Some of the greatest epics that had caused my heart to surge with excitement had archers in them. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in Hunger Games, Legolas (Orlando Bloom) in Lord of the Rings, Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) in the Avengers , Russell Crowe in Robin Hood and Prophet in the Video game Crysis 3 (you should play this sometime…phew). Bows and arrows have played a decisive part in some of the famous battles recorded in humanity’s history for example, the battle of Agincourt. No matter how wonderful the archer, without the pair he is ineffective.
However, beyond inanimate things like wood, steel and feathers, arrows have been compared to living organisms. In the bible, children were likened to arrows in the hands of a warrior. The good book says that blessed is the man whose quiver is filled with the projectiles and such would not be ashamed when he contends with his enemies at the gate. It comes so naturally to imagine steel and wood structures when we come across the word “gates” in the holy book, but the word connotes principalities and powers. It suggests authority and influence. When Jesus said that the gates of hell would not prevail against his church, he meant that the powers of darkness would not be able to conquer his church.
The inference from this connotation in God’s word is that children are critical weapons of war. I used to think this passage was only for and about my children until recently when I realized it was about me, us.
Beyond the daily machinery of daily living and its natural concomitants, a war rages on around us (I usually think of it as Star Wars). Irrespective of whether we live on a party train swinging to life’s euphoric groove, the combat goes on tirelessly. As oblivious as we might be of the ongoing conflict, we are crucial to the way it swings, good or evil.
God is an archer as Psalms 64 vs. 7 connotes. He is a mighty warrior and we are his children. In other words, we are his arrows. As profane as it might sound, God cannot do much on earth without us, which is why He usually seeks for a man. In the trickling sands of ageless time, there have been large swathes of periods when evil ruled and darkness pervaded because God’s quiver was empty. Such situations exist until an arrow emerges. Abraham was an arrow that God used to turn around the enemy’s victory in Eden and start a lineage which brought in Christ. Joseph was an arrow that destroyed the beast of famine and by so doing preserved posterity. Moses was an arrow that toppled Egypt and set Israelites free in the process. David was an arrow that brought down the Philistine’s cruel hold on Israel. Jesus was an arrow that annihilated the power of sin and satan. Paul was an arrow that tore down the idolatry worship of Artemis in Greece amongst other things. Question is how good are we at being arrows? A good arrow has some qualities that can never be dispensed with.
ARROWS ARE STRAIGHT…For arrows to be effective, they have to be perfectly straight. That is the origin of the expression as straight as an arrow. As human beings we are not perfect but God demands perfection of us. He told Abraham, walk before me and be perfect. We must strive for perfection in our daily work with God. It is in so doing that we become powerful arrows.
ARROWS ARE SINGLE MINDED…Arrows are plumed; they have feathers that direct them towards their target. They are usually focused with only one purpose, the target in mind. They surrender to the will of the Archer. They go in the direction he shoots them at. To be effectual arrows, we have to be that single minded about the kingdom, sold out to God’s vision and focused on his will. Jesus said, “My meat is to do the work of him that has sent me and to finish his work.” Food keeps us alive; Jesus said it was the work of God that kept him alive.
ARROWS ARE DIVERSE… there are different kind of arrows, explosive ones, incendiary ones, carbon, aluminum, wood but they all have a single mission on the battlefield. They exist to bring an enemy down in their collectivity. Our diversities should be celebrated but we must live united in purpose.
ARROWS ARE LIGHT… Arrows travel light. Life burdens us with issues that make our spirits heavy and distract us by so doing. Heavy arrows make useless weapons, they cannot go far. The author of the epistle to the Hebrews asked them to travel light so they could be useful. This is why he told them to get rid of every weight and the sin that easily besets.
ARROWS HAVE INFLUENTIAL RANGE… Arrows are basically long distance weapons. I was wondering why the passage above talks about arrows in quivers and not swords in scabbards. What occurred to me is that when it comes to close combat, the sword is as good a weapon as any. Such combat exposes and wearies but with arrows one can make quick work of adversaries because they have speed and range. In addition, arrows are better than swords in facing a host of foes. As arrows of God, we should improve ourselves to have range. We should develop ourselves to make impact that is felt far and wide beyond our natural niches. We must have a global perspective. The most influential arrows in the hands of the Almighty were people who lived and functioned in other cultures. They lived beyond the four walls of a church. Paul, who was the greatest missionary ever travelled the world. He was cosmopolitan and his impactful range is still been felt generations after he lived. He was an arrow that flew from God’s bow right from the past and is hugely impacting lives in the present.
ARROWS NEVER TAKE THE GLORY… arrows are dead to self. They have no life of their own. They never take the glory no matter how momentous the victory. All the glory goes to the Archer.
Thing is God’s quiver is not full and He is still looking for arrows to tilt the balance of the star wars towards the good side. He might find you or maybe me. However it is up to us…
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
© 2014 Ekpo Ezechinyere