Sharpen Your Tools
“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;” 1 Samuel 13:19-20 NKJV
At this time in the history of the Israelites, they were severely oppressed by the Philistines. As a result of the total Philistine control over the Israelites, they maintained all the blacksmith forges and the Israelites were not allowed to have any blacksmiths. You can’t make weapons of warfare if you do not have the ability to forge any weapons. Since the Israelites did not have any blacksmiths of their own, they had to go to the Philistine blacksmiths when they need work done on their farming implements or when they had tools that required sharpening.
This was one of the low points in the history of the Israelites. Because they did not have a strong relationship with God, they had forgotten or disbelieved the covenant that He had with them. They were His people and He had a covenant with them. The Philistines had no covenant with God, they should not have had control over the people of Israel, God’s people, but they did because the Israelites forgot their covenant and the power of that covenant. Israel had a covenant with God and yet they allowed themselves to be ruled by a nation with no such covenant.
Does that strike a chord of familiarity? We as the body of Christ have a covenant in His blood, it is a superior covenant to the covenant of the law in the Old Testament and yet as believers we often allow ourselves to be ruled by secular culture. They may have the power of this world (they may control the blacksmith of this age), they control the media and are deciding to tell those of us in the body of Christ more and more what we can and cannot do. They are enforcing compromise to the standards of the Lord when they force us to live and accept what is not acceptable to God, things like same-sex marriage.
We need to remember what Israel forgot, that we have a covenant with Jesus and the world does not. Their power is fleeting and weak by comparison. The Israelites submitted and took their tools to the Philistine blacksmiths to be sharpened. We need to learn from them and in the remembrance of our covenant we need to sharpen our own tools and not go to the world. Our tool is the Word of God. We sharpen it by learning to love the truths that it holds and the promises for us daily. Sharpen your tool, the sword of the Word, and be ready for spiritual warfare. We don’t yield to the culture. We change the culture by speaking and enforcing the Word with our words of faith. Sharpen your sword and get ready to put it to use to His glory.
J Todd Hostetler