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From the editor: "A Polished Shaft" (Is 49.2)

J Grant

The beautiful writings of Isaiah have left us a richness of language which, at times, soars above that of other writers. The chapter from which the above words are taken contains a prophetic description of the Servant of Jehovah, whom we know to be the Lord Jesus Christ. Speaking of His preparation for service, this Servant declares that "he hath…made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me".

The process of preparing an arrow involved polishing the shaft until all roughness had been taken away. Before a battle, great care was taken to ensure that each shaft in the archer’s quiver was polished to perfection. All unevenness was removed and all cause of imbalance eliminated. This was a task which was not accomplished in just a few moments. Skill, patience, and determination were required, but it ensured that the arrow was perfectly prepared and would not deviate from the course on which it had been dispatched. It would be effective in penetrating the body of an enemy in a clean manner. Without the polishing process the arrow would be of little value in the battle. It would miss the mark and possibly injure a friend or ally. When polished to perfection, however, there was no more effective weapon in the hands of a competent archer.

The Servant of Jehovah had no imperfections. It was not required of Him to go through the polishing process. In everything He was polished and able for the service which He would perform. He was a balanced Servant who never failed to hit the mark. He did not fall short, nor did he overshoot the target. He did not deviate to the right or to the left. He finished perfectly everything to which He set His hand. There was no bias with Him. In His life there was nothing that would cause Him to wander from His course.

Not only, however, was He a polished shaft. The Servant declared, "…in his quiver hath he hid me". Just as the sharp sword also mentioned in the verse was "in the shadow of his hand", near to the hand of the swordsman ready for immediate use, so an arrow in the quiver was ready for service. It was no mere ornament in the house. Thus it was with the Saviour. He was ready for service, whether in season or out of season, and He missed no opportunity to hit the mark.

But we need to be "polished" so that we are effective in service. Those who seek to serve the Lord are aware that this is necessary. The elimination from our lives of all that would damage our ability to serve the Lord effectively must be a prime consideration. The question facing us is whether we have the desire to do this.

Those who genuinely seek to serve understand that the first work to be done is in their own hearts. But, do we see our Christian life in that context? Are we readers of the Scriptures? Do we regularly attend gatherings where the Word of God is taught? Are there "no go" areas in our lives where we are not prepared to let the light of Scripture shine in? Is our interest in the Lord such that we seek constantly to "polish" our lives so that we can be of value to the Master?

Sadly, there are those who do attend assembly gatherings but do not appear to understand that they have a responsibility to show life-changing interest in the Word of God. The polishing process does not take place. Saved they may be, but never do they seem to deliberately set out to fit themselves for effective service. Remember, an unpolished shaft is dangerous: engaged in service but often missing the mark or even damaging those for whom it was not intended.

Let us strive to make our lives as polished shafts. Unlike Him we have imperfections which must be removed. The process of polishing may not be pleasant, it may seem tedious at times, and it may involve polishing away things that are prized and dear to us, but how necessary it is to be rid of everything that causes us to fall short of, or deviate from, the target. When we seek to do that, not once but constantly, we can be as polished arrows in the quiver ready to serve profitably at any time.


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