The Stone(s)

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The small rocks beneath his sandals made the going treacherous as he slowly descended into the valley. The sides of the cliff were steep as they reached down into the valley floor.  The valley itself, he could see, was actually a valley within a valley and the brook that ran through it had cut deeply into its floor. There was an eerie stillness about the place in spite of all the men standing on either side above.  The only sound he heard were the stones sliding down the path in front of him announcing his arrival. His eyes, however, were not fixed on the trail. No, he was intently focused on the object of his mission.

As he looked down the valley he could begin to make out through the rising heat waves the imposing figure standing on the opposite side. He stood well over 9 feet tall and was wearing armor that weighed at least 125 pounds. The spear he carried was immense and its point easily weighed 20 pounds or more. But it wasn’t the sight of this giant of a man or his armor and weapons that had his attention; it was the roar of his voice.  No, not his voice but the words. Those words that he had first heard while standing above.  Those words that had caused the anger to rise up in his throat so strongly he could almost taste it … I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together. And not one of Saul’s valiant men would answer this challenge to the God of Israel.  They all fled and hid!

Nearing the bottom of the cliff he paused for a moment and considered the situation. Had he been so foolish as to come down here alone when all those around him had looked at him as if he’d lost his mind? As he looked at the leather thong in his hand he wondered if that had perhaps been a mistake as well. It certainly seemed so to the King who had offered his personal armor and sword. But no, he knew that going into battle with untested weapons was a foolish mistake.  He smiled as he studied the valley floor.  This little leather thong had stood him well in the past and it wouldn’t fail him now. Yes, this uncircumcised Philistine would be just like the bear and the lion. Hadn’t he slain them to protect his fathers flock?

He was jarred back to the present when he once again heard that booming voice, Am I a dog that thou come at me with a stick? And this giant of a man began to curse David by his own gods. David thought it ironic that his shield was so heavy that he had to have an armor-bearer carry it for him. That’s what Saul’s armor had felt like, the great weight of it made it almost impossible for him to move. Now here was Goliath, his armor and weapons alone greatly outweighing David.  As he moved toward Goliath, David looked down into the streambed to carefully choose a stone to put into his pouch … no, one wouldn’t do.
Have you ever thought about the practical side of David’s answer to the challenge of Goliath and the Philistines? As you read this all-familiar story did you ever stop and put yourself into his shoes. You really are not very different from David. God has been preparing you to face your Goliaths every day of your life. Just as David had his lions and bears so you have had your challenges along the way. And just as David needed to become proficient with his sling you need to become skillful with your weapon; the Word of God.

David was nothing to look at, a mere little shepherd boy among all the soldiers in Saul’s army. He wore no uniform and he certainly didn’t carry the latest sword from Smith & Wesson. No, he was very common and most ordinary in his appearance, but in his demeanor there was something that didn’t exist in the entire army of Israel.  Deep within David was a fire, there was a cause and there was a purpose. A fire that could not be extinguished by the cold water of his brother’s words … what are you doing around here, anyway? What about the sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of? I know what a cocky brat you are; you just want to see the battle! (1Sam 17:28)

Oh, if only they had felt what was burning inside David at that moment. Instead of trying to justify himself he coolly responded, what have I now done? Is there not a cause? (1Sam 17:29) What was plain to David was lost in the moment to his brother Eliab. Perhaps he was thinking of once again how the prophet Samuel had overlooked him, the eldest of Jessie’s sons, to be anointed the new King in favor of the youngest; the one who stayed with the sheep.  Yes, he was making a mistake so common to the men ofIsrael and his flesh was overpowering his ability to hear the voice of his God. David, on the other hand, had spent many hours tending the flocks of his father and communing with God. Yes, he knew God’s voice when he heard it and he was quick to respond.

Even Saul, the one who should have been thankful for a man who was willing to stand up to the Philistines, tried to talk him out of it (1 Sam 17:33). Saul, like so many others simply judged things based upon the outward appearance. Just as he assumed that Goliath was unbeatable because of his giant stature, he misjudged David’s ability because of his size. Isn’t that just like the error in judgmentIsrael made concerning Jesus? We can see many similarities with our Lord in the life of David and here on the floor of theElahValley is no exception.

God anointed David through the prophet before he became king (1Sam 16:13) just like Jesus was anointed by His Father in the Jordan immediately after John baptized Him (Matt 3:16). Just as David was hidden in his father’s house for a time before stepping into his calling as King of Israel, so was Jesus hidden in the house of Joseph until it was His time to step forth as King of the Jews.  His brothers did not treat David kindly as the majority of Israel despised and scorned Jesus. God sent Jesus to serve His brethren just like Jessie sent David to serve his brothers and both were ridiculed and scorned. Perhaps Jesus uttered the same words that David spoke in response to those in Israel who ridiculed Him … is there not a cause?

David had Jesus’ passion for God in his heart and the defiant words of Goliath that dishonored Jehovah were more than he could stand. Like our Lord, David had been a good shepherd to his father’s flocks and was now ready to lay down his life for Israel. This giant of an uncircumcised Philistine was not a champion. Why even his name meant “middle-man or mediator” … who was he to challenge Jehovah? (1Sam 17:26)

Even as David prepared to step forth as Israel’s mediator there was one already prepared to come who would be the mediator for all mankind and fight the ultimate battle on their behalf. While we stood on the sideline Jesus went down into the valley floor for us … before we even knew Him (Rom 5:8). Can we hear the words of David ringing out as Jesus stood firm in the Garden of Gethsemane: Thou comest to me, said David, with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield … but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts (1Sam 17:45). David is an example to all Christians who have put their total trust and faith in Jesus, the anointed Messiah of Jehovah. We fail if we don’t learn from David some very important lessons concerning our battle with the enemy.

David did not go forth on behalf of Jehovah in his own power. The Lord first anointed him for the task. Unless we have the Spirit of the Lord anointing us we are presumptuous at best in our efforts to do the Lord’s work. We, like David, need to wait until called upon by the Lord to step forth … for then we will be anointed in the power of His Spirit. Even the Son of God waited for the anointing of His Father before He faced the enemy in the wilderness. Oh how we foolishly run on ahead like Peter and get ourselves in trouble in the name of the Lord. We must always remember that when we act on our own authority we will go forward in our own power. The words of Zechariah the prophet should be boldly inscribed across the front of our mind … not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts (Zech 4:6).

Isaiah provided the underpinning watchword for WalkWithGod from its very inception many years ago:

Isa 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

David waited in his father’s house for a long time before he was crowned the King of Israel, even though Samuel had called him forth and anointed him as a young lad. Our time will come as well if we wait on the Lord to call us. David had to wait but he didn’t waste time in the process. While he waited he developed his relationship with God and the skills necessary to fit him as king. I wonder how many stones David hurled earthward and how many prayers and songs he lifted heavenward?

We can see that David learned his lessons well. When offered Saul’s armor and sword David quickly refused (1Sam 17: 38-39). Why go into battle with weapons and armor that are unfamiliar and uncomfortable? Just as we must avoid tackling challenges that are not our own we must only use the weapons that are familiar and sharp. God will always choose the right weapons for the task at hand and He will always choose the right warrior to wield them. What better weapon was there to slay Goliath than a stone from David’s sling? Can you imagine David trying to reach Goliath’s vital parts with a sword, let alone having the strength to penetrate his heavy armor?  No, God never places you in front of the enemy with the wrong weapons.  We must just remember to leave Saul’s armor in the tent and stand firmly with what God has given us.

David carefully chose his stones from the brook that ran through the valley. They had been worn smooth from all the years of water running over them. He knew something about aerodynamics from all the hours spent in the pasture … these he knew would fly straight and true. But he tells us that he didn’t trust in these stones or in his sling … his trust was in Jehovah (1Sam 17:45).  The sling and the stones were just the tools for the job at hand. God will take our rough tools and if we put forth the effort He will hone them to a polished finish, ready for use at a moment’s notice. The more we choose our stones from the Word of God and practice throwing them at the enemy the more polished we become … the sharper arrow we become in God’s quiver. He can then draw us forth at His moment of choosing.

Like David was confident in his sling we must be confident in the Word of God. David practiced until the rotation of the arm and the release of the sling were automatic … the stone was released with all the power necessary to complete the task. I have always said that John 8:32 is one of the most misquoted scriptures in the bible. The truth will not make you free. You must read the first part of that verse … and ye shall know the truth … and the truth shall make you free. Look at the word know in the Greek: (GINOISKO) allow, be aware (of), feel, (have) know (-ledge), perceived, be resolved, can speak, be sure, understand.

That doesn’t sound like just repeating something you once heard or read a few times. The truth must become revealed (rhema) to you by the Holy Spirit.  It must have life and be firmly implanted in your spirit.  It would be like David taking up Saul’s sword and going out to face Goliath. His chances of defeating the giant would be two … slim and none. He would have no confidence in the sword or in his ability to use it.  It is interesting to note, however, that after David struck Goliath with the stone the first thing he did was to take up the giant’s sword and cut his head off.

David shows us something here that we should always remember.  Something that many, many believers forget, that causes them much pain and suffering. David finished the job! David was not satisfied until there was no doubt that Goliath was not getting up. There would not be another day for this giant. How many times have we started to do something for God and stopped before the job was done. One of the reasons that WalkWithGod came about, and the very reason you are reading this teaching, is that the job is not done.

Yes, Jesus on the cross was the stone hurled from God’s sling to kill the “giant of eternal death” but it is up to us to cut his head off. There is work to be done. The moment we partook of Jesus’ sacrifice we rejoiced in the stone hitting its mark. But we need to finish the job.  We need to be sure that we don’t let that giant raise his ugly head and torment us needlessly. The Word is our sword – it is there so we can finish the job. We not only need to kill the giants in our life, we need to be sure the head comes off as well. Never, never give the devil a place in your life! Be unmerciful to him by attacking every evil thought, bad habit and sin that sets itself against you.

In studying this time in David’s life I was inspired by a sermon delivered by Charles Spurgeon in which he addressed this issue.  He cut right to the heart of the issue (so to speak):

You have no sword with you: you have not wanted to cumber yourself with one, even as David had no need to carry a sword in his hand, for Goliath was carrying a sword with him, which might well serve for his own execution. Whenever you serve God, you strive against error; and remember that every error carries the sword with which it will be slain. In maintaining the cause of truth, we need not be surprised if the fight be long; but we may always count on the pride of the adversary turning to his own hurt. The conflict will be shortened by himself. When the invaders, most of all, relied on the alliances they had formed, it often happened that Israel won the day through the Moabites and the Assyrians falling out amongst themselves.

God always provides us our sword in the enemy’s hand. The very lie that Satan throws at you is a perversion of God’s truth. It is that truth that becomes Goliath’s sword in your hand. It is the Spirit of God within you that gives you the power to deliver the blow that will sever the head of the untruth. Just as David cut off Goliath’s head, Jesus cut off the head of Satan’s lies in the wilderness by replacing the half-truth with The Truth:

Matt 4:3-4 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 

It is our job to prepare for battle now because we don’t know the moment at which it will come. David had no thoughts concerning a giant named Goliath as he departed his father to bring corn and bread to his brothers. But when the call came he responded … fully committed and fully armed.

I have often wondered what was going through his mind as he slipped down that cliff into the valley. There on the other side stood Goliath and his armor bearer and on this side stood David, his sling and his God. I have many times wondered if God was speaking to David, encouraging him and reminding him that he was well prepared and ready for this test. I have learned through a great deal of pain that when I am walking out to meet Goliath, God is speaking to me. He is reassuring me by His Word and His Spirit that I have the truth in my hand. Many times, however, the heat of battle has diverted my attention and I didn’t hear that voice of encouragement or warning. As you go forth to meet the giants in your life, keep an ear tuned to the voice of The Spirit. You may be getting vital information that could greatly affect the outcome.  Perhaps that is what happened to David?

As his eyes searched the streambed he spied a smooth stone of just the right size. He leaned down and picked it up out of the cool running stream and put it in his pouch. Just as he was about to stand up the voice of enemy once again roared across the valley but his heart heard another voice … that still small voice:

No David, not one stone but 5 … Goliath has 4 brothers!

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