1 Samuel 17:40 He took his shepherd’s stick and then picked up five smooth stones from the stream and put them in his bag. With his sling ready, he went out to meet Goliath.
Even as a child, I loved to find smooth stones for skipping across a stream or carrying in my pocket to rub on with my fingers. And now, I still love the look and feel of smooth stones in their solidness and placement in the nature, art, or architecture around me. Their smoothness seems to help smooth out those tangled emotions and thoughts trying to wash me away in their turbulence.
Most smooth stones in nature didn’t start out that way. Their smoothness is a result of many years of wearing away by water or wind on larger rocks already cracked from the pressure of weather, weight, or gravity. The smooth stones have been hewn out and polished by an external power not of their making or control. Yet if the composition of these stones had been any less strong and enduring, they would have quickly eroded into smaller and smaller particles which eventually disappeared altogether. Only stones made of strong stuff become smooth stones. Their smoothness indicates their innate strength and endurance over time.
I wonder if David knew this geologic principle when he was choosing five smooth stones to use in his confrontation with Goliath (1 Samuel 17:40). I wonder if the act of finding these stones and feeling the inherent strength of these stones in David’s hands helped him trust his strong God even more. Some commentators say that David chose five stones, not because he doubted God’s power for his aim with Goliath, but because Goliath had four brothers. David’s choices reflected his belief in his strong God.
Many others in Scripture exhibited strong belief in their strong God, including Abraham, Noah, Joshua, Caleb, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Esther, Ruth, Joseph, Mary, Stephen, Paul, and countless unnamed others in Hebrews 11. Scripture highlights their faith as strong, not the people themselves. Even as a child, I loved to hear of their brave and courageous deeds resulting from their deep and enduring faith. And now, the stories of their lives display an even greater solidness and placement in the past, present, and future of the world around me. Such stories of bravery help to smooth out my tangled emotions and thoughts into a more solid and lasting faith.
The composition of belief for those in Scripture with strong faith was that God was indeed Who He said He was – holy, strong, present, able, faithful, just, merciful, gracious, provider, sustainer, and countless other qualities that exist without change over time. Yet if the composition of their belief in their strong God had been any less strong or persevering, their bravery would have quickly eroded away into smaller and small particles in the face of trial, and eventually disappeared into the disobedience of not trusting God. Their strong God gave them a strong faith. God can and will do the same for us today, especially when we are weak (see 2 Corinthians 12:9).
Only people believing in a strong God can endure the storms of life that try to wash or blow them away over time. Their faith gives them a smooth bravery that can only be explained by their rightly believing that their God is Who He says He is and they are whom God says them to be as in 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people. You are the King’s priests. You are a holy nation. You are a nation that belongs to God alone. God chose you to tell about the wonderful things he has done. He called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Brave people rely on God. Brave people trust in God. Brave people know their God. Brave people endure through God.
Brave people know that:
Bravery can’t be duplicated; it can only be hewn out and polished by the power of our strong God at work in the lives of those 1 Peter 2:5 living stone people who trust Him with and from every molecule of their existence. Living stone people know that God has a purpose for good for them in this moment and those moments to come as in Jeremiah 29:11. Living stone people embrace being used as stones for the building of His kingdom to come as in Matthew 6:33. Living stone people trust God to give the strength to overcome this day and the next in expectation for the endurance to hold fast in faith and thus, to receive a white stone and a new name as promised in Revelation 2:17.
Bravery is seen in those: single mothers and fathers dependent on Him for feeding them and their children today; people reliant on Him for control of their emotions and dreams in defeating and depressing work environments or marriages; chronic illness patients trusting Him for enough strength to keep moving forward in hope today and again, tomorrow; missionaries, pastors, and laypeople seeking Him for light in ever-darkening cities and countries; people hoping in Him for a full life without a spouse or children; parents clinging to Him while praying for rebellious children; and unnamed countless others just trying to hold fast to Him in the midst of wave after wave of trials threatening to wash them and their faith away.
Yet, those waves and wind that don’t wash or blow us away serve to smooth off more disbelief in anything other than our strong God and expose true faith in their wake. And this true faith, in time, unearths a buried bravery that thrives, endures, and inspires others to open their hearts in belief to our strong God. Only our strong God can give a faith strong enough to choose five smooth stones and to go out to meet our Goliaths today.
Joshua 1:9This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go.
1 John 2:24 So keep on believing what you have been taught from the beginning. If you do, you will always be in close fellowship with both God the Father and his Son.
Dear Father God,
Thank You that You never change. Thank You that You are Who You say You are for now and for forever. Thank You that You alone give the faith to move mountains and to pick up five smooth stones You made from mountains of the past. Thank You that You can and will make me brave. Please help me to trust You with a strong faith. Please help me to endure and to overcome in expectation of Your plans and Your promises for today and for tomorrow and for forever. I want to run forward in faith against today’s Goliaths for only You are greater than any and all of them!
In the strong Name of Jesus,
Written by and copyrighted to Beth Madison, Ph.D., 2021