Picture the drama. “The Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side.”
Enter Goliath. “There came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits…”
Six cubits?! Well, these days that’s about 8 feet, 10 inches (2.7 metres). A giant just walked on stage.
The narrator says, “He had a helmet of bronze …and was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze.”
He was armed to the hilt. Just his coat weighed about 100 pounds (45 kg)! Talk about Heavy Metal. So he’s big and he’s strong.
And then the giant begins his taunt: “He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, ‘Why have you come out to draw up for battle?’”
In other words “You really shouldn’t have bothered getting out of bed. I’m going to kill you.”
“Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants; but if I kill him, then you shall be our servants.”
Goliath lays down the challenge. In short: let’s save time, if one of your men can kill me, game over, you win. Of course, the odds are not worth betting on. Goliath has never lost.
When I was younger we used to play soccer in the park. Noone ever wanted to go in goals. “I have a bad back. It’s not my position. I went in goals last year.” It’s remarkable how quickly young men develop excuses. You can bet there were a few on that day.
But then Goliath raises the stakes further, his outspoken pride unwittingly sealing his fate. “…I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.”
I defy! Another translation of the word is “blaspheme.” Yes he is taunting Israel. To defy Israel, however, is to defy Israel’s God. But make no mistake, it is no small thing to defy the living God.
So what happens as these words fall on the ears of the King? What happens
as Israel hears these words?
Guess what. They start to be afraid. Really afraid. Earlier in the same book it talks about the men of Israel fearfully hiding in caves. You can imagine them having a hard look at the map to the caves again. “For forty days the Philistine came forward and took his stand, morning and evening.”
Day after day, no one even tried to fight. Deeply Afraid. Shrinking soldiers. Impotent Israel. No one will fight. Nothing can be done. There is no hope… Or is there?
(c) copyright 2009 The Sword of the Spirit
publishing address: Park Royal Business Centre, 9-17 Park Royal Road, Suite 108, London NW10 7LQ, United Kingdom