Summary: A sermon about the power of help using the David & Goliath epic.
Ah, the Power of Cheese
A. When I was planning this morning’s message last month, I ran across a curious little phrase in 1 Samuel 17:18 that reads “take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. Here we see the scenario of David delivering some cheese to his brothers in the middle of a war. His father commissions him with responsibility. “See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance from them”. David will deliver some cheese as an act of responsibility and in turn God will end up bringing relief to a country cowering in fear. Ah the power of cheese. An act of good will turns into an act of deliverance.
a. Little did I realize that this text would be so apropos for the weekend following the devastation in the Gulf Coast. We have all been following the complete and utter ruination of an important city to the life of this nation. We have seen the loss of lives, homes, businesses and the spirit of a marvelous city.
b. While we see the gas prices rising around us, we still do not know the full effect this hurricane will have on the economy and conveniences of commodities we take so much for granted.
c. Our nation sits in a precarious position that could linger for several years. Who will bring the cheese to those who are decimated by this destruction?
B. Today I want to talk about the precarious situation facing the life of the nation of Israel. Turn with me in your Bibles to 1 Samuel 17. Most of you will recognize this chapter as the story of David and Goliath. It is so much more than that. It is the story of a nation on the brink of potential disaster. It is the story of a nation ready to lose its identity as the people of God. It is the story of God using one young man to take responsibility to deliver some relief to the army and finds his own role in the plans and purposes of God. We want to approach this story with fresh ears this morning. It has so much more to teach us than a young boy with a sling shot that takes down an overgrown bully. It is even more than the story of a bold heart of faith. It is the story of responsibility to brothers and sisters and the effort it takes to bring relief.
C. Look with me at 1 Samuel 17:12-18. David is the youngest son of Jesse. David has three brothers who are in the army. This story happens at a fascinating time in history. There are all kinds of socio-political economic realities that play as the backdrop the story.
a. This story happens at the dawn of what is called the Iron Age. What on earth is the Iron Age? Let me give you a brief reminder. Here is world history in a nutshell. War is happening all the time. How many of you have noticed there are a lot of battles and bloodshed in the Old Testament? It is the story of civilizations in conquest. For thousands of years nations fought with wood because that is all that you had. Battle after battle you would go into battle against nations that had similar weapons as you. They may be pointed sticks or arrows or clubs. All are available to all the nations. It is a pretty level playing field as far as war goes. Who knows who will win? That is why nations would often call upon their gods to be warriors.
b. Property was of critical importance. So there would be a piece of land that you are fighting over and you would bring your weapons made of wood and the other army would bring their weapons made of wood. You would go at it until one army would prevail over the other. The battle was decided by other things than weaponry. It depended on military strategy and strength in the numbers.
c. Some time following the later Bronze Age people started experimenting with heating the carbon levels of metal and someone discovered the power of iron. This changed everything. Now when nations went to war the dynamics have changed. Your enemy has something that you have not seen before. With the invention of iron, you go to battle for the olive grove or vineyard with a distinct disadvantage. Your enemy is brandishing iron weapons. THIS IS TERRIFYING TO YOU. You are sitting on the eve of destruction because of the development of technology.
i. For those of you who have businesses, it would be like all of your competitors having computers and you didn’t. You would be at a distinct disadvantage. Iron is the computer of the day. It is the tool that would catapult a nation ahead of you. Listen to this detail in the text.