We’re all familiar with the account of David taking on that big dude, Goliath. It’s a fun story, and one that demonstrates faith, courage, and trust in God. These are all definitely things we should strive for! But I think there is another aspect to this I hadn’t thought much about until recently.
Reading through the story of David vs. Goliath, we obviously get the impression that David was not lacking in faith. He boldly went before a giant, most likely twice his size, and proclaimed that this ‘uncircumcised Philistine’ would fall before the armies of the Lord! That takes a certain level of faith to do that.
But the part of the account that some question David’s faith is in the question of why he took 5 stones instead of one. Was David afraid he was going to miss? No, I don’t believe the young David, who took on lions to protect his sheep, feared failure. (Besides, why would he grab smooth stones in that case? I personally would have grabbed jagged scary-looking stones, not smooth ones. Maybe rocks with spikes in them…)
So, is ‘five’ significant in some other way or facet of Christianity? There is a popular notion that these represent five areas of Christianity: Faith, Obedience, Service, Prayer, and the Spirit of God. While I don’t necessarily discount such a parallel, I think there is another practical purpose in that number of stones.
There were 5 cities of Philistia that had united to come up to defy the army of Israel: Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath. They were formidable foes. Until the Philistines were removed, they would be a stumbling block to Israel attaining unity, peace, prosperity, and strength. 2 Sam 21:15-22 tells us there were 4 other giants that were later killed (once David was king). This is confirmed in sum in verse 22:
2Sa 21:22 These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.
Speculation on my part perhaps, but I believe that David would have known about these other giants, and would have prepared to face them if needed. David knew that taking out Goliath would not wipe out the entire Philistine threat. He was gunning for them all!
I believe that David went the extra mile in this scenario. He felt God was on his side, and that with His power he would be able to gain victory for God’s glory. In battle he ran full force towards Goliath without hesitation. I believe he knew his first stone would hit the target. He was prepared to go above and beyond the call of duty and use the other stones to free Israel for God’s namesake!
Having faith and being willing to go the extra mile to do God’s will should go hand-in-hand. What can we do in our lives to show our faith? Perhaps we can by our willingness to face our battles wholeheartedly and with courage.
David had great faith. I believe the 5 smooth stones were for the 5 giants opposing Israel. Had the opportunity arisen, perhaps David would have taken them all on. We’re called to fight against spiritual darkness. Let’s have the heart of David and share God’s light like crazy!