Prepare the Way: December 10, 2020

Prepare the Way!

“He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”
-Isaiah 2:4

When I was in the hospital with pneumonia in February 2019, my laptop died(!) and I was bored out of my mind. I started channel-surfing on the TV in my room and found a TV show where they were throwing homemade knives against a wall to see if they survived. It was a TV show on the History Channel called “Forged in Fire” and contestants competed to make knives and swords for a $10,000 prize. It was fascinating to me because of the need to understand the composition of the steel they were using, the culture and history behind the knives and swords contestants were told to make, and the way they were fashioning the blade was interesting to watch. (Seeing men working in utili-kilts was also pretty fun.)

This particular verse from Isaiah 2 caught my eye when I was looking at verses to use for this devotional book because I could now understand all the work involved in “beating swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.” This was before the time of the gas-powered forges that many metalsmiths now enjoy, so smiths would have to heat their metal in coal-powered forges and hammer it out on anvils. The process of beating spears into pruning hooks would involve heating the metal and shaping it into a hook by beating it around the horn of an anvil with a hammer. Beating the swords into plowshares would involve broadening the tip and sharpening it.

The thing that makes this image so amazing is the idea of repurposing an instrument of war into something useful for peacetime. Israel was usually at war with somebody, and it would be ludicrous to repurpose a sword or spear this way. However, things are changing. The Messiah is coming, and the ways of the world are being turned upside down. Things meant for war are now only going to be used for peaceful purposes. Change is coming.

Mold our hearts, Lord, and change them as a metalsmith changes the swords and spears into something more useful for Your world. Amen.
-Jen McCabe