Message Delivered To The Ibadan Varsity Christian Union (IVCU)
Texts: Jeremiah 51:20-25; Isaiah 41:14-16;
“Thus says the Lord to His anointed,
To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held—
To subdue nations before him
And loose the armor of kings,
To open before him the double doors,
So that the gates will not be shut:
2 ‘I will go before you
And make the crooked places straight;
I will break in pieces the gates of bronze
And cut the bars of iron.
3 I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden riches of secret places,
That you may know that I, the Lord,
Who call you by your name,
Am the God of Israel.”
A battle axe is an instrument of warfare used in ancient Babylon. Battle axes are of different shapes and sizes, but they perform the same function. The Egyptians and Persians have different sizes of battle axe.
God used Cyrus as a battle axe to checkmate and decimate the Babylonians. A closer look of the passage shows God wanted to use Cyrus to serve his purpose in every segments of the society;
- He wanted to use him to fight the nations
- He wanted him to be his battle axe in the fight against the kingdoms.
- The horse and rider represents the fight against the army or nobility (Exodus 14:23; Exodus15:1)
- The chariot and its rider represent the military and the army echelon.
- The man and woman, this means the battle for our families.
- The old and young means the battle for the youth and dealing with generational conflicts.
- The young man and the maid also stands for the youth
- The shepherd and the flock represent the religious community.
- The husband man and his yoke of oxen refer to the the farmers
- The captains and rulers refer to the leadership in Babylon.
Thus, God meant he wanted to use Cyrus as a battle axe to fight the ills of the entire society. God wants to use us in a similar way today.
A battle axe has to be made before it is used. The battle axe is taken through a furnace, to be forged in the fire and moulded, and shaped into a battle axe. Then, when it is ready to be used, it must be sharpened to be useful. Unless it is sharpened it will be blunt, and not of much use. Isaiah 41: 14-16 and Ecclesiastes 10:10 captures some of this process.
What is the implication of the making and moulding of the battle axe? We must be prepared by God before we can serve any use. The making of a battle axe could be painful. Some axes could be blunt. Samson was certainly God’s battle axe against the Philistines. Gideon was a sharp battle axe. So were Esther, Joshua and Daniel, biblical examples of God’s battle axes.
What is the Job of a Battle Axe?
What are the practical ways in which God can use us as his battle axes as students? Like God said to Joshua in Joshua13:1, there “remains very much land yet to be possessed.” What are these unconquered territories waiting for us to possess? As youth, a great work of the kingdom awaits us now and in the future. Like Joshua at old age, the older generation are passing away and God is looking for new wine skins he would use to complete the task of the kingdom.
1) As students, God wants us to serve him in the executive of the Christian Union (the IVCU executive specifically).
2) As students, God wants us to reach out to other fellow students in evangelism.
3) As students, we must use our God-given skills for voluntary service at mission fields and in communities.
4) When we graduate, God expects us to answer his call to service in whatever areas God wants us to serve; in any areas of the Seven Mountains of the society.
5) When we graduate, we are expected to serve God as missionaries, in full time ministry, and with all our talents, skills and abilities.
6) We could serve as Intercessors for the nation, and also lead in the prayer for the unreached peoples groups to complete the Great Commission.
7) God wants to use us as his battle axe who will constantly remind him to revive his church (Ezekiel 22:30; Isaiah 62:6,7; Psalm 85:6,7). God wants us to be involved in praying for the coming revival.
8) God expects us as his battle axe to pray for his kingdom to advance in Nigeria: “thy kingdom come, they will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)
In summary, we can only be used as God’s battle axe when we make ourselves available to him. May we yield ourselves to him.