In 1982 while touring Israel, we visited the Valley of Elah. We tried to imagine Saul’s Camp of Israelites on the north ridge facing the Philistine camp to the south. We carefully selected 5 smooth stones from the Brook Elah and then fantasized slinging one into the forehead of Goliath for rumbling out in front and taunting Israel for 40 days morning and night to send a champion to fight him.
Goliath from Gath terrified everyone as a fighting hulk “6 cubits and a span” (I Sam. 17:4). Depending on the length of cubit, and the one telling the story, Goliath towered anywhere from 9 to 13 feet tall! The word span is appropriate because he looked as big as a bridge you didn’t want to cross! His spear had a shaft like a weaver’s beam and an iron point weighing 15 pounds! He left the Israelites muttering “Gathly!”
Would you have stepped up? Would I? Not unless God miraculously prodded me. The only experience I’ve had at slinging is with insults and I’m not even good at that. I only think of something zingy to say after all parties have parted. “Your momma’s a Philistine!” probably wouldn’t have broken any giant bones.
My best contribution would be to pray that God inspires the right man. One who thinks a bear or lion was a bigger challenge and He knew God delivered him. And one who thinks Goliath was too big to miss!
It might have seemed like King Saul should have been the one to face Goliath. He was head and shoulders above everybody but kind of flaky. And remember the times he hurled spears at David and his own son Jonathan and succeeded only at keeping the palace remodelers busy.
One of the most memorable life lessons I received in a Bible class was that it is more challenging facing the dailyness of life than a giant. Another way to put it would be that it can be tougher facing the drip-drip-drips of life than a busted out pipe.
The busted pipe demands no-brainer all-out adrenaline action no matter the cost or time. The drip-drip-drips demand figuring out if it’s really something that has to be dealt with at the moment, debating whether you can stand taking on the plumbing yourself or determining whether you can afford to call anybody. The busted pipe is soon solved or you just charge admission for your new swimming pool. But the drip-drip-drips can keep on eroding you forever if you can figure out how to keep putting them off!
Our relationships, habits and attitudes—are they drip-drip-drips? Goliaths? God has called us to the battle. We can win with His giant help daily.
FUN FACT: Compared to you, I might look like Goliath. My shoulder height is 6-7 feet. My 1,545 pound frame looks even more imposing with its rack spanning 6 feet! An Antler Moose is the longest frame at 81 inches. But put away your slingshot, David, any perceived threat is Saul in your imagination.
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