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Posts Tagged ‘1 Samuel 17’

Coming upon the story of David and Goliath in our study of 1 and 2nd Samuel, I was reminded of my recent visit to Tel Azeka in Israel.

Tel Azeka gives us a vantage point over the valley of Ela (Elah), the area where the story of 1 Samuel 17 took place. Looking west from the Tel, we can see where the three coastal cities of the Philistines would have been, Ashkelon (to the Southwest), Gath (the inland Capital), and Ashdod (to the Northwest).

The Philistines wanted the mountains in the area surrounding Tel Azeka because they wanted oil–olive oil. The pictures give you a glimpse of the fertile land on the low hills in this area.

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View of Valley of Ela from Tel Azeka

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View of Valley of Ela from Tel Azeka

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View from Tel Azeka

From the photos above, you can view the valley of Ela (Elah) where the armies of Israel met the armies of the Philistines. The open area between the hills is where the armies were faced off.

Being on that Tel, it wasn’t hard to imagine the scene that day. It was probably sunny and bright as it was the day we visited. David would have traveled down from Bethlehem to bring supplies and to get news for his father.

The story opens . . .

Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle and were assembled at Socoh, which belongs to Judah; and they camped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together and they camped in the Valley of Elah, and assembled in battle formation to meet the Philistines. The Philistines were standing on the mountain on one side and Israel was standing on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them.  I Samuel 17:1-3.

The rest is, as they say, history.

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While on the mission field recently, during one of my morning times with the LORD, I found myself in 1 Samuel 17. Perhaps you know this passage – David battles Goliath. I love this story. I love the heart of David for His God.

When the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him; for he was only a youth, ruddy and good-looking. So the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’S, and He will give you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:42-47

I can see David in my mind’s eye. He was fearless. He knew His God and He knew the source of his power in facing this great and menacing enemy of Israel.

But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.

His source of power was the LORD of hosts, the God of heaven’s armies and the armies of Israel.

David had confidence in the LORD because of who He is. David also understood something very fundamental about God and His displays of His power.

Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’S, and He will give you into our hands.”

David knew that the display of God’s power-the power to send a small stone from a slingshot into the forehead of a giant and stun him, so he would fall and his head could be cut off by David-was for the benefit of the on-lookers, for those who would hear the story later, and for us who read and study the scriptures looking for the face of our God in the pages.

The source of David’s power was God Almighty.

The purpose of the display of power was so we would know that God doesn’t always use conventional weapons (but He can) or conventional people (but He can) to fight on His behalf. He doesn’t have to because the battles are His and He is able to do whatever He likes since He is sovereign over every person, force, power, and principality in the Universe having created it all.

Thank you Father, that as your servant I am not responsible for providing the power or the results. Thank you that my job is to show up and believe that You will do what You have promised. The battle is Yours!

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Israel – Galilee

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