Giant Slayer

“You’re only young” they said.  “You’re not very strong”, “You’re not from round here”, “they’ll never listen to you”.  It is so easy to put obstacles in the path of those who want to help, to make them doubt their own abilities and make it clear that we doubt them too.

1 Samuel 17:32-49

32 “Your Majesty,” he said, “this Philistine shouldn’t turn us into cowards. I’ll go out and fight him myself!”

33 “You don’t have a chance against him,” Saul replied. “You’re only a boy, and he’s been a soldier all his life.”

34 But David told him:

Your Majesty, I take care of my father’s sheep. And when one of them is dragged off by a lion or a bear, 35 I go after it and beat the wild animal until it lets the sheep go. If the wild animal turns and attacks me, I grab it by the throat and kill it.

36 Sir, I have killed lions and bears that way, and I can kill this worthless Philistine. He shouldn’t have made fun of the army of the living God! 37 The Lord has rescued me from the claws of lions and bears, and he will keep me safe from the hands of this Philistine.

“All right,” Saul answered, “go ahead and fight him. And I hope the Lord will help you.”

38 Saul had his own military clothes and armour put on David, and he gave David a bronze helmet to wear. 39 David strapped on a sword and tried to walk around, but he was not used to wearing those things.

“I can’t move with all this stuff on,” David said. “I’m just not used to it.”

David took off the armour 40 and picked up his shepherd’s stick. He went out to a stream and picked up five smooth rocks and put them in his leather bag. Then with his sling in his hand, he went straight toward Goliath.

David Kills Goliath

41 Goliath came toward David, walking behind the soldier who was carrying his shield. 42 When Goliath saw that David was just a healthy, good-looking boy, he made fun of him. 43 “Do you think I’m a dog?” Goliath asked. “Is that why you’ve come after me with a stick?” He cursed David in the name of the Philistine gods 44 and shouted, “Come on! When I’m finished with you, I’ll feed you to the birds and wild animals!”

45 David answered:

You’ve come out to fight me with a sword and a spear and a dagger. But I’ve come out to fight you in the name of the Lord All-Powerful. He is the God of Israel’s army, and you have insulted him too!

46 Today the Lord will help me defeat you. I’ll knock you down and cut off your head, and I’ll feed the bodies of the other Philistine soldiers to the birds and wild animals. Then the whole world will know that Israel has a real God. 47 Everybody here will see that the Lord doesn’t need swords or spears to save his people. The Lord always wins his battles, and he will help us defeat you.

48 When Goliath started forward, David ran toward him. 49 He put a rock in his sling and swung the sling around by its straps. When he let go of one strap, the rock flew out and hit Goliath on the forehead. It cracked his skull, and he fell facedown on the ground.

They underestimated David and what he could do.  They saw a young boy, he saw himself as a strong and fearless shepherd, able to fight off wild animals from his father’s sheep.  They saw the need for armour, he wanted to do things the way he knew how.  They saw a mighty,  enemy who could not be beaten, he saw just one more attack to be dealt with.  Goliath came to fight with his might and strength, David came in the power of the Lord.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

Again we have a story of someone being overlooked, or tried to fit into the right shaped box – one that others were comfortable with.

  • How often do we stop people doing something really big by persuading them that they can’t do it without even letting them try?
  • How often do we try to make them do what they want to do in the “expected” way, rather than the way they are comfortable with?
  • Are we, by our actions, empowering others to work for God, to do great things?  Or are we weighing them down in ways they are not comfortable with, because it’s the way we are comfortable with?

Imagine what would have happened if David had listened to the people.  No one would have taken Goliath on and his power over them would have continued.  And if he had gone out in the set of armour, “properly” equipped, he would have been defeated and not achieved the freedom from the tyranny of Goliath and the Philistines that he did.

David wasn’t prepared to let Goliath turn them all into cowards, people paralysed by fear and a feeling of inadequacy to act – what about us?

Thank you Lord,

that you take us as the people we are,

with the skills we bring –

you don’t need us to conform to others expectations,

but can use who we are.

Forgive me Lord,

for the times when I have put others off,

stopped them doing something,

persuaded them that they were inadequate,

or doing it the wrong way.

Lord,

use me,

that we are not made cowards of,

but stand in your name.

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