David vs. Goliath at the Valley of Elah
Everyone has heard about David, the boy with the courage
to face the giant, Goliath. Against all odds, using his sling, young
David killed the giant warrior with the help of the God of Israel. With
that successful shot, David shattered the confidence of the Philistines
and, for a time, ended their attempt to conquer the tribe of Judah.
[1 Samuel 17:4-51]
This famous battle took place in the Elah Valley
[1 Samuel 21:9]
This panoramic view of the Elah Valley from the south is an approximate view of what the Philistine army saw as they faced the Israelites in the battle commonly known as "David vs. Goliath." The Philistines were encamped on the south side of the valley and King Saul's forces occupied the hill on the northern side.
I have been blessed to travel to Israel two times in my life. (Thank You, Jesus!) Never have I seen the Valley of Elah (not unless we passed through it and was not aware) one of the most famous battlefields of all time! Why? It's still there! Hills on both sides, and a valley in the middle where David and Goliath fought.
The best view of the valley, as shown above, is from the commanding hilltop of Azekah. This strategic city was wisely fortified by King Rehoboam, and it was one of the last cities to fall to the Babylonians in the invasion of Judah in 586 B.C. The valley below it was the location of the battle of David and Goliath.
You can even see the stream where David got his rocks/stones. Had I seen this stream I probably would have loaded up every pocket, purse, backpack, etc. As it was, I only brought back one suitcase full of rocks!
The Brook Elah
The Brook Elah is famous for the five stones it contributed to the young warrior/shepherd, David. Some say that David chose five stones instead of the one needed in case he needed to face Goliath's four brothers.
You might ask me why I didn't see the Valley of Elah. Well, unlike most of the Holy Land which is geared to tourism, there is no church, synagogue, or bus tour there. There's no real signs, nothing to get your attention and say,
"This is the Valley of Elah where David vs. Goliath fought."
It's off the side of a road, but you wouldn't know it. It's amazing! One of the most famous stories in the Bible and probably one of the most famous battlefields and you don't know it's there. People ride through the Valley of Elah all the time and don't even know it!
So, what can we learn from the Valley of Elah?
The greatest battlefields of the L-rd are hidden away. They don't happen in the limelight, center stage, front row, etc, but are in hidden places. Like your prayer closets! The real victories in your life will not be seen by the world around you, but inside, that secret place of the Most High.
The real battle must be won first in prayer, in the Secret Place, or you won't win at all!
If you can't win there, then you will never win anywhere! If you are not victorious alone with G-d, then you won't be victorious anywhere else.
"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the L-rd, He is my refuge and my fortress: my G-d; in Him will I trust."
So, get off your duff, get your slingshot and go to Elah, your prayer closet, your Secret Place. Lift up to the Most High, Adonai Tzva'ot...the L-rd of Hosts, those things in your life that need His Blessings, those battlefields that are taunting you.
Elah is hidden away, but it is at Elah that Giants are slain!
A famous anecdote about Moshe Dayan
The story of David and Goliath has been invoked countless times over history as a source of inspiration and encouragement to the weak. A famous anecdote about Moshe Dayan, the Minister of Defense when the Six Day War broke out in 1967, recalls how Dayan called his senior officers together on the eve of the war for a pep talk.
When he proceeded to read to them from 1 Samuel 17 the soldiers were outraged: “We’re about to be attacked and he’s reading to us from the Bible?” But Dayan used David to illustrate how the smaller, weaker side can gain the upper hand by identifying and attacking his opponent’s weak points.
Goliath was weighed down by heavy weapons and moved slowly; David, unburdened, was agile and light on his feet. A heavy suit of armor protected Goliath’s body, but his face remained vulnerable; David aimed his sling at the one place he knew he could do the most damage.
Israel’s ultimate decision in 1967 to pre-empt an Egyptian attack by flying under their radar and destroying the air force on the ground bore all the marks of David’s strategy.
Shalom and Blessing
In Yeshua/Jesus' Love and Service