Two armies, posturing threateningly at each other, ranged on opposite hills. Between them flowed a crystal stream, babbling, peacefully unconcerned, over the stones in its valley of death.
On the other side of that stream a giant barked out his challenge for a warrior to come and die at his hand, and so place all Israel in slavery. How could a river continue to sparkle so gently when any man who crossed it was …. Well, no-one was game to cross it. For days no man could be found in Saul’s army to challenge such a giant. The experienced Eliab did not feel equal to the task. The chances of getting near enough to that giant, with a spear half the size of his, was laughable. Eliab was feeling frustrated, even angry at the prolonged hiatus.
Then along came his younger brother carrying cheese and gifts.. David was about the age he’d been when he’d joined up, as a raw recruit. Two other brothers had since joined also, and their father thought that was enough. Someone needed to carry on the family business dealing in sheep, so what was this kid sniffing around here for? This battleground was no place for family reunions. He snarled at David in hopes of sending him on his way home.
But David had been talking to many soldiers and seen that giant. Eliab felt ineffective as he watched him escorted to Saul’s tent. What now? After a long conference he emerged and began walking, unarmed and unprotected. into the valley, while word began to circulate that he was going to fight Goliath. What with?
With his brothers Aminadab and Shammar, Eliab fidgeting impatiently, watched David bend down in the creek, looking for something.
“He’s a sitting duck down there.” Eliab was furious.
“He hasn’t even got stones for that stupid sling!” shouted Shammah, more excitable and less level-headed than either of his brothers..
“He’s taking his time, “Abinadab glanced anxiously towards the giant who hadn’t yet noticed the unarmed youth. “Look how carefully he is studying each stone, its roundness no doubt, and its polish.
“I wonder!” Shamar saw the potential.
“Don’t be an idiot”. Eliab was quick to rebuke his brother.
“Goliath’s got no idea what’s happening yet” Abinadab had his eye firmly on the enemy. “I don’t think he realises David’s actually going out to fight him.”
“He’s looking up now.” Shamar tensed as the two warriors locked eyes.
“You know, I reckon he just might ….”
“Are you insane?” Eliab was watching his youngest brother furtively.
A thousand ears electrified, as the Philistine giant roared his deathly promise at David and David confidently explained the covering of Almighty God to him.
“He’s right about being a dog!” Shamar nudged Eliab vigorously. “What do you reckon?”
“Ughhhh” Eliab grunted, disinterested.
“Be quiet!” Abinadab was trying to catch the warriors’ exchange.
“Look at that Philistine.” Eliab gazed, fixated, as Goliath paced angrily toward David.
“Look at David!” Shamar was excited. He’d been a champion sling man himself.
“He got him!” Abinadab couldn’t believe his eyes, as his triumphant shout was echoed all over the hill by thousands of wildly excited soldiers.
“Well, I …..!’ Eliab was completely stymied, watching David lifting the great helmeted head from the body for all to see.
“What do you make of that?” Abinadab slowly processed what he’d seen.
“Wait till Abba hears about this!” Shamar was very close to his father. I can guess what he’ll say!”
“What” echoed the other two.
”Old Jewish saying. “’Yahweh split the earth with flowing rivers’”. (Hab 3:9 NKJ)
“The battle is won in the river”. Abinadab enjoyed those long conversations that Jewish leaders conduct concerning the scriptures.
“I think,” offered Shamar, “the river is life, both physical and spiritual.
“And the little stones” Abinadab joined in, ”are from Yahweh Rock of Israel *. They shot forth, like His words, and achieve his plans.
“The words of God are like those stones!” Eliab looked extremely thoughtful. “He knew he’d to win, didn’t he?
“He’s closer to Yahweh than any of us”. Shamar was proud of his brother. “Like Moses, don’t you think? Yes, of course, like Moses”
“Well, I have to confess, Yahweh saved Israel today”
“Using our brother David”. Joy shone from Abinadab’s usually thoughtful eyes. Come on. “We haven’t finished with those Philistines yet!”
“We’ve only just begun!’ Israel’s army, empowered now, rose as one to chase the fleeing enemy.
*Gen 49:24 NKJ
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