Children and youth need heroes who portray moral lives and stable and consistent values. Many biblical characters can fill that need. Bible characters have human failures and shortcomings which may help students to understand that no one is perfect. Each character faces challenges and must make choices about how to deal with the ups and downs of life. These heroes help students see how to practically apply biblical principles in their own lives.
David became a hero in his youth when he faced the giant Goliath (Samuel 1: 17). Students can discuss the value of faith and preparation in overcoming great odds. David dared to challenge Goliath when trained, adult fighters refused. Students can explore David's decision to be himself in the fight. He challenged the giant with his own unique talents and skills. He refused to take the armor and weapons of Saul, which didn't fit anyway and would only have caused him to fail. David chose the weapons he was most familiar with; his slingshot that he had used many times to defend his sheep, and his faith that had sustained him alone on the hills. David collected five smooth stones to use in the fight against Goliath. Students can discuss the meaning of the five smooth stones representing David's faith in God, courage, conviction, understanding of godly principles and a belief in himself. Have the students act out the story and discuss what it means to them.
Daniel was another Hebrew youth who became a hero. Kidnapped and carried off into slavery, Daniel remained true to his faith and his heritage. Students can explore why he refused to eat from the King's table. He and his friends proved to the chief eunuch that they were wise to eat a more simple diet, and he won favor with King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel listened to God and interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dreams and gave honor to God for that ability, thus proving the power of God (Daniel 1: 2). Students can discuss a time that they had a dream that helped them determine how to act. Daniel risked death in the lion's den rather than worship a man. He proved his courage, but also the depths of his faith (Daniel 6). Students may explore a time when they had to go against the rules of an authority in order to be true to themselves.
Deborah and Jael
Deborah served as a prophetess and judge during the time before the Hebrews had a king (Judges 4). Her faith and valor in war exceeded that of Barak, the leader of the Hebrew army. Deborah's faith and leadership gave Jael, another Hebrew woman, the courage to use her wisdom to kill the Canaanite general Sisera. Students can explore the roles of men and women as heroes, and the different ways to lead and serve God.
- cross on bible image by Tammy Mobley from Fotolia.com