“And he [David] took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.” I Samuel 17:40
“It [true education] is the harmonious development of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual powers.” Education, 13.
It is helpful to consider, as we study Inspiration, each one of the three aspects involved. The physical part of the stories is apparent. The mental and spiritual aspects lie beneath the surface.
The early life of David presents many practical illustrations of true education. In his family life and his work as a shepherd, he developed into a strong young man in every way. There are spiritual applications to many events in his life. Five Smooth Stones represents the five main doctrines that we need to understand in our battle with the enemy. In this article we will discuss these with some of the important lessons involved with each one.
As we consider these, it is helpful to keep in mind the central theme of the Bible.
“The central theme of the Bible, the theme about which every other in the whole book clusters, is the redemption plan, the restoration in the human soul of the image of God.” Education, 125.
1 – The Sanctuary
We are His by creation and by redemption.
“God would have us realize that He has a right to mind, soul, body, and spirit—to all that we possess. We are His by creation and by redemption. As our Creator, He claims our entire service. As our Redeemer, He has a claim of love as well as of right—of love without a parallel. This claim we should realize every moment of our existence.
“Before believers and unbelievers we must constantly recognize our dependence upon God. Our bodies, our souls, our lives, are His, not only because they are His free gift, but because He constantly supplies us with His benefits, and gives us strength to use our faculties. By returning to Him His own, by willingly laboring for Him, we show that we recognize our dependence upon Him.” The Review and Herald, Nov. 24, 1896.
“The law of love being the foundation of the government of God, the happiness of all intelligent beings depends upon their perfect accord with its great principles of righteousness. God desires from all His creatures the service of love—service that springs from an appreciation of His character. He takes no pleasure in a forced obedience; and to all He grants freedom of will, that they may render Him voluntary service.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 34.
Everything depends on the right action of the will.
“What you need to understand is the true force of the will. This is the governing power in the nature of man, the power of decision, or of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise. You cannot change your heart, you cannot of yourself give to God its affections; but you can choose to serve Him. You can give Him your will; He will then work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him, your thoughts will be in harmony with Him.” Steps to Christ, 47.
“Pure religion has to do with the will. The will is the governing power in the nature of man, bringing all the other faculties under its sway. The will is not the taste or the inclination, but it is the deciding power which works in the children of men unto obedience to God or unto disobedience.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 513.
“Desires for goodness and holiness are right as far as they go; but if you stop here, they will avail nothing. Many will be lost while hoping and desiring to be Christians. They do not come to the point of yielding the will to God. They do not now choose to be Christians.” [Emphasis author’s.] Steps to Christ, 47.
God wants us to understand what is involved with this choice.
“When Moses was about to build the sanctuary as a dwelling place for God, he was directed to make all things according to the pattern shown him in the mount. Moses was full of zeal to do God’s work; the most talented, skillful men were at hand to carry out his suggestions. Yet he was not to make a bell, a pomegranate, a tassel, a fringe, a curtain, or any vessel of the sanctuary, except according to the pattern shown him. God called him into the mount, and revealed to him the heavenly things. The Lord covered him with His own glory, that he might see the pattern, and according to it all things were made. So to Israel, whom He desired to make His dwelling place, He had revealed His glorious ideal of character. The pattern was shown them in the mount when the law was given from Sinai, and when the Lord passed by before Moses and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin’ (Exodus 34:6, 7).”
“Israel had chosen their own ways. They had not builded according to the pattern; but Christ, the true temple for God’s indwelling, molded every detail of His earthly life in harmony with God’s ideal. He said, ‘I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart’ (Psalm 40:8). So our characters are to be builded ‘for an habitation of God through the Spirit’ (Ephesians 2:22). And we are to ‘make all things according to the pattern,’ even Him who ‘suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps’ (Hebrews 8:5; I Peter 2:21).” The Desire of Ages, 208, 209.
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” I Corinthians 6:19, 20.
When we truly understand and acknowledge God’s ownership of our whole being, we will be loyal to Him at all times and in everything.
“The essence of all righteousness is loyalty to our Redeemer.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 97.
2 – The Spirit of Prophecy
“Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.” Psalm 51:6.
“I call upon everyone who claims to be a son of God never to forget this great truth, that we need the Spirit of God within us in order to reach heaven, and the work of Christ without us in order to give us a title to the immortal inheritance.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 441.
“The Comforter is called ‘the Spirit of truth’ (John 15:26). His work is to define and maintain the truth. He first dwells in the heart as the Spirit of truth, and thus He becomes the Comforter. There is comfort and peace in the truth, but no real peace or comfort can be found in falsehood. It is through false theories and traditions that Satan gains his power over the mind. By directing men to false standards, he misshapes the character. Through the Scriptures the Holy Spirit speaks to the mind, and impresses truth upon the heart. Thus He exposes error, and expels it from the soul. It is by the Spirit of truth, working through the word of God, that Christ subdues His chosen people to Himself.” The Desire of Ages, 671.
“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” Matthew 6:22.
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” II Peter 1:19.
“The Holy Ghost is the author of the Scriptures and of the Spirit of Prophecy. These are not to be twisted and turned to mean what man may want them to mean, to carry out man’s ideas and sentiments, to carry forward man’s schemes at all hazards.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 30.
“The spirit of this generation is: ‘Speak unto us smooth things.’ But the spirit of prophecy speaks only the truth. Iniquity abounds, and the love of many who profess to follow Christ waxes cold. They are blind to the wickedness of their own hearts and do not feel their weak and helpless condition. God in mercy lifts the veil and shows them that there is an eye behind the scenes that discerns their hidden guilt and the motives of their actions.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 13.
“In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouth of prophets and apostles. In these days He speaks to them by the testimonies of His Spirit. There was never a time when God instructed His people more earnestly than He instructs them now concerning His will, and the course that He would have them pursue.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 661.
3 – The Seventh-day Sabbath
“But the Lord gave me a view of the heavenly sanctuary. The temple of God was open in heaven, and I was shown the ark of God covered with the mercy seat. Two angels stood one at either end of the ark, with their wings spread over the mercy seat, and their faces turned toward it. This, my accompanying angel informed me, represented all the heavenly host looking with reverential awe toward the law of God, which had been written by the finger of God.
“Jesus raised the cover of the ark, and I beheld the tables of stone on which the ten commandments were written. I was amazed as I saw the fourth commandment in the very center of the ten precepts, with a soft halo of light encircling it. Said the angel, ‘It is the only one of the ten which defines the living God who created the heavens and the earth and all things that are therein.’ ”
“When the foundations of the earth were laid, then was also laid the foundation of the Sabbath. I was shown that if the true Sabbath had been kept, there would never have been an infidel or an atheist. The observance of the Sabbath would have preserved the world from idolatry.” Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 95, 96.
“The Sabbath is not introduced as a new institution but as having been founded at creation. It is to be remembered and observed as the memorial of the Creator’s work. Pointing to God as the Maker of the heavens and the earth, it distinguishes the true God from all false gods. All who keep the seventh day signify by this act that they are worshipers of Jehovah. Thus the Sabbath is the sign of man’s allegiance to God as long as there are any upon the earth to serve Him. The fourth commandment is the only one of all the ten in which are found both the name and the title of the Lawgiver. It is the only one that shows by whose authority the law is given. Thus it contains the seal of God, affixed to His law as evidence of its authenticity and binding force.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 307.
“The Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty; for it is the point of truth especially controverted. When the final test shall be brought to bear upon men, then the line of distinction will be drawn between those who serve God and those who serve Him not. While the observance of the false sabbath in compliance with the law of the State, contrary to the fourth commandment, will be an avowal of allegiance to a power that is in opposition to God, the keeping of the true Sabbath, in obedience to God’s law, is an evidence of loyalty to the Creator. While one class, by accepting the sign of submission to earthly powers, receive the mark of the beast, the other choosing the token of allegiance to divine authority, receive the seal of God.” The Great Controversy, 605.
“What shall we say then? is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law.” Romans 7:7.
“For by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20.
“There is no safety nor repose nor justification in transgression of the law. Man cannot hope to stand innocent before God, and at peace with Him through the merits of Christ, while he continues in sin. He must cease to transgress, and become loyal and true. As the sinner looks into the great moral looking glass, he sees his defects of character. He sees himself just as he is, spotted, defiled, and condemned. But he knows that the law cannot in any way remove the guilt or pardon the transgressor. He must go farther than this. The law is but the schoolmaster to bring him to Christ. He must look to his sin-bearing Saviour. And as Christ is revealed to him upon the cross of Calvary, dying beneath the weight of the sins of the whole world, the Holy Spirit shows him the attitude of God to all who repent of their transgressions. ‘For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life’ (John 3:16).” Selected Messages. vol. 1, 213.
In keeping the Sabbath in spirit and in truth we are witnessing to everyone that we belong to the Creator of heaven and earth.
4 – The State of the Dead
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23.
“Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.” Deuteronomy 11:26–28.
“God’s love has been expressed in His justice no less than in His mercy. Justice is the foundation of His throne, and the fruit of His love. It had been Satan’s purpose to divorce mercy from truth and justice. He sought to prove that the righteousness of God’s law is an enemy to peace. But Christ shows that in God’s plan they are indissolubly joined together; the one cannot exist without the other. ‘Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other’ (Psalm 85:10).” The Desire of Ages, 762.
In the garden of Eden God gave Adam and Eve a test of their loyalty. “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 2:16, 17.
God explained His will, and the consequences of transgression.
Satan, on the other hand, presented his deception. “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4, 5.
Satan suggested that they would benefit by transgressing God’s law.
“ ‘Your eyes shall be opened,’ the enemy had said; ‘ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil’ (Genesis 3:5). Their eyes were indeed opened; but how sad the opening! The knowledge of evil, the curse of sin, was all that the transgressors gained. There was nothing poisonous in the fruit itself, and the sin was not merely in yielding to appetite. It was distrust of God’s goodness, disbelief of His word, and rejection of His authority, that made our first parents transgressors, and that brought into the world a knowledge of evil. It was this that opened the door to every species of falsehood and error.” Education, 25.
“Like the angels, the dwellers in Eden had been placed upon probation; their happy estate could be retained only on condition of fidelity to the Creator’s law. They could obey and live, or disobey and perish. God had made them the recipients of rich blessings; but should they disregard His will, He who spared not the angels that sinned, could not spare them; transgression would forfeit His gifts and bring upon them misery and ruin.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 53.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Galatians 6:7, 8.
“If we ever know the truth, it will be because we practice it. We must have a living experience in the things of God before we are able to understand His word. This experimental knowledge is what strengthens the intellect and builds us up into Christ our living Head.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 97.
“True obedience is the outworking of a principle within. It springs from the love of righteousness, the love of the law of God. The essence of all righteousness is loyalty to our Redeemer. This will lead us to do right because it is right—because right doing is pleasing to God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 97.
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15.
5 – The Second Coming of Christ
We need to learn steadfastness and perseverance in our dedication to Christ.
“The doctrine of the second advent is the very keynote of the Sacred Scriptures. From the day when the first pair turned their sorrowing steps from Eden, the children of faith have waited the coming of the Promised One to break the destroyer’s power and bring them again to the lost Paradise.” The Great Controversy, 299.
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31, 32.
“And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” Matthew 10:21, 22.
“Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life.” Romans 2:6, 7.
“Christian life is more than many take it to be. It does not consist wholly in gentleness, patience, meekness, and kindliness. These graces are essential; but there is need also of courage, force, energy, and perseverance. The path that Christ marks out is a narrow, self-denying path. To enter that path and press on through difficulties and discouragements requires men who are more than weaklings.” The Ministry of Healing, 497.
“So with the great majority of the best and noblest men of all ages. Read the history of Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph; of Moses, David, and Elisha. Study the lives of men of later times who have most worthily filled positions of trust and responsibility.
“How many of these were reared in country homes. They knew little of luxury. They did not spend their youth in amusement. Many were forced to struggle with poverty and hardship. They early learned to work, and their active life in the open air gave vigor and elasticity to all their faculties. Forced to depend upon their own resources, they learned to combat difficulties and to surmount obstacles, and they gained courage and perseverance. They learned the lessons of self-reliance and self-control. Sheltered in a great degree from evil associations, they were satisfied with natural pleasures and wholesome companionships. They were simple in their tastes and temperate in their habits. They were governed by principle, and they grew up pure and strong and true. When called to their lifework, they brought to it physical and mental power, buoyancy of spirit, ability to plan and execute, and steadfastness in resisting evil that made them a positive power for good in the world.” The Adventist Home, 134.
“But this is the rule of conduct for all who would become His disciples. Nothing short of obedience can be accepted. Self-surrender is the substance of the teachings of Christ. Often it is presented and enjoined in language that seems authoritative, because there is no other way to save man than to cut away those things which, if entertained, will demoralize the whole being.”
“When Christ’s followers give back to the Lord His own, they are accumulating treasure which will be given to them when they shall hear the words, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; … enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.’ ‘Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God’ (Matthew 25:23; Hebrews 12:2). The joy of seeing souls redeemed, souls eternally saved, is the reward of all that put their feet in the footprints of Him who said, ‘Follow Me’ (Luke 5:27).” The Desire of Ages, 523.
[All emphasis supplied.]
Lynn Alan Humes became a Christian in 1974 at 24 yrs of age, and a Seventh-day Adventist two years later. Since then he has worked in many parts of the United States, doing canvassing, restaurant work, teaching, preaching, writing, building, agriculture, and whatever needs to be done. He and his wife, Lorraine (Butler) Humes, care for her father, Dr. Maurice Butler, and are involved with many aspects of Gospel Medical Missionary work, building and agriculture in rural Tennessee. He may be contacted by email at: email@example.com.