DAVID and GOLIATH Samuel chapters 16-18
David slays Goliath
The story of David and Goliath is not that far removed from many a battle between ordinary men and women in the street battling against the odds to beat Councils up and down the country. You have to find your Council's weakness, such as an unwillingness to be reasonable, or to recognise your human rights.
David was the youngest of the eight sons of Jesse. The family lived in Bethlehem, a few miles south of Jerusalem. David took care of his father's sheep in the pasture fields around Bethlehem. Sometimes wild animals would try to steal and eat the young lambs. David was strong and brave and fought the wild animals to rescue the sheep. Once he killed a lion who was stealing a sheep. Another time he killed a bear that was carrying away a lamb. Living in the fields with the animals in his care had made David strong and fearless.
In the long evenings before the flickering yellow firelight he played his harp and sang songs that he made up as he watched over his sleeping animals. He loved to look at the twinkling stars studded in the dark, deep midnight blue sky overhead. He thought about the greatness of God who had created all things. He knew how he loved his sheep and how he was willing to risk his life to protect them.
During his long nights, playing his harp, singing the songs he made up he often thought and sang about God. He sang about God's love and protection of the people God had created. These people were to God like the sheep were to David. Many of the songs were about God and His love and protection of the people who are the sheep of God's pasture are in the book of Psalms, which means "songs" of praise and gratitude to the great God who created the whole universe and all of the animals and people upon the earth.
David's three oldest brothers were soldiers in the army of King Saul. The country was in a desperate battle against the great armies of the Philistines. The Philistines lived in the country south of David's country, and they had many giants who lived in their country. One of the tallest and strongest of the giants was named Goliath, and Goliath had four brothers who also were giants.
Every day and evening for forty days Goliath would stalk to the cliff of the hill upon which the Philistine armies were camped and call across the valley to the hill where King Saul's army were staying. Goliath yelled, "Choose a man from among you to come fight me. If he can kill me the Philistines will be your servants. If I kill him all of you will become servants of the Philistines." This thundering giant of a man who was 9 and 3/4 feet tall struck fear into the hearts of King Saul's soldiers. Everyone was terrified of fighting this formidable giant.
One day Jesse gathered bread, wheat and cheeses into a sack and said to David, "Take this bundle of food to your brothers on the battlefront so that they may have good country food to eat." When David arrived at King Saul's camp on the hill overlooking the valley below the Philistines' camp on the opposite hill David heard Goliath yelling across the valley to the terrified soldiers of Israel.
David knew that God would help him, so he went before King Saul and said, "I will go against this heathen man who defies the armies of the living God." King Saul answered, "You are not able to go against this Philistine, for you are a young man, and this giant has been a trained soldier all of his life." David replied,"I used to keep my father's sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock I went after it and delivered the lamb from its mouth and killed the lion or bear. The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine."
Since no other soldier was willing to fight the giant Goliath, King Saul decided to allow David to fight the giant. King Saul took off his heavy iron coat and helmet and dressed David in them. But the armour was too heavy for David. He took off the armour and carried with him only his sling. He stooped at the brook in the valley and gathered five smooth brookstones and placed them in his shepherd's pouch.
The giant Goliath cursed David by his heathen gods and shouted, "Am I a dog that you come against me with sticks?" Breathing a quick prayer David placed one of the smooth stones in his sling, drew back his hand and slung the stone quickly straight into the forehead of the giant, dinting his brow deeply. The giant fell face down onto the ground. David quickly ran to his form, grasped the giant's sword from its sheath, stabbed the giant with the sword and then cut off the giant's head.
All of the Philistine soldiers ran away in a panic, the soldiers of King Saul chasing them. After all of the Philistines had fled the soldiers plundered their tents, carrying away all of the valuable belongings that the Philistines had left behind. Once again God had come to the rescue of His people, caring for them like a shepherd caring for his beloved sheep.
The people in the towns nearby shouted, danced and sang for joy because of David's victory over Goliath. The women made up songs that said, "King Saul has killed thousand, but David has killed ten thousands." After King Saul died the people made David their king. From David's line of children and grandchildren Jesus Christ was born many years later. David is remembered most of all, not just that he killed the giant Goliath with a sling and stone, but because Jesus was known not only as the Son of God but also as the "Son of David".
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