Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!” David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord ’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. – 1 Samuel 17:38-49
Well a lot has happened since the last reference to water. Saul has continued to refer to God as Samuel’s Lord rather than his own. Saul’s posture and perspective were not allowing him to see God as his own. Finally both Samuel and God gave up on Saul and picked a successor….without letting Saul know whom God has chosen. God chose David, the youngest of eight sons in the family of Jesse – the “baby of the family”. I can relate to David’s birth order….I am the youngest of five children and I will always be the “baby” of the family no matter how much grey hair and wrinkles I have.
As the youngest child I was often accused of being spoiled. I don’t think I was spoiled, but it is difficult to see one’s own spoilage — kind of like trying to see the inside of your own eye lid. I prefer to think that my parents were just worn out after raising my brothers and sister. My siblings tended to treat me a bit like a toy when I was young. I was gullible and starved for attention so I am sure I was often a willing participant. I have seen pictures of my 4-year old self covered with hand drawn tattoos. Apparently I was a willing canvas for a group of budding artists (my siblings).
The interesting thing is no matter how old I am, how many letters I have behind my name, or how many articles I publish I am still the “baby” when our family gets together and it often causes tension (at least for me). I would just like to be treated like a grown up. I am pretty sure David had similar feelings toward his siblings and they probably treated him like a child no matter how many bears he beat or lions he lanced. David shows himself to be very grown up when it comes to trusting God.
After rejecting Saul’s armor and sword, David goes out to meet Goliath….sort of a walking refrigerator with lots of armor. He probably would have done well in the NFL. David enters the battle with the only weapon that could defeat Goliath – unconditional faith that God would show up.
David has clearly planted himself by the river and remains connected to the spring that is God’s love. David reaches down into the flowing stream and finds five smooth stones. Stones whose rough edges have been removed by floods and storms. As I write this I am struck by the image of a rock worn smooth. David is a bit like these smooth stones. His faith has been shaped and honed by years of practice relying on God to protect him when bears and lions attacked. He has carried sheep on his shoulders just like God has said He wants to carry us. Of course we know “the rest of the story” – one of those smooth stones felled Goliath and set in motion the line of David.
God could use David because he had allowed himself to be “rounded” and “smoothed” by God’s spirit. This shaping can be painful and hard. I suspect if river rocks could talk they would not describe a flood, when they are being bashed and bounced down the river, as a good experience. Yet without this they would remain rough and they would not be getting anywhere.
So if we are to become smooth stones that God can use to fell “giants” of all forms we must expect and welcome being bounced about by the spirit. I think this is why Christ’s disciples actually welcomed trials and tribulations. They knew that it was through these things that they could become smooth stones that God could use.
Prayer: God shape and smooth us with your spirit so that we are ready to take on giants when You need us to.SDG