Goliath! The huge, intimidating Philistine of the Old Testament (1st Samuel chapter 16). Feared and hated in equal measure by the people of Israel. So famously – and infamously – defeated by the young shepherd boy with his slingshot.
Even today we talk about a “David and Goliath” situation when, for instance, an individual takes on a multinational company in the law courts.
The story of Goliath was the topic at this month’s Messy Church at St Andrew’s. I had been copied into the emails in the previous couple of weeks – where could we obtain uniformly sized cardboard boxes? would we have enough cardboard tubes? what about tinfoil? glue? and so on. Goliath was a big man – a large amount of material would be required to make him.
And the following day – Sunday – there he stood, in the chancel, in all his magnificence. As the Israelites would have seen him – a frightening figure, well armoured, “tooled up” as we might say today. Well worth those hours of scouting around for suitably sized boxes and collecting all the other craft materials required to create such a giant.
I wasn’t able to take part in Saturday’s Messy Church, but I hope that those attending got the message, which is not so much about going to war as about trust in the Lord. David said to King Saul who, not surprisingly, was doubtful that this young man could successfully rid them of the Philistine thorn in his flesh: “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of the Philistine.”
And, as he faces Goliath, who is even more scathing of David’s potential than King Saul, David declares: “All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
It is our faith which keeps us going day by day. Even when we are not facing a life or death situation.
It is our faith that powers the worship, work and witness in our two churches.
It is by faith that someone will be led here to be the new minister.