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Return of the King - Advent 2016

December 2, 2016 – Hammering Our Swords Into Plowshares

“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.”
– Isaiah 2:4

War: A Man’s Best Friend

War. Conflict. Strife. Hostility.

These things have characterized human life since Cain murdered Abel. And yet, none of them are God’s good intention for creation.

When God formed the world, he had no desire for bloodshed or violence to ever rear their heads. But through rebellion, man introduced them into the world.

Through pride, man demanded his way and oppressed all who disagreed.

Through envy, man took what didn’t belong to him as if it did.

Through hate, man murdered those who weren’t like him.

And he’s been doing it for millennia.

We can see evidence of this all over – watch television, pick up a newspaper, browse the internet. If there’s one thing man has perfected, it’s the ability to destroy what God has created.

So, when we hear words like Isaiah’s in this prophecy, we’re prone to balk. Swords into plowshares? Spears into pruning hooks? Guns into garden tools?

We might think, Isaiah must have lost his mind if he believed any nation would really stop lifting up its sword against other nations.

But Isaiah believed. And he is calling us to believe. God is giving us a vision of the future he desires for all of us. A future that is no longer characterized by war or conflict, violence or oppression. It’s a future filled with peace – both inwardly and in our relationships with others. It’s a future where God is the judge and has the final say in all things. It’s a future where God makes all things new.

And he is calling us to walk in that future right now. Today.

Hammering Our Swords Into Plowshares

As believers, we no longer live according to the rules and patterns of this world. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus described a way of living that runs utterly contrary to the ways of this world. Jesus’ way calls us to turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, and love our enemies as ourselves.

We won’t see a world where nation turns their swords into plowshares before Jesus’ second coming. But, when he comes, then “the kingdom of the world [will] become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). As Christians, we get the privilege of being part of God’s Kingdom right now.

But that means that we must begin the task of hammering our swords into plowshares. It means we must quit living out of pride, envy, or hate. It means we must quit fighting, quit yearning to always have the last word, quit having to be ‘right’.

It’s time for us to quit.

It’s time for us to learn war no more and instead, make peace.

Because when he comes, we will enter a kingdom where hate and violence are nothing more than myths.

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