“The Sword of The Lord, and of Gideon!” (Judges 7:20)
God has a sword. It is His Word in spoken action. Gideon’s 300 were instructed to proclaim these very words as they encamped the enemy. It was to show them, and us, the power of God’s spoken Word. Notice that the proclamation was not only “the Sword of The Lord,” but also “and of Gideon.”
God’s Word is ours. We are to know it, live it, and proclaim it as our own in Truth. If we believe what He says, we will accept it in our lives as the Holy Spirit uses it to change us. Becoming transformed, we will readily repeat it to others. So, notice next that the Sword is used most effectively on those willing to believe.
In chapter 21 of the book of Ezekiel, God draws the Sword to be used against His own people. They had become ever more rebellious, even in their captivity, and He was to use the Sword to separate the wicked from the righteous… among Israel. The symbolism is awesome, as He proclaims that it was drawn and handled, never to be sheathed again (Ezekiel 21:5); but, it was sharp and polished, without a blemish, or stain. In fact, it is proclaimed that “for the slaughter it is polished, to consume because of the glittering.” (Ezekiel 21:28)
The Sword is the embodiment of holiness, and because it (the Word) is holy and perfect, it must devour evil and separate the wicked from the righteous. This is true under either Covenant (because it is not ever to be sheathed again), but under the New Covenant, the Word not only separates those who would believe from those who would not, it separates within an individual believer. The Word pierces and divides soul and spirit, bones and marrow, and discerns thoughts and intentions of heart. (Hebrews 4:12) In this regard, the sword is sharper than any two edged sword, which can be considerably sharpened.
If we look at the sword as a surgical instrument (which is razor blade sharp) and as the work of the Holy Spirit as surgery, than we can more easily understand what “circumcision made without hands” (Colossians 2:11) means. The Holy Spirit uses the Word within us to divide our sinful nature from our imparted divine nature. He makes clean cuts, taking away, piece by piece, things that are wrong. As we are healed of each cut, He uses the Sword on the next sinful thing, making a new cut. Before we know it, He has done a spiritual surgery that has made us to appear more like Christ. Think of it as plastic surgery of the spirit. Interestingly, the Sword is used within us, so that, transformed and changed, we may pick it up and use it properly.
Years ago, I moved in with a family of friends, renting a room from them. It was to be years still before any of us were saved, but there was an event, even then, which He brings to my remembrance. As I moved in, I set a Samurai sword, in its scabbard, on top of my bed. Their then 2, almost 3, year old daughter was “helping” me with my belongings by looking at and touching everything. I didn’t mind, and actually found it entertaining, but when I set that sword on the bed, I took note and told her not to touch it because she could get hurt. No sooner did I walk out to the truck to get another box of belongings than I heard screaming and crying. Sure enough, she had pulled the sword partially out of its scabbard and had cut herself on the blade. See, she was too young to understand the respect with which such a weapon should be held.
(The most important thing to stress here is embodied in a single word. The word is “and.” It is not “or of Gideon,” it is “and of Gideon.” You see, the Sword of God is never to be handled by ourselves. We need the empowering and guiding hand of the Lord to be upon the Sword, for it is His weapon to handle. We are merely vessels to be used by Him, and therefore, though it is ours, we cannot properly use it without the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the Sword of the Lord and of Gideon. We needs always be led first by God before we use the Word; else, instead of allowing the Spirit to do surgery, we end up simply beating someone upside the head with a book.)
In an untrained, unknowing hand, that weapon can be hurtful, even to the wielder. So are we when we zealously rush into the battle trying to fight on the side of The Lord. We will get hurt, especially for lack of confidence in our weapon, for the enemy has been training for over 6,000 years. Our training consists of study, contemplation, implementation, and repetition. We must allow the Word to be used on us and to change us before we try to wield it. We must always remember that the Sword is never sheathed, and if we are not carefully trained, we might grab hold of the blade in picking it up and cut ourselves. This is why we are to know the Word and live our lives accordingly.
It is God’s Word that changes lives, even our own, even now as we continue to believe. Let the Word of God be a cutting instrument of change and let the Holy Spirit convict us of and remove from us those things which are ungodly. Let the dead branches be removed, that the fruitful ones being forth greater fruit. Know that the Sword is necessary. It is what cuts the hard bone from the life giving, blood making soft marrow. It is what cuts bad intentions from good. It is the tool that takes away tumors and unsightly growths in our hearts. We all need it, every day.
It is the Sword of The Lord, and of Gideon. …and of Marcus, and of you, too.