No Smith (or Wesson) in Israel

  • By Pastor Boffey
  • on Saturday, January 13, 2007
1 Samuel 13:19-22 (19) Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears: (20) But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock. (21) Yet they had a file for the mattocks, and for the coulters, and for the forks, and for the axes, and to sharpen the goads. (22) So it came to pass in the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan: but with Saul and with Jonathan his son was there found. The Philistine policy here is one which oppressive powers have utilized throughout history: disarming the public which could otherwise resist them. At this time in Israel only the government had weapons; the life, liberty and property of the citizens were entirely dependent upon the civil power, for only "...with Saul and with Jonathan his son was there found" (v.22). Sadly, many modern Christians think this is a good thing. With a misguided interpretation of "...resist not evil..." (MAT 5:38-39), and "trust in the Lord" coupled with a deteriorating social order and a propaganda stream about the evils of private gun ownership, many well-intentioned believers have sold out their biblical and moral responsibility of self-defense for a mess of police-state pottage. Mind that the concept of looking to civil power for the security which God was well able to provide through His own established means was the error which brought Saul to power (1SAM 8:18-20). The Scripture which tells believers to trust in the Lord also tells them that they as individuals have a right, even an obligation of self-defense and the defense of the innocent under their immediate care. EXO 22:2-3 speaks of a thief "breaking up" at night, for which he ends up dead and for which his slayer is not held guilty. Comparative study shows that this breaking up is of one's house (MAT 24:43), i.e., a break-in, and the Savior plainly declares that a responsible goodman of the house "would NOT HAVE SUFFERED his house to be broken up." He would have taken measures against such. After all, householders are responsible to provide for their own (1TIM 5:8), not only for their maintenance but also for their protection. Responsible Christians are prudent to foresee evil and act accordingly (PRO 22:3). Polished locks or Polymer Glocks for the home are not abandoning trust in God, they are the practical demonstration of "...Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God" (MAT 4:7). The same King David (a man after God's own heart, ACT 13:22) whom the Spirit moved to write "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (PSA 46:1) was also moved to praise the LORD his strength "...which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight" (PSA 144:1). Perhaps David's hands and fingers spent ample time down " the range of the mountains" (JOB 39:8). The blessed Savior Who corrected the twisted teaching of the Pharisees with such ideas as Resist not evil and turn the other cheek also plainly told His disciples, "But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one" (LUK 22:36), thereby not only condoning but commending the carrying of a weapon of self-defense. That Jesus shortly thereafter told Peter, "Put up thy sword into the sheath..." (JOH 18:11) does not conflict with His earlier command, but should be understood as consonant with the necessity of Christ's crucifixion for which He had come unto that hour (JOH 12:27 c/w MAT 26:52-54). Mind that Christ did not tell Peter, "Never pull that thing out of a sheath again," or "Surrender that thing to the Roman authorities," or "Register that thing immediately with the Joint Undersecretary of Defense And Security" (JUDAS, for short). Rather, it was implied that Peter's weapon should be re-holstered for later availability but not for the present. It is of interest that when Israel of old abandoned God for gods of their own choosing, JDG 5:8 notes, "They chose new gods; then was war in the gates: was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel?" The Israelite army was essentially meant to be an armed militia who could be called up for duty as needed (NUM 1:3 c/w NUM 31:3). But when they abandoned God's blessings upon principles of self-discipline, self-government, self-accountability and self-defense, and opted for an alternative security in the form of a king "like all the nations" (1SAM 8:5), their new leader raised up a standing, professional army into which their sons and daughters would be drafted for wars (1SAM 8:11-12). So, "...there is no new thing under the sun" (ECC 1:9).

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