We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one—For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places—No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me, says the LORD.
…having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might…—I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.—
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever—What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
I Jn. 5:19 ESV; Eph 6:12 KJV; Is. 54:17 NKJV; Eph. 1:18-19 ESV; Jn. 16:33 NLT; Ps. 23:4-6 NLT; Rom 8:31 NKJV
Some mornings songs sprout in my head and sing there unbidden, over and over–today this:
Whom shall I fear? The God of angel armies is always by my side.
[If the video doesn’t appear please click through to the original post at my blogsite: http://ponderings.theskeltons.org/2017/07/26/things-we-know/]
How fitting that Hezekiah’s story should be in the queue for my morning reading! He has been a good king. Under his reign the long-neglected temple has been re-opened. Passover has been celebrated with exuberant joy. The people have responded to his reforms with enthusiasm, destroying their pagan altars and giving generously to the service of the Temple. But in the wake of all this faithfulness comes dread news, my morning’s reading–the powerful king of Assyria is on the march. He has invaded Judah and is headed for Jerusalem.
After making strategic preparations– repairing and doubling the walls, amassing weapons, stopping up the springs outside the city and appointing military leaders– Hezekiah calls the people together and encourages them with these words:
“Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid of the king of Assyria or his mighty army, for there is a power far greater on our side! He may have a great army, but they are just men. We have the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!” (II Chron.32:7,8)
Centuries later Paul will echo these words in addressing the believers in Rome:
‘If God be for us, who can be against us?!’
It is good to be reminded of these things. I’ve been acutely aware lately that I live in a world that does not share my values. It dismisses the One I most treasure, delights in what He abhors, and exalts self as god instead. I am a misfit. I easily succumb to feeling like a feeble voiceless nobody surrounded by a vocal and daunting foe. My conversation has not been with flesh and blood, though I’m prone to eavesdrop, but with books. Whether in my work among the library stacks or with thrift store donations the vast majority of books that surround me (and people who resort to them for advice) represent worldviews that directly conflict with my own. Buddhism, Eastern meditation, Psychic healing, Dark ‘thrillers’, Self-as-God counsel, and perhaps the most hazardous of all, a growing number of beautifully bound ‘angels of light’ that pose as compatible with Christianity and offer soothing peaceful advice that is Luciferan at its core. I find it overwhelming somedays. How is my little light to make any difference in such a climate? I feel cowed and helpless, mute.
My Shepherd reads my mind, knows my heart and sends His Word to reassure. On Sunday a sister in Christ stood and read from I John:
We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
(I Jn. 5:19-20 ESV)
She read the words haltingly, her handwriting so tiny, her reading glasses absent, but the rendering could not detract from the powerful reality of God’s truth heard again. We know…the power of evil is real but we are in Him who is true, in Him who has given us understanding and eternal life… This passage has spurred me on to consider things I know to be true–
- In this world we will have trouble BUT God’s goodness and mercy will always pursue…
- In this world we will have formidable enemies BUT God is able to spread a feast for us in their presence…They will not have the last word. Truth will prevail.
So I am encouraged to press on to know the truth, to be set free by it and to proceed undaunted in fulfilling my calling in this world, led by the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, … For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. Heb 10:32, 34-36 ESV