“Then those who live in the towns of Israel will go out and use the weapons for fuel and burn them up-the small and large shields, the bows and arrows, the war clubs and spears. For seven years they will use them for fuel. “ (Ezekiel 39:9)
This verse needs to have its context explained. Ezekiel was told to prophesy against “Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.” In verse one through six in chapter 39 God, through Ezekiel, is telling this person and this nation that God is set against them and will destroy them. The weapons that “those who in in the towns of Israel” will gather up and burn for fuel are the weapons left behind by the soldier of Magog. Can you imagine how many weapons it would take to supply wood for seven years! This was a mighty army that God was going to bring down!
It is not usual that weapons are re-used to the advantage of those who are in need. One hears of local natives and artisans who make souvenirs out of former bits of weaponry, or put to use the metal of weapons for domestic uses. It provides a stark contrast to the ways of war when such things occur. And it usually means the people of those countries are so destitute and without resources. One has to think of the cost in human life and natural resources of these weapons. While it may be necessary, it is not an equitable trade.
In other instances, those who use weapons often have those same weapons turned upon them. Weapons of one’s enemy abandoned and scattered can be gathered up and used. But again, it is a tragic comment on the whole machinery of war.
Better, much better is to not war and fight at all. But to live in harmony with one’s neighbors, near and far. To use natural resources and share one with another. This is part of the whole concept of shalom, that everyone has what they need and not at the expense of another. Gentle reader, may you have what you need this day, and the days to come. Selah!