Spending time with the Daily Audio Bible is an essential part of my day. Actually, it takes place as early in my day as possible, since I’ve found that the later it comes, the easier it is to skip it, and the less I get out of it, as it settles in my head and my subconscious chews away on it through the day.
(not that it’s all about what I get out of the Word – it’s much more complex than that – but you get the idea…)
So today, the reading from the OT was in Isaiah, which has been rich and amazing to be working through. Specifically, Isaiah 55:10-11:
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
The NT reading was Ephesians chapter 6, very familiar territory. And yet, something that probably everybody else has noticed, but not me – Ephesians 6:17:
“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Ok, so as I bounce out the door, first thing would be how often do I run out half-naked?
(apologies to those of you who now feel the overwhelming need to wash your eyes out with bleach…)
(Note – DON’T do that. Ever. No bleach. Ixnay on the leachbay. Just an expression – let’s move along.)
(And yes, I did specifically choose the word ‘bounce’ back there. Hope you enjoyed it. *shudder*)
How much of the armor, what God says I need to survive the day, do I leave behind?
But that’s not the biggie – the one that caught my ear, so to speak… When I (in my totally uninformed, non-theologian, Sunday School attending but not comprehending, basic pew pusher way) take these two passages together, here’s what occurs to me:
Take the sword, which is the Word of God, part of your equipment for the day, and take it with you. And know this – My word always accomplishes what I send it out to do.
God gives me His word, to take up as my sword, and then tells me that His word always accomplishes what He sends it out to do. God trusts a dufus like me to take His sword and use it, even though I go out there swinging it around like a kid with a tree branch slaying imaginary dragons in epic battles only He can see. And by the way, “wherever you use that sword, it always accomplishes what I send it out to do.”
It doesn’t say that it only accomplishes it in the hands of a competent professional. No 9th level masters of the Word Sword only, please. The word goes where He sends it, and it accomplishes what He sends it to do. Through me, in spite of my juvenile flailings, my misunderstanding of how to wield it, and sometimes not knowing which end is the handle and which end is the blade, He sends the word out, and it does what He sends it to do.
I got some study and training to do. If you were told that you had to carry around, say, Anduril, Flame Of The West, forged from the shards of Narsil, the Blade that was Broken, able to command an army of the dead that can’t be defeated, is a longer sword than I’ve ever seen, and makes me wonder how Aragorn whipped it out in the Return Of The King without lopping off Elrond’s nose, you’d take the time to learn how to carry the thing without maiming somebody, wouldn’t you? (not to mention the potential for stabbing yourself in the foot, or other significant soft tissue…)
And yet, I wander off into the day, carrying this both wonderful and terrible weapon, able to cut to the heart of things, to illumine the darkest corners, to lay bare the deepest darkness, to restore hearts and lives…
And I treat it like a wooden sword from Never-Never land. Lost boy indeed.
We memorize our favorite verses, post them on bulletin boards, mouse pads, screen savers, and bumper stickers, whip them out at appropriate (and not appropriate) times, sometimes with the delicate touch of a surgeon, sometimes with the blunt force of a cave troll, but all too often I do so without knowledge and wisdom.
As swordmasters go, I’m a fine sewer worker.
(Not to malign sewer workers – I’ve seen Dirty Jobs. You have my abiding respect and thanks.)
And yet, He uses His word. Even in the hands of a dufus like me. He sends His word through us, and it always accomplishes what He sends it out to do. That fills me with both awe and shame.
Father, keep me from going out half-dressed. Remind me to take ALL my equipment – the electronics that we all seem to have attached to us, the little bits and bobs that we take along for our needs, but also the most important equipment that you provide for my survival. So that at the end of the day, I’ll still be standing. There will be attacks, assaults, temptations, distractions, and paths I should never go down today. Without all You have provided, I’m a sitting duck. Remind me to grab my gear, and go in Your strength.
And guide me to learn about my sword. Teach me Your ways, help me to wield Your word in a way that is worthy of my Father, and keep me from using it to harm or destroy the innocent. Impress on me both the wonder and the terror of how I carry Your word – make me see the weight of responsibility to be a warrior who knows how to use his sword.
And thank You that even when I swing it badly, Your word accomplishes what You send it to do. Thanks for my small part in Your purpose. Give me the things I need today for this day, and lead me as I follow You, sometimes with stumbling steps, sometimes falling, and sometimes making my Daddy grin as I finally “get it.” Thanks, Father – for everything.