The other day I encountered a truly timely and inspiring take on the Bible story of David and Goliath. I had been reviewing the account in 1 Samuel 17 in the context of courage, and came upon an opportunity for a pun that simply had to be exploited.
Most, if not all, of you are familiar with that amazing moment in the life of Israel’s future-king David as a very young man. He was a shepherd who was now in the service of Israel’s then King Saul during a time of war with the Philistines. As David arrived on the scene, the Philistine champion Goliath, a giant of a man, was taunting Saul’s army: “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 prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.”
David offered to fight Goliath. At first the king was hesitant, but David assured him that the God who had saved him from lion and bear would save him from Goliath, too. David rejected the armour King Saul gave him, and instead picked up five smooth stones from the creek bed.
Goliath mocked David contemptuously. “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the wild animals of the field.”
David responded that the Philistine may come with spear and javelin, but he comes “in the name of the Lord of Hosts.” And approaching Goliath, he placed one of the stones in his sling and slung it, striking him on the forehead, dropping him face down on the ground. Yes, with a stony response the battle was won!
A stony response? Of course, I just had to contact my pun-loving friend Kenny House-Rain, of the Stoney Nakoda community at Morley, for his take on this great story. I noted how David, living in stony country, was able to use what was at hand to defeat the enemy. Did Kenny have a further Stoney response – and in particular, what thoughts did he get from this story for bringing down the evil giants of jealousy, lying and revenge that so threaten our communities?
AHS Indigenous Hospital Liaison for the Canmore General Hospital and a longtime advocate for healthier lifestyles in his own community, Kenny was quick to respond.
“It is said by Jesus, if one hits you on the cheek, turn to him with the other cheek, also. Love your enemies, even those who persecute you. My faith in God and scripture has given me strength and hope to face each day with courage. Despite what their sharp tongues may say, we must have reverence in our hearts and actions. The day will come in Christ's due time when His loving light will shine upon their darkness exposing their evil works.”
Returning to the story of David and Goliath, for Kenny, the “stones” to be used in Christ are not stones of hate and revenge that lead to death, but of love and blessing that lead to true life and hope.
And this calls for its own courage. Thank you, Kenny.
© 2024 Warren Harbeck