Is There Not a Cause?
By Kenny Paul Clarkson
"I canít." David was serious. He couldnít move. He was lean and spry, but nowhere near as strong as the king. The armor was simply too heavy; too awkward.
Weary eyes scolded the teenager as Eliab pealed the breastplate from his young brotherís torso. Nothing more needed to be said. But, of course, it was.
"A battlefield is a dangerous place for even the most seasoned soldier," Eliab tugged at a belt on Davidís waist. "You could get killed out here."
"How was the cheese?" Davidís grin and evasive answer evoked little more than a scowl from Eliab. He yanked a little harder. The belt pulled loose.
"Iím not kidding, David, you have no idea what youíre getting into." The final plate fell from his legs, clanging on the floor of the kingís tent.
"Youíve no idea what Iíve been into," he replied. The smile had vanished.
"See this?" he pulled a leather strap from beneath his sash. "Iíve used it to kill rabbits from a thousand paces."
"Thatís no rabbit." King Saul pushed through the opening of his tent to glare at David. His brow was furled; he pointed toward the valley Elah.
"And bears," David continued respectfully. "And a few lions."
Saul looked at Eliab. "He kills rabbits at one thousand paces? Very accurate with that sling, Iíd say. And he kills bears?"
Saul peeled back the tentís flap to gaze across the valley at the giant of a figure pacing to and fro.
"Ever seen a bear that big, David?" he asked. "Ever kill one?"
"Not one," David corrected. "Three."
There was a moment of silence.
"Heís your brother," the king offered.
"Heís your subject," Eliab countered, clearly uncomfortable with the thought of his young brother being ravaged by the Philistineís mightiest warrior.
Another moment of silence.
The wail of the giant could be heard, albeit faintly, echoing across the valley. His words were Hebrew at times, Gathic at times, but always uncomfortably familiar to ears of Israelís finest warriors. Goliathís mocking laugh was unbearable. Each curse offended. He warned of their fate.
David broke the silence. "Is there not a cause?"
He stepped between Eliab and the king and through the tent opening. Eliab followed, as did King Saul. They paused to watch the teen confidently press past a league of soldiers, his leather strap dangling by his side. Eliab offered a quiet prayer, then took a deep breath.
All eyes were on the young Israeli, waist high in weeds, stomping toward the brook at the foot of the knoll. Goliath ceased his pacing, placed his hands on his hips and stared curiously at David.
Kneeling at the brook, he selected five smooth stones, then looked into Goliathís eyes. The giant bowed with laughter.
"What am I? A dog that you would send a boy to challenge me?"
David stepped toward the Philistine army. "No," he whispered. "Not a dog. Just another bear." He whirled his sling. Goliath's smirk was brief.
The thud of the stone could only be heard by the giantís armor bearer. But the crimson red that flowed from his brow Ė and Goliathís astonished expression Ėwere unmistakable.
Like a towering timber cut at its roots, he fell forward, crashing to the ground. The Israeli soldiers stood breathless, but only for a moment. Running to the fallen giantís side, young David retrieved his sword. Struggling to lift it high, the teen let it fall, lobbing the Philistineís head and evoking a deafening cry of victory from King Saulís army.
No one gave the command. It wasnít needed. The Philistineís fled. The Israeliís pursued. And Eliab exhaled.
Kenny Paul Clarkson (Kenn Gividen in real life) is the author of The Prayer of Hannah. A father of two grown children, he and his wife, Donna, are the proud grandparents of three children. He owns a direct marketing firm in Columbus, Indiana. You can write to Kenn care of the Your Letters page of this Magazine.
LIFE LESSONS FROM 2004:
Iíve learned that being used to help other people shine for the Lord, is just as rewarding as if I were the one in the "spotlight". There is something so satisfying in seeing a brother or sister take steps into everything God has created them to be. At the end of the day, itís all for His glory!
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