4. The Sword
(Part 3 of 7)
17 Or if I bring a sword upon that land, and say, Sword, go through the land; so that I cut off man and beast from it:
18 Though these three men were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters, but they only shall be delivered themselves (Ezekiel 14:17-18).
As with the preceding judgment, terror will mark this, but death will be the end; death as in all the preceding phases. With this judgment, it will no more be nature fighting man with famine and with wild beasts; it will be civilized man rising against civilized man with civilized weapons, each one armed with sufficient wildness to want to extinguish the other. It is Sword personified; a sword that hears; a sword that can “go ” on a mission; a sword that hears the language of God; a spirit-sword that takes command not from man but from a superior spirit realm: “If I… say, Sword, go.…” A sword is not a chocolate bar; it is not a stick of suya or a barbequed chicken leg. It is an instrument of violent, instant, pre-planned death. It is a bringer of pains and tears.
The King James Version calls it a sword; the New Living Translation calls it “ war ” Anything may start this war, and that war could be internal (civil war) or external. The means of self-defence that had been effective against famine and beasts will be useless now. Private daggers and pistols or a security personnel at the gate will help nothing at this stage. Fear mounts.
The first judgment of famine and drought resulting generally ‘from’ the conspiracy of a stubborn, barren land and a merciless rainless sky will have been rationally dismissed as ‘natural disaster.’ The prowling beasts that follow would have been explained away as ‘social disorder’ resulting from the prevailing ‘economic situation.’ The third judgment will be explained away as a state of ‘general insecurity’ resulting, understandably, from the foregoing threats. Rational perspectives on a spiritual crisis!
They say that a hungry man is an angry man. In other words, a certain relationship is acknowledged between physical frustration and emotional irritability. Therefore, the hardships of famine which will lead to beasts preying on men, will soon lead to men rising angrily in mobs against the thug-beasts as well as against those whose economic or political ‘mismanagement’ or ‘negligence’ or ‘wickedness’ is believed to have created the famine-situation that has brought about the invasion of the streets by wild beasts. Should the sword seem too wild to be tamed locally, then international intervention will be sought to ‘alleviate’ the ‘sufferings’ of the ‘masses.’ Many wars have escalated this way.
What happens in war? In war, social order is broken down, violence becomes a normal code, death becomes common sight, women are raped and abducted, and little children are left orphans. People get so used to devastation that they learn no more to cry.
Whereas the first two judgments were a threat to human life and the natural environment, the third will be indiscriminate in its devastations. Plant life, human life, animal life, material things such as buildings, will all share in the judgment. More people will flee the land, leaving it further desolate.
God used the sword a few times to some success in getting Israel back to Himself, as reported in the Bible book of Judges and in the history of their kings. From His experience, however, God knows that even this third option will not succeed to drive Pharaoh-hearted nations and self-righteous religious folks and their proud priests back to His altar, especially with agnostics among them tying to ‘prove’ that there has been no connection between God and the disasters. Therefore, God has another judgment, Option Number Four: *Pestilence* .
*Continued in Part 4*
*From The Preacher’s diary,
Revised edition: May 5, 2018.