Saturday, April 26, 2014

Goliath vs. God

David and Goliath 
Ilya Repin, 1915
(A guest blog by J. H. Jowett, a writer I like who happens to be in the public domain.)

The Philistines gathered their armies together for war. They met at Socoh in Judah. Their camp was between Socoh and Azekah, at a town called Ephes Dammim.

Saul and the Israelite soldiers also gathered together. Their camp was in the Valley of Elah. Saul’s soldiers were lined up and ready to fight the Philistines. The Philistines were on one hill. The Israelites were on the other hill. The valley was between them.

The Philistines had a champion fighter named Goliath, who was from Gath. He was over 9 feet tall. Goliath came out of the Philistine camp. He had a bronze helmet on his head. He wore a coat of armor that was made like the scales on a fish. This armor was made of bronze and weighed about 125 pounds. Goliath wore bronze protectors on his legs. He had a bronze javelin tied on his back. The wooden part of his spear was as big as a weaver’s rod. The spear’s blade weighed 15 pounds. Goliath’s helper walked in front of him, carrying Goliath’s shield.

Each day Goliath would come out and shout a challenge to the Israelite soldiers. He would say, “Why are all of your soldiers lined up ready for battle? You are Saul’s servants. I am a Philistine. So choose one man and send him to fight me. If that man kills me, he wins and we Philistines will become your slaves. But if I kill your man, then I win, and you will become our slaves. You will have to serve us.”

The Philistine also said, “Today I stand and make fun of the army of Israel. I dare you to send me one of your men and let us fight.”

Saul and the Israelite soldiers heard what Goliath said, and they were very afraid.

(1st Book of Samuel chapter 17 verses 1 - 11, ERV)

*          *          *

GOLIATH seemed to have everything on his side except God. And the things in which he boasted were just the things in which men are prone to boast to-day.

He had physical strength. “His height was six cubits and a span.” Athletics had done all they could for him, and he was a fine type of animal perfection.

He had splendid military equipment. “A helmet of brass,” and “a coat of mail,” and “a spear like a weaver’s beam!” Surely, if fine material equipment determines combats, the shepherd-lad from the hills of Bethlehem will be annihilated.

And he enjoyed the enthusiastic confidence of the Philistines. He was his nation’s pride and glory! He strode out amid their shouts, and the cheers were like iron in his blood.

But all this counted for nothing, because God was against him.

Men and nations may attain to a fine animalism, their warlike equipment may satisfy the most exacting standard, and yet, with God against them, they shall be as structures woven out of mists, and they shall collapse at the touch of apparent weakness.

The issue was not Goliath versus David, but Goliath versus God!

J. H. Jowett (1863 - 1923)

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