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When a Stoner Becomes a Hero, part 2


Gustave Dore Bible Illustrations 1891


Overcoming Life’s Giants Part 2

“When a Stoner Becomes a Hero”

I Samuel 17: 1-11, 40-58

Terry Harman, D.Min, PhD

Note: All topography photos and photos of Goliath are from hand-crafted props designed and created by Dr. Terry Harman. We receive numerous requests to purchase props. Due to the cost of materials and labor, these biblical props are a work of love and cannot be easily replicated. The depiction of the battleground of the valley of Elah seen in this blog took 180 hours to craft. The depiction of Goliath required several thousand dollars and nearly 700 of work to draft, computer work, carving, painting, attaching hair and much more to complete the project. Depending upon how you want to use the pictures, Jpeg pictures may be available for a donation to the ministry web site. These funds help The Tabernacle Man to continue to create new biblical props for teaching a sight and sound generation.




Introduction

When a stoner becomes a hero the news rapidly spreads across the country. The young man of our story today possessed slinging skills that were second to none! His competition’s name was synonymous with power, fear and destruction. The mere mention of the competitor’s name struck fear in the hearts of many. Yet still, the young stoner challenged this seasoned competitor.


The politically elite, military commanders, as well as the common foot warrior, all believed the odds were against this young slinger. After all, this young man had no military experience. His hand never felt the weight of a sword as it drew blood from an opponent on the battlefield. He’d never stood toe to toe with an enemy in that soul-searching moment where he would be required to take a life.


The young lad was the underdog, a misfit, without a chance of winning. All eyes were upon him. Would his heart grow faint as he listened to the hecklers surrounding him? Would he run in fear or would he stand up to the challenge? That day, even his brother laughed at him. The king made fun of his youth and his enemy called him names and taunted him with religious insults. The day started with him obeying his father’s instructions, “take these loaves of bread and cheese to your brother.” No one knows for sure where he acquired his military skills. We do not know if his father taught him . . . or if work in the back-hill country of Bethlehem honed these abilities, but this we know, on this day he defeated his giant!


“The women sang one to another in their play, and said:

Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”

1 Samuel 18:7


Remember the story of the 12 spies in Numbers 13? If we are caught up in the emotions of the moment, we will believe the lie and rely on the negative report offered by others. Only two, Joshua and Caleb, believed that God had promised Abraham that there would be a “Promised Land” overflowing with milk and honey. The ten fixated on the problem of the land. The two focused on the promise of the land. Caleb “stilled” the people as the ten spies spun their story and stirred up the people.


In order to convince the crowd of how intimidating the inhabitants of Canaan were, the ten spies compared the size of these giants by referencing the size of the people to the Nephilim, a giant-like people before the flood and “the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim,” a giant-like people after the flood. The Israelite community believed the majority’s report. Spreading the bad report had severe consequences for the ten spies.

Interestingly, in Numbers 13:38, the ten spies report the root of their problem, “We were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” The ten spies compared their physical stature with that of what they “saw” in the “giants. From a distance they determined that the inhabitants of the land could not be conquered. The spies forgot The Promise of the Lord and instead relied upon their own physical measurements and calculations and went one step further by assuming the giants were of the same opinion – giants are unbeatable! The land is uninhabitable by God’s people. We cannot seize The Promise.


David and Goliath

The book of 1 Samuel 17 records the story of another giant. This time instead of ten spies feeling intimidated by the size of multiple giants, now the entire army of Saul was struck with fear because of one man named Goliath. The story of David and Goliath is known by many. In popular culture we hear of the “little guy” who singlehandedly take on large corporations, the Goliath’s of the business world. Yet there is much more beneath the surface of this so-called children’s story. Keen insights in understanding life’s battles lay before us. Here’s the problem with this famous story.


The Place of the Battle

Too often, when reading the Bible, and we come to names of people or towns we awkwardly try to pronounce the name, then quickly move on to the rest of the verse. Let’s slow down this time and investigate why it is important to understand the terrain and the topography of the land. We will learn the land reveals why this site was chosen as the place for both armies to set up battle lines. Whoever controls the valley controls the trade and ensures protection and safety for their inhabitants. This small strip of land is key to controlling the entire region.


Now the Philistines gathered their armies to battle, and they were gathered at Socoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammin. And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered, and pitched in the vale of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines.

1 Samuel 17:1-2 JPS 1917


In the biblical narrative, Israel is gridlocked with its enemy. No one has taken a stand against the defiler, that is, until David enters the fight of his life and the fight of his faith. We will learn that the place of this battle will reveal the purpose of this battle and both the place and purpose of this standoff is just as important as the people of this battle.


In the valley of Elah, decision meets destiny. The valley below is no man’s land. There is little to no coverage. And the creek bed is the line of demarcation. Archers from either army could easily take down anyone attempting to cross the valley.

Nation opposed to nation, idea versus ideal, sacred counter to the profane, righteousness contrasted with unrighteousness, young compared to old, seasoned in opposition to amateur and champion against child (1 Samuel 17:33b).

Essentially this battle and this triumph was the one that put David on the map and caused his destiny to be manifest. Shepard versus the sword, sandals, and a sling. If David won this one, he would rise to King. All David had to stand on was his testimony of God’s past favor when he conquered the lion and the bear. A friend of mine pointed out if the mature lion or a bear defeated by young David stood on its hind feat, the height might be seven to nine feet tall. Both the lion and the bear would have towered over the shepherd boy as would Goliath’s shadow.


The battle history associated with the towns mentioned in our story reveal the military importance of maintaining control of the valley of Elah. If you control this area you have an advantage over any other competitor for the valley.


Strategic Importance of Socoh: Military and protection of Jerusalem and the Temple

* Belongs to Tribe of Judah

* 16 miles SW of Jerusalem

* Considerable Natural Strength Position

* Military Stronghold = Fence or Hedge

* Control this area you control the route to Jerusalem

* Temporarily occupied by Philistines at the time of this battle

Strategic Importance of Azekah: Economic and Military

* Belongs to Israel

* Place of victorious and legendary battle of the past

* 5 Amorite kings were defeated in this region

* Azekah was Re-occupied by Jews once they returned from captivity

* Joshua gained his reputation as a leader in a battle

* The name Azekah means “Strength of Walls”

* Know throughout the region as a powerful fortress with fortified walls

* Whoever control this area controls the trade route to Mediterranean Sea - an tremendous economic advantage

* Whoever control Azekah controls the main route to five cities of Philistines


And the Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side; and there was a valley between them.

1 Samuel 17:3 JPS 1917

The Philistine battle line was concentrated at Socoh with their camp in the valley between Azekah and Socoh “at Ephes Dammim,” meaning “boundary of blood.” Saul’s army stood firm on the east side opposite the Philistine camp. The Israelite army may have positioned their force near the top of the slope of the hill. This placement would put the Israelite’s at a strategic advantage while protecting the foot trail that led to Bethlehem. The Philistines were at a disadvantage because each solider would have to cross the creek and then climb the slopes of the hill. The Philistines would be vulnerable crossing an open area of the valley and then fighting uphill.

Furthermore, the military history, often bloody, behind each of the towns mentioned in this story brings to light the possible emotional attachment to this unique piece of real estate. The mere mention of one of these cities or towns would evoke powerful memories in the same way the mention of September 11th does for many Americans today. As we explore this story be prepared to revisit this familiar story with a new set of ears to hear and eyes to see. Militarily, Azekah is a strategic position because it overlooks the Elah Valley. An Army encamped at the point where the valley wiggles and narrows would control all traffic westward toward Gath and eastward toward the Judean range.


The northern land and Jerusalem that lay behind Israel represented previous battles fought and won – their homeland and Temple. The very ground Israel stood on this day was a reminder of the lives lost and the spilled blood of family and friends in previous battles. This hill represented victory. Land that belonged to Israel. The land that lay on the other side of the valley and creek bed was now occupied by the Philistines. The area where the Philistines are now camped represent a strategic victory. Land that once belonged to Judah was now conquered by the Philistines – a reminder of a past failures.


This battle symbolically brought the people of God to a valley where

past victories met present failures !


The People of the Battle: Philistine Background

The Philistines were a formidable force to be reckoned with. This powerful tribal group was fierce, progressive and defiant, known for the wars they raged, and their weapons made of iron. Throughout the Hebrew Bible we read of the many times where the Philistines tried to occupy Israelite settlements. The story of David and Goliath is another story of attempted conquest by the Philistines.


Some Evangelical Christians today liken the conflict between modern day Palestinians and the Israelis is not only like the conquests of the Philistines of old but go as far as to say the Palestinians are descendants of the former Philistines. This writer has not been able to confirm this ancestry. The Philistines were a foreign people. Their reputation for battle was well known. They came from the Mediterranean and Greek Isles and the coast of modern ancient Turkey. Nearly 300 years before our story the Philistines invaded the ancient coastal plains (Mediterranean Sea) of Israel and Egypt.


In this territory the Philistines set up five fortified cities named Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron and Gath the hometown of Goliath. This enabled the Philistines to control all traffic and trade to and from the Mediterranean.


And there went out a champion from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. And he had a helmet of brass upon his head, and he was clad with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a javelin of brass between his shoulders. And the shaft of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron; and his shield-bearer went before him.

1 Samuel 17:4-7 JPS 1917



Goliath – Approximate Body and Armor Calculations


* Height 9 foot 9 inches tall using 18 inches as a cubit

* Weight approximately 450 to 500 lbs.

* Armor 103 to 156 lbs.

* Helmet 15 lbs.

* Javelin made of copper 15 lbs.

* Spear 14 feet long

* Iron spearhead 12 to 18 lbs.

* Total weight of spear 37 lbs.

* Shield 4 feet diameter, weight unknown

* Sword 4 feet long, weight unknown

* Greaves 7.5 lbs. each, 15 lbs. total

* Sandals possible size 22 to 25


Total Weight of All Arms – 210 to 248 lbs.

Total Weight Goliath & Armor - 660 - 748 lbs.




Some doubt the size of Goliath because we don’t know cubit was 18 or 22 inches in

length. Others say no it’s just not possible for someone to be that tall. Regardless of how tall or large Goliath may have been there is a lesson for us. Sometimes in life we encounter the impossible! The situation we face in life may appear to have no solution and no way out. The struggle is giant-sized. Often, our personal giants are a matter of perspective until we reach the side of victory. The point of the story is don’t believe the negative reports of others. Don’t give in to your natural fears. Don’t compromise your faith when all hell breaks loose on you. Stand firm and fight.

Some doubt the size of Goliath because we don’t know cubit was 18 or 22 inches in

length. Others say no it’s just not possible for someone to be that tall. Regardless of how tall or large Goliath may have been there is a lesson for us. Sometimes in life we encounter the impossible! The situation we face in life may appear to have no solution and no way out. The struggle is giant-sized. Often, our personal giants are a matter of perspective until we reach the side of victory. The point of the story is don’t believe the negative reports of others. Don’t give in to your natural fears. Don’t compromise your faith when all hell breaks loose on you. Stand firm and fight.


The Purpose of the Battle


And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them: `Why do ye come out to set your battle in array? Am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? Choose you a man for you and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and kill me, then will we be your servants; but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us.' And the Philistine said: `I do taunt the armies of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.' And when Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.

1 Samuel 17:8-11 JPS 1917

A battle between two warriors to decide which nation is the victor seems odd to the modern reader. Even the battle between two warriors is a very realistic part of the story. Dr. John Bimson states this scenario fits the ancient pattern of “representative combat” in the Middle East between two nations (“Biblical History on Footsteps of Jesus.”).


Each army would select one man to fight one man from the other army. This would avoid major loss of life on both sides. The winner takes all. There is one point we should not overlook in this representative type of combat. Goliath is a warrior. Young David is a shepherd not a warrior!


Goliath was a well-armed, elite warrior who represented the Philistines. This is an important detail that we often overlook. This is not just a battle between a full-grown man and a boy. This is not just a conflict between a seasoned warrior and a shepherd. Whoever steps out and fights Goliath represents more than King Saul and his army. Goliath the famed champion represents more than the Philistines and their army. This story depicts a representative battle between the God of Israel and the god of the Philistines! When David slings the rock, it will be the hand of the one true God that guides the rock. David will only be the vessel that delivers the indictment against the Philistine challenge. This conflict determines which deity will be served!

And the Philistine drew near morning and evening and presented himself forty days.

1 Samuel 17:16 JPS 1917

Notice the tactic of Goliath Every morning and every evening who stands and taunts King Saul and the Israelite army. He does this for forty days. Everyone is afraid, even King Saul. Goliath continually mocks the people and the God of Israel. Why would this Philistine warrior repeat this pattern of morning and evening taunts? What kept both armies from crossing the creek and bringing the battle to the other side? Is there a reason why “representative combat” appealed to both sides? Due to the sloping hills and the twists and turns of the creek bed in the valley of Elah there were few places that gave either side an advantage for hand to hand combat. Both armies were too large to toe to toe in such tight quarters. Once again, the geography of the land may give a partial answer. The valley created a natural bottleneck.


The valley of Elah broadens out at both ends. At one end it opens to the east and at the other end it opens to the west. There is a natural long bottleneck where both armies are positioned between Azekah and Socoh. At the valley near Socoh any movement from warring armies would be restricted. Since the sloping hills on both sides of the valley prevent any alternative access to the ridge that climbs to Bethlehem, the Philistine army would risk certain defeat if they attempted to gain access to this route to invade Bethlehem and eventually Jerusalem. This is the very reason Saul’s army chose this location to do battle with the invaders. King Saul is protecting the very route that leads to his kingdom and the House of the Lord – the Temple in Jerusalem. Strategically placed, the Israelites could stop the Philistines in the bottleneck!



The geographical may explain why this region was chosen for battle. What is the reason for Goliath’s morning and evening insults? Is there another reason behind the fear of Israel? In my opinion Goliath was attempting to interrupt the spiritual lifeline of the Lord’s army. Goliath knew that Temple Life was the key to Israel’s success. The Philistines knew this was a battle between the gods and every morning and evening was also the time of daily prayers and offerings at the Temple back in Jerusalem. If the enemy could interrupt and disturb Israel’s true purpose for guarding this crucial crossroad then Israel would serve the Philistines and the House of God would fall pray to the gods of the Philistines! Any tactic to distract Israel was a tactic worth repeating for forty days.


Let’s jump ahead in the story.

You might want to keep your Bible handy and

re-read the next part of the story found in

1 Samuel 17: 17-58.

David reaches the Israelite camp and hears the shouts and jeers of the famed warrior

champion. He senses the fear within the camp and asks, “What’s going on? Why doesn’t

someone do something about this pagan?”


This is the point in the story where the attention turns to David. Jokingly, the crowd of

soldiers inform him that the king is offering a deal of a lifetime. Anyone who stands up to

the giant and beats him will be greatly rewarded with their taxes cancelled forever and the

royal hand of the king’s daughter in marriage! Whoever meets this challenge will be set for

life.

And the men of Israel said: ‘Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to taunt Israel is he come up; and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father’s house free in Israel.’

1 Samuel 17: 25 JPS 1917


David is not distracted and pursues his questioning which leads him to his brother and the

king. After all, he is not here for reward. He is simply following the instructions of his

father. His brother mocks him, and Saul makes fun of him by placing his personal armor on

the small frame of David. Notice neither King Saul nor David’s brother stepped up to the

plate to challenge Goliath.


When David has heard enough from his peers, he sets out to meet Goliath’s challenge. Sling

shot in hand he makes his way down the slope of the hill into the bottle-necked valley of

Elah. At first glance we may think David is ill prepared without a shield and a sword. But

David’s weapon of choice was not like the child’s sling shot of today. As a shepherd of his father’s flock David had to be prepared to scare away enemies of his sheep. The sling shot was considered a full-fledged weapon in ancient armies. Armies employed slingers ready to hurl projectiles four times as far as a modern sling with deadly accuracy. This advanced weapon was used to gain victory over Goliath and was the beginning of the end of Philistine domination.

Personal Applications

Have you ever felt like your back was against the wall and you were between a rock and a hard place? Have you ever felt like the problems you were facing were so insurmountable that no matter what you did in your own strength, no matter who might help you, the outcome would still be defeat?


During times of spiritual dryness or emotional stress it is easy to become dismayed and focus on the negative report. During these times it feels like the enemy of our soul and serenity is a giant and we are a mere grasshopper. We are tempted to just “cut and run.” We see the biblical tale of David and Goliath and presume there is no way David can win. We assume the shepherd boy will be slaughtered within minutes.


Maybe we should take another look at this story. Is it possible we have missed a few key details? Is it possible that David knows something about Giants in general or does he have specific knowledge of one weakness of this towering warrior? Have we underestimated “little David” the shepherd boy as an ill-equipped young lad who has no business stepping out on to the battlefield?


Before this battle, Jesse the father of David underestimated his youngest son. In 1 Samuel 16 we learn that the prophet Samuel was called of God to go in search for a new leader for Israel. King Saul fell from the favor of God due to his behavior. The old prophet was instructed to travel to the house of Jesse the Bethlehemite. The elders of the city came out to meet Samuel and were afraid he was there with a bad report. Quite the opposite. He was on a mission to anoint the next King of Israel! Samuel invited the elders to join him at Jesse’s home. But the family had doubts.


The Father Had Doubts

1 Samuel 16: 5 – 13 JPS 1917

And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and called them to the sacrifice. And it came to pass, when they were come, that he beheld Eliab, and said: ‘surely the LORD’S anointed is before Him.’ But the LORD said unto Samuel: ‘Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have rejected him; for it is not as man seeth: for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.’ Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said: ‘Neither hath the LORD chosen this.’ Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. And he said: ‘Neither hath the LORD chosen this.’ And Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse: ‘The LORD hath not chosen these.’ And Samuel said unto Jesse: ‘Are here all thy children?’ And he said: ‘There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep.’ And Samuel said unto Jesse: ‘Send and fetch him; for we will not sit down till he come hither.’ And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of beautiful eyes, and goodly to look upon. And the LORD said: ‘Arise, anoint him; for this is he.’ Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him amid his brethren; and the spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward.

The Older Brother Has Doubts

It appears that David was familiar with being overlooked, passed over and underestimated by his community and his family. Even as David is preparing to meet his greatest challenge his older brother Eliab appears to have either forgotten Samuel’s visit to his home or completely dismissed the anointing of his younger brother. Maybe there was a bit of sibling rivalry! After all, Eliab was passed over! This day we hear these words:


1 Samuel 17: 28-29 JPS 1917

And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spoke unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said: ‘Why art thou come down? And with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy presumptuousness, and the naughtiness of thy heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.’ And David said: ‘What have I now done? Was it not but a word?’


The King Has Doubts

Surely this was the viewpoint of King Saul. No doubt the powerful king smirked as he saw David strapped with the over-sized armor of a full-grown man. I’ve always wondered: “How come the king did not go out to confront the giant?”


Another question? King Saul is the military commander, yet it appears no one was willing to obey his orders to go out and fight the Giant. In fact, as soon as they saw Goliath Saul’s men fled in fear. He offers a bribe of wealth, no taxes and beautiful bride and still no one takes Saul up on his generous offer.


When the news of David’s persistence made its way back to the king, he summons David to his tent. The king did not take David seriously. But David was serious and entered the king’s quarters. No doubt as soon as he laid eyes on David the king decided to have a little fun with the boy and tease him.


1 Samuel 17: 38-39 JPS 1917

And Saul clad David with his apparel, and he put a helmet of brass upon his head, and he clad him with a coat of mail. And David girded his sword upon his apparel, and he essayed to go, [but could not]; for he had not tried it. And David said unto Saul: ‘I cannot go with these; for I have not tried them.’ And David put them off him.


Goliath Has Doubts

It appears from a casual reading of the story that Goliath did not care who met him in battle that day. He was overconfident that his size and reputation would win the day. In his arrogance he made his way to the creek bed to humiliate the army of Saul and the God of Israel as he had for forty days.


1 Samuel 17: 41-44 JPS 1917

And the Philistine came nearer and nearer unto David; and the man that bore the shield went before him. And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and withal of a fair countenance. And the Philistine said unto David: ‘Am I a dog that thou comest to me with staves?’ And the Philistine cursed David by his god. And the Philistine said to David: ‘Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.’


Take a closer look at verse forty-two. The very reason Goliath disdained David was the very reason why God chose David and commanded the Prophet Samuel to anoint him at his father’s house. David was “but a youth, and ruddy, and withal of fair countenance.” Goliath made the mistake we sometimes make when choosing a leader. We are attracted to the tall man with the booming voice and presence. We look at the outward appearance while God looks at the intention of the heart.


David’s Has No Doubt

What was David’s secret? What strategy did he employ against the giant of his day? Is there any tactic that David used to defeat Goliath that we might employ to defeat life’s enemies today? Yes, there’s one specific strategy or tactic that is just as relevant today as it was in the time of David. The key is found in 1 Samuel 17:45.


“David said to the Philistine, “You came against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the Name of the Lord Almighty.”


David set out that day to just obey his father by taking food to his brothers on the battle lines. It would be quite a hike to reach the front lines, but he was young and used to navigating narrow pathways, hills and valleys. David’s struggle was not the terrain.

David’s struggle wasn’t with Goliath alone. David’s additional dilemmas would be with how he was perceived by his family and the highest levels of government. Let’s recap the challenges young David faced that day from his arch enemy Goliath, his older brother, the Israelites and King Saul.


David’s older brother made fun of him and basically called him a “little shrimp” not only because he was the youngest of all the brothers but most likely because David was small in stature. Sorry, I know shrimp is not kosher, but the name calling best describes the insult his brother cast at him that day. Compared to Goliath any teenager would look like a little shrimp. King Saul not only represented the government, he was also the general of the Israelite army. The king made fun of the inexperienced shepherd by placing his adult armor on to the young lad. Naturally the armor would be too heavy and ill-fitting.


David stayed true to his assignment from his father. Even though danger would meet him along the way, he did not back down or run from his assignment. He stayed true to his father’s wishes. How did David win the battle that day? Verses forty-one, forty-seven and eight compare David’s winning strategy against the failed strategies of others.


Saul’s Strategy

The Israelite army under the command of King Saul stood that day trusting in their own human strength, past victories and military tactics. After all, they were the soldiers of Saul. The outcome? At first sight of Goliath the Israelites were filled with fear and hid!


Goliath’s Strategy

Goliath stood upon his prideful reputation (v. 41) as an unbeaten warrior, second to none, whose mere size brought fear into the hearts of Philistine and Israelite alike. Goliath employed two primary tactics. First, and foremost his enduring reputation. Second, his continual display of his irreverence toward the God of Israel every morning and evening. His plan was to interrupt the morning and evening prayers of the people of God. Goliath was the soldier of reputation. The outcome? Goliath was taken down and died by his own sword (v. 48).


David’s Strategy

David, the shepherd boy, was not a soldier of Saul nor a soldier of reputation. David was a “soldier of the Lord” (v. 47). His tactic? David trusted the Lord for his victory that day.

He became emboldened for the Lord and used the basic skills he learned protecting his father’s sheep. The outcome? This young stoner became a national hero.


Lessons Learned

Most people, even those who would not consider themselves biblically literate know this story and refer to it as the story of “David and Goliath.” Think about it. If the young shepherd boy had disobeyed his father and decided not to bring the cheese and the bread to his brothers on the battle line, we may never have heard of the battle won that day. Had young David made a few seemingly insignificant decisions, in a different way, this fight may have become the story of “Goliath vs David” rather than “David vs Goliath” with David being the loser. David’s preparation for his role as the King of Israel began when he listened to his father’s directions to bring bread to his brothers.


David’s destiny was changed forever because he obeyed his father

and followed through on what appeared to be a simple task.


David was considered too young to join the battle. David’s older brothers were selected for this national emergency. He was left behind at home to tend his father’s flock. When he inquired how he might serve the King and his country several people turned against him. His government, his family and other battle-ready soldiers of Saul took the opportunity to discourage him. Even Goliath from another land and another people saw David’s presence as an opportunity to consider David nothing more than a joke!


Yes, the small-framed David looked foolish when Saul placed adult armor on the shepherd boy. Yes, to his brother and the army of Saul David looked ill prepared for a fight with a giant. But a conviction deep down inside of David rose forth to decide not to fight the way a king or general or how a battle hardened solider would fight.


David came in the name of the Lord.

David may have come to a sword fight with a rock. David may have stepped up with a sling and a rock, but he left with a sword! David had a battle thrust upon him without notice or preparation. But he left this valley of darkness with a life lesson, a story of praise and a testimony of God’s deliverance.


David came with a sling and left with a sword.

David travelled through to the other side of this valley when others were paralyzed by their fear and the stories told of this giant named Goliath. What was David’s secret? Where did his faith come from? David brought the same God to this valley as he did with the valley of the lion and the valley of the bear.


David came with sneers and left with shouts.

The sword that was supposed to kill David was the same sword that later would remind him of victory. This would not be David’s last battle. Later, when David was on the run from Saul who wanted to kill him (1 Samuel chapters 21-23). David saw that sword again. At Shiloh, the priest returned the sword of Goliath back to David as a reminder of a battle once fought and the victory won (1 Samuel 21:7-9).


David sought refuge in the house of the Lord.


“No weapon formed against you shall succeed. And every tongue that contends with you at law you shall defeat. Such is the lot of the servants of the Lord. Such their triumph through Me – declares the Lord.”

Isaiah 54:17 JPS


8' x 5' Model of the Tabernacle of Moses - The Tabernacle Man


In a future lesson you will see the prop I built of Goliath, his armor and my hand-made 3-D version of what the valley of Elah may have looked like at the time of David and Goliath. In the next blog I will illustrate how Goliath and the battle scene were made into props.



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