1 Samuel 17:32-49
June 6, 2021
There will be a Potluck Fish Fry at Waveland UMC at 5:30pm – bring a chair, dish, and friends!
For representation at Annual Conference – report coming soon
The UMW of Paris UMC are hosting a breakfast in honor of Pastor Judy’s Ordination on Sunday morning, June 6th before worship.
Sign up grades 3yr to 6th grade /youth helpers for Mon- Fri June 21 – 25
Paris UMC will have a Trustees meeting in person on June 7th at 6:30 pm.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”.
1 Samuel 17: 32 – 49
This week we will be putting on the Breastplate of Justice.
Here are some questions about that. First – what does justice mean? Second, why justice with this story? And finally, why do we need a breastplate and where do we get one?
In putting on the belt of truth last week we learned that truth is belief and what we believe matters. It shapes our life – our actions and refusing to act. This week we look at how that truth shapes our actions regarding justice.
When you think of justice, what comes to mind?
Turns out there are many options. Most are familiar to you.
There is economic justice – how stuff is distributed or not, criminal justice – how punishment is given or not, and restorative justice – making a wrong right.
The sign language for justice looks somewhat like a balancing scale. In each of these things, it seems we are putting things in balance, yet not everyone sees justice as dealing with equality.
Some see that justice is not treating everyone the same, because not everyone has the same needs. So there are some who are more concerned with need based justice. Buy meals for those who are hungry, healthcare for those who are sick, housing for those who are homeless. Help those who cannot help themselves.
Others feel justice should be based on merit. Given to those who work hard.
Think about athletes who are paid according to their abilities – even though part of a team.
When we study scripture we see that God is concerned with justice in many ways. So maybe we need to think about what we think about justice, and how it protects or helps us, or maybe how we can be involved in justice to help others.
What issues of justice affect you personally? I was ordained last week. That has not been a right according to people for that long, even though God created and called me just as God calls others. I was able to vote at the last election, but that has not been a right for as long as others. I am just as qualified – maybe more so than many male or younger collegues – how does my gender or age affect my being paid to do the same job – even though I may do it even better than those who are paid more than I am paid?
These are all justice issues and I guess the bottom line for thinking about justice is thinking about what is right, and what is fair.
So we need to let God show us how to help those things happen, and many others! We need to let God guide us in our battles to defeat the giants that oppress us.
That is what is going on in this story. Or at least part of it.
I think the other part is that we always assume that Goliath is the obvious winner here and that he and David are not equal opponents. Here is why:
Goliath is no stranger to battles. Israelites and Philistines have been at it for years And they find themselves now about 15 miles outside of Bethlehem with this obvious star soldier in all of his finery out there shouting for a one on one match. Not common, but not unheard of. He is all but speaking Saul’s name. You see as the KING, and the largest of the Israelites (Saul was over six feet tall while most of the men were under five feet) it seems Saul would be the obvious choice. Besides, he was also well equipped with his own armor.
And after all of this taunting, I can almost hear Saul’s armor rattling, echoed by that of his whole army. They have been (Saul has been )avoiding this match-up for forty days now!
Maybe that is why Jesse has pity on his three eldest sons and the other soldiers and takes his youngest out of the sheep field to send him with some food for these hungry soldiers. David is more than willing to go.
When the giant sees David can’t you just hear him taught him with something like nanny nanny boo boo” you can’t beat me. And with a childlike faith and a bit of naivite’ David answers “yes I can” because David knows he has what it takes.
Anyone looking at the situation would see we are not looking at justice here. Things do not seem equal. But maybe they are more than they seem.
Well, obviously we look at Goliath first. I mean – he is quite noticeable.
He is tall. Some say 9ft 9in some say 6ft 9in. he towered over everyone – except just a little above Saul. It is a fact that tall people are more likely to be chosen as leaders, they get more attention and are assumed to be better at almost everything than others.
Goliath has the heaviest armor. 125 lbs. Those with the best are seen as better. Whether armor or jewelry or clothes or cars or computers. Bling matters or so it seems.
He is LOUD. THE MAN JUST CANNOT STOP YELLING. Unfortunately it works – though is extremely harmful. It hurts our ears and our hearts. But that squeaky wheel…or in this case, roaring engine.
AND he has a HUGE EGO. Not only does he see himself as the best, but everyone else seems to be afraid of him too. Having a healthy ego is important, but when you think everything revolves around you, when you think you can beat all the odds, when you think that no one is better than you much less equal, you could be headed for trouble.
Goliath was and did not have a clue.
Goliath seems to be the sure winner. Especially up against little David.
But maybe not so much.
I mean, David was young. And young people are not taken seriously. But then aren’t we all chasing the fountain of youth? Young people are hired over more experienced older folks. They have more energy and can remember where they parked their cars. Wisdom is good, but youth has its qualities too.
He was a lowly shepherd. Not a doctor, lawyer, engineer or even a soldier like his brothers. What is wrong with ranching? It is honest good work. Just like plumbing, carpentry, and thank God for janitors, and CNAs! What in the world would we do without them?
David has skills. He has experience fighting off lions and tigers and bears oh my. Ok – I added the tigers. In hand to hand combat no less. Who wouldn’t let someone who had been through and survived have a chance at a clunky loud mouthed giant? And besides, he might just be seen as expendable. So let’s give him a shot at it. I think of what some of you have been through in your life and I want you to know that those are skills equal to David’s!
But let’s at least have pity on him and give him some armor. So Saul offered his best. Bless his heart.
But David was more comfortable in his own skin. How many times has it been assumed that we need something more than we are or have to succeed?
David may seem to be less than Goliath, but that is not what the story is trying to tell us. There was justice. They were equals.
So how is it that David won the battle? Was it fate, pure luck?
Oh, wait! David had five stones. There are four qualities, but David had one more weapon than Goliath.
And that is what won the battle.
David only needed one stone – one thing that assured that he would win.
It was David’s armor – the name of the LORD Almighty.
That was David’s breastplate of justice.
Maybe we all need one of those. Maybe we all have one. Let’s put it on – cause surely there is a battle for justice to be won in the name of the LORD Almighty.
32 David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”
33 Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”
34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”
Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”
38 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them.
“I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
41 Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. 42 He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. 43 He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!”
45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 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.”
48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.
Continuing prayers for Pat McConnell, Zachary Bull, Bernadine Reed, Carol Hoing, Carolyn Clay, Sandra Bradley, Billy Beatty, Tom Miller, Patsy Miller, Butch Bker, Bernadine Reed, Mabel Serpa, Pat Pruett, Harriet Lee, Jackie and David Rayburn, The Khilling Family, The Monroe Robinson Family.