Stones Over Swords

1 Samuel 17:38-40 (the message)
Then Saul outfitted David as a soldier in armor. He put his bronze helmet on his head and belted his sword on him over the armor. David tried to walk but he could hardly budge.
      David told Saul, “I can’t even move with all this stuff on me. I’m not used to this.” And he took it all off.
      Then David took his shepherd’s staff, selected five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the pocket of his shepherd’s pack, and with his sling in his hand approached Goliath.

Lately I have been in the habit of reading the daily email devotion I receive from Proverbs31.org on my phone while I wait for the coffee.  This morning the devotion was an encouragement by Renee Swope for women to be themselves…find out who God made us to be, discover the gifts He has placed within us and then thrive at being that person…and no one else.  The Proverbs31 devotions are geared toward women but of course this principle applies to men, as well!

So, as my hubby pulled out for work I took a seat on the porch with coffee in hand and opened up to 1 Samuel.  Oh yes…the famous story of David and Goliath!  Here is what caught my attention this morning and it seems to go along with the devotion I read…

As David went to the battlefield to check on his three oldest brothers who were in King Saul’s army (per his father’s instruction to check on them and take food), he witnessed the giant taunting the Israelite army.  Daring them to send their best man and fight it out one-on-one.  Saul’s men were afraid.  Well, Saul was afraid!  But David, the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons (who had been anointed the next king of Israel but was still shepherding sheep and playing the harp to soothe Saul when he was in a “dark” mood) was offended on God’s behalf at the nerve of this Philistine giant taunting the armies of God!  As David dared to confront Goliath, Saul placed on him his own armor and as we read in the verse above, David quickly rejected it in favor of five smooth stones.

You know what I love about this?  David knew he was a shepherd.  He hadn’t been trained as a soldier!  His resolve and boldness in confronting the giant wasn’t rooted in his qualifications to do battle.  David’s firepower was his faith in God’s power.  Like the devotional from this morning, there is an encouragement to be found here.  Had David walked out to meet Goliath in Saul’s armor he would have been defeated.  I can’t even move with all this stuff on me, he told Saul.  No, David would not approach Goliath with someone else’s armor…the tools given to someone else…the way someone else had been wired…David approached Goliath just the way he was made with complete confidence that the battle belonged to God, anyhow.  He just needed to choose stones over swords.

I find it interesting.  See, Saul and all his men were decked out in armor with swords and spears, the stuff of battle.  Yet, they would not approach Goliath because they lacked the one thing necessary…bold belief in God’s power and a willingness to leave all glory and credit at His feet.  Perhaps God isn’t so much looking to use those of us so well-equipped and best qualified on paper, but rather those of us willing to use what we do have and who we are for His glory.  When we believe this it no longer matters if we carry swords or stones.  However God made us, whatever “equipment” He has given us, is only effective when given over to Him in full trust and expectation for what He will accomplish through us.  Maybe that’s why it didn’t take David but a moment to decide to fight Goliath.  He had no intention of taking credit for a victory and so he need not worry about the sting of defeat.  It wasn’t about him.  The outcome wasn’t up to him.  David was just willing to be used for God’s purposes.  And not as a soldier.  As a shepherd.  The man he was offered up to the God that still is.

Whatever “equipment” God has given you…a strong intellect, a tender and compassionate heart, artistic ability and creativity, love for cooking or growing things, ability to communicate, a love to tinker and fix things, a vivid imagination, an entrepreneurial spirit, a sense of humor that makes others laugh, a strong empathy for the hurting, a love for children, a beautiful singing voice, an ability to organize and lead…realize amazing things can happen in and around us when we embrace our own “stones” and take off the weight of trying to carry equipment God does not mean for us to have.

God has amazing things He wants to do through us as we simply offer up to Him who we are and lay aside the weight of being anyone other than who He created us to be.  There are specific plans and purposes God has for the abilities He places within us, but they will not be realized and we will miss out on the fulfillment of using them if we are unwilling to lay aside someone else’s sword and pick up our own stones.

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