Anglican Morning Devotion for 5 July 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5 And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. 6 And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. 7 And the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him. “ (1 Sam 17:3-7; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
We have all faced our giants across our lifetimes. My first encounter with a giant was my entry into elementary school at age of six. My older sister had warned me if I acted in any manner as I did at home, I would be disciplined daily by a sadistic paddle-wielding teacher. I was shaking in my boots as I walked from my mom’s car to the door of the school where my 1st-grade teacher, Mrs. Dorothy Painter, awaited my becoming her hostage. I reluctantly walked up to the front steps of the school and Mrs. Painter came down smiling and gave me a big hug, welcoming me to my first day of school. I thought that must have been a gesture to ease my watching mother’s conscience for jeopardizing her son’s life to the care of a tyrant. But Mrs. Painter, still living to this day in Dalton, Georgia turned out to be a kind and loving soul who reinforced the teaching of my parents to love God, country, and justice. She led us in prayer each morning, the Pledge of Allegiance, a Psalm reading, and one verse of America the Beautiful. One giant down, and others to follow. So far, I have not run into any giants that were invincible – only in my imagination.
“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9a) The hosts of the Children of Israel were arrayed in order of battle in the Valley of Elah to face the formidable forces of the Philistines opposite the valley between. Though there was a natural fear in the hearts of the Israelites for that enemy, it was not lessened by the threatening presence of a mighty man of war in the form of the giant, Goliath. They lacked the courage and conviction of men whose hearts should have been convinced of the power of their God (an Invisible Giant) to gain the victory. But there was one who came among them, David – a lad of tender years, who did, indeed, have that courage. His courage was not born of a personal confidence in his own might, but that of the Lord to be the sword and buckler of all who place their faith and trust in His mighty arm to save.
When King Saul was told of the willingness of David to confront the giant whom no other man dared face, David told the King, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:32) In spite of all supplications to wear suitable armor, David declined. All he, and the Lord, needed was a sling and five smooth stones, but no protective armor other than that shield of the Lord.
“And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:40) The appearance of a nearly unarmed child coming out of the line of battle to face a giant must have been almost comical to Goliath. “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases 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.” (1 Samuel 17:45-46)
David did not modestly approach the giant. “And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine .” (1 Samuel 17:48) The courageous man RUNS to meet the enemy – he does not fearfully trudge ahead. David removed one of the smooth stones and sent it hurdling to the forehead of Goliath who fell forward on his face. David then took the giant’s sword and beheaded him. All David needed was faith – the stone’s trajectory was guided by the Unseen Hand of God. Why do we, brothers and sisters of the Cross, cower in our trenches before the onslaught of oppressive governments and ungodly leaders. Let us take on the armor of God and face the giants before us.