CHRISTIAN COURAGE

 

We had noted that George Washington, at his best, displayed uncommon courage, a basically selfless trait that is similar to that which was possessed by many Biblical characters at their best. Among these individuals, both men and women, David stands tall. David’s encounter with the Philistine giant Goliath is noted in 1 Samuel 17, excerpts from which are given below:

“Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and where gathered together at Shochoh, which belonged to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim. . .And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was [between 11 and 12 feet]. . . .And the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed [about 25 pounds] of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him. And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are you come out to set your battle in array? Am I not a Philistine, and you servants to Saul? Choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. . . .When Saul and all lsrael heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

“. . .And the three eldest sons of Jesse went and followed Saul to the battle: . . .But David went and returned from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem. And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days. And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for your brothers an ephah of this parched corn. . . Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.

“And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle. For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army against army. And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brothers. And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them. And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid.

“. . .And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine. And Saul said to David, You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for you are but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. And David said to Saul, Your servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: and I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. Your servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised servant shall be as one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.

“. . .And [David] took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag [Goliath had four brothers]. . .and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine. . .And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. . .Then said David to the Philistine. . .This day will the Lord deliver you into my hand; and I will smite you. . .that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. . . .And it came to pass, that. . .David put his hand in his bag, and took from there a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.”

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