«For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword» (Hebrews 4: 12)
THE TWO-EDGED SWORD that today’s text speaks of is, of course, «the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God» (Ephesians 6:17). It’s the word that has power, not only to take light to the deepest recesses of the human heart, but also to transform it according to God’s will. That’s precisely what happened in the following story that H. M. S. Richards tells us.
A colporteur was selling copies of the New Testament in Toulon, France, to soldiers who were embarking to fight in the Crimean War. One of them asked the colporteur what kind of books he was selling.
«It’s the Word of God,» replied the colporteur.
«Give me one,» the soldier said. «Its pages will serve to light my pipe.»
Richards said that upon hearing these words, the colporteur was very saddened, but continued his work of «casting his bread upon the waters» with the confidence that he would find it again after many days. One year later, the colporteur was working in central France when he sought accommodation at an inn. There he learned that the owners had lost a son in the Crimean War. The young man had been seriously wounded but was able to return home where he died soon after.
«Our consolation is that he died in peace and joy,» the mother said. «All thanks to a little book he told us he carried everywhere.» «Can I see that book?» the colporteur asked.
It was a copy of the New Testament with this inscription: «Received in Toulon [date]; despised, neglected, read, believed. Here I found salvation.»
The place and date matched. Additionally, the last twenty pages of the book were missing. There was no doubt: it was the same young man and the same book. The book whose pages the young man first used to light his pipe, in the end ignited the light of hope in his heart. «The sword of the Spirit» had penetrated the depths of his soul, bringing him peace and salvation.
Here’s an excellent resolution for the year which is still young.
RESOLUTION: I won’t let a day pass by without having the Word of God, which is «living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword,» penetrate the deepest part of my life to transform «the thoughts and intents of my heart.»
Divine Spirit, please illuminate my whole being with the light of Your Word and make me a new creature for the glory of God.