1 Sam. 17:40-54
I was sitting in church listening to our guest speaker for the night as he delved into a story about David before he became King of Israel,which is found in 1 Sam Chapter 17. As our guest speaker got to verse 40, he mentioned a possible reason that David chose five stones for his sling. Goliath had brothers, and it appears that David was preparing for them, as well. Sitting there listening, however, a very different interpretation came to my mind, which I’d like to share with you now. As you read this, bear in mind that this, in no way, renders other interpretations obsolete or wrong. Rather, just as an onion has many layers, we must remember that God’s Word, in like manner, has many “layers”, and every time we peel one layer off, another layer is revealed, hidden for us, not from us, just waiting for that time when we’re ready to receive it. It is my hope that others can receive this, and apply it appropriately in their walk with The Lord. I believe this represents a model or blueprint for spiritual warfare; a formula, if you will, for waging war on the enemy.
Starting in verse 40, we see David choosing five smooth stones from out of the brook. If you’ve ever looked at the stones lining the bottom of a brook, it’s easy to see them, but oddly enough, almost impossible to clearly judge their exact shape and size through the moving water, due to the refractive index of the water. As it ripples over the stones, the light plays tricks on our eyes, and this would require one to “feel after” the stones in order to make sure of the exact shape and size. You could say at this point that David, in reaching into the water of the brook, represents someone reaching out into the Spirit realm and “feeling after Him if haply we might find Him….”. This represents the saints of God reaching out to him in prayers, intercessions, fastings, study and meditation on His Word. As David does this, he lays hold on the now-famous “five smooth stones”. Five is a number that denotes Divine grace, which is, literally, the power of God that’s available for your situation, right here, right now, regardless of what your “goliath” may be. It is good to note that, although David had enough stones for battling Goliath’s brothers, it fell to his mighty men to take up this task, and they did so valiantly. It would then appear that, not only did David receive grace for his “goliath”, but also enough for his mighty men who, no doubt inspired by this young lad, later did to Goliath’s brothers as David did to Goliath.
There is another image here I’d like to point out to you. It is an image of our Heavenly Father, also reaching into the water looking for a stone. Another word for “stone” would be “pillar”, as in “pillar of the community” or “pillar in the house of our God”. In other words, here we have mirror images of David on one side of the spirit realm reaching for and seeking God for His grace, while on the other side we have God in the person of Jesus Christ reaching through from the spirit realm into ours, looking for a stone, or pillar….someone with rock-solid stability…..someone that won’t be moved….someone He can use to destroy Goliath. These twin images are both mirrored in David as he reaches into the water of the brook to find the stones he needs to slay Goliath, and both images come fingertip to fingertip in that water.
Now, if you’ll look in verses 45-47, you’ll see that, although David had previously killed both a lion and a bear (Vse s 34-37), he placed no trust in his own abilities, but rather in The Lord of Hosts. This is amazing, considering David’s young age. How many young men today over-estimate themselves, being so arrogant and conceited, thinking themselves invincible, only to find that a very small thing, indeed, can bring them very low, even close to death’s door! Not so with David, who knew his strength and victory rested solely in The Lord his God, both then and now.
Continuing with verse 48, we see that “….David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine..” Now, this is not the behavior of someone who is uncertain of victory, but of one that knows victory is assured. One reason that David could know this is simply because of previous experience, but he also stated previously in verses 26 and 36-37 that he was confident The Lord would grant victory, not because he had already killed a lion and a bear, but because Goliath had “….defied the armies of The Living God”. Goliath and the other Philistines, as you might recall, worshipped a piece of junk they called “dagon” that was made by men, that could neither hear, nor speak, nor answer prayers, nor save, nor deliver. It was this same piece of junk that was found to have fallen face-down before The Ark of God’s Covenant the morning after The Ark was brought into the house of dagon. An interesting preview of the future for all so-called “gods” made by man, or in the image of man, as well as for those that worship them. It is a preview that our enemy, the devil, should be reminded of whenever he tries to rear his sinister head.
In verse 49, David takes one smooth stone, and slings it into the forehead of Goliath, where it sinks in. In this verse, we see David, representing the saints of God, taking a stone which, in turn, represents The Word of God, and driving it into the forehead of Goliath. The forehead represents the mind, will and emotions of man, or carnal-minded man, which ultimately must always fall down before a Spirit-led man. Those of you that heard Dr. Mark Hanby speak of “the woman clothed with the sun, having the moon under her feet….” will recall that our mind, will and emotions, or soulish realm, must yield and be put under our feet when we’re led by The Spirit of God, and it is this image I would like to bring to your remembrance before we move on with this scripture.
How big Goliath must have seemed just moments before as David stood before him. I can see it even know rippling through the camp of the Israelites: “That’s it? That’s all it took? Just one little kid with one stone? That simple?” I’m sure a lot of the Israelites later thought: “If I’d known it was that easy, I’d have done that!”, but God couldn’t use them, because their fear of man made them doubt their God. Fear caused them to mis-place their faith on themselves, and on their own abilities, rather than on The Living God and His abilities. Our God does not use those of great ability or might, but rather, He chooses the foolish to confound the wise, the weak to confound the mighty, and base things, and things that are despised, to bring to nought those things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence (1Cor. 1:26-29.
Getting back to David and Goliath, now face-down before all, we see in verse 50 that “….there was no sword in the hand of David”. It’s at this point that David, in verse 51, “….ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith.” I would like to submit to you that this represents not only the cutting off of Goliath’s head, but, more importantly, the cutting off of the Philistine nation’s head. That is, the source of their power, and the driving force behind their desire and ability to oppress the children of Israel. Simply put, David cut off satan, the source of all the Philistines’ power, from them. And he used the very weapon that satan, through goliath, had intended to use on David. So God, using David, turned the enemy’s weapon back on him. Once cut off from the source of their power, the Philistines were powerless to stand before the children of Israel, who in this scripture, of course, represents the saints of The Living God. Here, the entire armies of God, seeing the once proud and arrogant Goliath fallen before young David, renewed their courage and faith, and swarmed across the valley into enemy-held territory.
Seeing how easily their champion had fallen before a youth, the entire camp of the Philistines fled in terror, being pursued to the gates of Ekron and Gath, which was Goliath’s home town. Might it be that the philistines, seeing what happened to their champion at the hands of a mere youth, began to wonder what would happen if they let the men of war get hold of them? It was after this that, returning to the deserted camp of the Philistines, the Israelites spoiled their tents. Now this is living! Not only do the Israelites get to chase the humiliated Philistine armies all the way back to their own home towns, but when they come back they get to take possession of all that the Philistines left behind. Notice the order in which these things transpire. If the Israelites had spoiled the tents while chasing the philistines, their enemies could have regrouped with devastating results, or the children of Israel could’ve descended into petty bickering over “stuff”, which would’ve ruined the victory. I would guess, at this point, that they were really taking back what was once theirs, since the Philistines seemed to make their living largely from plundering the children of Israel, among others. You can read that, after this battle, David got an unexpected promotion, and this is not unusual for someone who’s just inspired great victory in scripture.
You can bet David’s mighty men learned well the lessons they observed through David, and their deeds are recorded in the Bible for all to see. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I do, and I hope you’re inspired to do great things before The Lord, who’s name is Glorious above all. Spend some time reading and check these things out for yourself!
Something you should remember when studying the Biblical accounts of Israel’s continuing battles with the Philistines is the fact that you will continue to have to battle an enemy until that enemy is totally destroyed, or wiped out. You can see this by referencing Israel’s history with the Amalekites. Also, it is worth noting that the entirety of chapter 17 is full of interesting “hidden truths”, and the life of David, from his youth to his death is similarly worthy of careful study by anyone interested in spiritual warfare. We tend to pass over these details too often, and we cheat ourselves mightily of valuable spiritual “ammo” when we do. I hope you find these “keys”, or “parallels” I’ve presented useful in future studies.
Grace and peace through Jesus Christ our Lord….
Michael P. Hamilton