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  • Writer's pictureElpidio Pezzella

In God's Quiver

"And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand He has hidden Me, and made Me a polished shaft; in His quiver He has hidden Me".

Isaiah 49:2 NKJV

The people of Israel are in exile, far from their land, losing hope. God calls a man to be a voice of hope, even beyond the borders, where he cries out to the distant islands and peoples (v. 1). The prophet traces God's work on his life and, like Jeremiah, declares that God knew him from the womb and called him by name before his parents. Today expectant mothers have learned to let the baby in the womb listen to music and speak to him, because it is understood that he is already responsive and receptive. Scripture has been telling us for centuries that God calls us right there in our mother's womb. This is only the beginning. In fact, the prophet adds “he has made my mouth like a sharp sword, he has hidden me in the shadow of his hand, he has made me a sharp arrow, he has placed me in his quiver.” Four actions we go over with the desire to give you awareness of what God is also doing in your life in these very hours.

The first action is to make our mouths able to speak in the name of the Lord. The prophet was sent to the exiles with a sharp word, for it is God's word, “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17), “living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). A sharp sword, not a forked, stinging, gossiping tongue. We open our mouths not to wound, but to proclaim the Word of God, which may cut, wound, but not harm. The second action is a beautiful metaphor. I invite you to look at the palm of your hand and close your fingers without squeezing. Notice that a shadow is created inside. The prophet declares that God hid it in the shadow of the palm of His hand. So also for you. The Lord does not squeeze you, but keeps you there safely. Then He begins a skillful work, making us “a sharp arrow.” I remember when I was a child we had little knives with which we used to make little woods to make rudimentary weapons to play with. Our life is like a piece of wood that God begins to carve and shape to make it an arrow to be used when needed. And when we think the work is done and we are ready to be shot by His bow, there is the fourth stage: we end up stowed in the quiver.

We flinch, convinced of our preparation, claim our chance and complain to the Potter, forgetting that He is the one who chose and called us, who put the Word in us, who protects us even to the point of hiding us: we are the object of His loving care. That is why we must trust, even when He places the arrow back in the quiver to educate us to wait. It may happen that from time to time He pulls it out, sticks it in the bow, and when He is about to shoot it, He takes it back and starts shooting it again, before putting it away again. It is not his time. It does not matter whether you are in the bow, what matters is to be in His quiver, with all those He has chosen and prepared. Worry about being found ready when your time comes. Then you will enter the bow and see it bend, just as Christ bent for us, even to the point of giving His life. And every arrow must take that into account, for without Him it would not be there. But it is not finished yet, for there is another important lesson. To be fired, once in the bow, the arrow will be pulled back as far as possible. He who is not willing to go backward will never be ready to go forward; he who is not willing to retrace his steps will never be ready to be thrown. Those who aim only forward will remain in the quiver, for “humility precedes glory” (Proverbs 15:33; 18:12).

Being in the quiver, however, is an endpoint. From here we must prepare ourselves so that we can bear the grip to be placed in the bow and pulled back, to be thrown where and when He wills. Our prophet sensed exactly this condition, that is, he felt reposed, set aside, when he hears the LORD say to him, “I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6). Words in Christological perspective, but reminding us that we are “light of the world and salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13-14) and called to be witnesses to the ends of the earth.


Weekly Bible Reading Plan # 24

June 10, Ezra 1-2; John 19:23-42

June 11, Ezra 3-5; John 20

June 12, Ezra 6-8; John 21

June 13, Ezra 9-10; Acts 1

June 14, Nehemiah 1-3; Acts 2:1-21

June 15, Nehemiah 4-6; Acts 2:22-47

June 16, Nehemiah 7-9; Acts 3

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