Psalm 54 and 63 are today’s PBJ. These happen at a critical point in the life of David. Between iron and stone. Between life and death.
Betrayal and Opportunity
David was betrayed by his own people to King Saul, so he chose to hide among the Philistines. The enemies of Israel. David’s Special Operations Group proved very effective – in secret against the Philistine while living among the Philistines. This is at a time when the Philistines are growing in power and effectiveness against Israel and King Saul. Plummeting into destruction, Israel is discovering the hard way that there is no such thing as second place in war. Just winners and the dead.
Secrets in Iron
Philistine domination resided in their mastery of iron. Israelites bartered for iron plows but that was about it. Only the Philistines had the capability of mass producing iron weapons. Iron was their culture, wrapped in Dagon and their gods.
While in exile among the Philistines, David and his men were a mercenary force. We’ll read a lot of those details tomorrow. In I Samuel 28 and 29. I believe the key is that while living among the Philistines, David and his men learned how to extract iron from ore and craft weapons. The Philistines let this happen because they had a superb mercenary force and happily equipped them with iron weapons and armor. Secretly moving against Philistine communities, David and his men learned the individual and unit tactics of Iron weapons.
Iron in Israel
David’s return to Israel after the death of Saul brought Iron smithing and iron weapon crafting to Israel. After that, Israel was undefeated in its battles against the Philistines. It was the Philistines turn to learn that there is no such thing as second place in war.
Philistine death culture mastered the tools of war and, iron working. David brought that mastery back to Israel and the life culture God established in that nation. Mastery of Iron gave David and his armies the tools they needed to effectively project power, mass effectively against their enemies, and master the battlefield.
Place in History
Using iron, the Merchant nations of Babylon brought innovation to maneuver. The Greek Phalanx established battlefield command and control. Yet from David to Rome, the next big tactical innovation after David was the creation of the Roman Cohort. The Romans mastered Iron so well that their section of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue was iron and iron mixed with clay. In David’s day, the Philistines sent a mass of iron equipped soldiers against their enemies. Their technique was ssentially a mass ill-planned brawl. David knew his forces were outnumbered and learned to defeat mass with tactics and techniques. Those techniques lasted until the advent of gunpowder weapons and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
Iron, and how David brought that art to Israel, points at our own modern mastery of the tools of culture and war. In fact, war accelerates cultural innovation from plutonium cores to astrophysics. Technology is not evil. It’s application in death culture is what gives it the appearance of evil. Mastery of the tools of culture both informs and empowers the light, as well. I propose that we frame our mastery of culture in the ultimate information system. You see, the Bible is demonstrably a synchronized information system from beyond the reality of length, width, and depth framed by time present. It comes to us from beyond space time. Each day we read in the PBJ schedule, we’re holding and reading a miracle that points at the miracle maker. Each day we frame our kids’ educations in the Bible, we are pointing the next generation at using the tools of culture and battle for life.
A snowy day in Colorado