Rocks, Giants and Forty Days – Lessons From David and Goliath

Rocks, Giants and Forty Days – Lessons From David and Goliath

Why did David take five stones and why smooth stones? What are smooth stones and how are they made? Why had the armies faced each other on opposite sides of the valley for forty days? How does the five smooth stones apply to our lives? How do they apply to the church body?

Short Version of David and Goliath
Jessie sent his son David to check on his brothers who were at war with the Philistine army. The Israelites and the Philistine army faced each other on opposite sides of a steep valley. Each day for forty days a giant, name Goliath, would stand in the valley and mock and challenge the Israelites. All of the Israelites were afraid of Goliath.

As David arrived at the battlefield he heard Goliath uttering negative things about God. Deep within David he was moved with a holy anger. He asked the men, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of God?” David knew that he could defeat this giant with God’s help so he asked for permission to fight Goliath.

1 Samuel 17:40 NKJV
“Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine.”

After receiving permission to fight, David gathered five smooth stones from a brook. With only his pocket of rocks and a slingshot, David ran down into the valley. He prepared for battle by placing one stone in his slingshot. As Goliath and David approached each other, Goliath mocked David. The taunts did not intimate David. He was confident that God would deliver him and the Israelites.

David slung the stone in his sling, hitting the giant between the eyes. The stone sunk into Goliath forehead causing him to fall to the ground. David quickly grabbed Goliath’s sword and cut off the giant’s head. Upon seeing Goliath dead the Philistine army fled. The Israelites chased and killed them, then plundered their camp.

Smooth Stones
Smooth stones are made from rocks rolling with the flow of water on the riverbed. When you see a smooth rock sitting in a river bed they’ve been transported over a long distance from their origin point. While on their journey they have be subjected to intense weathering, friction with sand, soil, water and collisions with other stones. All these things within the body of water erodes the sharp edges off the pebbles, rocks and boulders giving them a smooth shape.

1 Samuel 17:40 NKJV
“Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine.”

David chose stones that were smooth to use to defeat the giant, Goliath. When God has a job to do or wants to defeat a giant He also chooses smooth stones. Believers are like the rocks rolling with the flow of water on the riverbed. We are a work in process, ever changing as we flow in the river of God. In that river we are on a journey as we are being transported from our origin point to our destination. While on our journey we are subjected to elements of the world and to collisions with other believers. These things while we are in the river of God erodes the sharp edges off of us, giving them a smooth shape. Only after we are smoothed out will God reach down into His river and pull us out to defeat a giant.

If you’ve been beaten, bruised or hurt while in the river, keep on rolling and let go of the hurt because just maybe God will reach down and pull you out to slay a giant. People hurt pastors…pastors hurt people…people hurt people…pastors hurt pastors….that’s just a fact of life. Whatever you do don’t get out of the river. Let God continue to take you to your destination.

Luke 17:1 NKJV
“Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!”

Jesus Himself said that it was impossible for there to be no offenses. He did not say for us to get out of the river because of it though. He said woe to him through whom they (offenses) do come. The word woe in the Greek is ouai and is more than just an expression of a feeling – it is a judgment. It is not our place to try to get back at someone because of an offense. God will take care of it, that’s not our job. If we keep our hands clean and our hearts pure God can use the collisions with other believers ( offenses) to mature, refine and strengthen us.

Sometimes the river you are rolling around in branches off to a different tributary. Just keep on rolling wherever the flow of the river of God takes you. People will change churches for many different reasons and that’s okay. In the natural, if a river never branched off the majority of the world would be dry and desolate. The same is true with the river of God.

Other Giants
Could the other four stones represent the other Philistine giants that the Israelites had to defeat? David and his mighty men killed giants named Ishbi-Benob, Saph (Sippai), and Lahmi, as well as an unnamed giant with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot.

2 Samuel 21:15-22 NKJV
“When the Philistines were at war again with Israel, David and his servants with him went down and fought against the Philistines; and David grew faint. Then Ishbi-Benob, who was one of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose bronze spear was three hundred shekels, who was bearing a new sword, thought he could kill David. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah came to his aid, and struck the Philistine and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him, saying, “You shall go out no more with us to battle, lest you quench the lamp of Israel.” Now it happened afterward that there was again a battle with the Philistines at Gob. Then Sibbechai the Hushathite killed Saph, who was one of the sons of the giant. Again there was war at Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite killed the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. Yet again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number; and he also was born to the giant. So when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David’s brother, killed him. These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.”

Not everyone is called to fight the same giant. There are different anointings on each person and each church. Fight the giant God gives you. Don’t try to fight someone else’s giant.

Forty Days
For forty days the Israelites and the Philistine armies faced each other on opposite sides of a steep valley. Each and every day Goliath would stand in the valley and make fun of God and of them. His size and words were very intimating to the Israelites. As they stood there day in and day out listening to Goliath fear filled their hearts. Their actions showed that they had forgotten who they were (God’s chosen people) and His promises to them.

In the Bible many times the number forty represents a time of testing or judgment. A few examples are:
It rained for forty days and nights.
Moses was in the backside of the desert for forty years.
Moses was on Mount Sinai for forty days and nights.
Moses sent spies out to investigate the land God.
The Israelites were in desert forty years.
Jonah was warned for forty days that God was going to judge Nineveh.
Ezekiel laid on His right side for forty days to symbolize Judah’s sins.
Elijah went forty days without food or water
Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness for forty days.

Like the Israelites, when we go through a time of testing (especially if it is prolonged) uncertainty and fear will try to creep into our hearts. We too, can hear the voice of the enemy taunting us. During these time we must remember who we are – We are a child of God, the very Creator of the entire universe. We must also remember all the promises that God has given us.

When we are going through a time of testing God we can rest assured that God will send the help we need at the very moment we need it. However, that help often shows up in a form that we would not expect. It just might be someone who you can’t stand, or someone you have a bad attitude toward. It might be someone who brags a lot, talks a lot or a knows it all. You can never tell who God will use to bring deliverance to you.

1 Samuel 17:28 NKJV
“Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David, and he said, “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.”

David’s brother Eliab, was not happy to see David. In fact, he was very angry with David. He definitely didn’t like it when David spoke up concerning the battle. Maybe Eliab thought David had disobeyed their father by leaving the sheep to come see what was going on. Or maybe he thought David was full of pride. And just maybe…Eliab didn’t like David because God had rejected him and had anointed David as the future king.

1 Samuel 16:4-7 NKJV
“So Samuel did what the Lord said, and went to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, “Do you come peaceably?” And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons, and invited them to the sacrifice. So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

 God is faithful and He will send help, but He will be the one to decide what form the help comes in. David knew that the battle was not theirs – it belonged to God. And that is exactly the type of person you need when you are going through a trial – someone who knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the BATTLE BELONGS TO GOD!


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