Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Giant fighting stones

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.
1 Samuel 17:40 (NIV)

In 1 Samuel 17, we read of a classic matchup between the Israelites and Philistines. These two ancient people were long-standing enemies who showed up often on the field of combat to do battle. For them the contest was always one thing--which people would serve the other.

History tells us that battles such as this were often decided by having each side choose their bravest and strongest warrior. These two men would then meet between the opposing forces and fight to the death. When the contest ended, the side that lost would become the servants to the victor. This seems to be what was happening in the Valley in Elah.

In this particular case, however, the Philistine warrior was no ordinary soldier. Approximately nine feet nine inches tall, Goliath wore armor that weighed about 175 pounds. He carried a 17-pound spear that included a spearhead that weighed roughly 15 pounds. Every morning and every evening for 40 days, he appeared before the army of Israel and mocked them, cursed their God and challenged them to send someone out to fight him. Each day, Saul and the Israelites trembled in their armor too afraid to fight this giant.

Enter David, a young shepherd boy who had been sent by his father Jesse to carry supplies to David's brothers who were fighting in Saul's army. While speaking with his brothers, David heard Goliath make one of his twice daily taunts. He appealed to Saul to let him fight the giant. Reluctantly, Saul agreed.

Choosing five smooth stones from the stream, David put them in his shepherd's bag. With his sling in his hand, he approached Goliath, ran quickly toward the battle line, met the giant, reached into his bag, took out a stone, slung it, and struck the Israelite antagonist on the forehead. David triumphed over the Philistines' national champion!

David didn't go out foolishly to fight Goliath. He had a history with the Lord, and he knew the battle was the Lord's from the get-go. (1 Samuel 17:34-37) David met the Philistine enemy armed with five smooth stones and unswerving faith in the Almighty God. He slung one stone. The giant fell. The Lord won the battle.

My friend, we all face giants in our life--doubt, fear, worry, sin, and guilt. Do you have five smooth stones tucked in your arsenal to battle your giants?

Include the stone of faith. Believe that God is who He says He is and that He can do what He says He can do. (1 Samuel 14:7; Hebrews 11:5-6)

Gather the stone of hope. In confident expectation, trust that you are who God says you are--His holy, dearly loved child. You can do what He says you can do. (Ephesians 1:17-19, Philippians 1:19-21)

Be sure to add the stone of love. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself. (Deuteronomy 6:4-6; John 14:23-24)

The Lord has given you a skill, mind and knowledge. Store the stone of knowledge in your pouch as well; He will lead you to use it. (Psalm 119:18, 33-40)

Finally, be sure to include the stone of praise. Give the Lord thanks in everything. (Philippians 4:5-6)

With our all-powerful God, we too can triumph over our giants.

Blessings, dear friend.
Faithfully Following

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