Five Smooth Stones

January 25, 2015
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1 Samuel 17:40 – Then David took his shepherd's staff, selected five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the pocket of his shepherd's pack, and with his sling in his hand approached Goliath. (MSG)

In Christian vernacular, we use the word giant as a substitute for a major problem in our lives. This idea or imagery developed from the biblical narrative of David and Goliath. More than three years ago, I had a setback after being diagnosed with kidney cancer. Since I had three major surgeries and two other procedures, I, like David, needed five smooth stones to attack these giants.

During David's time, one method of warfare was known as battle by championship, rarely practiced by the Israelites. The idea was that two opposing warriors would fight a duel, thus preventing the high casualties of war. The outcome reflected on whose god was more powerful.

Young David was experienced with a sling from tending his flock of sheep. He had previously had a victorious encounter with a bear and a lion to rescue a lamb, as recorded in 1 Samuel 17:34-36. But in our story, he is faced with another difficult enemy: a nearly-ten-foot-tall, fully-armed and armoured giant.

Now, why was it recorded that David picked up the specific number of five smooth stones? Perhaps it was in case he missed, or because Goliath was from Gath, David thought that he might need them for representatives from the four remaining major Philistine cities: Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Ekron. Many have speculated, but no one knows for sure.

In any case, God equips His saints for any and all kinds of battles in our lives. For example, He told Joshua:

Joshua 1:5 – No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. (NLT)

Proverbs 29:25 – The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. (NKJV)

I believe that these passages apply to us as well. This story is chronicled for us to reflect upon in times when problems become insurmountable. I admit that during the time when I faced cancer, it was very difficult to walk by faith. Oftentimes, all we see is a giant. David's encounter presents this insight: When the Lord fights alongside us, instead of five, only one stone is sufficient. The victory is His, and He receives the glory.

Prayer: Father God, we approach You with praise and thanksgiving. We acknowledge You as our fortress and strength in times of need. Lord, keep us not in our own understanding, but in constant dependence upon You. We place our needs at the foot of Your throne of grace. We humbly ask, if it be Your will, to carry us through our encounters with the giants we face with faith and without fear. We pray this in Your Son's name. Amen.

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About the author:

Lou Ciccanti <>
Ocean View, Delaware, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Pertinent thoughts Lou.

    Thank you Lou. Blessings.

    Dear Lou, Thank you for your word on David and his stones.

    Thank you Lou. What a great reminder of who the battle belongs to and I sure do like stones, especially smooth ones. God bless you for sharing.

    Thank you so much for writing this amazing, inspiring and hope-filled message! Amen and amen!!!!
    Blessings to you.

    Dear Lou,
    How thankful I am that God has brought through all these difficulties to show His sufficiency and love for you. The result has been so good to see the Lord has revived your strong witness for Him, through it all. Praise Him!

    My dear friend in Christ,
    Thank you for this readings this morning. Thank you for shearing. Thank you for your warm hearted prayer.
    My the dear Lord bless you richly.

    Lou, going through what you had to, with regards to the Cancer, is not a very easy thing to do. It’s the unknown factor. Your devotional today pretty much explains the real faith needed to win in your own personal “Giant Battle”. Guess what? You’ve won!! God’s been really good to you.
    This experience, hopefully, will help someone else to victory. Bless you Lou.

    Hello Lou, thanks so much for your devotional and testimony.
    My understanding is that there were also 4 other giants similar to Goliath … perhaps the reason for 5 stones.
    Indeed God had prepared David well. God has trained you well, to know who your fortress and strength is in time of need.
    Peace be with you.
    (Nova Scotia, Canada)

    Dear Lou;
    Thanks be to God that He brought you through this terrible time of uncertainty. I love your prayer.

    Thanks Lou, for sharing your troubling time, and how you were helped through it.
    Have you read this analysis/understanding of the Biblical battle between David & Goliath?
    Malcolm Gladwell has done exactly as you propose, although from a different direction. He takes the story as Truth, but a Summary of what happened (perhaps a Royal Commission Report, approved by later generations?). He then seeks to analyze what actually may have happened by reviewing the military geography & history of that era. I hope you enjoy reading it!

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