David’s story from the bible offers insights on life and war. Despite early prophetic recognition of David’s internal strength, he was always a small, unassuming individual. Early in his life, unlike his seven brothers with political ambitions, David was content serving as a shepherd. The career didn’t pay much, but he found peace and purpose in selfless work. While others spent their time discussing politics, David led his flock through the grassland of Israel. During his tenure as a shepherd, out of necessity, David killed multiple predators threatening the flock.
His weapon of choice was a slingshot. This combat experience, unwittingly, slowly built his confidence as a leader and protector. While David developed as a man and leader, the others fumbled in politics. Their incompetence led to a war that came to the grasslands of Israel. The war threatened everything David loved. During the conflict, King Saul of Israel publicly requested a volunteer to fight the giant Goliath. David assumed other great warriors would volunteer, but as he looked around, there seemed to be no one else willing to answer the call. Even though he was only a shepherd, David was filled with a belief that he could defeat the Giant. And thus, David accepted the Kings call to arms. The seven brothers, appalled at David’s public declaration, all spoke out against him. David’s brothers called him egotistical, narcissistic, and arrogant to deflect from their own shortcomings in courage. They didn’t understand the selfless and necessary endeavor David was undertaking. They didn’t understand David’s higher beliefs. From an external perspective, there is a fine line between ego and courage. But David made a choice to let the power inside him guide his path despite the condemnation from his brothers.
King Saul tried to outfit David in the armor of the modern day. But the armor for the regular soldier was too heavy for David’s small stature. David realized he couldn’t fight the Giant in the manner everyone expected. He rejected the armor and sought battle armed only with a slingshot, intelligence, and courage. When the battle began, despite the perceived inequity, David didn’t hesitate. Unburdened without armor, he sprinted towards the Giant, closed the distance, and slang a rock between the eyes of the Giant. The Giant, with his massive size, quickly fell to the ground. Giants expect to fight by the antiquated rules of the time. But as history demonstrates, hubris leads to destruction.
I can’t say with certainty if this story is true. But in the last two months, this story has continued to find me. I can’t keep ignoring the coincidence. Some people believe the rock was God or that God intervened and guided the rock. But perhaps, God was simply a belief of love inside David from which he drew strength. The strength to stand against the Giant despite the condemnation from his brothers. The strength to fight the Giant in an unconventional manner. The strength to step inside the arena and sprint towards the Giant. The strength to sling a single stone, with full understanding that if misplaced, would lead to certain death.
We all have this power inside US. Have the courage to allow a higher purpose to guide movement down a new path. The path is scary, but you know in your heart it is true. Have the courage to do what is right. Courage involves risks and sacrifices despite the risk of adverse consequences. But evil needs good men to remain obedient. I believe at critical times in man’s history; courage originates from beliefs higher than those espoused on the path of the modern day.