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Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Edifier du Jour-1 Samuel 17:40-50(NASB)
40: He 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. 41: Then the Philistine came on and approached David, with the shield-bearer in front of him. 42: When the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, and ruddy, with a handsome appearance. 43: The Philistine said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44: 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." 45: 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. 46: "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, 47: 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." 48: 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. 49: 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. 50: 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.
People sometimes forget the true message of this story, trying to change it to something like "It ain't the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog." No, this was a miracle. David got in a "lucky" shot to Goliath's brain, except "that when it matters, it ain't luck." God doesn't always do his miracles in overtly supernatural ways; a naturalist who took this story at face value could say that David just got a lucky shot in and that the Jews read supernatural overtones into it. Just because it's subtle doesn't mean it wasn't a miracle. However, you can also read this to praise David's skill as a slinger. If we don't get in trouble with God for chalking things up as dumb luck, we can get in trouble by putting too much confidence in our skills. David passed the glory onto God in advance. When we start giving ourselves compliments, remember to pass the praise on to God, for taking too much pride in our skills. I remember the line about the pastor who responded to a parishioner who told him what a good sermon he just gave; "The Devil was telling me that as I came down from the pulpit." When you're tempted to chalk it up to luck or skill, don't forget to give God his props.

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