Friday, February 18, 2011

Slaying Giants - Entry 12

My pattern, in these posts, has been to place the passage in reference at the front of the article followed by a small reflection. Today, as I read the passage below, a number of things struck me. Therefore, I will make a few comments and encourage the reader to think about them as they read the passage that follows.

The reality of that which is recorded here is quite shocking. It is not likely that a graphic portrayal prepared by a good moviemaker would be played during the Sunday morning service of most churches. This is extremely aggressive behavior on the part of “ruddy…handsome” David. Not condoning physical violence of this sort and understanding that this is an account of wartime behavior (though David was not a soldier), the type of conviction it takes to proceed in this manner is commendable. Again, I emphasize, this is very aggressive behavior. The focus of this series is the ideological battle we face in our culture as representatives of Biblical Christianity. Do we commonly see, or even support, the type of intensity represented in this passage as we face the ideological giants that destroy nations? I recently read a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. that read, “Justice at its best...is love correcting everything that stands against love.” A concern, still vague and not totally formulated, that I have about the spirit of postmodernity is that, though there are legitimate features, as in all such “movements”, there is a tendency to weaken conviction in the proponent thereof. It has been said that the problem with a half-truth is that most people get hold of the wrong half. Pluralism and relativism, in the name of love, embraces that which destroys love. What do we stand for? What is truly worth living for? For what are you willing to die? Have we become so homogenized that we can no longer identify what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is evil? Can we even distinguish and identify the giants we are to battle?

"(David) took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine. Then the Philistine came on and approached David, with the shield-bearer in front of him. When the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, and ruddy, with a handsome appearance. And the Philistine said to David, 'Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?' And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. The Philistine also said to David, 'Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.' Then David said to the Philistine, 'You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.' Then it happened when the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground. Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David’s hand. Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. And the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted and pursued the Philistines as far as the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the slain Philistines lay along the way to Shaaraim, even to Gath and Ekron. And the sons of Israel returned from chasing the Philistines and plundered their camps. Then David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his weapons in his tent. Now when Saul saw David going out against the Philistine, he said to Abner the commander of the army, 'Abner, whose son is this young man?' And Abner said, 'By your life, O king, I do not know.' And the king said, 'You inquire whose son the youth is.' So when David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the Philistine’s head in his hand. And Saul said to him, 'Whose son are you, young man?' And David answered, 'I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.'"

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