“Beat your plows into swords and your pruning knives into spears. Let even the weakling say, ‘I am a warrior.’” (CSB – Read the chapter)
One of the things critics of the Scriptures like to do is find apparent contradictions and use them to argue against their reliability. This is one of those places. This verse is set against Isaiah 2:4 where the prophet talks about just the opposite: beating swords into plowshares. Is this really a contradiction of that? What are we supposed to do with places like this?
In this final part of our series, Simplicity: Finding Contentment in a Busy Life, we tackle one last area where we all struggle with finding contentment: Our relationships. Relationships can be hard. They can be so complicated. What causes that and how can we fix it? With some wise words from Paul as our guide, we wrap up our journey by answering those very two questions. Thanks for reading.
Around about the time that I was
coming through my early teenage years, schools were just beginning to
transition from having junior high schools to having middle schools. My own school district followed the trend pretty
closely. When I was a freshman in high
school, they passed a huge bond issue to fund some badly needed new school
buildings. The initial plan was to build
three single-grade schools for all the students in the district. So, they opened Pioneer Ridge Sixth Grade
Center, George Caleb Bingham Seventh Grade Center, and they converted my junior
high building into the James Bridger Eighth Grade Center. The first class of those students came in as
freshmen during my senior year of high school.
Imagine that—an entire grade who had been entirely on their own for
three years. And the year before that,
they were all the last class of fifth graders at their various elementary
schools. Forget about not knowing how
the standard school pecking order worked; they didn’t even remember what a
pecking order was!
“They cast lots for my people; they bartered a boy for a prostitute and sold a girl for wine to drink.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
The God revealed in the pages of the Scriptures is a God of justice. Justice is one of a small group of characteristics that are primary for Him. That is, they are the qualities from which His various other character traits can be derived. When it comes to the judgment announced in the prophets, most often they are connected to violations of one of these primary characteristics. This is a perfect example. And when it comes to matters of justice involving children, God takes these particularly seriously.
“After this I will pour out my Spirit on all humanity; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will have dreams, and your young men will see visions. I will even pour out my Spirit on the male and female slaves in those days.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
So, yesterday we talked about the fact that much of the Old Testament does not apply to us as followers of Jesus. If you stuck with me for most of Monday’s full sermon I explained the concept there in a little more detail but with the Ten Commandments in view rather than the proclamations of the prophets. Context shift aside, the point is the same: Most of the Old Testament doesn’t apply to us. It details the old covenant God made with Israel which was fulfilled in Christ and replaced with the new covenant to which we are liable in Him. That’s the rule. This verse is one of the exceptions.
“You will know that I am present in Israel and that I am the Lord your God, and there is no other. My people will never again be put to shame.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
My wife and I used to watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition every single time it was on. We loved that show. The premise was that in each episode a different family got home makeover that involved completely tearing down their old one and building an entirely new one in its place. It was always such tearjerker of a show too. The producers were generally really good about picking families who were particularly deserving of the gift they received. The homes themselves were always amazing and I rarely finished watching an episode without thinking to myself at least once: Why couldn’t it be me getting that?