Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "God Who Made The Earth"1 (Lyrics)
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.