David and Goliath at Family Worship at St Mary’s Easton by Tim Clapp

The story of the Sword and the wool

Today Tim led us in a spectacular retelling of the David and Goliath story from the Bible. We learned what a nine foot man looked like after measuring Maximilian standing on the top of a ladder.  The sword was made by our very own swordsmith Kevin Rosewell!

And also what a slingshot made out of wool would look like – here is Tim demonstrating it

and how David was able to fell Goliath with a few stones from the river bank.  Tim showed us how it worked with what we thought was an egg but turned out to be a marshmallow hurtling across the church.

Tim’s talk:

My family knows that one of my favourite TV programs is Gold rush – the story of gold prospectors in Alaska.  It is generally lots of big machines digging up lots of soil trying to find gold.  What I have learnt is that these gold diggers are always looking for the “Mother load” which they never seem to find and I can only assume it is a vast deposit of gold – something that they have never seen before.  I always feel very privileges to do these talks as they give me the opportunity to really dig into the scriptures and what I can tell you is the story of David really is like the bibles comparison of the “Mother load”!  You see the story of David is a massively rich resource that I have been able to glean so much but I can only hope to scratch the surface to day but pray that we can learn a little, have some fun and understand more about God.  But I really need 20 weeks of sermons to cover David, not 20 minutes!

David and Goliath is one of the best known stories in the bible but the question I ask today is how well do we really know about it?  Two men – one a warrior and one a shepherd that go into battle!

So let’s understand a little more on the men involved:

Firstly Goliath – Goliath was a huge man, in fact he was 9ft 9 inches tall, so tall you could call him a giant!  Ah yes but you say there are no Giants in the bible!  “Not so” say I because in the King James version there are 19 references of Giants!  Of course all good stories include a Giant but we have a real here. 2 Samuel 21 refers to Giants that came from the town of Gath.  Gath was where Goliath lived and it was one of the main Phillistine towns.  Goliath had been trained to be a warrior since he was a young boy and he came to battle fully prepared – he had a bronze helmet, a big spear and armour that weighed nearly 60 kilograms. He also had a shield that he needed somebody to carry that for him and of course his sword.  Now his sword was something special – David describes it in 1 Samuel 21 as “there is no sword like it”.  And in fact late when David became King he went on to keep it for himself, so it must have been something special.  Here he was the equivalent of a modern day battle tank!

So a huge man, prepared for battle with all the weaponry and armour a man could have.  He was scary and the Israelites were afraid of him!

So let’s consider David.  David was the son of a shepherd.  In fact he was the youngest son of a shepherd. David was the son of Jesse and you could argue he had a fairly questionable ancestry.  But do you know this is something that is repeated time and again within the bible – God chooses the underdog, the cast outs as his special people.  Names such as Gideon, Joseph the carpenter, Moses, Saul – just a few to consider.  In fact Gideon says this “but how can I save Israel? my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family”

So God often doesn’t choose the rich, famous or influential – so why is this? 

Well the first time we meet David in the bible – God explains this clearly.  In 1 Samuel 16 vs 7 God Samuel goes to Jesse to anoint one of his sons to become the future King.  God says this to Samuel about Davids older brother “do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”  God looks at our hearts, he doesn’t care how tall we are, how pretty we are, how talented we are, how rich we are.  He cares about our hearts and what is in them.  But what does that mean?  Well he chose David because of his heart so he is a great place to start to learn a bit more!

So David wasn’t a trained warrior, he didn’t have any armour, no spear, no sword and actually he comes to the battle to see his brothers to visit them.  So what does he see?  He sees Goliath shouting his challenges at the Israelites and the Israelites doing nothing, nobody taking responsibility – nobody doing anything to challenge this Giant.  In fact whenever they saw him they ran away!

So this is all a bit puzzling to David and he asks them all what the plan was – who was this Goliath that he dare to stand up to them.  Now this to davids brothers this was very annoying – who has an annoying little brother or sister – well that is how they felt.  He was being embarrassing and they told him to go back to tending his sheep.  But oh no David didn’t do that he piped up and said he would challenge Goliath – imagine how they felt then!

So David went to see King Saul and said he would fight Goliath.  Of course Saul didn’t take him seriously – he was just a boy of course but then David stated his case.  He had two key things to say:

Firstly he had fought against Lions and Bears that had attacked his sheep and killed them and secondly he had a heart for God.  He knew God would protect him like he had done against the Lions and Bears.

Some of you may remember the Crocodile Dundee films. Well in CD 2 nugget says to the bad guy “I don’t need a gun, I’ve got a Donk”. Donk then flattens the baddie with one punch.  Well this was the same for David, he knew he had God beside him who would easily deal with Goliath.

So Saul gave him his armour which of course was too heavy for David.  David knew he had the greatest weapon – God.  Remember God loves the underdog.  David didn’t need the spear, sword, armour or shield, he just needed Gods help and his sling.

Now let me tell you about a sling or slingshot.  They could be made out of leather or as the one I made – out of wool.  I think a shepherd could easily have made is out of his sheep’s wool.  David would have used one to protect his flock and would have been a good shot with it.  In fact the stone would have gone out of the sling at over 100 miles an hour. 

So we know the story – David hit Goliath who then fell to the ground and David then grabbed his sword and chopped his head off.

But what can we learn from this?

Well what would you choose to have a battle with?  A big sword or a piece of wool?

Well many would choose the sword but wool can be woven into a sling which we see here makes a far more effective weapon.  And this woven wool is like the love of god when it is woven into our hearts.  We go from the equivalent of a useless piece of wool to a powerful instrument that God can use.

You see what Goliath didn’t realise was he wasn’t just fighting David, God stood beside David and that was a very different battle.  Goliath may have been a Giant but he was mearly a small ant to God that could easily be squished.

Remember God chose David because of his heart.  David had woven Gods love into his heart and that is why God chose him.  David went on to do many great things but he also went on to do some bad things as well but he always loved God, he asked him what to do, praised him but also said sorry when he was bad.  In Psalm 51 is a fantastic part of scripture to go and read and understand his repentance

So to finish I want to read from 1 Corinthians 13 – Paul says this:

So in summary we need to examine our own hearts today, do we really have God’s love woven into our hearts, do we have the faith of David to know that God will support us against our own Goliaths or are we happier to put our trust in our own worldly armour.

Tim Clapp

How to make a woollen sling shot

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