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Strength in Weakness

June 7, 2013

There are many voices in the world today that scream for attention; some seem to garner more attention than others, especially those that ridicule or attack faith in Christ. Ours is not the first generation to see this; throughout history those whose vision is upward are often lampooned if not outright attacked because they do not ‘fit’ into the world’s vision of what should be. As Jim Reeves put, “This World is not My Home,” (emphasis added) and with a vertical perspective and an eternal viewpoint, our attitude toward the various trends or those who set them should set us apart as different and in this world it is often the ‘different’ that gets hammered for being homogenous.
In Isaiah 37 we see a portion of the history of the people of faith, called out of the world to be different, a “…light on a hill…” to shine God’s glory to the world around them. But as so often happens, the allurement of the world pulled their eyes from El Shaddai to chase after the same things the world desires and God had brought the Assyrian army under Sennacherib to lay siege against Jerusalem after destroying much of the surrounding territory. There was no way Israel could defeat this mighty army through force of arms and King Hezekiah sent word to Isaiah the prophet regarding the threats and mocking the Assyrian leaders had made against Israel and their God.
Isaiah reassures the king with a bold statement including the prediction that not one arrow would be shot (vs. 33) which, considering how many archers would have been in that army was quite a prediction. Most amazing of all is the manner in which God chose to deliver Jerusalem from Sennacherib and his army; one angel struck the camp of that mighty army and killed 185,000 of them during the night! One angel, one night, and Sennacherib was looking over the corpses of his army; I’m reminded of what Jesus told His disciples on the night He was betrayed (Matthew 26:53) that if He’d asked the Father would have sent twelve legions of angels to rescue Him from the plans of the Sanhedrin. A Roman legion usually was made up of 6,000 soldiers, so twelve legions would be 72,000 angels capable of destroying any army then or now. But that was not the Father’s plan then as the cross was the Way to ultimate victory over the world and its god, a victory over death, hell and the grave that is still mocked and attacked by the world.
So, when the attacks come (be it in the form of snide remarks by acquaintances or even to the extent of physical attacks) we must all remember to look up and remember that the final chapter hasn’t been written yet in History. The ‘army’ of the world seems mighty right now; they seem to have all the force necessary to erase the Church from the face of the world, but such has always been the case. Joseph Stalin once asked an adviser dismissively how many divisions of troops the Pope had; the Pope’s army and the army of all Christendom is not one that is typical of might as the world thinks, but no less strong for our apparent weakness.
The world points to those verbose, prideful and mighty men and women as the epitome of strength and power who stand tall over the weaklings of the world. The Christian, however, is tallest and strongest when on his or her knees; humbling ourselves before God as Hezekiah did so long ago is something that even the god of this world fears. Samuel Chadwick (1860-1932) was a Wesleyan Methodist minister once put it like this;
“The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks our wisdom, but trembles when we go to our knees in prayer.”

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