I preached this sermon on Sunday June 21st after Dylann Roof entered into Mother Emmanuel AME church and opened fire killing nine innocent African-American men and women. Although I did address this tragedy directly in my Sunday sermon, I have typed up this manuscript paying special attention to the issue of racism in our society today.
As we move through our series on David, we come this morning to a story that almost needs no introduction; the story of David and Goliath. It would be easy this Father’s Day to address the story of David and Goliath like this: “Goliath was a giant. We all face giants. As dads, we face giants of time management, changing culture, and media saturation. David faced his giants, and if you follow these principles, you can face your giants too.” We could do this with any number of giants in our lives, addictions, disease, racism, political divisions, etc. etc. The problem is, however, that facing your giants is not the point of this story. In order to get at exactly what this story is about, let’s do some background.
As our story begins, Saul has lined up the armies of Israel against the philistine army. The Philistines were not, as modern parlance would indicate, an uncivilized and unadvanced people group. Quite the opposite is actually true. Contemporary historical accounts speak of a people group identified as “The Sea People,” or Peleset, from which we likely get the name “Philistine.” The peleset were a fierce warrior people with highly advanced weaponry and military capabilities. Ancient Egyptian records speak of them attacking Egypt under Ramses III, effectively neutralizing the powerful empire of Egypt. Many historians believe the peleset were the people responsible for overthrowing the dominant empire in the Western Mediterranean, the Hittite Empire. Not only that, but it is likely the Peleset that swept across Mycenaen Greece, destroying their civilization across the time of a 100 or so years and plunging Greek civilization into a 300 year long “dark age.” In other words, these people had toppled or neutralized the most powerful kingdoms and empires of the day. (more…)