“…and his sling was in his hand…” – 1 Sam. 17:40
You have no doubt heard many sermons about David’s unconventional victory over the giant. To my way of thinking, my husband’s sermon on it is the best of all, but I may be somewhat prejudiced. J While our granddaughter from back East was visiting recently, the three of us watched a DVD of him preaching this message many years ago. It occurred to me while we were watching it that many, if not most, of the sermons on this wonderful story spend a great deal of time mining out the significance of those “five smooth stones.” And there is definitely much to learn from them. “But what about the sling?” I wondered, “What does this tell us?” I mentioned later to Skyler that I felt there was something to be learned from it too, and her first thought was, “preparedness.”
She was right. God may have provided the stones and directed David to them; but his own skill with the sling, and more importantly, his confidence in God and the righteousness of his purpose that day had been honed and refined from a young age. He had been preparing for just such a day over many days in the past. The sling was not his only skill, for he had killed both a lion and a bear with his bare hands, when his flock was threatened. But he was smart enough to know that today his well-prepared sling was called for. Unlike Saul’s armor, he had proved it time and time again (17:39). (Note to self: Never go to battle with untried weapons.) Not only that, it’s evident from what happened next that Goliath had neglected in his over-confidence to put on his helmet (17:49), so it was his only place of vulnerability. You know the rest of the story. Young David won a great victory that day over a maniacal giant and sealed his place in the hearts of the people over whom he would one day be king.
I said I believe David’s character and purpose of life were even more important than his God-given talent with the sling. I think verses forty-five through forty-seven bear this out: “Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts…This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand…that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel…for the battle is the Lord’s…” He didn’t want to fight the giant because he believed he could beat him; he wanted to fight him because he knew he needed to be beaten, and somebody needed to do it.
If God has given you a gift to be used for His glory (and He has), know that it will never reach its potential for Him, unless you have prepared yourself spiritually. For instance, unless you can sing with true “understanding” (1 Cor.14:15; Psl. 47:7) of God and His Word, there’s a good chance you’re only entertaining. In short, unless you can do battle for God of any kind in this wicked world with a clear, sure knowledge that yours is truly a just cause (v. 29), and you’re bound to win because the battle is the Lord’s, don’t be surprised if you become a casualty of war. Make sure your spiritual skill is every bit as proven as your physical one.
You provide the sling and God will provide the stones…and the victory.