Human Responsibility And Divine Providence

06-09-2024The Pastor's PenRev. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.,Pastor

Dear Friend,

In 1 Samuel 17, we have the thrilling story of David, the modest shepherd boy who slew Goliath, the arrogant giant of Gath. The drama of that event so occupies our attention that the spiritual lessons contained in the more minute details may escape our notice.

Today, therefore, I'd like to consider the importance of the expression "five smooth stones." Why more than one stone? Wasn't David a man of faith? Did he doubt that God would give him perfect timing and aim as he used his trusty sling to take on the enemy of the Lord? (Certainly, he needed only a single small pebble to accomplish his mission.

But wait, there were at least four other giants (see 2 Sam. 21:15- 22). They might rally to Goliath's defense if something went wrong. Perhaps David had prepared for them.

Trusting the Lord implicitly, he chose one stone for the champion of the Philistines and just enough to be ready for any others if they attacked. Why did he choose "smooth stones"? Well, you can shoot much more accurately with the proper ammunition.

He had faith, but he also used "sanctified" common sense. He didn't foolishly say, "The Lord is going to do it anyway, so I'll just pick up any old jagged rocks."

No, he recognized human responsibility as well as Divine providence and selected shiny, round stones that would speed straight to the mark.

And so, the understanding of the Church's teaching that Grace builds on nature.

Pray always and never lose heart.