“Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.” (NIV)
We are invited to come and see the works of the Lord. Look at what the Lord has done and is doing. Sometimes, we see the Lord’s works made visible in our world. At other times, we see, with the eyes of faith, His deep work in the hearts of people.
The Hebrew Old Testament invites us to see the Lord’s devastation or judgment on the earth—how God has brought down mighty rulers and kingdoms so that peace may come! The Greek Old Testament invites us to see the Lord’s wonders, as in “signs and wonders”. In the end, they both come to the same place: our God is a God of peace, and one day He will establish “peace on earth to people he favours” (Luke 2:14).
In the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen the best and the worst of humanity. We have seen chaos, lawlessness, and conflict as selfish and fearful people commit acts of violence against others. But Psalm 46:8 reminds us that the Lord will do amazing things that bring peace. That is God’s heart; He is at war with the turmoil and violence that turn valuable human beings into obstacles and enemies.
Verse 9 explains that God will one day defeat all His enemies and destroy their weapons: bows, spears, and shields. He will make people stop fighting. Every parent knows how painful it is for your children to fight each other—it’s a dagger to your heart. One day, God will bring universal peace on the earth. When His kingdom has fully and finally arrived, a kingdom inaugurated by Jesus, then wars will cease (see Isaiah 11 and Revelation 21–22).
For those of us who have a personal relationship with Jesus, the Messiah, God is beginning His deep work of peace now. These verses encourage us to model God’s peace now as much as we can. In our interaction with people, we can model submission to the God of peace, and love each other deeply.
Father, remind us to be agents of peace wherever we can. Most of all, remind us that one day You will shatter the weapons of warfare, physical and spiritual, and usher in Your new creation where the Prince of Peace reigns over all. Amen.