Why Did David Use a Sling
David staked claim to the land Goliath wanted, pointing out that it had been given to his tribe of Israel. David stated that he was in covenant with God while Goliath wasn’t. These historical facts guaranteed victory, but David continued to brandish his history. After asking, “Is there not a history?” he began recounting his personal history with God. David spoke of God’s supernatural ability given to him when facing a lion (1 Samuel 17:34-36). “I seized him by his beard, attacked him, and rescued the lamb,” he said. As if that wasn’t amazing enough, David also killed a bear! “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine,” David decreed (verse 37). This small, physically insignificant young man, had faith that was anchored—not to his own abilities—but to a history of God’s faithfulness.
It’s important to know that David stated that history. He said it. After teaching on the power of history recently, I was asked by a Messianic Jewish rabbi if I knew the meaning of the Hebrew word for “testimony.” I did not.
“The word doesn’t mean simply to convey something from the past,” he informed me. “Its true meaning is ‘to repeat an action or do it again.’ We Hebrews believe,” he continued, “that when we share about what God did in the past, it releases the same power into the present...in other words, power is released to ‘do it again.’
My head was spinning.
He continued, “That’s one of the reasons we share with our children the stories of what God did in our Jewish history. It’s not only so they’ll know their cultural history; it is also so the power in that history can be released to them today. For example, when we tell them about Passover and the Exodus, we believe God’s delivering and saving power that was demonstrated back then, will be released to save and deliver our children from bondages they may have today.”
Whoa times two!
The rabbi went on to tell me he and his congregation had been experiencing healings from repeatedly sending believers to sick individuals and having them recount healings they had received in the past. When they testified of their healings, power was released to “do it again.”
This drove me to my lexicons. While studying the word “testimony,” which meant exactly what the rabbi had said, one dictionary sent me to the Hebrew word for “remember.” Similarly, it doesn’t mean simply to think about something from the past; it means to do what is being thought about.3 This is why God tells us in Isaiah 43:26, “Put Me in remembrance...” He doesn’t require this because He, like us humans, sometimes needs a reminder. Rather, He is instructing us to ask Him, based on something said or done in the past, to take action today.
God “remembered” Hannah, who had been barren, and she conceived (1 Samuel 1:11). He “remembered” His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and commissioned Moses to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian slavery (Exodus 2:24). For God, remembering involves action.
This was life-changing revelation for me. I finally understood why God said we overcame satan by “the word of [our] testimony” (Revelation 12:11). And I knew why David stated his testimony of the lion and the bear!
After doing so, David then did something extremely interesting. He grabbed his staff, five stones and his sling, and approached the giant (see 1 Samuel 17:40). Why would David want to be encumbered with his staff when fighting Goliath? In those days, men carved symbols depicting their history on their staffs; it was their journal, of sorts. David’s staff no doubt depicted pictures of a dead lion and dead bear—his testimony, his history with God.
Who knows what other victories it pictured? Perhaps it had the phrase “God is my father” inscribed on it. Many scholars believe David was conceived “illegitimately,” that his father Jesse had an affair with a maid and David was the result. They believe this is why Jesse didn’t invite him to the line-up of his sons, from which Samuel planned to choose Israel’s next King. When asked if there were any other sons, most translations say Jesse referred to David as the “youngest” (1 Samuel 16:11). The word is actually qatan, however, and means “of no account; not worthy.”(4) David was an outcast. He stated in Psalms 27:10, “My father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me up.”
David refused to allow the rejection by his parents and half-brothers to define him. He also refused to allow Goliath to define him. “I choose, rather, to honor my history with God, who has become my Father, and from Whom I take my identity,” David implied in the Psalms. And when facing Goliath, he declared his testimony, grabbed his history (staff), and headed toward the battle. This is profound.
The Power of Testimony
David made one stop on the way to the battle, visiting a nearby brook to gather stones as ammo for his sling. Even this seemingly insignificant act was connected to history. The Hebrew word used for “brook” means “inheritance.”(5) That may seem strange, but Hebrew is a pictorial language, and this word pictures receiving something, then possessing the authority to control where it goes; thus, an “inheritance,” or a “streambed.” Actually, it is perfectly logical for Holy Spirit to use this symbolic picture of an “inheritance.” After all, it WAS David’s land, his inheritance. David took his “history” in one hand, reached into his “inheritance” with the other, then ran to face the giant.
And yet, there is still one more connection to David’s history which played a part in this battle with the giant: his Judah nature, his DNA. Most Christians believe Judah means “praise.” That, however, is a derived meaning. In this pictorial language, the Hebrew word pictures the extending of the hand. It is because of this that it is a word used for “praise,” since raising the hands is a form of praise.
However, because Judah means to extend the hand, it also means “one who throws a stone.”(6) In his history, David was from “the tribe that throws stones!” I sometimes imagine David as a young boy, spending countless hours alone, watching the sheep. He obviously turned those times into many hours of communing with God. Early in that season, he must have thought, what weapon do I want to become proficient with? A bow? Somehow, that didn’t seem appealing to him. Perhaps a sword is what I should learn to use, he may have thought. No, that isn’t me, either. Suddenly from somewhere deep in the heart of this young shepherd boy, a thought began to waft up: I’m from the tribe that throws stones.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
I don’t need a sword or spear, David thought as he prepared to face the uncircumcised Philistine. The land you’re trying to steal belongs to the stone-throwing tribe - my tribe! All I need to do is reach back in my history and deep into my DNA.
We believers in America are going to defeat the giants invading our nation, and we will do so using the same weapon David used: our history. The God who formed and preserved America in her past will fight for her today. As you pray for our nation, boldly declare His past faithfulness, believing in the power of testimony. Speak of our birth; declare about the revivals of the past; wave the Appeal To Heaven flag.
I’ll share a few truths about America’s God-given history tomorrow in order to help arm you. But here’s a thought to end today’s post.
John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the United States and son of John and Abigail Adams, said the following:
“The hope of a Christian is inseparable from his faith. Whoever believes in the divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures must hope that the religion of Jesus shall prevail throughout the earth. Never since the foundation of the world have the prospects of mankind been more encouraging to that hope than they appear to be at the present time. And may the associated distribution of the Bible proceed and prosper till the Lord shall have made 'bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God' (Isaiah 52:10)." (7)
Pray with me:
Father, we thank You for the many victories You have given us over the years. Thank You for the supernatural way You created this nation, giving us independence when it looked absolutely impossible. We have inscribed that history into our history books and hearts. Like David and his staff, we carry that history with us into battle. Our battle cry is, “Is there not a history?”
We refuse to fear today’s giants. They are small when seen up against You. We wave the Appeal To Heaven flag, just as Washington and his troops did, and say, “It still works.”
We wave the flag at abortion. We wave it at idolatry. We wave it at unrighteous government. We wave it at our godless education system. We wave it at a dishonest media. We wave it boldly and say, “You are coming to save America!”
We decree that victory in Christ Jesus is our inheritance. We will war with that truth.
Click on the link below to watch today's full prayer.
Zodhiates, Spiros. The Complete Word Study Dictionary. (Iowa Falls: IA: Word Bible Publishers, 1992). P. 2012.
Strong, James. The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Red-Letter Edition. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2001). Reference no. 5157 and 5158.
Ibid., Reference no. 3034.