40 He then grabbed his staff and chose five smooth stones from the streambed. He put them in the pocket of his shepherd’s bag and with sling in hand went out to the Philistine.
41 The Philistine got closer and closer to David, and his shield-bearer was in front of him. 42 When the Philistine looked David over, he sneered at David because he was just a boy; reddish brown and good-looking.
43 The Philistine asked David, “Am I some sort of dog that you come at me with sticks?” And he cursed David by his gods. 44 “Come here,” he said to David, “and I’ll feed your flesh to the wild birds and the wild animals!”
45 But David told the Philistine, “You are coming against me with sword, spear, and scimitar, but I come against you in the name of the Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel’s army, the one you’ve insulted. 46 Today the Lord will hand you over to me. I will strike you down and cut off your head! Today I will feed your dead body and the dead bodies of the entire Philistine camp to the wild birds and the wild animals. Then the whole world will know that there is a God on Israel’s side. 47 And all those gathered here will know that the Lord doesn’t save by means of sword and spear. The Lord owns this war, and he will hand all of you over to us.”
48 The Philistine got up and moved closer to attack David, and David ran quickly to the front line to face him. 49 David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone. He slung it, and it hit the Philistine on his forehead. The stone penetrated his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. 50 And that’s how David triumphed over the Philistine with just a sling and a stone, striking the Philistine down and killing him—and David didn’t even have a sword! 51 Then David ran and stood over the Philistine. He grabbed the Philistine’s sword, drew it from its sheath, and finished him off. Then David cut off the Philistine’s head with the sword. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they fled. (1 Samuel 17:40-51, Common English Bible)
I was in the first summer of my seminary education. It wasn’t a master’s degree program. In the United Methodist Church it is called “Course of Study School.” It was four weeks of summer school.
One Sunday while I was there, my roommate and I attended one of the many United Methodist congregations in Dallas and while we were there we were invited to attend a play at a small Christian theater in the area. The name of the play was “David and Goliath in Cow Town.” It was a humorous take on one of the most beloved stories in the Bible. The cast was dressed in western attire and instead of five smooth stones, David used five smooth horseshoes.
I don’t remember much of the play beyond what I have already said. What I remember most took place after the play. Several actors, after taking there bows, came out and shared with the audience. The actor who played David, I don’t remember his name said, “David went down to the river and got five smooth stones.” As he was telling this he held up his fist and said, “His F-A-I-T-H” and with each letter he counted off with one of his finger. Each letter represented one of the stones. Then he said, while patting his chest above his heart, “He placed them in his shepherd’s bag and then when trouble (Goliath) came, he took out a stone and put it into his sling.” When he said sling, he pointed to his mouth. He concluded by saying, “David knew that with his faith in God, he could overcome the giant.”
There are giants in all our lives. There is the money than runs out before the month. There is the trouble with the spouse that drinks too much. There are the problems academic and/or behavioral our child is facing in school There are more problems, more giants, than we can count. Our faith in God can help us find a way.
I want to leave you with two other things to think about. From the beginning it wasn’t a fair fight. Think about Gary Coleman trying to fight Shaquille O’Neal. That would probably seem unfair but it isn’t what I’m talking about. It wasn’t a fair fight because David had God on his side. I think David would agree with Paul’s words, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Second, David had faith in God, but he also knew he was involved. What if David had missed with the first stone? Well, he did get five from the stream. God wasn’t going to miss but Peter’s faith shook as he walked on the water. The same could have happened to David. Had the first shot missed, he would have slung another stone and taken aim once again.
Our problems can seem to big. They can seem gigantic. But faith in God can overcome even the biggest problems in life.
Seeking the Genuine
Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved
Pondering with Dr.B.
Five Smooth Stones