The Sword versus the Sling


Image source: Fried Dough (CC BY 2.0)
Image source: Fried Dough (CC BY 2.0)

38 Then Saul gave David his own armour—a bronze helmet and a coat of mail.39 David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before.

“I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off again. 40 He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine. 1 Samuel 17:38-40

I have blogged about the story of David, Saul and Goliath in past but want to explore this story from a different angle. This post was inspired by a recent conversation I had with a friend. Before David confronted Goliath in a duel, he had a conversation with Saul, the King of the Israel. Every Israelite soldier was scared to fight Goliath despite Saul’s reward of riches and his daughter’s hand in marriage. Saul, himself, was unwilling to fight Goliath. It was in this atmosphere of fear that David, a young shepherd boy, stepped up to be Israel’s champion against the mighty Goliath.

Saul gave David his armour and sword but David was uncomfortable using them. He decided to stick with his preferred weapon of choice – a sling – and returned Saul’s weaponry.

David and Saul’s story is a good illustration of the importance of discernment and good decision making.

David was comfortable refusing the King Saul’s offer because he knew himself – his strengths and limitations. He knew he couldn’t fight Goliath wearing an armour and wielding a sword. He hadn’t been trained to use these gear.

Saul’s intention in giving David his armour and sword was to help him. This attempt to help David was based on Saul’s experience and expertise as a soldier. Yet, if David hadn’t been strong enough to say ‘no’ to Saul then it was likely that he would have been killed by Goliath. He would have gone into battle using a weapon he had never used before, just, because he wanted to please the King.

People offer advice and suggestions based on their own experience and expertise. It is up to the recipient of the advice to discern whether that advice is useful and applicable to his situation. Leaders who know themselves aren’t swayed by the suggestions of others no matter how well-intentioned they may be. They have the confidence and strength to say no to any ‘helpful’ advice or suggestion which they believe is not in their best interest.

It is good to consider other people’s advice and suggestions but the final decision on whether to take or discard the advice lies with the recipient of the advice. Also the consequences of following or not following the advice will also be borne by the recipient.

Here is a link to the entire story about David, Saul and Goliath in the Bible –1 Samuel 17.

3 replies on “The Sword versus the Sling”

Nice post…very applicable to real life especially in this age of millions of experts telling you ‘how to’ online. Thanks

It’s amazing storry. Elsewhere in that text and context, we meet David using very remote weapons; a stick against sword, a sling against spear, name them. Look! Goliath also despised the weapons. However David had known very well that the war wasn’t his but it was God’s. (1 Samwel17:47)

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