No Philistine Blacksmiths Today
19 “Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, “Lest the Hebrews make swords or spears.” 20 But all the Israelites would go down to the Philistines to sharpen each man’s plowshare, his mattock, his ax, and his sickle; 21 and the charge for a sharpening was a pim for the plowshares, the mattocks, the forks, and the axes, and to set the points of the goads. 22 So it came about, on the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan.” 1 Samuel 13:19-22 NKJV
This is before David faces Goliath and the Philistines totally oppress the Israelites. They are so oppressed that the Philistines would not allow the Israelites to have any blacksmiths. This is the way they controlled the possible weapons that could be used against them in battle. With no blacksmiths, what few swords they had could not be sharpened. Nor could any of the farming implements required for survival be used against the Philistines in battle. They controlled what was sharp, what was ready and what was left unusable.
Imagine that for a moment, it is the Israelites that have the covenant with God. It is the Israelites that have been given this very land that the Philistines are now occupying. The Philistines are ruling over God’s people in the very land that belongs to Israel.
We live much the same way. We have a covenant with Jesus and a covenant which is vastly superior to the one the Israelites had. We have the promise, and the power, and the authority that is in His name and invested in us. And yet we live hiding our power and faith. We are not allowed to have our Bibles in the schools or often even at the workplace. We are not even second-class citizens in this nation, but well below that.
The Israelites were so oppressed that they could not sharpen their tools for the enemy’s fear that they would be used against them in battle. How similar is that to our situation today? But it should remind us of the importance of sharpening our tools. There is no Philistine today who can keep us from sharpening our tools (the Bible, and prayer). We bow to the pressure of the ‘Philistines” but they have no real power to make us stop from sharpening our tools. We simply stop ourselves. Keep your tools active and sharp so that we can and do wield them daily. You must use them daily so you can keep them sharp.
Can you feel that stirring inside you, the desire to wield your sword and swing at all things that stand in opposition to the Lord and to advance the kingdom in their lives? Sharpen your sword and encourage others to keep our tools sharp and active.
J Todd Hostetler