Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Happy are you!

It would be so nice for everyone to get along, for thieves, terrorists and corrupt world leaders to hang their heads in shame, and cry tears of repentance. If people would just understand and love and hold hands and live in peaceful harmony. 

Sounds like a commercial for a soft drink… The Bible says that’s definitely not going to happen—not as long as Satan remains the prince of this world. Jesus tells us that evil is here to stay until He returns to cast the devil and his demons into eternal punishment. That means corruption, sickness, greed, emotional and spiritual attacks will be life as usual until then, and even more, He promises things will get worse before they get better.

But don't get depressed! He promises protection over all who are saved. Even in the midst of corruption and evil, He guarantees our safety. We have the joy of knowing that a mighty shield and sword fights for us. For God’s true children, love, peace, joy and all those lovely things we dream of are real fruit that we can bear by the power of His Spirit and share among each other. In this world, peace can only be possible through battle. Battling against the temptations of our flesh and also against the external attacks of the devil in our personal lives.  

When Moses returned to Egypt to rescue God’s people, devastating plagues were sent to break the hardened heart of Pharaoh. Blood, frogs, gnats, boils—it’s hard to imagine how anyone could have survived such catastrophes. But though the Hebrew slaves lived in Egypt too, none of them were harmed. The slaves had been forced to live in the land of Goshen, which amazingly was the only area in Egypt that didn’t suffer the impact of the plagues. The final plague of the death of the firstborn required specific obedience to God’s command, and of course by then the Hebrews had developed a healthy fear of God and they obeyed. The remainder of Egypt was finally broken, and so terrified of the God of Israel that at last the slaves were sent off with Egypt’s riches and possessions. They obeyed, and God fought.

We are surrounded by an evil world, but still dwell in the land of Goshen today as long as we live in obedience and communion with Him. We can't just acknowledge that we believe in Him, we have to actively live out that faith. Too many Christians are just acknowledgers instead of doers of faith. They try to handle their problems by their own strength, stepping outside God’s boundaries of protection—then they moan and complain that God has abandoned them when the devil attacks. When fear of failure or loss threatens you, stand firm and rebuke those demonic forces that want to steal from you. His sword will fight for you and His shield will protect you, but you have to confront your Pharaoh, your spiritual enemies on all sides. And just as God’s protection guaranteed the victory for the Israelites, God’s protection is just as solid and sure as in the past. 

How happy you are, Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord? He is the shield that protects you, the sword you boast in. Your enemies will cringe before you, and you will tread on their backs.  (Deuteronomy 33:29 HCSB)

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