We don’t really think of a sling shot as being a life-threatening weapon because the picture we have of them comes from TV shows like Dennis the Menace and Mayberry RFD. The toy versions were just that- toys. But the kind of sling shot David would have used to protect his father’s sheep and those used by ancient armies were much more lethal. In fact, before spears, swords and daggers became a part of ancient warfare, a man who was adept with a sling shot was the most prized soldier. It took two years of training to become a skilled “slinger” and even now, those who use them are quite impressive. Stones hurled from slingshots have been clocked at speeds equivalent to a pitch thrown in a major league baseball game, up to 90 mph!
But why keep a stone which appears to be more of a souvenir than a tool of destruction on my bookshelf? It’s not just a nice piece of memorabilia for show and tell. It’s what it reminds me of. We are all familiar with the story (1 Sam. 17:1-54). King Saul and his soldiers are camped near the Philistine city of Azekah. The Philistine army is camped across from them. The battle is at a stand-still. The Philistines have put forth a challenge. Their champion warrior, Goliath of Gath (another Philistine stronghold) will battle against a soldier from the Israelite army- winner take all. Goliath is a monstrous height and has a pompous attitude to match it. He stands at the edge of his camp every day and taunts the Israelites waiting for a man to meet him on the battlefield. King Saul, who was noted to be an excellent warrior in his own right (1 Sam. 11:1-14) and tall compared to his fellow countrymen (1 Sam. 10:23) should have been the one to answer this challenge, but he is reluctant to fight. This is nothing new for Saul. He is often found hiding (1 Sam. 10: 20-22)! David arrives on the scene with supplies for his brothers who are serving in the army and is incensed that this arrogant Philistine has been allowed to literally thumb his nose at the Lord (1 Sam. 17:26) day after day. What follows is rather comical as Saul tries to offer the conventional armor of the day to assist David when David volunteers to take on Goliath (1 Sam. 17:32, 38). The armor was too cumbersome for David. He was used to and skilled with a sling shot. So, the armor is shed, his sling shot is taken in hand and five stones are collected and placed in his pouch. But only one was needed to do the job (1 Sam. 17:49).
David’s “battle” against Goliath is not the only epic battle in the Bible. Perhaps the most epic battle occurred on a lonely, barren mountaintop just outside of the New Testament city of Jericho. Only that battle was not fought with weapons. Jesus has been fasting in solitude for 40 days and now at the conclusion of this time, Satan approaches with 3 “offers” but each time Jesus declines citing Scripture (Mt. 4: 1-11). Why? Satan has offered food, fame, and power. Who wouldn’t want those? But Jesus knows full-well that Satan’s offers are lies and the best way to battle a lie, as tempting as it may be, is with the Truth. You and I are faced with battles every day. We may not be fighting the same battles, but no matter what kind of battle we face, our weaponry is as effective as a stone in a sling shot, if we use it.
Justain, our group leader, stood before us one evening during Bible study and said, “I was reading in Ephesians today and it reminded me of this”. He proceeded to put on his helmet and vest from his days in the army. His (disabled) rifle leaned up against the fireplace. His gear was an illustration of Paul’s words. We are not left unequipped for the battles we face (1 Cor. 10:13). Like Jesus, we have powerful weapons at our disposal, the most potent being God’s Word (Eph. 6:10-17). When the battles you face present you with lies you are tempted to believe, use God’s Word to combat them. You will be amazed at what happens when you do (Jas. 4:7).
Ann H. LeFevre, M.Div.
https://www.annhlefevre.com; Olivetreeann@mail.com; https://www.linkedin.com/in/annhlefevre; https://www.facebook.com/ann.h.lefevre