“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.” (Matthew 4:1)
My post today comes from a story a friend of mine told me. She thought it was an interesting story and was sure there was a blog in there somewhere. Her story is about a man she met feeding the homeless. He told her about a job he used to have at a local university. It was several years ago. In those days (and perhaps it’s the same way now), you could not enter or leave the dorms without telling the person in charge. Visitors were only allowed when announced and the residents couldn’t leave without checking out at night. He went on to tell her that the girls in the dorm, in an effort to have some freedom, used to put a small stone in the back door. It kept the door open just enough to let someone in, but not enough for anyone patrolling the area to notice. This is how the girls snuck in and out and of course this is how they snuck their boyfriends in. They thought of a way to outsmart the system. The very rules that were there to keep them safe were being broken for the sake of evil.
Those girls had no idea what they were allowing in. They thought they were just having fun. But in reality, they were giving the enemy a foothold. They were inviting the evil one to enter. And once he’s in, he likes to stay. He works hard and he works fast. He wants to wreak havoc and wastes no time doing it. He does the same to us. He looks for the place in which we are most vulnerable and he jumps at the chance for us to let him in. He patiently waits for the opportunity. He looks for where we are weak. He is a master at deception and seeks to lie and convince us that the truth is false. This is what he does. He hates us and is determined to destroy us. He wants our marriages. He wants our friendships. He wants our churches. He wants our souls. If he can beat us down, even just a little, he knows he has some time to destroy. And so, those girls gave the devil an invitation. He disguised evil as fun and they fell for it. They did not recognize the enemy. That little stone opened the door to much evil.
Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.”(1 Samuel 17:40)
The second stone is the stone David used to kill Goliath. The bible says that he chose the stones he would use out of a stream. Obviously, he was accustomed to using his sling as a weapon. He probably scared away many animals during his days as a shepherd. And so, when he went to the stream, he probably spent some time picking out the right stones. They had to be the right size and shape. It says that he chose smooth stones. I guess they had to be smooth for the purpose of aerodynamics. I’m not really sure, but David was. And so, carefully he chose the stones he would use. And he chose five of them. I thought it was interesting he chose five. Perhaps he thought he could get five good shots off before Goliath caught up with him. Who knows? The point is David was selective in his choice of stones. Not just any stone would do. They were being chosen for a purpose and so they had certain criteria they had to fulfill. These stones were chosen for the purpose of defeating the enemy.
The stories are similar because in each story a stone was used. The difference lies in the way the stones were used. In the first story the stone was used for evil. In the second it was used to obliterate evil. In the first one, the girls didn’t recognize the enemy. In the second, the enemy was as plain as day. Sometimes, it’s hard to recognize the enemy. He lies to us and we believe him. He discourages us and we let him. He makes things seem hopeless and we buy into it. Jesus recognized the enemy. And He fought back. He didn’t allow the enemy to tempt Him. He threw nuggets of scripture at him. David did the same thing. He didn’t allow the Goliath to intimidate him. He fought back with 5 smooth stones and a great big God.
We must keep our eyes open for the enemy. He is crafty. If we know our scripture, we have something to fight with. I read somewhere recently that the devil hates us because God loves us. He wants to hurt God so he comes after us. While we are still living on this earth, we will always have to contend with the enemy. We can fight him with scripture. We can defeat him with prayer. These are the stones we should be gathering and willing to use. When we fight we can be sure that we are backed up by a Mighty God who has already won the battle!