Yesterday the pastor asked if anyone had heard God speaking in worship, and someone said they had a verse from God. It was Joel 3:10. Read it carefully, it doesn’t say what you think it says at first:
‘Proclaim this among the nations:
Prepare for war!
Rouse the warriors!
Let all the fighting men draw near and attack
Beat your plowshares into swords
and your pruning hooks into spears
Let the weakling say, “I am strong!”
Come quickly, all you nations from every side
and assemble there.
Bring down your warriors, O’Lord.’
Yes, it’s the precise opposite of the more familiar verses from Isaiah and Micah which speak of beating swords into plowshares.
So what does it mean for a Christian to invoke these verses and say they apply to us now? What are our plowshares and pruning hooks that we use for making a living which we are going to convert to weapons of war? ‘Turn your computers into bombs, your cars into tanks, we’re going to go kill our enemies’ – is that the intention?
And isn’t the Lord telling the nations that he is going to declare war on them, and they should get ready to fight? He doesn’t seem to be addressing the people of God at all.