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In God's Quiver


            He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of His hand He hid me; He made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in His quiver. He said to me, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor" (Isa 49:2-3).

When we are sharpened and polished by God, we often want to show the world our skills and abilities, our charisma, our knowledge, even our compassion. We want the world to know how God has blessed us. It may sound like a good idea, except that we may end up basking in our own glory instead of displaying God’s glory. 

We know we are tools in God’s hands. As such, what can we learn from the analogy of being an arrow in God’s quiver?

            He made me into a polished arrow

Our function as an arrow is to hit the target. What is our target? One primary target for Christians is to do good, as “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works” (Eph 2:10).

How do we reach this target? Doing good is about meeting other people’s needs with our God-given resources. It is getting to know them, seeing who they are beyond the surface. It is helping those who are undeserving, those who may not be able to return the favor, those we may not even really like. It is assisting them not only when we are able to, but also when it could cause us some discomfort, loss, or even pain. It is not only about dutifully offering material gifts, but also willingly giving our time, prayer, love, and energy. It is about humbly following Christ’s example to serve others. 

            Concealed me in His quiver

As an arrow belonging to God, we should respect God’s methods and timing. This may sometimes mean that we need to stay within the quiver. Often, we are eager to serve, to do good, to reach the target. In our zeal, we may go as far as to “shoot” ourselves out of the quiver. We keep missing the mark, and we cannot figure out why. We forget that without God’s strength and guidance behind us, we cannot go far. In due time, He will show us which way to go and protect us as we go along that path (Ps 32:8). Therefore, we must train ourselves to sit back and relax, and patiently await God’s optimal time for our turn at the bow. 

            In whom I will display my splendor

When we finally soar through the air and reach our mark, we must remember to glorify God. An arrow cannot claim any success apart from the archer. As Christians, we need to let God receive the credit for what He accomplishes through us. A key to manifesting God’s glory is to do good in secret. This idea may seem counter-intuitive, since most people usually practice evil in secret and do good in public. However, we know that God sees everything, and rewards us accordingly (Mt 6:4, 6, 17). By acting in this manner, we are testifying for God in both the material and the spiritual worlds, developing our faith and Christian character, and building up our heavenly treasure. 

As God’s arrows, let us make the best of our opportunities to do good, to wait patiently, and to glorify God.

Question(s) for Reflection:

Who or what are you targeting with your arrow? Is this target pleasing to God?

When was the last time that you chose to shoot out of the quiver? How did you feel afterwards?

Think of someone you may know (either personally or through others) who does good deeds in secret. What is one way that could you follow their example?

Author: Liliana Chan