Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sarah's Smooth Stone

The First Book of Samuel from the Old Testament in the Bible has been on my mind recently. It seems to be everywhere I turn. We have six young children, ages 9 through 6 months, and we let them decide which book of the Bible we will study out of. Sean, our oldest, mentioned that he wanted to learn more about King David, so we started reading it in September. Our pastor just gave a sermon and mentioned scriptures out of this book too. My husband is reading a few different books(surprisingly he keeps them all straight) that also mention 1 Samuel. I tell you all of this to say, I feel that when something happens more than once or twice it no longer exists as a coincidence. I feel compelled to explore the information further.

With the story of David, specifically the account of David and Goliath present at my every turn, I couldn't help but think of Gov. Palin. The comparison is fairly obvious to anyone who knows anything about Gov. Palin and remembers the story of how a young shepherd boy slew the Philistine giant. The longshot, the dark-horse going against impossible odds. From that aspect, it is not a difficult comparison to draw. And its one I am NOT going to make today. I want to focus on David's weapon of choice.
Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine - 1 Samuel 17:40(NIV)

At this point in the epic underdog story, David has just rejected the traditional way a soldier would protect himself, and has embarked upon his preparation for battle. He instead goes to a stream and picks out some stones. If you were fighting someone approximately twice your height, and you had the chance to select a stone, what kind would you choose? Conventional thinking might lead you to choose the most jagged, rough rock you could find. Preferably something with a big point on it. Right? How do you think that jagged rock would fly? Picture what happens to a golf ball if you don't hit in the right manner. If you don't hit the golf ball in the right place, the head of your club leaves a curved, rough cut on it. Golf balls with big cuts on the surface don't fly nearly as well or as straight as perfectly smooth golf balls. From this I know that if you put a pointed rock in a sling and threw it, it would fly all over--not fly straight to the target. When David chose an instrument to accomplish the Lord's will, he chose something that would hit only the target--it would not fly all over the place. Smooth stones also fly straight.
Do you really think that David could have defeated Goliath? Maybe. But the odds would have been at least a million to one. Certainly the smooth stones did not do it. David could have dredged that stream dry of smooth stones and they never would have caused him to win over Goliath. What won the day in the Valley of Elah thousands of years ago, is the same thing that will win the day for Gov. Palin and ultimately us as Americans; Gov. Palin's attitude.

In the Bible account in the moments prior to the battle between the giant and the shepherd, David's brother Eliab overhears David talking with some of the soldiers and insults David. He insinuates that David isunreliable, irresponsible, has no value, is conceited, and has a wicked heart. How many of you could withstand criticism like that? You want to do or are doing something you feel is of value and what do people say to you? You are irresponsible. You are unimportant. You are doing it for self glory. The natural thing for David to do or any of us to do would be to throw the insult back. Or better yet say, "You know big brother, you are right. Think I'll be heading back to my small flock and I'll let you contend with that 11 foot guy without me." David neither returned the insult or gave up. He let the insult roll off his back. One only has to think to the opening moments of Stephen K. Bannon's "The Undefeated" to recall the blistering criticisms Sarah Palin receives on a daily basis from the media, opponents, even people claiming to be on the same side of the fight. But like David, she doesn't let it get to her. She hasn't retreated permanently to Alaska. She doesn't let it deter her from her mission – to restore America. She stays in the fray. Insults do not stick to a smooth stone.

David's right attitude also comes across in his reaction to Goliath. There is an old saying "The best offense is a good defense", but that wasn't in Old Testament times and it isn't in the 21st Century. It is football season and we know from the fundamentals of the game that there is an offense and a defense. The defensive team can keep you from losing, but with rare exceptions it cannot actually win the game. It is the offensive team that makes the points that win the game. How is that playing out in our political world today? The current climate in the GOP race for nomination seems to that of purely a defensive one. They encourage others not to be discouraged over difficulties. They talk about not losing faith. They act like we are in a "holding action." It is all talking points and meaningless platitudes. Where is our offensive team? Where is the conviction that American values are at stake, and "by God", we are going to do something about it? Sarah is our best offense. She knows things need to be changed and as her husband, Todd best said in a recent "When you move forward, and you want to make change, you're gonna piss people off, you know, but Sarah doesn't care." Sarah isn't going to be busy hand-holding or hurling insults at other candidates in defensive measures. Like David, she will focus on the record of each opponent. David called out Goliath for who he was. Sarah will call out her opponents in much the same manner.
David's attitude also shines through when he decides to take personal responsibility for the task of vindicating the Lord. He didn't wait around for someone else to do it, he took the giant on himself, for his country, his people. Being personally responsible for our own actions and for what needs to be done is very important. Think of the current climate in our country. Everything else is to blame for what's wrong – blame George W. Bush, blame ATM machines, blame your golf game, or blame global warming. The list is as tall as Goliath was. No one thinks its up to them as citizens of this country to help get it back on track. The pervasive attitude is much like that of my 4-year-old's when it comes to cleaning, "I didn't make the mess, I am not going to clean it up." Gov. Palin share's David's attitude. She possesses a servant's heart. The fire in her belly is for America and she will take personal responsibility to change our dire situation.
In The Book of Samuel, David didn't wait for Goliath to strike first. David charged up to the giant and hit him squarely in the forehead with a smooth stone. A smooth stone killed the giant. The smooth stone flew straight to the target. It didn't fly off in another direction, it hit him head-on. Sarah will step forward one day soon, with smooth stone in hand to take America back from the giant threatening its very existence.

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