Saturday, March 21, 2009

Character Development

“He Made Me a Polished Shaft”

Here, the prophet provides the picture of an arrow, indicating that the shaft of the arrow must be polished before its use. The shaft is one of an arrow’s most important components. If the shaft of the arrow is warped or misaligned in any way, the arrow will not hit its mark. A crooked shaft ultimately renders an arrow useless. The arrow’s sharp head is of little value if a malformed shaft causes it to miss its mark.

On the other hand, an arrow would also have little value if it reached its mark, but a dull head rendered it unable to stick. Both the arrow’s shaft and the head of the arrow are of equal importance. The shaft of the arrow speaks of the character of the armorbearer, while the head speaks of their function. Both the character and the function of a true armorbearer must go through a proper period of preparation.

The word “polish” means to clarify, to examine, or to purge so as to brighten. Isaiah wrote that God had made him a polished shaft. The shaft must undergo the purging, sanding, and polishing process before it can play its role in producing an arrow that will hit the mark.

During Isaiah’s time, preparing an arrow was a tedious process. Acacia wood, a strong but very rough, crooked, and knotted wood, had to be carefully straightened and sanded. All of the leaves were first plucked from the chosen piece of wood. Next, the naked piece of wood was left in a frame, using tightly placed pegs that would slowly straighten it. The shaft was then “anointed” with oil to soften the wood before its final sanding. After sanding, the shaft was then ready to receive its tip.
All of these steps in the preparation of a natural arrow speak to the process of preparing an armorbearer for his hour in the new move of God’s Spirit. The Lord will take every armorbearer through a stripping process before He uses them to “hit the mark” for His kingdom. Every armorbearer will experience both character and functioning preparation (the sharpening of the head). Although this can be a very long and painful process at times, every armorbearer can be encouraged knowing that the more God plans to use an “arrow,” the more demanding the preparation will be.

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