In the course of a twenty-four hour period we make gobs of decisions. Some of these we make with a serious amount of forethought and prayer. Others we make spontaneously with little or no thought as to the consequences or impact our decisions will have—not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives are intertwined with ours.

Have you ever thought much about how a single decision can change your life forever? For better or worse?

In these blog posts I’d like to look at the one good decision that some people in the Bible made that changed the course of their life for the better. By looking at ourselves in the mirror of God’s Word I hope we’ll all take comfort, courage, and hope in the fact that, despite the mess we’re presently faced with, we can still turn things around. A lousy past or dismal present doesn’t have to give us the same future. By God’s grace, our future and life can be changed for the better…if we only make the right decision today. May God help us do that on a daily basis!


I’m a father of young adults. I’m a grandpa. And I’m a Christian. The heart and prayer of a father for his children is that they turn out alright in life, make the right choices, be healthy, keep safe, have a good life, and most of all, give their life to Jesus. Life will eventually disrupt the family. Once the kids leave home the family will never again be the same. Life will separate the family by miles. And death will eventually rob us of the loved ones we hold most dear in life. Jesus alone holds the key to an eternal family reunion in Heaven. And that’s why I pray fervently that my children will love the Lord as I do, even more, and serve Him faithfully to the end of days. Having given you a father’s perspective on his children, let me put this train of thought on hold and let’s take a whirlwind tour of David’s life.

We’re all familiar with the story of David. He bursts on the scene in the Valley of Elah where he kills Goliath and leads the once fearful, demoralized Israelite army to victory in the ensuing battle against the Philistines (1 Samuel 17). From this point on, David is pretty much stuck by the King’s side: King Saul isn’t letting go of this young warrior and hero. He promotes him to General of the Army and David’s valor and victories in war become the stuff of legend. David’s so successful that King Saul gets really jealous of him and tries to kill him on many occasions. One of the King’s murderous plans, however, backfires on him and, as promised, the King gives David one of his daughters to marry as a reward for a successful expedition against the Philistines. So now, David is a member of royalty and that, as you can imagine, really infuriated the jealously-demented King.

Well, David was a good man and there was no way he was going to lift sword or spear against his King. So he goes on the lam and for the next several years he lives in exile in, of all places, the land of his enemy the Philistines (1 Samuel 19-30).

King Saul gets killed in battle against the Philistines (1 Samuel 31). David returns to his homeland of Judah. And there he is crowned King by his tribe (2 Samuel 2). He’s King for 7½ years in Judah.

During this time, in the aftermath of Saul’s death, his son Ishbosheth becomes King of Israel (2 Samuel 2). Ishbosheth reigns as Israel’s King for 7½ years. He eventually gets assassinated and that’s when all Israel came together and asked David to become their next King (2 Samuel 4-5). So altogether, David is King for 40 years. Under his military prowess he enlarges Israel’s Kingdom to its greatest extent ever. His enemies fear him. And Israel is established as a regional superpower.

All this began in the Valley of Elah when David pretty much came out of obscurity and dumbfounded the cowardly Israelite army. He made quick work of beheading the giant, then just as deftly and decisively, he went on to rout the Philistines in battle. In the Valley he emerged as a national hero. Became General. Then son-in-law of the King. Eventually King. And master of a regional superpower. Imagine all the good things that happened to David and all Israel just because he came to the Valley of Elah! If David had not come to the Valley, the course of history would have been drastically different! We would not be amiss at all in saying that the course, future, and destiny of the nation of Israel were forever altered when David showed up in the Valley of Elah!

Friends, do you know how David found himself in the Valley of Elah? What brought him to Elah? Well, David was a young shepherd boy living in Bethlehem with his family. He was tending his father’s flocks of sheep when, one day, his dad sent him on an errand. 1 Samuel 17:17-19 tells the story of how it went.  One day, Jesse told David, “Hurry and take this sack of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread to your brothers at the army camp.  (18)  And here are ten large chunks of cheese to take to their commanding officer. Find out how your brothers are doing and bring back something that shows that they’re all right.  (19)  They’re with Saul’s army, fighting the Philistines in Elah Valley.”

Dad Jesse was getting worried about his sons. They were in the army. And, being the soldiers that they were, dad was all the time worried about them. He had every right to be. The Philistines were the most feared army in the world at this time and, realistically speaking, the Israelites weren’t much of a match against them. Pictures of death and defeat are probably racing through Jesse’s mind. Are my sons alive? Did they get killed in battle? Are they coming back home safe and sound? So, being the worried father that he was, Jesse sent his son David to Elah to see how his sons were doing. You’d be totally right to say that Jesse was checking up on his sons. Unbeknownst to him, Jesse sending David to Elah would change David’s life forever and alter the course of Israelite history. A worried father’s decision to send David on a domestic errand turned out to be his best decision ever!

As a mother or father, we make all kinds of decisions that impact and affect our kids for life. It’s not always the big decisions that affect them the most. Sometimes, it’s the smallest decision we make—like sending them on an errand—that starts a chain reaction that will change their lives forever. So, parents, pray for your kids. Pray about the decisions you make. With God’s guidance and help, like Jesse, you can make the best decision ever! God bless you with Jesse’s care and success!