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The armor might be too heavy for your child
By Elizabeth Castleberry Pemberton
August 5, 2023

Who doesn’t love an underdog triumphing over a seemingly invincible foe? That’s why the story of David and Goliath is so beloved. But reading the story again recently, I was confronted with an uncomfortable parenting truth. We know that David defeats Goliath with a small rock launched from a slingshot, but there is a detail in the story I hadn’t thought about before.

  Elizabeth Castleberry Pemberton
Elizabeth Castleberry Pemberton

When David volunteers to take on Goliath, King Saul takes his armor and places it on David. Saul was a full grown man who was a foot taller than anyone in Israel. David was a young man, definitely smaller than Saul.

But David rejects Saul’s armor, because it isn’t right for him. It was made for Saul, not for David. It was heavy, and too big for him. It constricted his ability to react quickly, and it weighed him down. It was a burden.

We’re sending our own Davids out into a world that feels very Goliath-y and our instinct is to do as Saul did and load them up with all the armor we have at our disposal. Good parents protect their children at all costs, right?

We pray for our kids every day, likely several times a day. And in my prayers I often say “Lord, these kids are yours because I can’t do anything with them.” But I say amen and head off to load them up with Saul’s armor. I try to steer them in the way I think they should go, regardless of where God plans for them to go. Too often my plans involve what I think other Christians would approve of rather than the path God has set them on.

Lord, help me to stay out of your way when it comes to my kids.

This article is part of our "Life Matters" series. If you would like to submit an article for possible inclusion in this series, please email it to

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