Devotional | Word Warrior

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 "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart " (Hebrews 4:12 NIV). 

I once wielded a sword emblazoned with ancient script, adorned with sapphire on its hilt. With a single swing, the wintry blade frosted the air with its cool breath. I’m dwarfed when the sword rests on my side; the sharpest point pierces the ground, seamlessly cutting through mountain paths-- my footprints’ comrade. The sword would be heavy, if it weren’t imaginary.

If this was a fantasy novel, I would continue with a litany that elaborates the character’s heroics, but this is a devotional. Nevertheless, the banality of my opening paragraph was inspired by my daily devotion. In 2 Samuel 23, a section entitled David’s Mighty Men, heroes are romanticized like Josheb-Basshebeth who “wielded his spear against eight hundred whom he killed at one time”— probably for mispronouncing his name.

Another hero was “Eleazar son of Dodo, son of Ahohi”: “He was with David when [the Israelites] defied the Philistines.. the Israelites withdrew, but [Eleazar] stood his ground. He struck down the Philistines until his arm grew weary, though his hand clung to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day. Then the people came back to him— only to strip the dead" (2 Samuel 23:10 NIV). 

We live vicariously through our heroes. When we read about David and Goliath, we imagine ourselves swinging a scanty slingshot in Goliath’s shadow, under God’s sun. On Sunday nights, I am Jon Snow climbing the frigid wall, and those who speak Ygritte can say, “you know nothing ...”. Excuse my slight digression, I’ve been watching too much HBO and a little less CTS. My dilemma with David’s Mighty Men is summarized into one question; why does the bible pay tribute to heroic but violent warriors?

War is a difficult issue and I don’t have the capacity to discuss it theologically, but I can assert Christ’s pacifism. Our New Testament is the cause of countless stung blushed cheeks. In David’s time, the sword was the medium of power. Now, power is mediated by the Word: “For the word of God is alive and active… sharper than any double edged sword(Hebrews 4:12 NIV)

Nevertheless, today’s soldiers are still heroes for their self-sacrificing valor. Our duty, as civilians, is to wield the word. We must construct our speech with a hilt of good intentions, and a blade emblazoned with the word of God. I, Son of Alejandro, Son of another Alejandro, remind you that the pen is mightier than the sword, or, if you prefer, a tweet is mightier than Valeryian steel. But remember, even words can make a turned cheek painfully blush.