48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.I was reading the story of David and Goliath recently and I was impressed by these verses. Goliath, with his six-cubit-one-span height, his helmet, his 5,000-brass-shekel-weight mail coat, his leg shields, his shoulder shield, his weaver’s-beam-like spear and enormous shield (see 1 Samuel 17:4-7) plainly expected that whoever would fight him would fight on his terms with the same weapons. King Saul seemed to be bound by the same expectation, since he tried to arm David with a sword and armor and helmet. How wise of David to say “I cannot go with these, for I have not proved them.” (1 Samuel 17:39) He had not fought that way before so he wasn’t used to it. That wasn’t his area of expertise.
49 And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.
50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David. (1 Samuel 17:48-50)
Along with his stunningly profound faith that the Lord would deliver him, David went to face Goliath with the weapon he was comfortable using and had proven to work. This was so unexpected that it seemed laughable, even insulting to Goliath, who expected a high-prestige affair with high-prestige weapons.
One stone. One sling. But the stone hit so hard it broke through Goliath’s skull (and I’ve always wondered whether it went through the helmet as well.)
Nobody knows how much practice David put in, but no doubt he did practice, day after day while herding the sheep. (Read more about the use of slings here) Likely he never expected to use his skills against a giant. But when the time came and he saw Goliath defying Israel, he was so ready that he didn’t hesitate.
…Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. (1 Samuel 17:32)What I get from this is that we each have our gifts and abilities that we practice in quiet moments, sometimes in privacy, sometimes in small groups. But we never know when the Lord will call on us to use those gifts at times when many other people feel the obstacles are insurmountable.
Another thing that occurs to me David wasn’t there all those days (40 of them (which may be an exact number or it may be symbolic of a very long time)) when Goliath was insulting the Israelites or blaspheming God. There was a dynamic between the Israelites and Philistines that had been going on for quite a while and which was at an impasse. He was ignorant of the dynamic, so he wasn’t tied to it, and he used his abilities to make a difference.
The Lord can use us to change the dynamics of the situations we enter, and sometimes our ignorance makes us that much more effective, since we haven’t learned to fear what others might be fearing. With Heavenly Father’s help, we can use our talents to make a big difference. Dynamics are changed when we get new callings. Dynamics are changed when we move. Dynamics can be changed when we substitute teach classes at church. Dynamics can be changed in meetings and activities we attend and participate in. Dynamics can be changed in the families we visit teach or home teach. Dynamics can change in our families. Dynamics can be changed in the workplace. We may never know in this life how much of a difference we made in a new situation just by doing our duty and using our talents.