Following in the footsteps of David – Eilidh’s sermon at this morning’s all-age service

by | Jun 20, 2021 | Events

You can read the story of David and Goliah here.

Eilidh said:

David and Goliath is probably one of the most iconic bible passage with its theme of the underdog taking on the powerful victor and winning.

In Scotland, this week especially, we understand the concept of being the underdog…

What more would we want to say about this story that hasn’t already been said that will encourage us and something that we can take away because for me I think of it as one of those classic children’s Bible stories that I haven’t really ever thought too deeply about.

In ancient times, as in modern times, when fighting a battle there are different groups of people offer different ways of attacking. There is the cavalry, the heavy infantry and the artillery.

Picture David as the artillery. This would be the group of people using archery and slingshots. A slingshot was not a catapult but quite a sophisticated and accurate weapon of a leather pouch and two strings. The pouch would contain a pebble and it would be swung around David’s head a few times every second. One string would be let go and the pebble would shoot out at tremendous speed and with accuracy, especially as David had been using a slingshot for a long time in the hills as a shepherd. It is how he defended his sheep. Slingers were often the decisive factor in a battle. This is not a naive shepherd boy who just happened to have a toy catapult in his back pocket and a couple of stones.

Goliath, on the other hand was heavy infantry. He was covered in armour. He called on the Israelites to send their best warrior who would most likely also be in heavy armour for the presumption would be that they would fight hand to hand. That may explain why Saul had David wear his armour. Heavy infantry met heavy infantry. But more than that, Goliath had to be led out into the battlefield by an attendant. He was heavy and unable to move easily. His weaponry would only be useful in close combat and useless against the accuracy, speed and lightness of a slingshot. When you think about the confrontation this way, it was always unlikely David would lose. Goliath was a sitting duck.

The Bible also mentions how slowly Goliath moves. Mighty warrior indeed! There is something quite lumbering about this greatest warrior of the Ancient Near East. I picture a kind of mean Hagrid looking person, massive, broad shoulder, lumbering. Goliath is not prepared for David. David is coming towards him, clearly not about to engage in hand-to-hand combat but Goliath does not quite see that, nor was he dressed in a manner that would enable him to avoid David’s stones. His lack of mobility was a fatal weakness in this situation. David has the initiative.

The passage states the major size difference and the skill difference between David and Goliath. Goliath was strong at battle and combat but David had the skill and accuracy. David trusted that God would give him the victory and that going to battle was the right thing to do. Despite being the underdog.

I have always been short. I doubt now that’s going to change, when my little brothers both grew taller than me, I accepted that this was just going to be my life and I’ve faced some Goliaths.

Everybody in their lifetime comes up against Goliaths, we have to face difficult, scary, troubling, challenging times. I tried to think of Goliaths across the life; school bullies, Corona Virus, work conflicts, difficult relationships, tricky decisions, exams, interviews. Every day we face different challenges and we have to face up against them. We walk up to them like David walking up to Goliath. We can feel like the underdog.

David however, came prepared. Not with armour, not with stature, not with strength of body but with 5 stones and his faith in God.

It is difficult to have the courage to stand up and speak out on any given issue/problem but we need the confidence to do it; we need to prepare and trust God is with us. 5 stones and I have 5 thoughts.

Courage David had courage to face the giant. We need to have the courage to face our giants. When we feel like the underdog, we can pray and ask for courage.

Confidence: David had confidence in his ability to use the sling effectively. He had confidence that God was with him. David was offered armour by Saul, he tried it on but he said “I cannot go in these,” “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. He just took his sling and his stones which is what he knew. We can have confidence in our abilities, we’re allowed to do that. Confidence in our strengths and confidence that God has promised to be with us. We have gifts given to us by God and we can have confidence to use them against our giants.

Preparation: David had prepared well by going to the river to get the five smooth stones. God had prepared David for this moment he had fought of lions and bears with his sling when he was looking after his sheep. How can we prepare to face our goliaths in life? We can pray and we can know our Bible. Something that has come through in many of the interviews we have had a Nitelife in the last few months is the importance in knowing your Bible. Having verses at hand to be able to use in situations, memorising scripture is so useful when you come across situations that are difficult, having the word of God engrained into your memory is preparation like nothing else.

Trust: David trusted God was with him. We can trust that God is with us all the time. I remember when I was in Girls Brigade in Brigaders we did a series on the Promises of God. The Bible has more than 7,000 promises (7487 to be exact apparently according to Google) but it has more than 7000 promises from God to you — promises of success, confidence, health, prosperity, strength, wisdom, and more. Why does God make these promises? Because he wants you to learn to trust him.

The final stone represents Victory: the victory was David’s but also God’s victory. Our wins are Gods wins. We need to remember to thank God in the good times and not only call out to him in the bad. God is with all the time and gives us the courage, the confidence, the means to prepare so that we will trust him and we can victory over the goliaths in our lives.

If we can remember these five words for the stones, they can help us facing the difficulties of every day life.

Courage, confidence, preparation, trust and victory.