“Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones out of the brook and put them in his shepherd’s bag…” – 1 Samuel 17:40 (AMP)
Outward appearances…humans tend to instantly assess, judge, and critique through personal lenses. Consequently, we invest in methods to camouflage our flaws and minimize our deficits. I’m convinced most of the time we miscalculate the “mosaic” (or accumulation) of all the tiny, unique pieces which make up our beliefs, experiences, passions, DNA, interests, and style that comprise our stained glass “whole”.
In the classic Bible story of David and Goliath, it’s easy to spot who literally carried a lot of weight…the giant! Just imagining the Vegas odds on this fight doesn’t take an experienced bookie. I’m guessing the
blind men at the gates would have confidently wagered their last coin. We have a definition in our head of what “advantage” looks like, and we are often mistaken. Our mistakes often come from misreading the underdogs and the giants. David was not a seasoned soldier, nor did he possess the skill set of a prize fighter, yet he was victorious because God gifted the literal knockout!
A.W. Tozer wisely states, “Listen to no man who has not listened to God.” That’s great wisdom for us today. David used his rear-view mirror in remembering God’s grace, mercy, and faithfulness to act in holy confidence and abide in God’s plan. Deuteronomy 20:4 is a clear assessment of the only weapon needed for victory in battle. “The Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”
It’s evident, the sun rose on the shepherd and would set on the warrior. The details of the lad’s weaponry included: spear, sword, slingshot, five stones, and, most importantly, God the Father. But why five stones? Viewpoints abound. The numeral five is mentioned 318 times in scripture. Five is the number of grace (unmerited goodness and favor toward us) and multiplied by itself is twenty-five which happens to be “grace upon grace” (mentioned in John 1:16).
Some scholars believe that five stones symbolize the Torah (the first 5 books of the Hebrew Bible) representing the composite of scripture for wisdom and direction. Others believe that David had done his homework since Goliath had four brothers that could additionally cause harm.
It’s worth noting that God did not promise to slay the giant using only one stone. Internalize an equation:
(Preparation + God) – Fear = Victory.
And let’s be clear, David appeals to the very nature of who God is, not his own competence or luck, thus a teaching moment for witnesses and recorded for us. As your Goliaths appear in life’s challenges, learn from David. Avoid the “seeing is believing” approach.
Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why.” This day was a defining moment for David, for Israel, and for us. Obedience matters. What we pick up matters. What we pack matters. Outward appearances won’t provide the clues. Only God.