I have been fascinated with archaeology since I was young, immersed in our family’s National Geographic magazines and books. Many hours were spent looking at the finds in Egypt and South America! In recent years, I enjoy watching episodes of Time Team and Digging for Britain, as archeologists visit new and existing historical sites. Often Roman artifacts are unearthed, including weapons. One such armament is the gladius, the short sword of the Roman foot soldier. Forged from high carbon steel, it held sharp edges, and was used in close combat, particularly by soldiers protected by the “phalanx”, the Roman shield wall, where the sword could be thrust through the breaks in the shields to fend off attackers. The sight of a Roman soldier carrying a gladius would have been a common occurrence for those of the early church.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:12-13 NKJV) The writer to the Hebrew Christians saw them losing their faith in the Lord Jesus, ready to follow in the steps of the children of Israel in ancient times, who disobeyed and lost faith in God. The writer sought to “pierce their hearts”, to show they couldn’t give up on Jesus, and have that hidden from God.
God’s word is not only a historical record of facts and deeds, to be studied and measured. The word of God is described at the sword of the Holy Spirit, a powerful sharp weapon with no dull edges, alive in all of its parts, able to cut through to the conscience of its hearers, and to penetrate their hearts. God’s revelation is able to open the heart with a surgeon’s precise skill, to discern its spiritual health. We read in John 8:31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed” (NKJV), and in Romans 10:17: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Hebrews 4:12-13 NKJV) The writer of Hebrews entreats us to turn from discouragement and unbelief by immersing ourselves in God’s word, alive and present, sharper than any sword ever forged, full of mystery, but merciful.
Today, if you find yourself drifting from an eager, refreshing faith in God, turn to His living word and find His Holy Spirit active and able to work in your life. “Moreover by them is your servant warned, and in keeping them is great reward.” (Psalm 19:11 NKJV) Allow the God-breathed word to teach, inspire and train you in righteousness.
Prayer: We praise you, great Lord, for Your living and active word, which has pierced our hearts and souls, showing us how much we need You in our lives. Grant that we will have a keen perception and understanding of all You have to say to us through Your holy word today. Amen.