Scripture Focus: Ezekiel 39.9-10
9 Then those who live in the towns of Israel will go out and use the weapons for fuel and burn them up—the small and large shields, the bows and arrows, the war clubs and spears. For seven years they will use them for fuel. 10 They will not need to gather wood from the fields or cut it from the forests, because they will use the weapons for fuel.
From John: Today voters in the United States go to the polls in mid-term elections amid concerns of violence either at the polls or afterward when results are known. We continue to pray that Christians would distinguish ourselves as people of peace in contrast to the world and that the results of elections would be clear, legal, and accepted by all candidates and parties without violent speech or actions. We repost today this reflection on how God can and will repurpose the weapons wielded by violent people.
Reflection: Repurposed Weapons
By John Tillman
Ezekiel describes a future war against God’s people that is ended through supernatural means and has an unlikely outcome.
John, in Revelation (Revelation 20.7-11), makes direct reference to this earlier prophecy from Ezekiel, revealing that it is Satan that deceives Gog and Magog, leading them in warfare to their destruction. (Revelation 20.9)
This apocalyptic prophecy is full of poetic symbolism without a simple, decipherable, literal interpretation. An interesting detail is that the weapons left behind by the fallen enemy army will be used as fuel by God’s people for seven years.
We don’t often cook over fires anymore and modern weapons would not leave much wood behind but that does not mean this vision is unfulfilled. This image is part of a repeated theme in prophecy that humanity’s tools of warfare and destruction will be remade into implements of peace and cultivation.
What is intended for evil will be used for good. Wooden weaponry will be fuel for cooking fires. Swords will be beaten into plows. God takes weapons that are intended to end life and turns them into tools that bring life. Look at what he did with the cross.
The Romans and religious leaders thought the cross would end Jesus’ life. The Roman Empire thought that if crucifying Jesus wasn’t enough, they’d crucify thousands of his followers. But the cross couldn’t end the life of the church any more than it could end the life of Jesus.
The wooden weapon of the cross became a symbol that fuels hope. Every empire that has opposed it has fallen. Hundreds of Empires since have thought that violence by blade, fire, or bullet could stop the church and the gospel. Yet, every empire that opposes it will fall. The kingdoms of this world will become the kingdom of our God. (Revelation 11.15)
Our world, and Satan who rules it, wants us, like Gog and Magog, to be their weapons. “Used in their wars. Used for their gain.” (Rich Mullins, “Higher Education and the Book of Love”) Tragically, we are often deceived and march to war with them, but in Christ we, who have been weaponized, can be remade, recycled, and repurposed.
May we no longer be swords and shields but basins and towels. (John 13.5)
No longer murderers but nourishers.
No longer aggressors but comforters.
No longer destroyers but cultivators.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Request for Presence
Satisfy us by your loving-kindness in the morning; so shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life. — Psalm 90.14
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.
Ezekiel 39 (Listen 4:51)
1 Peter 2 (Listen 3:48)
Read more about Unprecedented Peace
“Beat your plowshares into swords” is not a call for God’s people to answer…God will put an end to war.
Read more about Already But Not Yet
Weapons of war are turned into agricultural tools. It is a transition from death-dealing to life-giving.