They’re calling it the “Goliath Gate,” and no doubt, tourism is about to increase at Tel Tzafit National Park.
Counting a brief work in 1899, archaeologists have been working the huge hill known now as ancient Gath longer than any other site in Judah. In 1996, serious digging began and just this month, the ruins of Gath’s city gate were discovered.
There’s more to the archaeological news that interests us. The oldest Philistine inscriptions ever found – with two names very similar to “Goliath” – were also unearthed. And the size of the gate reflects the size of the city. Like its most famous resident, Gath was huge!
The impact of such discoveries never ceases to amaze me. Think of this. The more non-believers try to brush off the Bible as a reliable document of history, the more archaeologists keep brushing off the evidence for the Bible’s historical reliability!
Why has God given us this evidence? Why is our generation given the privilege of seeing a city gate that hasn’t been seen since the Assyrian attack against it in 830 BCE?
Perhaps it’s because we’re facing more open scorn of the Bible’s message than any other generation. I often marvel at the parallel timing of both the attack against the Bible and the overwhelming archaeological evidence supporting the Text.
But don’t expect nonbelievers to suddenly throw up their hands and accept the Bible’s message because yet another biblical location has been confirmed. They’ll still write off Goliath’s size as an exaggeration and David’s victory over the giant as a legend. They’ll fight like the Philistines themselves to keep from believing any of the Bible’s great stories.
For if they ever admit that the Bible’s historical message is valid, then they’ll have to wrestle next with the Bible’s message of morality.
On the other hand, for those of us who have long read the Bible in faith, the “Goliath Gate” is one more perfectly-fitting piece of an amazing puzzle. As the puzzle takes shape, the picture of historical reliability is becoming more and more obvious.
Part of my life’s purpose is to help pastors and small-group leaders share both the images and the lessons that the land of the Bible is giving us. Pray for us as we develop these tools and as we seek their distribution.
I’m becoming more and more aware that without God’s help, we’re not going to succeed in our mission. Even today, the giant obstacles in front of us seem far too large while the tools in our hand seem far too small.
And yet not very long ago, in a valley only a short walk from Gath, a young man armed with nothing more than his faith and a slingshot believed that God would do for him what he could not do for himself.
The rest is history, of course. David’s single shot was perfectly placed. Goliath fell and David became Israel’s greatest national leader.
I believe God still has miracles waiting on anyone courageous enough to trust Him completely. Whatever your dream, give it completely to God. And when the time is right, do what He’s asked you to do.