A Sword is Born
God’s Word is so full…of truths, promises, and sometimes surprises! Did you have any idea how many passages used “sword”? I have read Genesis 3:24 hundreds of times and never paid attention to the “flaming sword.” One of the reasons I love Bible study with teachers like Lisa Bevere is they can help me see things I missed on my own. Flame on!
What do you think of God’s Word being a God Sword? Lisa (in her Fencing Manual) says “…we have become so familiar with God’s Word that it is rarely read as a sword…it is used as an instrument of study and devotion, but rarely as a weapon.” Ponder that for a minute. I don’t know about you, but that’s a bit convicting! How many times do I read the Word for my own benefit or even pleasure? Contrast that to the number of times I’ve spoken the Word aloud to claim a promise, speak a truth, or challenge something false. Convicting indeed.
In this chapter, Lisa describes a young girl’s dream set on a battlefield with girls who pray and wear camo, whose swords cause the very ground to shift. She uses this to illustrate the power of prayer and how the Word of God wielded as a sword is “an anchor to ground us” and “an instrument that takes ground.” She wants us to recognize that we need to equip ourselves because there’s a battle raging around us. And the very Word, that is so readily available to us today, is our weapon-in-waiting.
So. We read the Word; we hear the Word. But what does it look like to use it as a weapon?
James 1:22 says, “But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
Using the Word as a weapon means doing something with it. Lisa says, “If we know, we must do.” This simple phrase has resonated with me since reading it. I mean, I’ve read James before, so I get it. But Lisa challenges me to think beyond doing things like feeding the hungry (which is part of the doing for sure), but what other ways can I be a doer of the Word? What are some ways you can get involved with making the sword of God’s Word a reality in your life? (Fencing Manual, p. 20)
Have you ever watched The Return of the King, the third installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy? One of my favorite characters is Arwen, the Elfen Princess. In an effort to help the man she loves become the king he’s destined to become, she brings together all the pieces of a special sword that only the king can wield. Looking at all the pieces laying there, it’s pretty obvious the sword is of no use. It’s just pieces, chunks of metal. But Arwen has the magic to reforge the sword and has this awesome scene where she speaks over the pieces:
“…From the ashes a fire shall be woken. A light from the shadow shall spring. Renewed shall be blade that was broken. The crownless again shall be king…Reforge the sword.”
And the power of her words brings all the pieces together. The sword is whole; it’s reforged. Lisa uses this imagery to demonstrate an important truth about God’s Word. The power of God’s Word comes in using it in its full, as a whole. When we selectively use pieces of it, we weaken it. She asks, Are we using the Word to mark history or make it? Is God’s Word our final authority? Are we declaring or interpreting the Word? (FM, pp. 25-6)
Our discussion group spent quite a bit of time unpacking this image of using pieces of the Word. Take time now to think through all the ways our world, our churches, and we as individuals focus on one part of the Word instead of taking it at its whole. We had some great conversation!
We’re to pick up the WHOLE Word of God and let it guide us in all we do:
Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16
Lisa interprets “ancient” as “eternal.” So we’re to look for the paths and ways that are eternal. “The sword of God’s Word will separate our earthly motivations and establish heaven’s intent” (FM, p. 26). Let’s build on this a bit. Jesus told His disciples, and us, that we need a sword. (Here’s another passage I’ve read before and missed the “sword.”)
He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.” Luke 22:36
This is Jesus on the night of His betrayal, telling His men to buy a sword. It’s a little confusing then when Peter is scolded for using his sword only hours later, but Lisa suggests that Peter’s action was the “right thing at the wrong time.” How does this apply to us? Instead of us needing to wield visible swords, we’re called to pick up the invisible sword of God’s Word. Combine verses like Matthew 10:34:
Do not think I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but sword.
with Jeremiah 6:16, above, and we begin to put all the pieces of the sword together. We see that God’s Word is meant to be understood from eternal perspective. And too often we try to understand His Word from “an earthbound mindset,” so it’s easy to err.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
When we live by the whole Word, when we wield God’s Sword, our spirit and soul are separated. The sword of God’s Word has the power to reveal motives and join or separate relationships, scattering some in terror or uniting us as one body in courage. List two scriptures that divide. List two scriptures that unite. (FM p 29)
Thinking about how the Word has the power to reveal motives is humbling for me. Too many times my motives are selfish, impure. For years I have wanted to write…maybe curriculum for a Women’s Retreat or a book or a Bible Study. But every time I went to God about it, He was quick to reveal my motives weren’t for the good of others, but for my own gain. His Word was separating my will, my soul, from my spirit. It’s that age old battle between flesh and spirit.
Then one day He released me to write. So here I am! Taking steps to reach out to women who might like to further understand and apply God’s Word in their lives. I feel like that separation of soul and spirit is a fragile thing, so I work everyday to seek the “ancient paths,” the ways that God would have me travel. I pray the same for you! May you seek God in all you do, knowing that His Word, in its fullness, has power for your life.
See you next week,