To prevent the frustration of falling behind, which most of us tend to do when following a Bible reading plan, each month of this plan gives you only twenty-five readings. Today we start a few “free days” . We encourage you to catch up on any readings you may have missed this month.
If you have finished the month’s readings, you can use these final days of the month to study the passages that challenged or intrigued you.
1 Samuel 17:38-51
38 Then Saul gave David his own armor—a bronze helmet and a coat of mail. 39 David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before. “I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off again. 40 He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine.
41 Goliath walked out toward David with his shield bearer ahead of him, 42 sneering in contempt at this ruddy-faced boy. 43 “Am I a dog,” he roared at David, “that you come at me with a stick?” And he cursed David by the names of his gods. 44 “Come over here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!” Goliath yelled. 45 David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 Today the LORD will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! 47 And everyone assembled here will know that the LORD rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the LORD’s battle, and he will give you to us!” 48 As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him. 49 Reaching into his shepherd’s bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground. 50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with only a sling and a stone, for he had no sword. 51 Then David ran over and pulled Goliath’s sword from its sheath. David used it to kill him and cut off his head.
This portion of scripture is one that is very familiar to most. Many sermons and Bible studies have been built around this telling of David’s victory over Goliath. What I find to be most interesting in the story, are the small details. The scripture tells us that David went into battle to face the Philistine Champion Goliath, armed with only his shepherd’s staff, sling and five smooth stones. I believe it doesn’t take an expert in military armament, to see that David was severely under equipped to battle the giant that stood in opposition to him. However, a lot can be taken from David’s lack of weaponry. David believed that God was on his side, and if he was to be victorious, then it was going to be the God of Israel that would empower him to take down the giant.
Another intriguing aspect of the story, are the five smooth stones. Did David take five because he thought it would most likely take more than one to defeat his opponent? Or was there another reason? I get the feeling that David was thinking about more than the quantity of river rocks he would need for his sling, when he grabbed the stones. According to ancient historical documents and some Biblical translations, Goliath was one of either four or five giant brothers from the Philistine city of Gath. The Philistine empire, during David’s time, had five capital cities; Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gaza, Ekron, and Gath. Could it be, that when David stepped onto the field of battle, the weapons he chose to take with him represented more than just a handful of river rocks? It seems David was ready to take on the entire clan of Philistine giants at once, in an effort to free his nation and people from Philistine occupation. David wanted more than just a simple victory, he wanted freedom. 5 smooth stones for five giants and five enemy cities.
David was a young man who was ready and willing to trust in God, even as the entire army of Israel hid in terror. David was ready to fight. If we can learn from David’s steadfast faith and his determination to be an instrument for God to flow through, then we too can experience victory on the battlefield of life. He was ready to not only face one giant, but four others if that’s what it took to win the victory for his people. When we step out onto the battlefield of life, what is our mindset? Are we ready to walk with the assurance that God is with us, or are we too afraid of the giants that roam the valley? God will equip us with everything we need to win, just as He did with David. But it’s up to us to believe that the tools and weapons God has supplied us with, will be enough to win the war. David defeated a giant with a stone. If we walk in God’s will, then we will end up victorious. We just have to be willing to pick up the stones and have the mindset that they will get the job done. Five stones. Five giants. Five capital cities. David trusted God for total victory over his enemies. If we will trust as David did, then the giants will fall and the Church will be victorious.