~ The below painting dates back to the early 14th century. It is by the Persian historian, writer and vizier, Muhammad Bal’ami. I found it on Wiki. It is part of work called the Tarikh-i Bal’ami, which since I do not know Arabic, I cannot comment on.
~ We are all familiar with the story of David and Goliath. Here are some thoughts and snips from an email I sent to some of my friends:
“Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Sokoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim, between Sokoh and Azekah. 2 Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines. 3 The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them.” ~ 1 Sam. 17
So the Valley of Elah is shaped like a triangle and you have the Israelites on one side and the Philistines on the other, each camped on the hills. The Valley itself is empty down below. So here is the logic of the landscape:
~ Goliath notwithstanding, whoever goes down first into the valley – whether it be the Israelites or whether it be the Philistines – are at a disadvantage. Why? (1) Those going first, will have to face a hail of arrows, javelins, spears, sling-stones and rocks coming down from the other army up on the mountainside, and (2) if they make it through all that and on to the bottom of the Valley, then they have to run uphill to face the enemy. This is tiresome.
So the question becomes – who will go down first? Who will enter the Valley first? So you taunt, jeer, and hurl challenges to the other side to get them to come down first. Or … Or you settle it quick by having your champions meet, then let them have it out, pne against the other and then let it be decided right there and then. All that simply to say…
“Walk Into Your Weakness!”
~ We often like walking or operating in our strengths. However there are going to be various times in life where we will be called to walk into our weakness. That is to say, we will have to step into an area of life where we will find ourselves unable to call a single muscle fiber to action and find ourself paralyzed – though with a thousand nerve fibers firing! And yet, we will find that when we walk into our weakness, then “…thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”.
Why? Because 2 Cor. 12:9 tells us that God’s strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Cor 12:11 also says “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Weakness seems to be God’s preferred weapon. It is a major theme of not just 2 Cor 12, but the whole book of 2 Corinthians.
In meditating on 1 Sam 17, I see weakness in action in two ways.
First David walks into weakness, by not donning any armor, sword, helmet, etc. Contrast this with Goliath’s glitzy armored car display.
Second when David defeats Goliath (weakness triumphant!), the Israelites follow suit and walk – nay! – run into weakness.They charge into the Valley of Elah. They run into a position of vulnerability, i.e. a strategically weak position in the Valley, where they ought to meet an hail of arrows, javelins, spears, sling-stones and heck boulders being hurled or rolled down on them. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory!
So – what are your weaknesses? Could God be calling you to walk into some of them? To take off the worldly armor of Goliath and put on the invisible armor of God. So what are your weaknesses? Public speaking? Talking to a relative about anger management issues? Talking to a difficult person at the workplace? What is your Valley of Elah?
(~ Did not know that there was a movie with said name. I have not seen yet it so I am not endorsing it, although Tommy Lee Jones is a great actor.)