this is Pride, I changed the liturgical reading a little. We enter
the story a bit later than the assigned readings and we leave the
story a little later than the assigned passage. My hope is this
change in the story will help make the story more meaningful to you
children of Israel were in a state of war with the Philistines.
Goliath was a giant. Commentators disagree over how tall Goliath
was. We are not sure exactly how tall Goliath was, but we know he
was tall. Albert Barnes says he was about 9'6” tall, while
Adam Clarke says he was 9'9”!
Another commentator says Goliath was 11'4” tall!
came out to taunt the forces of the children of Israel and to strike
fear into their hearts. Goliath was a champion. The word translated
champion has a slightly different meaning in the Hebrew. In Hebrew,
we get the picture of a man who is in the middle, a person who is
The champion settle disputes between armies and nations. The
commentator John Gill describes Goliath as a dueller. He would
challenge somebody to a duel. The person who won the duel decided
the fate of the war.
learned of Goliath's challenge. He asked to fight Goliath. His
rationale was that he had killed bears and lions when he was
protecting the sheep, so he could kill Goliath. The king decides to
let David give it a try. That is where we pick up the story from the
I am reading from the Contemporary English Version. I
like the way the story is told in this version of the Bible. You are
welcome to follow along in your Bible. The story continues
his own military clothes and armor put on David, and he gave David a
bronze helmet to wear. 39David
strapped on a sword and tried to walk around, but he was not used to
wearing those things. "I can't move with all this stuff on,"
David said. "I'm just not used to it." David took off the
picked up his shepherd's stick. He went out to a stream and picked up
five smooth rocks and put them in his leather bag. Then with his
sling in his hand, he went straight toward Goliath.
came toward David, walking behind the soldier who was carrying his
Goliath saw that David was just a healthy, good-looking boy, he made
fun of him. 43"Do
you think I'm a dog?" Goliath asked. "Is that why you've
come after me with a stick?" He cursed David in the name of the
Philistine gods 44and
shouted, "Come on! When I'm finished with you, I'll feed you to
the birds and wild animals!"
answered: You've come out to fight me with a sword and a spear and a
dagger. But I've come out to fight you in the name of the LORD
All-Powerful. He is the God of Israel's army, and you have insulted
the LORD will help me defeat you. I'll knock you down and cut off
your head, and I'll feed the bodies of the other Philistine soldiers
to the birds and wild animals. Then the whole world will know that
Israel has a real God. 47Everybody
here will see that the LORD doesn't need swords or spears to save his
people. The LORD always wins his battles, and he will help us defeat
Goliath started forward, David ran toward him.
put a rock in his sling and swung the sling around by its straps.
When he let go of one strap, the rock flew out and hit Goliath on the
forehead. It cracked his skull, and he fell facedown on the ground.
defeated Goliath with a sling and a rock. He killed him without even
using a sword. 51David
ran over and pulled out Goliath's sword. Then he used it to cut off
Goliath's head. When the Philistines saw what had happened to their
hero, they started running away.
Saul's men did what they thought was right. They wanted to protect
young David. They loaded him up with armor. This was serious armor
overload for David. He remarks, "I can't move with all this
stuff on." So David does what works for him. David falls back
on his experience and who he is. David goes to battle just like he
has the many times he fought off wild animals that were wanting to
hurt the sheep. So David goes into battle, with shepherd's stick,
sling shot and 5 rocks in hand.
walks into combat his way. And God blesses. I mean God really
blesses. David uses his sling shot to defeat Goliath, the giant.
When the Philistines see David killed Goliath, they flea in fear.
line in the Contemporary English Version strikes me as being relevant
to the queer community. I can't move with all this stuff on. I
can't move with all this stuff on. The armor was too heavy, too
exhausting for David to fight in. David could not move in the
straight jacket they gave him. He could not move with the weight of
people in traditional marriages and having children. That is a heavy
load! Try to move, try to walk with that load! And the expectations
do not stop with traditional marriages! Queer people must act and
dress straight. So all lesbians are asked to wear dainty,
clothes. Real women wear boots and jeans too! Asking
some lesbians to wear dainty
clothing to church, to work is like asking young David to drag around
the armor that only a mature man can carry. And expecting all gay
men to dress in conservative colors, to walk, talk and act like John
Wayne is a heavy load. You don't have to walk and talk like John
Wayne to be a real man! Real men have a soft side too.
gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people tried to do
everything wearing the uniform of the straight world. They have
tried wearing a straight jacket. But the straight jacket was too
heavy, too oppressive, too exhausting to carry and get any work done!
With the straight jacket on, queer people cannot move. After
trying and trying to do life straight, to move with the straight
jacket, many queer people just gave up, lived life the way God
created them to live. And you know what! It took less energy!
is a reason why. A straight jacket binds a person. The straight
jacket keeps a person from having freedom to move. And the straight
jacket weighs as much as a two and a half ton Sports Utility Vehicle.
Tried running with 5,000 pounds on your back? That is no mean task!
Tried to juggle knives wearing a straight jacket? That is no
ordinary task! But somehow many gay, lesbian, bisexual and
trans-identified people managed to do that for a long time before
they found a way to be true to themselves and to God.
is about God taking off the straight jacket, cutting the chains that
bind us, that keep us from being who we are, cutting off the excess
baggage. God removes the baggage of trying to be somebody other
than who you were created to be, so you can truly live, can truly
enjoy the life God has given you.
is a spiritual side to this too. Many churches expect gay, lesbian,
bisexual and trans people to serve God as straight people. Those
churches are expecting gay people to serve God in a straight jacket.
Living exactly as a straight person, going to a straight church that
does not tolerate queer people, and joining in condemnations of all
queer people is wearing a two and a half ton spiritual straight
jacket. God is removing the spiritual straight jacket for gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people around the world. The
freedom the Eternal is giving God's queer allows queer people to
serve the Lord with tremendous results! The Lord works better when
God's people are truly free to live out the Christian life.
people do not worship straight! God made queer people to
worship from the depths of their queer hearts. When gay, bisexual,
and transgendered people worship and serve God from within a queer
sense of Christianity, they are freed to be powerful servants of God.
Spiritual empowerment comes from acceptance of yourself, an
acceptance that includes coming to worship and serve God without
trying to wear spiritual clothes that just do not fit, that are
the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-identified people, God
is giving spiritual liberty and freedom. That freedom gives queer
Christians the ability to face down some giants that haunt the world.
A few of those giants include:
hunger and homelessness
discrimination, prejudice and bigotry
slavery, political oppression, and war
anger and hate crimes
are these giants too big? Not for God, not for God's queer tribe!
Queer people have seen God defeat giants before. The Son of God
killed the fear of God and judgment! The giants of internalized
homophobia, biphobia, lesbophobia and transphobia have fallen at
God's outstretched arm. In some regions of the world, God moved to
eliminate legalized injustice and institutionalized discrimination
against all queer people. And that work continues! Mighty giants
have fallen, one after another they have fallen!
Lord is moving now in the hearts of people, including gay, lesbian,
bisexual and trans-identified people to take steps to give this world
heavenly hope, by showing that things can be done better on this
earth. And you are part of God's movement. The God who chose you for
the task will empower you!