Daily Devotional

Friday, April 8, 2016

Plowshares and Pruning Hooks

He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. Isaiah 2:4

Given the violence, carelessness, and greed that seem to permeate our lives and our world, it is difficult to believe that a day will come when wars will cease, abuses will end, and all wrongs will be made right. Such claims seem more akin to fanciful thinking than a future promise. But the Bible doggedly asserts that the world will not cease its turning before our destructive instincts are transformed into productive impulses. Instead of making war, we will choose to make peace. Instead of striking people down with swords, we will choose to plow fields together in anticipation of future harvests. Instead of training spears in the direction of our enemies, we will train vines and trees and flowering bushes so that they produce in abundance. Such a way of living and such a world seem to be an unreachable reality. Yet, every time we choose to be productive instead of destructive, that reality begins to take shape. With every good deed and generous act, a spear is set down and sword is sheathed . . . and God’s vision for our world is further revealed.

Are you more comfortable wielding a sword or using pruning shears?

Lord, I am more than willing to lash out at others with sharp words and cutting critiques. I may not go into physical battle, but I can certainly be rough with others. I am not proud of my impulses. I admit that I have destructive tendencies that stand in opposition to your productive desires for me. Help me to realize that the peace I long for in my own life and the harmony you desire to see among your people take shape when the sharp tools I choose to use are the ones that aid in the cultivation of the world as you created it to be. In Jesus’ name, I pray. AMEN.