Joel 3:10 Beat your plowshares into swords
and your pruning hooks into spears.
Let the weakling say,
"I am strong!"
The Bible can be unsettling and Joel 3:10 creates a bit of disequilibrium. I know that we are to beat our swords in plowshares that is written in Isaiah 2:4. However, Joel goes the opposite way. Did you catch that? Read it again. I never realized that until today.
This is not a prophetic call for peace, but a call to arms.
It makes my stomach turn, my image is of machetes being gathered in Rwanda. A thing of harvest being used to shed blood.
Caedmon’s Call has this song, “The Lord is a warrior. The Lord is mighty in battle. The Lord is a warrior. The Lord of hosts is he.” Hosts is an old way of saying army. The 'heavenly hos't is a heavenly army. When Amy and I are driving, she automatically by passes the song. I flip it back, so it is a CD disagreement. I like to sing along to the song. Amy stumbles upon the image while I just listen to the tune.
The Caedmon’s song brought us to a conversation. There are images of war in the Bible and we have to come to terms with that. "Plowshares are beaten into swords," I am not overly excited with that image. What do you do when you encounter something in the Bible that upsets your apple cart? Do you discount it? Do you wrestle with it?
My friends who are of peacemakers, Joel turns Isaiah’s image of peace on its head. That great image, “let the weakling say I am strong” is not an interior mending of what is broken, but a battle cry. The Prophet calls Israel to arms. Won’t sing that hymn on the Sunday of peace during Advent!!!!
What do you do with that image being turned upside down?
Are you willing to go down to the Jabbok River and wrestle with God or angels? (Genesis32:22-32)
The maturing of faith is when we encounter something that challenges our assumptions and we change. I tell folks, argue with God but allow God always to win. It is in the striving and losing where we are blessed. Today, I know that swords can become plowshares and plowshares can become swords. Now, I need to go to Exeter, CA to meet the guys at “the foundry” and ask what it takes to beat a plowshare into a sword and sword into a plowshare. I do not embrace this revelation, but I accept it.