Wm. F. P. Burton
Deprived of Their Weapons
He was a mighty and skilful conqueror. All the clans along the Lumami River had submitted to him excepting the Bene-Katunda. Mwine Munza's forces tried in vain to subdue them but were always driven back by their terrible "mitobolo", their fighting axes. The Bene-Katunda were so skilful with these that they not only used them in hand-to-hand encounter; they could throw them whirling through the air so as to split open an opponent's head or chest at a distance. When the mitobolo came flashing through the air, the forces of Mwine-Munza fled in confusion. No shield could stop them, no warrior could dodge them, so they broke and ran.
But Mwine-Munza was cunning. He could afford to bide his time. Where force had failed he would succeed by guile.
"Why should we kill each other? Let us make an alliance. Such splendid skilful men as you should not be our enemies but our friends." The Bene-Katunda were tired of war. An honourable peace, and an alliance with the great Mwine-Munza flattered them. For a time the agreement seemed to go well. The great counsellors of each clan visited the capital of the other and commerce in salt, grass-cloth, zebra skins and copper ornaments flourished.
Mwine Munza was lavish in the praise of his one time enemies. "You are so skilful with your axes," he said, "that your renown should be heralded across the land to distant tribes. Why do you not accomplish some feat so amazing that the world will wonder?"
"But what feat would you suggest?" they asked.
"Look at that great pinnacle of rock on the ridge above your village," suggested Mwine-Munza. "Why not cut it down? You fell great trees with ease. You cut down men, as we know to our cost. If you were to hack through that rock, your renown would echo to the ends of the earth."
Poor, silly folk! They hacked and sharpened their axes, hacked again and sharpened again. Elated at their success and at the amazement and praise of the onlookers, they chopped more and more deeply into the rock. But they never finished, for when their mitobolo were ruined and few survived, Mwine-Munza's hordes fell upon them and vanquished them. They were reduced to the status of mere vassals. Out of vanity, they threw away the weapons that had stood them in such good stead. Those old warriors are long since dead, but instead of commemorating their prowess, that great pinnacle of rock, half cut through, still rears its head above their village as a monument to their improvidence and folly.
When the Lord Jesus was about to die for us on Calvary, He left us one invincible weapon of offence. "Father," he prayed, "I have given them Thy Word." (John 17 v 14). What a doughty weapon is this! "Quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4 v 12) "The sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God." (Ephesians 6 v 17) Use it, brother! Put the armies of the aliens to flight!
No wonder the devil hates this book! The Roman Emperors banned it. The Romish priests have burned it; Higher Critics have perpetrated the utmost follies in their attempts to discredit it; half-hearted churches neglect it, but yet it stands, after more than 19 centuries, impregnable, vindicated more and more by every turn of the archaeologist's spade, but even more by the holy lives of those who live by it.
Oh foolish Bene-Katunda who parted with their trusty weapons, and oh, thrice foolish Christians who allow the dust to collect upon their Bibles instead of meditating therein day and night!
The Church at Gun Hill is an Elim Pentecostal Church