So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David (1 Sam 17:4)

What killed Goliath? It wasn’t the sword. It was the sling and stone. Amazing as it may seem, that was what finished him off. Why then did David cut off his head? It was for Israel’s sake. They needed to see from their lines, that Goliath was truly gone, never to rise again. Conversely David needed to demonstrate conclusively to the Philistines, that their champion was dead! The effect for one side was electrifying. The blow to the other was devastating! 

But here is the question. Why did the writer see it necessary to include this phrase: “But there was no sword in the hand of David” after the giant had been killed? Surely a sword was no longer consequential to the outcome. Why then? Three possible reasons come to mind. The first was to highlight that David finished off Goliath with the latter’s own sword (v 18), a mark of utter disdain for him. It also hinted that though David was a youth he was already a man of strength! The second was to showcase David’s faith and leadership; he never stalled to admire his handiwork - he had expected Goliath to fall! He now moved swiftly to sever the head of the enemy for his people’s sake. But how? He had no sword. So he used Goliath’s!! Amazing nous.

But for me, the third reason is the heart of it all. It was to draw a contrast between God’s ways and the ways of man. God’s way is a stone and sling. Man’s way is the sword. Slings and stones are pretty useless against armoured giants of war. So we think. That’s why when the giants of corruption, religious extremism and racism stalk our land, we instinctively reach for political, legal and media means first. We forget the humble sling-n-stone of prayer. David practiced repeatedly for years in obscurity before the stone flew from his sling. We must similarly prostrate ourselves unseen before God day and night. The recently tabled Hudud amendment bill roars across the land like Goliath’s challenge.  We need to remember: it was not the sword that slayed the giant. It was the stone that did it.

Ps Dr Philip Lyn

Young AdultsComment