David and Goliath: A Story for Today
An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org


Michael A. Budkie
October 2005

As I was traveling in the western US, flipping through radio stations in an attempt to find one that catered to my own musical preferences, I flipped past a Christian station that was discussing scriptural passages. Typically I donít listen to such stations because they tend to put me to sleep.

However, the biblical story struck me because it was so similar to the situation in which I found myself. As an animal rights activist I turn all of my energies towards fighting the use of animals in experimentation. The cruelty and barbarity of the procedures which are practiced on animals are clearly, to me, a violation of Godís will. Torturing the Lordís creation in such a total disregard for the sanctity of life must be sinful in the eyes of the God who brought all things to be.

The week before this incident I had been traveling across the state of California, taking on laboratories associated with the State University system. These are not small institutions. Taken together the three facilities receive over Ĺ billion dollars in federal grants for animal experiments. In fact, they are a large part of a state-wide monolith which imprisons thousands of primates and tens of thousands of other unfortunate animals.

The bible story that I heard was about David, as he fought Goliath (1 Samuel 17). This story has become a cultural paradigm for us -- standing for the battle waged against long odds. The contest between David & Goliath has come to symbolize the struggle of the individual versus the corporation, the government, or whatever behemoth is convenient.

The easiest thing to do is to dismiss this as nothing more than a bible story for children. A young person takes on a huge warrior, and wins.

But this story means much more. It is a paradigm for doing what is right, even when it doesnít make sense. What David did went against all logic. A young man took on a giant with his only real weapon being his faith. The stone and sling were not significant; they could just as easily have been a shepherdís staff, or any other unlikely tool. Certainly the sling and stone would not have been the first choice of any sane warrior of Davidís time. The point is that they were Godís choice. God made it work.

We all stand in Davidís shoes, just before the battle with Goliath. The sensible thing is to run, let someone else take on the fight, find an expert to be the spokesperson, or simply say nothing.

We can always take the easy way out. We can stay home from the protest, not write that letter to the editor, and remain silent. The easiest way is always to do nothing. After all, Iím only one person Ė what can I do? David couldíve said the same thing.

You see, the real issue isnít whether we believe in ourselves, itís whether we believe in God. We want to think that we are too small, too insignificant, too broken to make a difference. God couldnít possibly work through me.

That is where we need to change. We simply need to have faith. God can work through anyone. We donít need to be an MD, DVM, PhD, or anything else. We only need to believe that God is God. The creator can work through anyone Ė even me, even you. We must only give Him the opportunity. The only way to fail is to not try Ė to let our own fear keep us inactive. That voice telling you to stay home, to be silent is the same voice that told Eve to take the apple.

We neednít believe in ourselves, but somehow we must find the courage to let God be God. We may not always judge by the results we see, but we must have faith that the Creator of the world can work to change a heart even when we donít see it happen.

It really is all about faith because ď. . . if you have faith and do not doubt . . . if you say to the mountain, íBe removed and be cast into the sea, it will be done.Ē (Mathew 21:21). We have no reason to believe in ourselves. We are only people. We have every reason to believe in God.

If we have faith in God, then we can remove ourselves from the struggle. Then the fight will no longer be about our ego, our accomplishments, or our budget. When we remove ourselves from the equation, then we have the opportunity to realize that we are doing Godís work. We must be willing to get out of the way, because then God can come through.

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