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Thought for the weekend

Rev Gareth Burke, Stranmillis Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Belfast


Sion Mills cricket ground was the scene of its own David versus Goliath contest

Sion Mills cricket ground was the scene of its own David versus Goliath contest

Sion Mills cricket ground was the scene of its own David versus Goliath contest

Life is full of surprises. Often these surprises are not to our liking but sometimes something happens that is both surprising and most enjoyable. Take today – the second of July. It’s the anniversary of one of the most surprising days in the history of cricket. At Sion Mills, on July 2, 1969, the Ireland cricket team dismissed the mighty West Indians for a paltry 25 runs. No one could have predicted such a stunning victory by the Irishmen. In fact, cricket commentators would very much have expected Ireland to be annihilated by the men from the Caribbean islands. This was truly a David versus Goliath contest.

When we stop to think about it, the outcome of the original David versus Goliath contest was a total surprise to everybody who observed it. David was a young shepherd boy. He had declined the offer of armour and weapons and had gone out to fight the nine-foot giant armed only with a sling and five stones. Goliath, the Philistine warrior, was armed to the hilt and was enjoying the protection of full body armour.

When Goliath saw David approaching he thought it was simply hilarious. How could this scraggy youth, an unarmed weakling, cause him any harm? But Goliath had seriously miscalculated. David had experience as a shepherd. He had fought with wild beats and had protected his sheep from all kinds of marauding animals. He was skilled in the use of the sling. More than that, he had an advantage over Goliath that the giant knew nothing about. David had faith in God.

Listen to what he said to Goliath: “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” (1 Samuel 17: 45)

David had faith in God. He was trusting in the great God of heaven who amazingly directed a stone from his sling to the unprotected forehead of Goliath. The giant fell dead, conquered by the young man who was trusting in the Lord.

Surprises happen. Impossible situations get turned upside down. If you trust in God and in his son Jesus Christ, as your saviour, then, like David, you’ll know the presence and power and help of the Lord God Almighty. Surprising things will happen.

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