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As the sun started its weary descent down the western sky, the melodious notes from my harp filled the valley and bounced off the craggy faces of the ancient hills. Like fragrant smoke, they ascended up to Adonai’s throne. My worship flowed in cadence to the dancing currents of the gurgling brook. Peace washed over me in waves, joyous euphoria erupted within like a sweet storm. Finding a quiet place to connect with Adonai is something I do everywhere I go. Even at that, I needed the solace of His presence today more than ever. My heart longed for Him like a deer panting for water. The impending showdown made this imperative.
As I pondered on why He was so mindful of me, the brash guttural voice of the Philistine shattered the peace of the cool evening. Listening to him brag rekindled my righteous indignation and flames of burning wrath fired up my soul. It was time to have a go at him, the reason for my being here.
“Who was this uncircumcised Philistine that would defy the army of the Living God?” I had asked when I came into camp two days ago. For days on end he had harassed, tormented, taunted and bullied the army of Israel until they had all become shadows of themselves. Brave men had become cowardly ghosts. The burden of fear on their shoulders had bent their spirits. The yoke of dread made them shuffle their feet endlessly. They had been brow beaten into submission and were so ashamed that they could not look one another in the eye. The camp of God’s mighty men stank of the putrefaction of capitulation.
Goliath had them where he wanted. They had listened to his unending rants, drunk from the cup of his seeming impregnability until their senses were flooded with his power. They reeled from the imagined force of his might, staggered from the blow of his relentless words. The amount of psychological shellacking they had received had turned the bravest lion into the most timid lamb. The Philistine made my people forget who they were! Their eyes had deceived them hence making their hearts fail.
However, I was having none of it. I refused to accept his potential for destruction. I rebuffed his words. I shut my ear to his screams of rage. I blinded myself to his physical immensity. I did what Saul, Eliab and his cronies could not do. I engaged what they forgot. It was not about how big, fearsome, or intimidating the enemy was. It was not about the enormity of the challenge. It was not about what or who I saw before me, it was about the differential advantage. It was about the covenant. We are circumcised, they are not. Adonai Lives, Dagon is a lifeless statue of a god. From the time I laid my eyes on him I refused to acknowledge him. He was of no consequence, his threats meant nothing. To me, he was already a defeated apparition, dead meat for the vultures.
Thing is, the heathen deceived them, making my people feel the battle was theirs. That was what the King thought too, which was why he offered me his beautiful armour. I declined respectfully; knowing that the battle is the Lord’s and not mine to fight. I was not used to warring with human weapons. God does not rely on man’s instruments of war. The arm of flesh never prevails. The army of the Living God forgot its champion. However, I remembered Him. They trusted their chariots and horses; I remembered the name of the Lord, my God!
I bent down and picked five smooth stones which I put into my shepherd bag. I added my sling and took my shepherds’ staff. My time in Saul’s court had made me somewhat proficient with a sword but I wanted to disgrace the Philistine. I was going to put him down like a common bird, a crippled lizard. I was going to run down the flea infested mongrel for daring a chosen generation. Going toe to toe with him in a sword fight would be granting him too much honour. For insulting Adonai, he was going to taste the most ignominious dust of defeat in the history of human warfare. His people were going to see their champion die unceremoniously.
Humming a song to myself, I strode towards the hulk of a man. He saw me and was enraged; he could not believe the affront. He was so angry that he played into my hands. He cursed me in the name of Dagon and turned the battle into a clash of deities. That made my work easier. He spoke against me, words of divination and curses of enchantment. The giant never knew that there is no divination against Israel, no enchantment against Jacob. Of course, I did not keep quiet; I talked right back at and against him. I countered the blade of his words with mine, verbal clangs that echoed in the silence that filled the Valley of Elah. I knew this was where the real battle was and I could not afford to lose here. I out-talked the bugger. I spoke so much that his words became a dirk to the long sword I wielded. He did not have a prayer. The bastard of Gath had been condemned to die!
I live by faith and not by sight, so I saw him go down in my mind’s eye. I pictured him fall like he was pole-axed. I told him his head was mine. I knew that a dream had to be visualized before it can be realized. I told him that I was going to cut off his head even though i did not have a sword.
I ran towards him, put a stone into my sling and shot at him. The fact that his shield was so large that another had to carry it for him counted against my foe (in battles of faith, someone else carrying your shield for you is a sure-fire road to disaster). My stone went through the only uncovered spot on his body; the fore of his massive head. He crashed like a felled oak. With my stone i plucked him from the tree of the living and he fell like rotten fruit. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. The philistine champion was dead. I kept to my promise, took his sword and beheaded him.
His people were distraught with disappointment and the army of Israel was emboldened, running after them and shouting songs of victory. It was a massive rout.
…..The kingdom suffereth violence and the violent taketh it by force…
© 2013 Ekpo Ezechinyere