Raise Up the Blacksmiths!

Hi Friends! How is the summer reading going?

I truly believe that all Scripture, even the Old Testament, can teach us something that applies to our lives today, if we let the Holy Spirit teach us.

As I spend time reading, God is meeting me there! I wish I could write as fast as God reveals, but I can’t, so I might be zigzagging across 1 Samuel for the next couple of weeks.

I was reading 1 Samuel 13 last week and it really hit me hard. When you get a chance, I encourage you to check out the whole chapter. I’m still working through what might be a larger message, but I wanted to share some of it here.

First, here is the passage:

19 Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!” 20 So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plow points, mattocks, axes and sickles sharpened. 21 The price was two-thirds of a shekel for sharpening plow points and mattocks, and a third of a shekel for sharpening forks and axes and for repointing goads.

22 So on the day of the battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or spear in his hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.

1 Samuel 13:19-22 (NIV)

Wow! So much to unpack here. Here’s my attempt at a brief and chronological (ha!) outline:

“not a solider […] had a sword or spear in his hand” (v. 22) I don’t know about you, but I do not want to be caught without a sword on the day of battle. We cannot wait for trouble to break out to be battle-ready! There is definitely an urgency for our swords to be sharpened and spears forged, before conflict arises.

 “So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plow points, mattocks, axes and sickles sharpened” (v. 20) It’s likely that the soldiers were using farming tools, plus bows and arrows, and sling shots to fight. Not too shabby, but in this context, not adequate. How likely would success be for an army using inadequate weapons? It’s obvious their odds were not too good. Yet how often do we as a believers resort to carnal weapons to fight a spiritual battle? Let’s not delude ourselves and think we will somehow be victorious.

Furthermore, how can we win if we’re consorting with the enemy we have to defeat? Not exactly a winning battle plan.

We can’t win the world by using the weapons they use. We need to stop seeing our peculiarity as a handicap. It is a weapon!

(NOTE: If you’re reading this and you’re not a follower of Jesus Christ, I am not saying you’re the enemy. The Bible is clear that Satan is the enemy. He is the prince of this world (John 14:30) and he has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe so that they can’t see the truth. (2 Corinthians 4:4) I pray that you would know the truth.)

“The price was two-thirds of a shekel for sharpening plow points and mattocks, and a third of a shekel for sharpening forks and axes and for repointing goads.” (v. 21) I’m not really sure how much two-thirds of a shekel was, and I can’t tell you what it’s worth now or what percentage of an average Israelite’s yearly earnings that amount represents. What I can tell you is that this sharpening service wasn’t free. Imagine having to pay repeatedly to get your everyday tools sharpened. This adds up over time.

Compromise will rob us of our inheritance in God.

“Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!” (v. 19) My study Bible suggests that the Philistines took over the production of the kind of metal (probably iron) needed to make swords and spears. This tactic is repeated throughout history. Controlling an enemy’s ability to make weapons renders them powerless.


I don’t know too much about how you mine metals, but one thing is for sure – in order to get to them, you need to dig deep!

It’s time to get God’s Word on the inside! As believers, we need to earnestly pursue the spiritual disciplines of prayer and fasting. I say this and I am 100% convicted because I lack consistency in these areas.

But the reality is that God has given us all the weaponry we need to win! Let’s not allow the enemy to keep us bound, to keep us powerless through distraction, through compromise, and through prayerlessness.

The apostle Paul says it best:

I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world doesThe weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholdsWe demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

2 Corinthians 10:2-6 (NIV, emphasis mine)

Raise up the blacksmiths, Lord!



Feature Photo by Malte Wingen on Unsplash


  1. Wow! Powerful! I will read 1 Samuel. Thank you for sharing a timely message. God is speaking may we have ears to hear and the heart to obey.
    Looking forward to your next blog.

  2. Thank you for your obedience to walk in God’s calling. His anointing over your words is palpable. I’m going back to 1 Samuel and study to a deeper level. Love you.

  3. Thanks Karina. Ive been so busy I haven’t been able to reply to the last entry I commented on. Job well done again on this entry. As I was reading this I couldn’t help but notice that the production of ALL the metal needed for BATTLE fell into the hands of the Philistines. Its crazy but once again I can totally see how that could have happen. Reading this made me think about the many times in my own life where important things weren’t as important until there was immediate need for them. Praise God for his Mercy. I am definitely going to go home a chew on this passage alittle bit more. I pray I don’t break a tooth or choke on this😜😜. This is a great chapter.Thanks for sharing. Praying the Lord will continue to use you.

    1. Hey Renee, thanks for reading! I felt like this was a hard message to swallow too :). I debated softening it or not putting it up at all, but felt God say to DO IT! I didn’t mention this on the post, but as I was researching the lack of blacksmiths in Israel at this time, different Bible commentaries kept mentioning the same thing: they went through a 40-yr period or so of oppression from the Philistines. It’s possible they had been without blacksmiths for that long. But at some point in King Saul’s reign, there was a period of peace – they weren’t under the Philistines oppression. I don’t think it was too long, (maybe a couple of years) but however brief, steps could have been taken to raise up new blacksmiths, but they weren’t. It’s possible that training blacksmiths/finding someone to train them, obtaining the right metals, etc. was a long/tedious/ expensive process. But I’m sure that when the Philistines began attacking again, they wished they had done the hard work. This is so indicative to me of a common attitude many believers (including myself!)have towards prayer – we pray hard when things are hard, but not so much in times of peace and prosperity. We should be sharpening those tools in times of peace, so that victory in hard times is a given!

  4. Wow… Karina what an amazing reminder to work while it is still day. God really is going to using this blog to sharpen many. I really can’t thank God enough for the many ways he chooses to reach his children. As I read your response i can’t help but feel thankful to God for the rest he has given me while at the same time convicted, because of how I’ve used his gift of rest as a means to retreat from the battle, he’s expecting us to engage in. God is reminding me that his sabbaticals are meant to be used wisely and rest is given because there is a war were fighting. Im curious to know what study tools you use to get historical/ biblical facts. Thanks again for being obedient to Gods promptings. God truly is going to using this blog to spur people to study more. !!!! I’m going to make sure to post your blog on FB. Ttyl!!!

    1. Hey Renee, I have an old NIV Quest Study Bible (not sure those are even sold anymore) plus an ESV study Bible. I also use the commentaries available for free on http://www.biblegateway.com. If you want to check them out, just look to the right of whatever passage you’re reading on the webpage and then scroll all the way down. I also use the tools on https://www.blueletterbible.org/ to check for the meanings of words in Hebrew/Greek.

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