Bread – Weaponless

July 5, 2013


Readings for Friday, July 5, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: 1 Sam. 13:19-14:15; Acts 9:1-9; Luke 23:26-31; Psalms 140,141,142,143

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Christians have, in the west, lived for many generations more or less in control of government and, as a result, their lives. This has resulted in a certain national attitude among Christians of self-sufficiency (I can do it, I can earn it, I can reason it, I can achieve it, I am good) which in turn has weakened the radical dependence upon God which He requires of His disciples in order for them to receive the full measure of the gifts He has in mind for them.

However, things are changing as the rising tide and philosophies of worldly people have lapped away at Christians’ power base, slowly eroding it from the inside (as Christians become less disciples of Jesus [who they cannot change] and more the disciples of their particular tribe [which they can change to their fancy]) and the outside (as Christian thinking becomes less acceptable as the norm of behavior and thought).

Sooner or later, we will find ourselves like the Israelites and the Philistines. In our reading today from the prophet Samuel, the Philistines have taken away from the Israelites everything which could be used as a weapon. “Now there was no blacksmith throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, ‘Lest the Hebrews make themselves swords or spears.’” 1 Sam. 13:19 In other words, the Israelites were weaponless. They had no guns, no tanks, no missiles, no bombs, no swords, and no spears. They lacked the weapons of conventional warfare. They could not launch a revolution against their pagan taskmasters because they had nothing to fight with.

In the midst of these circumstances, Jonathan and his support team of one said, “Let’s go start a revolution.” (not quite, but you can read it for yourself). Then Jonathan said that the reason was “It may be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing can hinder the Lord by saving by many or by few.” 1 Sam. 14:6

In this is a critical lesson for us – the Lord does not require us to have our self-made special weapons in order to do His will; He merely requires us to do His will with what we have. He provides whatever weapons and circumstances are necessary for victory, if victory is what He has in mind.

Of course, I am referring to weapons made by man, weapons of steel and chemicals, artfully designed, manufactured, and used by us. I am not talking about the kinds of weapons God gives us to use in their place – love, charity, hope, joy, faith, peace, long-suffering, perseverance, truth, His righteousness, His wisdom, His power, His victory over death.

There may well come a time, sooner than later, when our guns are gone, are knives are dulled, our access to power is denied, our freedom is shackled, and our places at the head of the table are replaced by others. It is not too soon to begin thinking about what we will do in that evil day. Will we retreat to our corners, living in the margins? Will we rely on our own plans, warehouses, and things to bring victory? Or will we just show up, remembering that “nothing can hinder the Lord by saving by many or by few?”

To find out how we might answer that question tomorrow, we need to ask ourselves how we will answer it today. There will be a time today (there always is) when we will confront the prince of this world weaponless. We will then have a choice – flight, fight, or follow (Christ).

If we are going to prepare for tomorrow, we must begin by practicing today. Flight, fight, or follow (Christ). The choice is ours, every minute of every day.

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© 2013 GBF

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