Question: I’ve always wondered why David picked up five smooth stones in order to face Goliath (see 1 Samuel 17:40). Did this mean he didn’t have enough faith to believe that God would only need one stone to defeat Goliath?
Answer: Even though David was depending on God in his confrontation with Goliath, he went into battle prepared. Had he taken just one stone, it would have been as if he were testing God. By grabbing five stones, he was still trusting, but not limiting God to a single result.
There is a lesson here for all of us in our journey of faith. We can pray for something and strongly believe, based on the promises in God’s Word and our own experience with how God has acted in the past, that God is going to help us. But we don’t know exactly how.
For example, you may be praying for someone who is sick, and you may firmly believe that God is going to heal that person. Does that mean you don’t consult with medical professionals and do everything you can to help the healing process? Of course not. Withholding medical care would be irresponsible. It would be putting God to the test. Now, God may choose to heal that person without medical treatment, but he may also choose to use medicine to heal.
The reason for picking up “five smooth stones” when we face difficulties (or opportunities for that matter) is that God expects us to do our part to prepare for the challenge. And it is a reminder that only he knows what’s best for us. Sometimes what we think is the best result isn’t what God knows to be the best result. When the Bible says that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28), we need to remember that God always knows what’s best for us. Only he sees the big picture. We need to trust him as we prepare ourselves in heart and mind to serve and obey and glorify him in all things.