Friday, June 2, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - June 2, 2017

Today's Reading:

Romans 8

1 Samuel 17:1-54

Psalm 62

Listen to the Bible







Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

The story of David and Goliath, found in 1 Samuel 17 is one of my all-time favorite Bible stories. As a child, when my mother would ask me which story I wanted to hear before bedtime, over-and-over I'd ask for the story of David and Goliath. To this day, I love this story.

Can you imagine the setup of this story? David is young - not
a soldier of Israel - just a teenager. He is at home tending sheep until his father asks him to go out and check on his older brothers. David finds them - and all the army of Israel - hiding in terror. What has them so fearful? Every day a giant comes out to challenge Israel. 

He was six cubits and a span in height. In modern measurements that 9' 6" (2.9 meters) tall! And Goliath wasn't just tall, he was ripped (muscular) and strong. We may know this because the Bible tells us he was a warrior of the Philistines. 

As we have seen, Goliath was 6 cubits and a span (a little less than 3 meters or 9'6") or 4 cubits and a span (2.1 meters or 6'9"). When calculating weight (for muscular or stocky people) you take their height in feet and cube it, which would put Goliath's weight at around 860 lbs.

Let's take a moment to consider his armor and weaponry. His copper coat of mail weighed 5,000 shekels, which is 126 pounds (57 kg). The iron blade of his spear weighed 600 shekels, which is 15 pounds (6.8 kg). This means that in his full battle gear described in the Bible, he could have been as much as 1/2 a ton in armor! In other words, Goliath was a veritable tank in 1000 BC!

Goliath's daily challenge was simple and fearsome: Israel's best (and bravest) warrior was to be sent out to fight him. The outcome of the duel would be epic without mass carnage. The winner of the duel was the winner of his nation. The kingdom of the loser must surrender to the winner. No blood would be shed other than that of the two warriors - Goliath and his Israelite opponent.

But there was no Israelite opponent to be found. No one would fight him. Every day when Goliath came out into the valley and shouted his challenge, the warriors of Israel cowered in their tents. Even king Saul's promise of riches and the hand of the princess in marriage couldn't entice a single Israelite warrior to rise to the challenge. The warriors of Israel weren't chicken. They were just being human. And a king's ransom is worthless, if you're too dead to collect it.

Now David could fight. In fact, he was quite skilled with a sling. One internet source notes the power of the sling: Projectiles can be slung over 1500 feet (450m) at speeds exceeding 250 miles per hour (400 kph) as well as noting that it could be used with tremendous accuracy.

But David didn't see Goliath from human eyes alone. What David saw was the disgrace to the mighty Name of God that this unmet challenge was causing. David was tough - he'd killed a lion and a bear, while defending his father's sheep. But David wasn't relying on his own prowess alone. He had faith that God would help him defeat this giant. 

What David says to Goliath makes one's heart surge with courage and inspiration. He is defending God's Honor! And since the defense of God's Honor is so important to David, he
doesn't tremble in fear like the others. He faces Goliath and expects God's help! And, of course, God is with him! Here's what teenage David said to Goliath:
"Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the Name of Yahweh of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will Yahweh deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcasses of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that Yahweh saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is Yahweh's, and He will give you into our hands."
On February 7, in this blog, I shared the inspirational video of Eric Ludy's "Ancient War Cry". If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend watching it now, to get some of David's faith-filled perspective when facing Giants of our own.

What are you up against today? Bills? Loss? Global Fears? Family Crisis? Those giants are no match for Almighty God! So the next time you find yourself being tempted to hide in your tent, remember Who you serve! Remember your war cry in His Name. And live in such a way "that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel"!