“When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can eat their fruit. Do not cut them down. Are the trees people, that you should besiege them? However, you may cut down trees that you know are not fruit trees and use them to build siege works until the city at war with you falls.”
-Axe in Hebrew is written as maatsad & is a tool made of iron used for felling trees, hewing timber, a weapon of war etc. The Israelites most often besieged their enemies with perfect confidence that the Lord was their shield & buckler thus their faith in Him yielded fruit. They did not rely on natural selection or probability in their decision making but heeded to Gods’ voice as outlined in the above scripture. Destruction of trees that yielded fruit was considered a sacrilege of sorts but the rest would be axed for timber or firewood given sporadic climate changes in the battle ground/ forest to satisfy their various needs. John the Baptist also made it clear in Luke 3:9 that “every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down & thrown into the fire.” The statement “Are the trees people” reveals that trees are symbolic to human beings & productivity in ones life through faith in Christ is of great importance. Christ gave us a Helper; the Holy Spirit who directs us in our journey of faith, work, families, leadership, decision making & in our general progression in life thus we should always remember to call on Him.
Holy Spirit our Helper we love You & we need You at every moment of our lives, strengthen us to remain faithful to You always. We did not choose You but You chose us God & came to dwell in our hearts, we thank You & glorify Your holy name. You have commanded us Lord to be fruitful, to multiply & fill the earth, walk with us in our journey of faith so that we may realize what we ought to achieve in our live & the societies we live in. We humbly ask You Holy Spirit to fill us with Your gifts & fruit that we may always be fruitful in all areas of our lives according to Your will. All glorify & honor belongs to You now & forever. Amen
1 Samuel 13:19-20
“Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!” So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plow points, mattocks, axes and sickles sharpened.”
-Black-smithery was a major economic activity & way of life in the Biblical times since most of the people were farmers & war was prevalent. It is not surprising then how no single blacksmith could not be found in the whole of Israel? The Philistines had placed a barricade of sort against the Israelites & completely disenfranchised them for they lacked self reliance in sharpening their war & farming tools. unfortunately, this is a sad reality today in the natural & spiritual realms. In 1 Pet 5:8, the devil roams around like a roaring lion seeking whom to devour, basically the weak & reduce their productivity. In the natural realm, the same reality is present in our nation & most of other African nations where some superior countries work in all sectors of our economies & provide even the basic goods & human capital like doctors without training the locals; thus leaving us vulnerable to oppressive rulership over time; unless we embrace change. Personal development & change of mindset is therefore key for better progress & leadership in our nations. Such interactions are also important since they enhance social & economic interactions among different nations in the quest of sharing the love that Christ has bestowed upon us.
We thank You Lord our Father for Your goodness & mercy upon us. You are our stronghold & shield Lord, all the glory & praise belongs to You. Forgive us our trespasses merciful Father & give us clean hearts that we may have concern for the welfare of others & empower one another with love. Cover us with Your blood Jesus & break every barrier that hinders us from accessing that which our hearts desire & everything that You have promised us. No weapon fashioned against us, our families & nation shall prosper in Your mighty name Jesus. Give us knowledge & wisdom Father so that we may know You more & understand other important aspects of our livelihoods. Give is Your peace Father every-time, peace in our hearts, peace in our minds, peace in our relationships & peace in the world according to Your merciful love Lord. Amen
“If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.”
-Application of skill in masonry work is likened one who presents everything to God in prayer lest his strength wastes away in trying to get other alternative solutions. God gives us gifts & talents which are developed through learning & experience to sharpen ones skills in various areas. Some skills are acquired from others as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another (Prov 27:17). An iron axe is sharpened by other iron tools thus knowledge shared is knowledge acquired. We are called to share the knowledge bestowed unto us & build our skills together for the benefit of many. Most importantly as disciples of Christ; we have been instructed to go into the whole world to preach the gospel to every creature (Mk 16:15).
Almighty & ever living God, we humbly come to Your feet to present our intentions & supplications to You, hear us Oh Lord. We humbly beseech You Lord to bestow unto us the gift of wisdom & help us to apply it in all areas of our lives. Give us a generous hearts that we may always be willing to offer a helping hand to those who need us most & to share knowledge with others. You have called us to be Your witnesses in all the earth Father; strengthen us & direct us according to Your will, all for Your glory Lord. Amen
2 Kings 6:5-6
“As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron axehead fell into the water. “Oh no, my lord!” he cried out. “It was borrowed!” The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float.”
-Having remorse for the disheartened man who borrowed the axehead that was drowned in the river; Elisha redeemed him by performing a miracle through the power of God bestowed upon him. Elisha dropped a new stick into the water which could by no means oppose the forces of gravity against the axehead. Probably the son of the prophet was not well-off since he borrowed the axe & had lost hope through the mishap, but Elisha offered to help. In the same way sometimes we loose hope in some areas of our lives but Christ calls us to cast our burdens unto Him so that He may makes everything new through His love. Further, in Christ we are a new creation & the old things have passed away & all things have become new (2 Cor 5:17).
We surrender to You Jesus in poverty of spirit, fill us with Your love so that we may see You in our lives, families & nation. Nothing can separate us from Your love Jesus, thank You for loving us. Fill us Your children with Your gifts & fruit Holy Spirit so that Your power may be evidenced in all the earth. Sometime we are drowned in challenges & indecision but Lord You deliver us from them all, we praise Your name. Make everything new in our lives according to Your loving kindness Lord; we humbly beseech You. All glory, honor, power & strength belongs to You Father now & forever. Amen
“The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
-John the Baptist was addressing the Pharisees & Sadducees who were keen on outward observances rather than their spiritual & moral standing. He called them to repentance & baptism by water interesting them to remain in Christ Whose baptism is by the Holy Spirit & fire. Faith in Christ Jesus Who is vine yields fruitfulness through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The command to be fruitful, multiply & fill the earth has been given to us since the foundation of the world & the axe lays ready to cut of the unfruitful in judgment. In Christ we have faith through grace to help us become fruitful in all spheres of our lives.
-Axe in Hebrew is written as maatsad & is a tool made of iron used for felling trees, hewing timber, a weapon of war etc. God made us in His image & likeness, adopted us as His sons through Christ Who is the vine & we His branches that in Him we may bear fruit through faith. God has always advocated for our fruitfulness since inception when He told Adam to be fruitful, multiply & fill the earth. The Israelites were instructed to only cut down the trees which did not bear fruit & used them for timber or firewood (Deu 20:19-20). The same model is replicated in the New Testament where John the Baptist says that those trees which don’t bear good fruit will be axed & thrown into the fire, a symbol of judgement (Lk 3:9/ Mat 3:10). God also calls us to develop skills in different areas through the gifts & talents He has given us so that we may not use too much strength in trying to achieve our objectives (Ecc 10:10). Though sometimes this posses as a challenge due to lack of support, hinderances & not seeking His direction as there was a time when Philistines barred the Israelites from exploiting black-smithery lest they make their own weapons & become stronger (1 Sam 13:19-20). Kindness & team work has also been emphasised as Elisha helped the poor man by performing a miracle & the borrowed drowned axehead floated (2 Kg 6:5-6). Through the fruit & gifts of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, we are able to produce good fruits which is the will of our Father.
May Your fire Holy Spirit burn in us to expose everything that is unpleasant in our hearts. Intercede for us Holy Spirit when we don’t know how to pray & help us at all times to always bear fruit. Heal all the sick, provide for all the jobless, make all the childless fruitful, hear the prayer of all the widows & orphans, direct all the unmarried in family life, cement all marriages with Your love, bless all our children Lord & grant us all our requests & hearts desires; merciful Father. You have told us that faith without works is dead Lord, help us in our journey of faith that we may bear good fruit in all things. Amen