Sunday, January 20, 2013

Shepherd's Bags and Smooth Stones

A talk was given in Sacrament Meeting today that started me thinking. It was the story of David and Goliath. The setting was described with the Philistines on one hill and the Israelites on the other hill. A valley in between them.

The Philistines sent out Goliath. The scriptures spend like three verses describing Goliath's size and how great and wonderful his armor is and how well it protects him. The Israelites are fearful and men are running away rather than accept Goliath's challenge. {How do I face my challenges? With fear or flight or faith?}

David's brothers are fighting and his father asks David to leave his sheep for a spell and take his brothers some supplies. He gets there in time to hear Goliath's challenge. David had some strong words to say about the situation. Strong enough words that he made his brothers mad at him. Word of what David had said got back to Saul and he called David to him and David eventually convinced him to send him up against Goliath. Saul clothed David in all his armor and sword but David couldn't bring himself to go out in it. He had not 'proved it', the scriptures say. And so he went out clothed in the clothes he wore as a sheep boy.

On his way to the field, David picked up '...five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had..." {What five stones (or one or two) have I put in my shepherd's bag to be able to be successful and triumphant over my Goliaths? Do I even have anything in my shepherd's bag? Do I even have a shepherd's bag?}

David gets to the valley. Goliath not only mocks David but those who sent him. How could they think he was of so little consequence that they would send a boy to fight him? David countered with his testimony that the Lord would deliver Goliath into his hands, even though he had no sword or armor, because the battle was the Lord's.

David put his hand in his bag and pulled out one of the five smooth stones {evidently all five stones were equal as it doesn't say looked them over and selected one over the other - he just "...took thence a stone.."}. And then David "...slang it and smote the Philistine in his forehead..." And, well, you know Goliath face planted himself in the ground.

1 Samuel 17:50 reads, "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."

What's the significance of not having a sword? Is it representative of the man-power instead of God-power? If I have a sword, am I more confident in my own abilities and less likely to rely on the strength of my Heavenly Father? Does this mean I need to rid myself of my sword of anger and my sword of judgment and my sword of hate - none of which will really benefit if taken into battle?

So, I guess my biggest goal is to figure out where my shepherd's bag is and then select which five smooth stones I want to put in it. Five smooth stones, any one of which I can depend on as I go into the battles that I happen upon with the testimony that the Lord will deliver me. Knowing that the Lord will deliver me even though my weapons may not appear to be as intimidating as those of the enemy {lies, deceits, negativity, depression, hopelessness, and on and on} because He helped me select those five smooth stones. And, maybe it's not what the five rocks are that is as important as the fact that I actually have the five rocks put in my shepherd's bag. It's not like David was looking around on the ground for a rock while Goliath was charging at him, clad in his amazing armor and wielding his creepy sword.

So, now, I just got a visual. Or an audio. I feel like that credit card commercial where they say, "What's in your wallet?" because they're so sure their brand of credit card is the best one to get you out of any situation.

"What's in your shepherd's bag?"

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Yeah, I did a suicide head dive off the wagon right after Thanksgiving. Going to have to deplete my supply and get back on that wagon asap!