What do the bible, a sword and an Israeli Army rifle have in common? Well, believe it or not, more than you might think!
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The Bible, as most of you are aware, is the Word of God, and sharper that any two-edged sword. It is also known as “the Sword of the Spirit.” The Bull Pup is the common name for the Tavor X95 Rifle issued to soldiers in Tzahal, the Israeli Defense Forces. Not long ago, both were committed together to the protection of Israel.
One morning when I awoke I had a message from one of our CEEC friends in Israel. For security purposes, he and his son shall remain nameless, and I shall attempt to be opaque in any remarks that refer to them.
He had sent me a photo of his son, standing at attention in his IDF uniform and holding his Bull Pup rifle in the shoulder arms position on his left shoulder. With his right hand the son was holding his Bible across the front of the weapon. He had just taken his oath of service as an IDF soldier. The father had written, “Soldier boy swears to defend Israel with a New Testament over his weapon.”
I was reminded of several verses as I considered this image. The first was in Psalm 7, which I was reading this morning since it was the first day of the month. (For those unaware, Anglican clergy read the Book of Psalms each month in their devotional personal worship times as part of the Daily Office; with certain psalms being assigned to daily morning and evening readings.) Psalm 7:10 says, “My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart.”
But today’s verse from Psalm 119:114 is also quite apropos. It says YOU ARE MY REFUGE AND MY SHIELD, I HAVE PUT MY HOPE IN YOUR WORD.
Like all IDF soldiers, this one will be required to carry his rifle with him at all times. On duty and off, in uniform and in civilian clothes. He must always be prepared to step up and defend Israel with less-than-a-moment’s notice.
We, too, as followers of Jesus are to always have His Word in our hearts. We are commanded to set apart Christ as Lord in our hearts – this is OUR oath of service. We, too, must always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have. Always prepared. Always faithful.
As we enter the world, prepared to be faithful, God is our refuge and our shield. His promise of faithfulness relates to the outcome of the war. As I’ve said many times, THE KING IS COMING. He will return and establish His Kingdom. He will be King over all the earth. And on that day there will be ONE LORD. And HIS NAME ALONE will be worshipped. He will be the final victor. His promise of faithfulness relates to OUR final outcome, too. It is not a blank check promising total protection from every earthly harm. It is instead a guarantee that we will be with Him for eternity.
Hence, the portion of the verse which says. “I have put my hope in Your Word.” The only “blank check” on the table is ours. We promise to give everything we have to advance His Kingdom, whatever He requires of us. Our time, our talent, our treasure, and even our lives. He promises that we will be a part of the Kingdom for which we have given all we have. Forever.
Invest your time carefully.
Develop and use your talent wisely.
Share your treasure cheerfully.
Offer your life willingly.
FOR HIM. All for Him.
And as we do, He promises that we will be a part of the Kingdom for which we have given all we have.