As you may have guessed, this is a picture of a sickle. It looks deadly even though it’s just hanging there. It looks like it could really hurt someone. I mean, if someone were to swing it at you, your life as you know it could end very quickly. If you’re lucky, you might walk away with a deformity or a missing limb, forever disfigured. Growing-up I was a fan of horror flicks. I loved watching Friday the 13th, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm StreetThe Omen, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and I could go on and on. But these thins are dangerous. Anything sharp and made of steel that can cut through you like a knife through a warm stick of butter. OK, enough of the graphics…I think you get the message about how dangerous these things can be. A sickle or sharp blade is only deadly when used in a deadly way. However, these sharp blades can be used constructively and productively, yes? When I’m cutting my rib-eye at the Roadhouse, I’m using the blade productively. If I use it to get a free meal at Roadhouse, I’m using it in an inappropriate way in which others can get hurt.
When I think of sharp edges in the Bible, there are two particular situations I think of. Now maybe its because I”m a guy, but the very first thing I think of is when God commanded Moses to implement the practice of circumcision. Now…nevermind. Let’s just say I have wondered many of nights how Moses may have responded to this request. We know he responded with faith, but what was his first initial thought? I’m not Moses, but I would have to think I may have thought something like, “What!!! You want me to do what? There? With that sharp thing? Isn’t there something else that we can do Lord? My unit! Not my unit! Why not a finger or an earlobe or…anything but that!” But Moses and the Israelites were obedient and experienced the blessings of God. Their lesson, obedience is a wonderful sacrifice that brings blessing. Where would we be today had Moses been disobedient and the nation of Israel been disobedient in the command for circumcision?
The other situation I think of is when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus and Peter drew out his sword and cut the ear off Malchus, who was with the soldiers. Now, Scripture tells us that Peter was a fisherman, not a swordsman. So, just using logic here, I’m thinking that Peter was not trying to simply take off the ear.
I think he was going for the head and I think he was ticked! Peter’s character matches up with this logic. I can’t see a fisherman, probably untrained in swordsmanship, swing a sword at the head of someone with only the intention of taking an ear off the guy. He was going to make an impression and an example of this Malchus. Peter was ready to strike because he was armed with a sword. He must have been expecting conflict ahead of time. Maybe. Maybe. Peter loved Jesus enough to die fighting and the number of soldiers opposing him made no difference to him. I wonder if I love Jesus that much. I wonder if I have passion for Him like Peter did. Not to react that way, but to want to react that way because of my love for Him. Well, that’s another blog for another time.
But here we have two cases of sharp tools used in Scripture. They were two different situations with two different lessons. The circumcision was painful, but it identified those who were committed to God Almighty and separated them from those who were not. It was an act of obedience, it was a sacrifice to reflect man’s commitment and love for God. Jesus said that if you love Him then you will obey His commands. Those who love God obey His commands and those commands are not burdensome, but they obey with love and passion for Him. The sacrifice of obedience is worth it.
The second situation with Peter’s sword also gives us a lesson. I believe this lesson is connected with the tongue of man. What? How can Peter drawing a sword connected with what we say? Throughout Scripture we see God’s very Word being described as a “sword.” Now I don’t mean to read to far into these types of things, but it just hit me so I’m going to write it. The Bible also says the tongue has the power of life and death. It is by the spoken word that everything was created. And it is the spoken word that is the reflection of what dwells in our hearts. Jesus had told the disciples He would be arrested and crucified and that He would come back. But Peter, as well as the other disciples I’m sure, was afraid of being alone. He loved Jesus with all of his heart. And when the soldiers came to take Him, Peter knew they were going to torture and crucify Him and he became angry to the point of hatred for the Romans & Pharisees. Anger flooded Peter’s heart and turned to rage…hate. And his hate was manifested by the attempt to murder Malchus. This was and is wrong. Peter learned a valuable lesson and we learn a valuable lesson from his mistake. Through your heart speaks your words. Your heart is the root of what you say.
What is God asking of you today that you are not doing or you are refusing to let go? Will you sacrifice everything in obedience to God like Moses and the Israelites or will you continue to seek the self-comfort and self-centeredness you desire.
Secondly and lastly, if you were to track all that you say each and every day, along with the motives behind them, what would you find? Would you find rage? Jealousy? Envy? Bitterness? Sarcasm? Negativity? Or would your language reflect one simple thing…the love and compassion and understanding of Jesus Christ for His creation?
Take a moment and reflect on your willingness to “give all” or to be “all in” with living your life for Jesus Christ through the leading of the Holy Spirit (and not your own motives).
Take an additional moment to reflect on the words you say and why you say them. Start with those who are closest to you. As the Lord to expose your motives for each person and measure them against compassion and love.
Surrender your life today and ask the Lord to teach you today how to be a fully devoted follower of Christ.