Hebrews 4:12 -13 - For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
Those of you who have read the Daily Devotions for a while know my father was a blacksmith. What you don't know is that many years ago he forged a sword for me. The work, done in his free time, took him the better part of a year. When he presented it to me, he said, "This is a job which was so complex, I will never do it again."
It was a promise he kept.
Maybe my father's sword is what made me look at a mystery sword on display in the British Library.
The sword, found in an English river in 1825, has been dubbed the River Witham sword. What is known about the 38-inch steel blade is this: the sword dates from the 13th century and was probably owned by a wealthy individual or knight.
The things not known about the sword are a list far more impressive.
For example, no one knows how the sword got into the river; nor does anyone know who owned it. The most intriguing unknown is the inscription which is inlaid in gold wire along one of the sword's edges. The letters read, "+NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI+". Some have suggested the letters have a Christian meaning since they begin and end with a cross, and others have tried to decipher what they see as Latin abbreviations.
The bottom line is this: the British Library is asking the world's help in deciphering the lettering on the two-edged sword. I pass on its challenge to you. Who knows? Maybe we have a great problem-solving, Latin-knowing, abbreviation-expanding expert among our readership.
Reading about the mysteries of the River Witham sword, I was put in mind of our text above, the words from Hebrews, which refer to God's Word as a two-edged sword.
Over the years, countless sermons, both meaningful and profound, have been preached on that text.
While space limitations in a Daily Devotion can never allow for a full-fledged exposition of these verses, we can point out one thing: God's living, active Word dispels our secrets and sheds light on our malevolent mysteries.
Most of us try to give others the impression that we are fine, good, upstanding individuals. Our very worst sins we try to keep hidden from those around us lest anyone think badly of us. Our Hebrews passage says God's Word exposes all our transgressions to the divine Judge. It is a frightening fact.
Thankfully, in the chapter and passages which follow, the Lord clearly tells us that we have a High Priest in Jesus. Unlike all other high priests, Jesus has sacrificed Himself to pay for those sins and allow those who are brought to faith to be forgiven when they stand before their Judge.
In short, there are no unknown, indecipherable mysteries here. Scripture clearly tells us our sins condemn, while our Redeemer saves.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for still loving us in spite of our sins, we give thanks. May we live in thanks to the Savior who has dispelled the darkness and brought us into His light. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Neal Colgrass for Newser on August 12, 2015. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written. Please click here
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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