Summary: The word of God is our Sword of Spirit, it is our weapon in this spiritual warfare, but without it we are spiritually disarmed. We shall consider how Israelites were once disarmed by their enemies and extract lessons which we can apply to us today
In the year 2015, more than two hundred Nigerian soldiers were dismissed from the army for not obeying orders, they were accused of fleeing rather than fighting the Boko Haram militants. One of the dismissed soldiers explained in an interview with a leading news channel that what he did was a tactical withdrawal. He claims that the enemy was more equipped than them, they had better weapons and they (the Nigerian soldiers) were outgunned. You can’t fight a battle and win without proper weapons against a highly armed enemy. As long as the enemy has better weapons than you, you are bound to lose the war.
One of the most secured places of a country is not the banks were money and gold are kept but it is the armoury where guns and other weapons are stored. Once you have your weapons raided by the enemy, you will struggle to fight and win, your next option will be to flee from the warlike what the dismissed soldiers did.
The Philistines Policy
The Philistines knew that to defeat their enemy (the Israelites), they had to make sure that the latter does not have weapons. They came up with a policy to ensure that this is achieved. The Philistines made sure that no Blacksmith was found throughout all the land of Israel for the fear that the Hebrews might make them swords or spears: (1 Samuel 13:19). Blacksmiths were the people responsible for making weapons from iron. The Philistines’ strategy was to disarm their enemy. Even today the enemy of the children of God: Satan, is on a drive to disarm those who believe in God so that they become unarmed and easy prey.
This chapter is entitled “Spiritually disarmed” which is a description of a situation whereby a person is stripped of his/her spiritual weapons and is based on 1 Samuel 13:19-22.
The Philistines realised that for Israel to be rendered weak with regards to warfare they must be disarmed, they must not have weapons, and for this to happen there must not be any blacksmiths. The Bible doesn’t tell us how exactly this strategy of making sure that there are no Blacksmiths was executed. Probably the Philistines offered the Israeli blacksmiths better job opportunities somewhere, or they abducted them, or maybe they even killed anyone who did the weapon making business in Israel. Whatever method they used, it proved to be effective. There was no longer any blacksmith in the land of Israel which meant that there was no one who was able to make them any swords or spears to use to fight the enemy.
Our weapon - Sword of the Spirit
The Bible tells us in Ephesians 6:12 that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood…” Our warfare as children of God does not involve physical swords or guns and bombs, no, but it’s a spiritual warfare. Ephesians 6:13 goes on to say “Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” The armour is then listed out on the verses which follow but our main focus in this sermon is on verse 17 which says “…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”.
Our sword is the word of God, the devil is aware of this weapon and he is making use of the same strategy which was used by the Philistines of making sure that in the land of Israel there is no blacksmith. Satan wants to remove among the children of God those that can make swords, by this I mean he wants a situation where no one can rightly teach the word of God. If people lack the word of God, they can easily be attacked by Satan and they cannot fight back.
Of Ploughshares and Mattocks
The shortage of blacksmiths caused all the Israelites to go down to the Philistines to sharpen their ploughshares, mattocks, axes, and sickles. The chosen tribe of God, going to have their tools sharpened by the Philistines. The devil makes sure that you won’t have anyone who can teach you the word of God correctly and in the end, you go to him for Bible study lessons. He directs you to his false prophets, false theological colleges and false churches. You will notice that among the tools which were being sharpened by the Philistines for the Israelites, none of these items was spears or swords. The Philistines are comfortable with sharpening your ploughshares and mattocks but they won’t sharpen swords for you because that will indirectly mean that they have also empowered you with weapons to fight against them.
Satan is not against you getting all the worldly things, he has no problem in giving you earthly riches, but when it comes to you getting the word of God, he is so against it. He doesn’t want you to come to the knowledge of the truth which is in the word of God. He gives you bottles of anointed water, anointed oils, calendars and posters with a picture of the pastor and his wife, wrist bands, necklaces with a cross, he gives you all relics and different religious paraphernalia you can think of. But he doesn’t give you the word of God, because it is in the word of God that people will know the truth which exposes him (the devil).