For thousands of year’s people all around the world have used some form of a sling as a weapon. Examples of this have been found everywhere but Australia. Materials used were primarily a woven plant material like hemp or an animal hair like wool. The projectile was usually a rock. It’s a pretty simple and basic weapon that has been effective for tens of thousands of years.
The story of the boy David killing Goliath found in 1 Samuel 17 features the humble sling. It is a little hard to believe, because what great king would use a child as a hero in the middle of a war. However, the description of the death of Goliath is perfectly believable. Slings had been used in combat before this story, and continued to be used as late as the Battle of Hastings in 1066 AD. Therefore a young man caught up in a war taking out the weapon he has used to defend his flocks and firing it at an enemy soldier is not so crazy a story. With enough practice his accuracy could be good enough to strike his opponent in the head. And so he goes down in history as the young boy who slew a giant.
What David really was, was a man who used what he had available to deal with a bad situation. The Bible is full of stories of people making the best of it with whatever they have around them. Joshua’s spies use the friendly woman Rahab to help them escape Jericho. Ruth uses her feminine wiles to obtain a husband and save herself and her mother-in-law. David takes bread consecrated to God from a shrine to feed his hungry soldiers. Do what you gotta do to survive, a common biblical refrain.
The apostle Paul travels from Palestine, through Turkey, Macedonia and into Greece. After returning to Jerusalem he then travels to Rome. His hectic travel schedule is primarily responsible for the creation of small house churches that form the core of the Christian Church in the Mediterranean. He could not have accomplished this without a safe and reliable system of roads and sea routes provided by the Roman Empire. The early church benefited from the peace and security that the expansion and consolidation of Rome provided. Roads were built between major cities and were safe from marauding bandits. The sea was also safe to travel on because the Roman Empire worked hard to eliminate piracy from their trade routes. Thus the apostle Paul takes advantage of this relatively calm period to sow the seeds of the future of Christianity within the Roman world.
If we look beyond Biblical history and into Church history, the invention of the printing press changes Church history in profound ways. More printed materials available to people with some disposable income, meant higher literacy rates. More people who could read and write caused a few of them to desire to read the Bible directly. Since Bibles were copied by hand, the Church had carefully guarded their few copies of God’s Word and kept them far removed from the public. The printing press allowed Tyndale, Wycliffe and others to translate and publish editions of the Bible in their native languages. People who could read and interpret the Bible began the process of challenging Roman Catholic laws and traditions. Christians used the humble printing press to change their faith.
The world has changed quickly and profoundly since the invention of the printing press. The development of a transportation system in the 1800’s created the environment for traveling evangelists to bring revivals throughout the country. The invention of radio and television in the twentieth century allowed evangelists to expand their mission efforts to the emerging media. Now we are in the middle of the Internet revolution. Evangelists have moved onto the Internet as quickly as everyone else. The Bible and history has shown, to do God’s work, we make the best with what we have.
God bless you,