The LORD makes us some promises that are fear-inducing. Other promises He makes are awe-inspiring. Some are both at once. They are bookends of man’s folly and His glory.
In Joel’s prophetic book, at chapter 3 verse 10, it is written: “Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, “I am a mighty man.” (Left, the Arming of the Nations)
Most of us have heard the line that we will beat our plowshares into swords. That verse is located at Isaiah 2:4 – “And He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples; And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war.” Did you know that there were opposite prophecies concerning the plowshares? God is great and His Word is great.
A plowshare is the pointed part of the homemade plow that digs into the ground. (Image source, University at Buffalo). The cutting point was often laced with bronze or (later) iron. This advance was introduced by the Greeks. In those days as it often as now, metal was expensive. In times of war it was reused by melting it down or forging to make weapons. In WWII America scrap metal drives were held to accumulate metal to be used in munitions. One scrap metal drive accumulated over 5 million tons of metal in just three weeks. It was common or people to strip the metal from their plowshare and beat them into swords when war loomed on the horizon. When the war was over, the reversed the process and beat them into plowshares again. (Left, Nebraska Boy Scouts in WWII scrap metal drive). Life on earth has been a never-ending cycle of war-peace, war-peace; plowshares into swords-swords into plowshares…
The Joel verse about the plowshares in context describes war that occurred, war that is ongoing, and also speaks of a (near) future war. It will be a time when God will gather all the people to the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Valley of Decision) and render unto them His wrath, because “you have divided my land.” Currently Obama is directly pressuring Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to divide Jerusalem. According to the Ma’An News Agency, Obama asked the PM two direct questions in the recent meeting at the Oval Office. The meeting was shrouded in unprecedented secrecy and the Prime Minister was met with Obama nearly holding his nose. For the ensuing meeting Netanyahu was treated like a Third World Dictator. The two questions Obama reportedly asked were: “The first question, it seems, was “to what extent are you ready to divide Jerusalem?” and the second, “in what timeframe do you want to accomplish the process of reconciliation with the Palestinians?” Joel Rosenberg, a more credible source than Ma’An in my opinion, reported on Netanyahu’s appearance at the AIPAC meeting, saying that the main point Netanyahu brought out was “Stop Iran or Israel Will”. It is a great essay, I recommend it.
War is coming. Not only does Joel describe the last war when all nations are gathered, the horrendous WWIII, but war will occur prior to that ultimate war as prophesied in Psalm 83, Isaiah 17, and Ezekiel 38-39. Scrap drives like no other scrap drives will be taking place at all corners of the world. Plows and other items will be stripped of any and all metal, so that soldiers can come up, so that war against God can be ignited.
However, the good news is that there is a glorious ending to the story. The never-ending cycle will be broken! Isaiah prophesies that “they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war.” Oh, merciful Lord! No more war. Plowshares forever. Can you imagine a time or a place where war is never rumored, never occurs, where the earth never requires reconstruction nor cleanup? A place where a peaceful, loving, agrarian society quietly lives and loves other nations? It will happen. You can be part of it. All you need to do is recognize you are a sinner, and feeling sorry that you sinned, ask Jesus to forgive you. If you accept Him as savior and Lord, (meaning He is the only one Who can and will forgive all your sins) you will be forgiven and live forever in a place where there is no war. Hallelujah! The Lord is victorious!