By Elizabeth Prata
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 God’s 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.”
Most of us have heard the line that we will beat our swords into plowshares. 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, the one in Joel and the other in Isaiah? God is great and His Word is great.
A plowshare is the pointed part of the homemade plow that digs into the ground. 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. 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.”
War is always present on the earth in some place and in some form or fashion. 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.
However, the good news is that there is a glorious ending to the story. The never-ending war 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 repent to 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!