New Tools for New Tasks

Mark Fackler

READ : Micah 4:1-5

They shall beat their swords into plowshares. (v. 3)

If you were ready to close the book on Israel at the exile, you would close it too soon. As bad as it was after Assyria and Babylon finished their conquests, Israel was not annihilated. In Micah 4, Zion appears as a sanctuary of wisdom and peace where the nations gather. How did this turn-around happen?

It happened over time (“in the latter days,” v. 1) and in ways unprecedented and unexpected. A deliverer would come from Jerusalem (v. 2) – the Lord’s Word, whose death and resurrection would save the nations. Now God’s people are all who follow him to the new Zion, where God’s word will be fulfilled.

Micah illustrates God’s victory with this wonderful image: swords turned into plowshares (v. 3). Swastikas have their day, hammers and sickles too. Micah’s symbol of shalom survives all the fads and fanfare.

One day, God promises, tools of destruction will be reshaped into tools of productive work and peace. Around the world today, people are turning swords into ploughshares in innovative, creative, and sustainable witness to the word, and the kingdom that is surely coming. What about you?


Lord, I’ll take the calluses from the plowshare over the destruction of the sword.