familiar: how God takes everyday things and ordinary people and uses them for his glory

Bible stories can become so dearly familiar to us over time that we think we’ve grasped all they have to teach us. Yet the wonder of God’s Word is that if we’re open to be surprised and enlightened by it, we can discover new things when we read familiar passages, like David and Goliath’s story, encompassing the heroic actions of a king-in-waiting against an unassailable giant, while he was still an unknown shepherd boy.

“David strapped Saul’s sword over the armor and tried to walk, but he couldn’t, because he wasn’t used to wearing them. ‘I can’t fight with all this,’ he said to Saul. ‘I’m not used to it.’ So he took it all off. He took his shepherd’s stick and then picked up five smooth stones from the stream and put them in his bag. With his sling ready, he went out to meet Goliath.”

– 1 Samuel 17: 39-40 (GNT)

David grasped his stick and sling. He took hold of the familiar. He gathered his daily work gear and prepared for action. But then he paused, stooped to gather five smooth stones, deciding which to keep or reject.

Over time, stones become worn smooth by friction and by the action of continually flowing water washing over them. They’re polished by the tides, rather like we are when we face life’s storms and challenges and how we become honed in adversity’s fire.

I wonder if David chose those stones for their particular characteristics? Maybe in resisting the lure of the sturdy armour provided by Saul he had something else in mind. His defence was to be a divine one.

David readied himself for battle by recognising the all too human desire to look and feel mighty in the face of calamity and deliberately choosing to rely on holy help, instead of accepting the glittering resources others expected him to make good use of.

Although it seemed eminently sensible, and there was nothing intrinsically wrong with accepting the protection of armour, David was led to dismiss it so that God alone would receive the glory of the victory to come.

David greatly stretched his faith, by trusting implicitly that God would step in and provide for all his needs. He let fear take a backseat and placed himself, with his all too apparent insignificance and smallness into God’s capable hands. Maybe we can learn from this?

David communed with God on a regular basis each day. He saw parallels between his shepherding role and the way God tenderly cares for each one of us. He took time to pray, to know God’s will and experience His love firsthand. All of which gave him the ability to trust God to come through for him.

Those five stones might have symbolised five strongholds David wanted to literally sling in the enemy’s (Goliath’s) direction. They could have been:

1) the stone of pride
2) the stone of self-reliance
3) the stone of people-approval
4) the stone of fear
5) the stone of independence

They look horribly familiar to me. Can you recognise some of them too? They’ve intrinsic to our human nature and tend to weigh us down if left to their own devices.

God was David’s armour: his helmet, shield, cloak and covering. God alone would secure this victory in the face of great odds. God would take simple, humble, ordinary, familiar thingsfive stones and a leather slingand render them extraordinary by His grace, just as He does for us.

“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” – Matthew 7:14 (NIV)

We should never underestimate what God can do with a surrendered life. And how He uses the seemingly mundane things to bring about His purposes in this world.

“I love that you use the downtrodden to accomplish your great plans. You don’t seek after know-it-alls or celebrities or people who have it all together. You seek out those whose hearts are completely yours, who understand their weakness and dependence” – ‘Jesus Every Day: A Journey Through the Bible in One Year’ – Mary DeMuth

This gives us hope as we see our small lives in a different context. Because we’re apt to forget just how marvellous ordinary life and ordinary people like ourselves truly are and how very much we are loved by God.

When our lives are placed in the hands of our wondrous God, He takes, breaks and makes so much more out of the crumbs of our familiar daily existence than we can ever hope, dream or imagine. And that’s a hope that always stays fresh for us.

____Joy, for the Beloved Prodigal team___

**PS: If you’re unfamiliar with the David and Goliath story (or want to refresh your memory) you can read the full account here**

We’re linking here with #LMMLinkup and #graceandtruth

6 thoughts on “familiar: how God takes everyday things and ordinary people and uses them for his glory

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  1. Dear Joy,
    Oh, your words have brought tears to my eyes this morning. To think that our Lord would want to take my weak and weary heart, and bring His own victorious strength to me–it is still so amazing to me. I love the quote from Mary DeMuth, and the song by Joni also. Sometimes my prayers feel so insignificant when I cannot see how they could possibly be accomplished. But just as God was glorified through David’s trust in HIS might, so may I offer my trust and look to His might and power right there. Much Love and Blessings to you my friend.

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    1. Dear Bettie, this weak and weary woman agrees with you. It is a wonder indeed how we are held, supported and kept safe, as well as strengthened and equipped by God’s grace! I’m really benefiting from reading Mary DeMuth’s prayers. It’s amazing how timely they often are to me and how much they speak into my circumstances. I believe God honours the smallest step of faith we take, the anguished cries we make and all the whispered words we speak in prayer. Our vigour or weakness are not the determining factor in how our prayers are answered. Only His mercy in allowing us to stretch our faith and trust in the enormous privilege of partnering with Him in bringing His will to pass, whether we witness the results or not. May we continue to trust less in what is visible to our eyes and more in how God loves to hear and respond to prayer, including the element of surprise sometimes! Much love and blessings to you too, my friend. xo 💜

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    1. Becky, I think we do wear the King of king’s armour, especially when we dress ourselves for spiritual warfare. Holy Spirit marvellously reminds, equips and enables us to stand strong in the Lord. How thankful I am that He does and we don’t have to rely upon ourselves! 😊💜

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  2. “We should never underestimate what God can do with a surrendered life.” Oh, Joy, such encouraging words today! He can use us in all our brokenness and pain for His strength works through us to reach farther than we can imagine. We may not even see all the results that come from our lives surrendered completely to Him. I love that song by Joni. I’ve met her in person and she is a dear. Some of my daughters spent time with her as they volunteered at her family retreats. The lesson for us here is clear. We don’t need to have fancy words or a big platform or whatever. All we need is to rest fully on God and surrender ourselves to Him. What a glorious way to live! May God help us to continually surrender to Him. Blessings and love to you, dear Joy! xoxo Thanks so much for this encouragement.

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    1. Gayl, I am so grateful you have been encouraged here! Yes, I marvel at the thought of how God amazingly chooses to work in and through broken and wounded people like us. It’s awe-inspiring, isn’t it? I was delighted to come across this song by Joni. How wonderful that you have met her in person! I love her books and devotionals. They have been such a blessing to me. She’s a huge example in having a surrendered life and adapting to life with physical disabilities. May we learn from her example and that of others who inspire us to remember how graciously God acts in and through those who live in full dependence on Him. Blessings and love to you, dear friend! You have encouraged me by your lovely comment. Thank you! xoxo 💜

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