“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29).”
I used to live in a region of Finland that has been fought over for centuries. It straddles the border with Russia and was a focal point of conflicts between East and West.
The symbol of this area contains two strong arms holding swords. They appear ready to strike each other.
The sword is a weapon used for thrusting and cutting. It is strictly a military tool.
Swords are also representative of authority. Thus, they have been used as symbols of governments to reflect power.
There is no one as powerful as God. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that He uses the sword as a symbol of His power and authority.
His Word is called the “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). It is also described as a living and active, two-edged sword that pierces us, judging our every thought and attitude (Hebrews 4:12).
Why does a loving God use a military, violent metaphor such as a sword? Well, folks, it’s because like it or not we are in a war.
This war is fought mainly behind the scenes. The generals are our God and a fallen angel called Satan.
Sometimes though, the evidence of that war comes into plain sight. That’s when we feel like Job, who talked about God wearing him out and pouncing on him like a warrior (Job 16:6,1 7).
Like the region of Karelia where I lived, I am being fought over by these two powers. God and Satan both want my allegiance.
As a believer in Jesus Christ, I am on the winning side. His death and resurrection already won the war over Satan.
However, Satan has yet to surrender. You would think he would have given up by now. Nope. He intends to bring the whole world down on its head with him in defeat.
This is because he is evil. He wants to destroy me and you.
He is not like the German soldier in World War II who refused to surrender to American troops. This soldier, under a flag of truce, was negotiating the removal of casualties in a war zone.
While he was with the Americans, they offered him the chance to stay with them. After all, it was clear that they were going to win.
This German man laughed, telling them that at this point it didn’t matter which side he was on (the inference being that the war was obviously over even though the battle continued). He decided to remain with his own troops because he was fearful that his failure to return would reflect badly on the Americans.
Satan is not so noble. He wants me to stay with him and participate in his evil, even though the war is over.
The only way we can ward Satan off is to use the sword we have been given: the Word of God. Jesus said if we are in his army, we will put into practice what it says. We will obey it (Luke 8;21; 11:28).
In fact, He has given it as rations to feed on on the battlefield (Matthew 4:4). The Bible is to be in our hands and in our hearts. We ought to carry it around like an MRE (meal ready to eat).
God’s Word has a long history. The core of it, the Ten Commandments, were given to the people of God after they had been released from slavery. They were meant to help the people stay free politically and spiritually as well (Exodus 20:1-17).
Satan is a tricky devil and he will offer us all kinds of enticements to return to his slavery. The only way we can keep him at bay is through obedience to the Word of God.
When tempted to succumb to his wiles, we need to slash and cut with at him with it. To do this, however, we need to have it on us, ready to use.. A weapon is no good if it is sitting back in the barracks.
Once a Roman soldier was going to use his own sword to kill himself. He was responsible for some prisoners, and after an earthquake he was fearful they had escaped. He knew with the Romans his life would be forfeit.
Two of his prisoners, Paul and Silas, convinced him to drop his own sword of death and take up God’s weapon of life. The man put his trust in God and His Word instead of self destructing on Satan’s sword.
He not only saved himself. He rescued his entire family in the process (Acts 16:25-34).
My family and I sometimes feel like a piece of meat between two dogs in this battle between God and Satan. I suppose this is normal in a war. Job said his whole household had been devastated (Job 16:7).
In a war, no general divulges everything to his troops. His plans are given out on a “need-to-know” basis.
It’s the soldier’s job to use the weapons supplied by the general and defeat the enemy. It’s NOT his task to plan the battle, or question it (although grumbling is seen as a soldier’s right at times!).
My weapon in the fight against Satan is the sword: the Word of God. It’s my task to train with it and use it to fend off and attack my diabolical enemy Satan. It’ll keep me from ending up in his POW (prisoner of war) camp, or worse.