sumeria Begins
- 3000 BC Ancient Egypt Begins
- 2950 BC – 2000 BC Life of Noah
- 2000 BC – 1780 BC Life of Abraham
- 1450 BC – 1410 BC Hebrew Exodus
- 1200 BC Trojan War
- 1000 BC – 960 BC Life of King David
- 750 BC – 500 AD Classical World
- 500 AD – 1500 AD Medieval World
- 1500 AD – Present Modern World