38 And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. 39 And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him. 40 And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine. (1 Sam 17:38-40)
There is no armor that defends so perfectly as that which God provides. But in the case of the weapons of truth, God expects us to take a measure of precaution greater than the perceived need. David was certain that God would guide his hand and his stone to the forehead of the giant, Goliath; but he took precautions against the unexpected as well, and that pleases God. If we are going to preach and teach the Gospel, we need to be more learned in it than the immediate circumstance may seem to dictate. In fact, we need to be so much well armed and learned in the Word that we can answer every contingent question and challenge that may arise. If we go onto the battlefield against an enemy of 200 men, we may need more than 200 rounds of ammunition to defeat them completely. The enemy may have a reserve hidden in the defile which escapes our vision. The devil may plant questions in the heart of the sinner, to whom we witness, that we did not previously contemplate – so we need to equip ourselves with the whole Word and the WHOLE Armor of God. His double-edged Sword will be sufficient for the battle.
Why do you suppose the lad, David, chose five smooth stones out of the brook in his confrontation with a single enemy? The stones used in slings of that day were approximately the size of a tennis ball, and left the sling at about 60 mph. The stone could travel with accuracy, from a good arm, up to 400 yards (1200 feet). David was accomplished at the use of a sling. It was his weapon of choice against wolves and lions in defending the sheep. He had no doubt that one stone would be sufficient to take down any giant that stood in his path. So why five smooth stones? The stones were smooth to insure accuracy. The Word of God has no rough edges.
David used the wisdom with which God had imbued him. God gives us the knowledge of his whole counsel in the Holy Bible. The more of it we know, the better we are equipped as his wise soldiers. Remember the counsel of Christ: “24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” (Matt 7:24-27)
God has given us the wisdom of His Word for us to use. If we were a David who went forth without proper ordinance, and a greater enemy arose than we were equipped to combat, the loss would be on our own heads. His providence does not extend to those who build their houses upon the sand, or who go into battle ill equipped. Those sand builders are the very same Christians who go to church on Sunday, hear the sermon, close their Bibles at the end of the service, and do not open them again until next Sunday. The Rock is available every day, but they only use the gravel of a Sunday service for the foundation of their faith. How sad!
David, the principle author of the Psalms, was a very wise man because the Words of the Lord had become a cardinal portion of his heart. He had learned, not only to depend upon the Lord, but to depend upon the wisdom the Lord imparted – thus the five smooth stones! Have you yet guessed the reason for FIVE, or have you studied the Word to the point that your wisdom has revealed to you the reason? Every good field commander and captain of armies knows that the enemy we see is not usually all of the enemy we face, in spite of all battlefield intelligence to the contrary. In the demise of Napoleon at Waterloo (a man known for his care in assessing the battlefield intelligence), the enemy that swallowed up the hope of victory was not the British troops arrayed across the open field toward which his Imperial Cavalry charged, but an unseen and gaping ditch which fronted the forward positions of his enemy. As his cavalry neared the enemy lines, there was the unexpected ditch! Hundreds and thousands of horses cannot stop on a dime. Wave after wave of fine horse cavalry plunged headlong into the ditch negating the effect of the charge. On this one occasion, Napoleon had not reconnoitered the battlefield, and his glorious reputation as a victor perished with him on an island called Saint Helena.
David knew something about his enemy. He was not certain if his enemy would honor his word of confronting him alone, so he was prepared for a particular contingency – the brothers of the giant! Did you know that Goliath had four brothers who were also giants? “18 And it came to pass after this, that there was again a battle with the Philistines at Gob: then Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Saph, which was of the sons of the giant. 19 And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaareoregim, a Bethlehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. 20 And there was yet a battle in Gath, where was a man of great stature, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant. 21 And when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea the brother of David slew him. 22 These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.” (2 Sam 21:18-22)
When God sends us to Nineveh, we go prepared to face every threat and opportunity – not just the people of Nineveh, but all along the way. Armed with the best weapon he could have (the Lord’s blessing) David went forth with his best weapon – only a slingshot – to confront a giant, almost nine feet tall, with no body armor (only the armor of God). It is interesting to note the armor of the giant: “And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. And the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.” (1 Sam 17:5-7) This giant really trusted in his armor. He had 1) a helmet of solid brass; 2) “a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass.” His mail coat weighed more than 156 pounds. 3) He wore brass guards on his shin; 4) He wore a circular shield over his back; 5) He had a spear like unto a weaver’s beam weighing six hundred shekels of iron which was about 26 feet long and the head of which weighed 26+ pounds. Now this great man came out against a mere boy wearing only a lamb’s wool covering for his chest and loins – AND THE ARMOR OF GOD!
I suppose the greater lesson in this account of David and Goliath is that we take God, and all of His arsenal of Word and Counsel, with us into battle, and it will be armor enough, and sword suitable for the threat.
Too often, we fight our battles – FOR God – alone and WITHOUT God. We need to remember that the battle is the Lord’s. He will be the victor always if we go with Him and not on our own initiative and strength. If we do, it matters not if we are of small stature as was David, a weak and wimpy fellow such as was Gideon, or a man of courage and war such as Joshua – the Lord will carry the day if we go with Him into the line of battle.
When you face the giants in your life, do you trust in the presence of the Lord, or do you go it alone trusting your heavy and worldly armor. Do you enter the battle unencumbered with those useless accoutrements OF WORLDLY AND BURDENSOME ARMOR, but empowered by the armor of God and the Sword of the Lord? If you do, the outcome will be victorious on every occasion.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. AMEN.