Daily Worship

How do you eat an elephant?

Jane Denniston June 20, 2021 0 0
Image credit: Unsplash
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1 Samuel 17: 31- 37, 44-46, 50 (NIVUK)

31 What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him.

32 David said to Saul, ‘Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.’

33 Saul replied, ‘You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.’

34 But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.’

Saul said to David, ‘Go, and the Lord be with you.’


44 ‘Come here,’ he said, ‘and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!’

45 David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.


50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.

It’s no wonder that the story of David and Goliath has become the source for many films, nor that the phrase, ‘David and Goliath’ has entered our language as a metaphor for overcoming against the odds. None of Saul’s army, nor even Saul himself, was willing to take on this giant. David is a young man, not yet fully mature, and it’s amazing that his offer was taken seriously by Saul. Perhaps this indicates Saul’s desperation. But David had two things which Saul lacked: he had the experience of winning against the odds in single-handedly tackling lions and bears who threatened his flock, and this gave him confidence. And, more importantly, he had confidence in God.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed? Facing a task which seems, if not impossible, then, at least, too difficult to take on and complete successfully? There’s an old joke, ‘Q: How do you eat an elephant? A: One bite at a time!’ While it is a joke there’s some truth in it. Tackling something which seems overwhelming is often easier if we break it down into smaller pieces. Often just making a start makes the task seem less daunting. We can also draw on past experience and remember times when we have succeeded against the odds. And, of course, we can have confidence in God. When we consider difficult times in our past, are we aware of God with us? And if he was with us in the past, then he will be with us in the future too. In God’s upside-down Kingdom it is not the strong and powerful who succeed, but the humble and trusting. Not the arrogant and self-assured, but those who know their weakness and so trust in God.




Father, you give strength to our arm

and we thank you.

Help us to rest in you

when we feel overwhelmed.

We ask that you would give us confidence

when our own fails.

May we trust in you

our rock and our Redeemer,

and in your upside-down Kingdom

may your values prevail, Amen