A Sword for the Lord

The numbers in the army were intentionally reduced. They were weakened on purpose so that God’s power might be revealed. When the jars are broken the light shines forth and the enemy is blinded. The paradox is that while it is the light which blinds the enemy–it is also the wish of  Satan for his children to be blind to the light. That blindness is his tool, but also his downfall. He keeps them in darkness, but who can fight effectively in darkness?

This is the same language St Paul uses in 2 Corinthians 4.

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

They cannot see and know the light of Christ which is the great treasure, but the treasure is held in jars of clay. Why jars of clay?

…we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.

The “jars of clay” are our physical bodies–these earthly lives. We have this treasure in jars of clay so that the light of Christ is better revealed, and the light is most radiantly revealed when the jar is broken–in other words–when we endure physical hardships. This is why, for the Christian, the sorrows and difficulties–the doubts and fears and confusion–the physical pains and griefs and hardships–are the very means of sharing the light.

When this happens we can blow the trumpet and cry out with Gideon’s soldiers, “A sword for the Lord!” and wade into spiritual battle–and here’s the crunch–it is only when the jar is broken that we have the advantage in the battle. It is only when the jar is broken that the victory is near. This is why in the history of the church the battle is not won by argument or politics or expensive campaigns. All of these may be necessary, but they will usually, ultimately fail. When they do (and they certainly will) all that remains is persecution and hardship–and only when we have gone through that will the jar be broken, the light shine and the victory be at hand.


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