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. 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We 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. 6 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