Saturday, December 07, 2013

Enemies’ Best Intentions Amount to Nothing When Fighting God’s Will -- Exodus 15:9-12


The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; My desire shall be gratified against them; I will draw out my sword, my hand shall destroy them.’  Thou didst blow with Thy wind, the sea covered them; They sank like lead in the mighty waters.  Who is like Thee among the gods, O Lord?  Who is like Thee, majestic in holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders?  Thou didst stretch out Thy right hand, The earth swallowed them.”
 
Do you ever wonder why you buy an insurance policy?  If the truth were known, the bottom line is that you buy insurance because bad things happen.  Drunk or incapable drivers hit your car; evil people break into your house; mean people want to see you fail and sue you; disease takes away your ability to earn a living; etc.  As I read this passage of Scripture I felt I was reading a copy of the ultimate insurance policy I could have.

The first portion outlines clearly the perils that are being insured against.  Our enemies be they human, or other forces of evil, are out to pursue us.  Their full intent is to overtake us.  They want to attack us when we’re down like spoils and divide us in order to conquer us.  They find great desire in imagining how gratified they will be when they succeed in getting us to the point where they can draw out their sword and destroy us.

The next section outlines the power of the Insurer to act in such cases is.  He can utilize nature to blow the enemy around and to engulf him or it.  He can sink the enemy like lead sinks in water, as portrayed by the actual account of what He did for the Israelites who were pursued by the Egyptians who wanted their destruction.

And then in the last section of the passage, we see what we may call the testimonials of others who have experienced the benefits of such an insurance policy.  In brief, they say the Insurer is One Who cannot be matched in perfection.  There is none among the other insurers like this One.  And the reason is that “He is majestic in holiness”, and He works incredible wonders.  God’s glory is such that angels adore it writes Matthew Henry.  His holiness is evidenced in the fact that He destroyed Pharaoh, He hates sin, and He exercises great anger against unrepentant sinners.  He delivers His children from their enemies and has a plan for mankind.

There is another phrase in this song or what I am calling ‘our insurance policy’ that is a little more difficult to explain easily.  The text says, He is fearful in praises.  This refers to our role or the terms of the policy that we need to agree to.  We are to fear Him in our praises.  His power, majesty and holiness are to be the very substance of our praise.  And Henry suggests that while to the Christian (the policyholder) this can be done in joy, those very same characteristics are feared and dreaded by our and God’s enemies.  Our job, he says, is to “praise Him with a humble holy awe, and serve the Lord with fear.”  Our spiritual joy and triumph must be balanced with a sacred or devout, healthy, fear.

Finally, in the last portion of the passage (our policy), we read of the finality of God’s insurance for His children.  He stretches out His right hand and causes the earth to swallow our enemies.  The actual words of the song in this passage that the Israelites are singing are not meant to convey their deep appreciation of only the past, that is, their triumph over the Egyptians. They are also meant to be a continuous memory to future generations of what God is capable of doing and will do.  The text does not say, “Who was like Thee among the gods, O Lord?  Who was like Thee, majestic in holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders?”  No, it says, Who IS.  And our God is not dead, He still IS.

I would have preferred to end these thoughts on this passage on that positive note.  However, I must admit that when I first read it as part of this devotional study, what came to mind as something many of us could well state is this:  “But I have done everything right and still God did not spare or rescue me.  I cannot sing this song.”  Or, “I have purchased the policy, but am unable to live life joyfully, fearing God may not apply all its terms for me.”

Ah, there’s the rub.  In fact, there are two rubs.

The first is this: We must remember that an insurance policy does not prevent the enemy from trying to destroy us; he or it will indeed try to.  The policy prevents the enemy from actually destroying us utterly.  It allows us to recover form the damages suffered and to become victorious again in our lives.  God did not say the children of Israel would be spared from slavery in Egypt or even hardship in the wilderness on route to the Promised Land.  He promised safe and ultimate passage.  If that is not good enough for you and me, then we have a misunderstanding of what “life with God” is all about.

The second rub is this: If we have accepted the policy but still fear life and the future, then we need to get to know the Insurer better.  We need to stop relying on our ourselves to ensure our ability to make it through the deep waters, but rather to trust the loving Father who waits in the waters to save us when life requires us to jump in.  Whatever it is we need to pass through, Jesus Christ God’s Son has been there.

Perhaps our fear has to do with whether or not we will have the ability to cope physically, emotionally, or mentally, with the deep waters, even if we know that ultimately God will rescue us.  That is a legitimate fear, but there is nothing we can do about it except to realize that God has promised He will indeed give us the strength to get through it when the time comes (I Corinthians 10:13).  So, take heart, know you are covered and live victoriously both about your past attacks by the Enemy and in the knowledge that he will be defeated again should he dare to attack you anew in the future.
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