My thoughts often take me back to my earliest years in Sunday School class.
From the time I began in the “card” class, Mrs. Johnnie Mae Denton made sure her students learned the great stories in the Old Testament. Those stories which come quickest to mind are “Abraham and Isaac,” “Moses and the Bulrushes,” “Moses and the Burning Bush,” “Samson and Delilah,” “David and Goliath,” and “Jonah and the Whale.”
I know, I know. In the story of Jonah, it wasn’t a whale, but “a great fish.” In later years, I got the facts straight, but when I was a child, it fed my young imagination.
But, of all the stories, the story of David and Goliath has remained one of my favorites. It has all the elements of an epic encounter — good vs. evil, weakness vs. strength, youth vs. a seasoned warrior, along with an element of the seemingly impossible.
After taking a bit of heat from his eldest brother, Eliab, and stating his case to King Saul, David headed off to do battle with the giant. On his way, he “chose him five smooth stones out of the brook and put them in a shepherd’s bag.”
I have heard sermons preached on the subject of why David chose five stones. Was he afraid he might miss? Was he simply a wise soldier?
Did it reveal his human frailty? Who knows?
I have given this story a lot of thought over the years. Of all the things David took into his battle with Goliath, I think the five stones, though a necessary part of his weaponry, were least in importance.
First, and foremost, David faced his enemy with confidence — confidence in his God — the God whom he had tried.
When King Saul cautioned David by saying “Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he is a man of war from his youth,” David answered, “Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:
And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord that delivered me from the paw of the lion, and the paw of the bear, He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.” David’s confidence was forged out of his experience.
Secondly, David faced his enemy with skill. When one is keeping the sheep, time goes by slowly. You have time on your hands — time to practice your marksmanship — time to hone your skills with a sling and stone. By the time David faced Goliath, he could put a rock on a spot the size of a postage stamp. And he did.
Thirdly, David went into battle to honor his God — “that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.”
And fourthly, David took the armament of God into battle. In refusing King Saul’s helmet, coat of mail and sword, David said, “I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them.”
When making his charge at Goliath, David cried out, “Thou cometh to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts.”
Joseph Fort Newton referred to our earthy experience as “this strange medley of life.”
If you live here long enough, sooner or later, you will face a giant.
Giants come in all kinds of disguises. Some come in the form of a divorce, or an untimely death, or a sudden decline in health, or a financial disaster or a pandemic or a broken dream, or even a wayward child.
Giants are …. well they are giants. They are big, and scary … and intimidating … and defiant.
And they must be met with the confidence that only comes from trusting God and the power of His might.
John, the Apostle wrote, “because greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world.” That includes any giants you might have to face.
Jack McCall is a motivational humorist, southern storyteller and author. A native Middle Tennessean, he is recognized on the national stage as a “Certified Speaking Professional.” Copyright 2020 by Jack McCall.