Some presume that David took five smooth stones instead of just one because he had some doubt. However, there is no indication in the story of David and Goliath that by picking up five stones instead of one that David was doubting God. Rather, David was simply being prepared. What if the Philistines attacked him after he killed Goliath? How would he have defended himself? David was simply being prepared when he took the four additional stones. Also, he couldn’t have known that one stone would be enough to kill the giant. God had not promised that David would kill Goliath with the first stone.
David had experience in defending the sheep he guarded with his sling and stones. It would seem that the animals David had faced were far braver than the men with Goliath, because they all turned and ran away (1 Samuel 17:51). David told Goliath that he (Goliath) came with spear and sword, but his weapon was God the Father (1 Samuel 17:37). He trusted God with all his heart, believing that God would tell him exactly what to do and how. And so He did.
Others speculate that David chose five stones because Goliath had four brothers, but this is without biblical basis. There is no reason to believe that David thought if he killed Goliath that he would have to fight the giant’s brothers. Further, the Bible does not specifically say that Goliath had four brothers, although he had at least one (2 Samuel 21:19). David’s faith was in the Lord, and he knew from experience God’s faithfulness. David’s faith was born out of his experience of God’s grace and mercy in his life up to that point. The Lord had delivered him out of dangerous situations in the past, proving His power and trustworthiness, and David relied on Him to deliver him from the Philistine. Whether it took one stone or five, David recognized that the power was not in his sling, but in the Lord of hosts. As David wrote later in Psalm 21:13, “Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength; we will sing and praise your might.”
The story of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17) is a factual account from biblical history that demonstrates how the Lord intercedes for His people. David was a shepherd, the youngest of the eight sons of Jesse of Bethlehem. King Saul and his men were battling the Philistines, one of which was a 9-foot giant named Goliath. The men of Saul’s army were afraid of Goliath, and there was no one to stand up to him. But David, filled with faith and a passion for God’s name which was being blasphemed by Goliath, slew Goliath with a stone and a sling. Then he cut off Goliath’s head with the giant’s own sword. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled before the Israelites, who had a great victory over them.
An important point in this story is that Goliath was taunting the sovereign Lord of the universe. He was challenging God’s people to stand up to him and demonstrate that their God was more powerful than he was. Until David came into the Israelite camp, there was no one who was willing to step out in faith and face the giant. However, David’s faith was so strong that he was willing to believe that the Lord would go with him and enable him to defeat Goliath (1 Samuel 17:36-37). David’s faith was born out of his experience of God’s grace and mercy in his life up to that point. The Lord had delivered him out of dangerous situations in the past, proving His power and trustworthiness, and David relied on Him to deliver him from the Philistine.
From the story of David and Goliath, we can learn that the God we serve is capable of defeating any of the giants in our lives—fear, depression, financial issues, doubts of faith—if we know Him and His nature well enough to step out in faith. When we do not know what the future holds, we have to trust Him. But we can’t trust someone we don’t know, so knowing God through His Word will build our faith in Him.
As Christians who have trusted Christ as the only way to heaven (John 14:6), our battle with the giants in our lives will result in victory if we cling by faith to God and His power. The illustration of David and Goliath is only one of many examples of the supernatural power of our Lord. He cares deeply for His children and wants only our best. Sometimes that involves trials and battles, but these are ultimately for our good and His glory. James tells us to consider it pure joy when we encounter trials because they test our faith and develop patience and perseverance (James 1:2-4). When we are tested by these trials, we can stand up against any giant that comes to defeat us.