Five Smooth Stones

Courtesy LDS Media Library.

I’ve loved the story of David and Goliath since I was a boy (see 1 Samuel 17). David was the ultimate underdog. When I think of the odds stacked against him, his confidence and boldness amaze me. That shot with the sling? One in a million. And in spite of falling very hard later in life, he repented as best he could and remained a man of faith until his death.

I won’t retell the whole story, but here are a few highlights.

David was sent by his father to take some food to his older brothers who’d been in a stand off with Goliath and the Philistine army for over a month in the valley of Elah (probably means the valley of oaks). When David heard Goliath’s defiance, he said: “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (v. 26).

David, who was but a youth or stripling (v. 33, 56), said he’d fight the giant of Gath when no one else dared. Saul the king doubted but David, a shepherd, reported that he had killed wild animals in defense of his flocks.

David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the Lord be with thee. (V. 37.)

Saul offered armor and a sword to David. He tried them on but gave up on them quickly. “I cannot go with these,” David said (v. 39).

He took off the armor and sword, and took up again his shepherd’s staff. Then he chose “five smooth stones out of the brook” (v. 40) and put them in his bag or scrip. With only his staff, a sling, and five stones in a small bag, David approached the heady mocker.

Valley of Elah by David Bena, courtesy of Creative Commons license
The valley of Elah, December 2014, by David Bena

It turned out that David only needed one stone to get the job done. That’s all it took. He ran toward the towering Philistine and, once in range, struck Goliath in the forehead with apparently just one shot. The stone sunk into his forehead and Goliath fell to the ground on his face.

Imagine the shock of the Philistine army! David stood on top of Goliath, and with Goliath’s own sword, took off the giant’s head.

In an instant, the momentum changed in favor of the Israelite army. I’m sure you can predict how the rest of the day went without even reading the chapter.

I want to go back to those five smooth stones. I’ve been thinking about those stones for years, but more particularly the last few months. A few nights ago, in a somewhat desperate prayer, I asked the Lord to tell me what my five smooth stones were—what five stones could I use to defeat my enemy, my giant. I needed to know! Then I listened. And listened. I was patient for a switch.

And He told me, in clear, distinct language, what my own “five smooth stones” were. It might seem strange, but I heard or felt words that were combined in ways that I have never heard or thought of before. I wrote them down on a 3 × 5 card as soon as they came to me. I also recorded them in my journal. And I’ve been thinking about them—even applying them—ever since.

You can ask for yourself. If I can know, you can know. I’m sure of that. And with those smooth stones, we can defeat anything that defies the living God.

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