Scripture Reading:

1 Samuel 17:1-26

Goliath . . . shouted to the ranks of Israel, “. . . Choose a man and have him come down to me.”

1 Samuel 17:8

Award-winning writer and professor Joyce Carol Oates wrote a memorable book titled On Boxing. She wanted to capture the essence of two men fighting in a ring. She went into the history of boxing, developed by the Romans. The boxers then were often called gladiators. Oates wrote that if they could show they were winners in the public arena, they would establish for themselves “a kind of immortality.”

Back in Saul’s day, a battle between two armies was sometimes decided by two champions who would square off and fight. That way, fewer people would die in battle. And the winning champion would claim victory not only for his nation but also for his god.

The Philistines had a champion named Goliath, a giant who stood nine feet tall. Each day he came and threatened Saul’s army, saying, “Choose a man and have him come down to me.” But Saul and his army were terrified. The Valley of Elah became the public arena between the God of Israel and the god of the Philistines. Which one would prevail?

At that time David was working with his father’s sheep, and sometimes he would bring food to his brothers on the front lines in the war with the Philistines. One day, he heard Goliath taunting Israel, so he asked, “Who is this . . . that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

Lord, keep my eyes and heart focused on your truth, way, and life. Help me to face whatever challenges may come, in your strength. Amen.

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