5 Smooth Stones
1 Samuel 17:40David took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd's bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine.
1 Samuel 17:48As the Philistine ( Goliath ) began to move toward him, David RAN out to meet him.
The question naturally asked is " Why did David choose 5 smooth stones if he had Faith that God would intercede on his behalf "? After all, he only needed one. I Think it's safe to say that David was an expert with a slingshot. The slingshot was a very common weapon at the time. Used in combat, as well as in the hunting of game. In David's case, the slingshot had already saved him from unexpected predators, at least one Lion and a Bear, that threatened his herd and his life. As a Shepherd he had one overwhelming responsibility, that being the safety of his sheep. In fact, archeologists have, over the years, discovered hundreds of stones that were clearly meant for slings. Even particular armies could be identified based on the size of the stones, that ranged from golf ball size to the size of tennis balls. Slinging a stone, in some cases more than a hundred meters, required much precision and much practice. The slinger needed all the help he could get, if he wanted to be accurate. So employing a particular size and weight of stone was crucial in terms of consistency. A stream or a brook or a river, was the most likely place to find such stones. And in many communities, regularly under threat from enemy attacks, children spent their days on the river banks, scouring for stones that's end use, would be weaponry. Along with size, smoothness was a must. A jagged rock would defy aerodynamics, making accuracy near impossible. A smooth stone was unlikely to be buffeted by wind or speed. Body armour was in vogue, and heavy metal strategically placed, was designed to protect against spears or daggers or even arrows. But a stone, hurled through the air at close to 100kms an hour, could hit a chest plate flush, and stop a mans heart, dead in its tracks. So why 5 stones? I have to believe that a shepherds job, 90 percent of the time, is excruciatingly boring. There's no doubt that as sheep grazed or slept, David worked on his craft. A target on a tree at various paces, could be an excellent pastime. A sling sheath, tied around the waist, typically held 4-5 stones. On days that David had to go to a brook to re-arm himself, he would logically fill the leather pouch to capacity, as a responsible steward of his time. So it's no surprise that in preparation for meeting Goliath, David loaded every chamber. He was prepared, to the best of his ability. But more notably, David was loading his pouch of stones, for the days and weeks after he'd slain Goliath. So now the contention that 5 stones was somehow a lack of Faith, is challenged by another more likely explanation. Perhaps David was so confident in his relationship with God, that the additional stones were effectively an enormous indication of his Faith. For surely, after the slaying of Goliath, he presumed to go back to his occupation of sheep herding, where the stones were once again, objects of defence, as opposed to the aggressive stone he hurled at Goliath. If David drew 5 stones, one for the purpose of knocking off Goliath, and the other 4 to simply fortify his return to shepherding, this is indicative of Davids faith in God. A testament to his reliance on the God that was consistently meeting his needs, and surpassing his most incredulous expectations.
*. *. *. 1 Samuel 17 says that 'David RAN out to meet Goliath'. I love this part of the story. David doesn't try to sneak around and come up from behind. He doesn't shield himself behind a mound of rocks, and wait for Goliath to find him. Rather he RAN out to meet him. Talk about prepared ! David walked his talk. When he first faced the Philistines ( Samuel 17 ) David cried out “ You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the Name of The Living God". David knew that with God on his side, the enemy was powerless. *. *. *. Scripture frequently refers to being prepared, whether it's by putting on the armour of God, or by rightly dividing His Word. Without either, our efforts to fend off the enemy, are futile.David's confidence and ultimate success with his sling, speaks to his commitment to preparation. No practitioner of the sling would go to the brook and load a single chamber; choose a single stone. But clearly, David spent countless hours before The Lord as evidenced by Psalms alone. Without the benefit of a keyboard or even a type writer, just inscribing the Book Of Psalms, from feathered pen to papyrus, would take the average man a minimum of 4 hours per day, for close to 40 years. God in Scripture only referred to a singular man as a man after Gods own heart. The man He referred to was an adulterer and a murderer. But there was an exceptional side to David that essentially pardoned him for every sin he ever committed. And to this day it is his example as an unworthy man, that took significant time to seek forgiveness. Psalm 51 is a virtual road map that directs the sinner to the foot of Gods throne. David acknowledges his sin and his unworthiness before pleading for forgiveness. And in his prayer he gives clear credence to God and His unique ability to not just forgive, but to erase the sins of our pasts. He knows that it is God and God alone that can wash him to be whiter than snow. *******God wants us to walk away from our pasts and move forward in His will.