My kids have a number of Bible story cartoons. I actually prefer they watch Bible-based cartoons rather than regular ones, because I like it that they are familiar with Bible stories from a young age.
But one of them bothers me greatly.
David and Goliath
In the cartoon, David’s brothers go to battle against Goliath and David is left behind…
…whining and begging to join his brothers.
His father meets every request to fight the Philistine with “No, David. You are too little.”
And David answers back with a whiney “But father…”
Then as he rescues a lamb from a lion’s mouth, his father congratulates his boldness, but is only met with a further manipulation of, “Can I go now???”
In the end, his father sends him to bring food to his brothers and David ends up staying and fighting Goliath.
and it’s all rewarded in the end, because he defeated the enemy of the Lord.
The end justifies the means
Of course, when you look at 1 Samuel 17, you do not see a whiney, manipulative, disobedient David. Nor was he ever forbidden to fight Goliath.
I do not want my children learning that God rewards such negative behavior.
I do not necessarily mind a bit of creative license with Biblical cartoons. I think Veggie Tales does this tastefully – and the core element of the story remains the same. What bothers me is when the underlying principle of the story is changed – such as in this cartoon.
We must be careful about these small messages lodged in our children’s entertainment – even in Christian entertainment. While they may be missed by small toddlers, they will be quickly picked up as they grow older.
For me obedience is crucial, and stories that teach my children that disobedience is okay as long as the end result is desirable, really make me cringe.
Because we are the first picture of God our children will see. If we insist that they learn to obey us when they are young, they will have a much easier time transferring that into their relationship with God as they grow older!
Children who are not consistently made to obey their parents will have a much harder time consistently obeying God’s Word.
I find it ironic that this cartoon actually portrayed David – the king who replaced Saul – as disobedient, when we find these words directed at King Saul:
“To obey is better than sacrifice, to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry” – 1 Samuel 15:22b-23a”
Rebellion – resisting authority (as in David being portrayed as resisting his father’s command to not fight Goliath)
Stubbornness – showing a persistent determination not to change one’s attitude or position on a matter (as in David being portrayed as being persistent in his determination to fight Goliath).
No, God would not have rejected Saul from being king for his failure to obey, his rebellion and stubbornness, and then reward David for his boldness despite displaying these very same qualities.
And in a day and age where behavior is overlooked as long as the end result is desirable, our children must learn that the path to our destination is as important as the destination itself.
For it is along that path the true worth of our character is put the test.