Thoughts on the Way Home

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Battle Belongs to the Lord - Kirk Wellum


The Battle Belongs to the Lord

-Kirk Wellum

It is good to remember that God is at work in ways we do not know and could not understand even if we did. When we listen to the news or read newspapers it can sometimes feel as though God has abandoned our world and is no where to be found. But that is never the case. We must not rely on our feelings in this regard because our feelings can be deceptive and incapable of discerning the reality of the situation. Instead we must go back to the scriptures and read again about God's great acts in the past and his promises to intervene in the future and bring the world to the end he has ordained for it. Only then will we find the encouragement we need to go on and the strength to face new challenges. This is one reason why Christians should read the Bible on a daily basis. We need to be reminded of things that we so easily forget as we make our way through this vale of tears.

I have been reminded of these things myself this past week as I have had unexpected opportunities to speak to other Christians about what God is doing in faraway places. In this particular instance, the great truths of the reformation that have stirred and challenged so many ever since, have been given new life in places where they have never taken root before. Personally I find it thrilling to talk to other Christians about what God is doing. And it has been another reminder that we must never write off anyone or any place. God is powerful. He will accomplish his purposes in spite of the opposition. Not one promise will fail. God will do all his holy will. These are so much more than theoretical theological constructs. Herein lies hope and here we find the grace we need to press on when the going is difficult. As Luther wrote in his great hymn "and he (Christ Jesus) must win the battle!" And win it he will, in his own time and in his own way.

News reports remind us that this world is full of trouble. Wars and rumors of war, commodity shortages, corruption among leaders and people alike, natural disasters that seem to sweep over the world in an never ending cascade of ruin. These and many other things like crime and disease and economic inequity and environmental contamination are sometimes downright depressing. Many people deal with the news by turning it off, or denying that it is taking place, or burying themselves in their work or their exercise routines or in their pursuit of material toys and pleasure. But this does not make any of it go away. It only distances us from reality and keeps us from thinking about life from the perspective of God's word. The simple truth is that there is no hope for this world apart from Christ. As long as this age continues there were will be sunshine, rain and seasons. But life as we know it will not go on forever. There is a day of reckoning coming. We must all give an account for our lives. And if we are not safe in Christ, certain doom awaits us.

Consequently, we must hold the things of this life with a loose grip. We must live as those who are dying to this realm of existence. Our hope is not in this life. Our dreams will not be realized here. There is something better to come that should shape our lives each day. Ultimately we are not defeated and we should not be pessimistic. Another song puts it this way: "No weapon that's fashioned against will stand, the battle belongs to the Lord!" In Isaiah 25 the prophet praises the Lord for all that he will do and for the great victory he will win. Let's bring this week to a close and look forward to the Lord's Day as we meditate on God's word.

"Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name. for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. You have made the city a heap of rubble, the fortified town a ruin, the foreigners stronghold a city no more; it will never be rebuilt."

"Therefore strong peoples will honor you; cities of ruthless nations will revere you. You have been a refuge for the poor. a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall and like the heat of the desert. You silence the uproar of foreigners; as heat is reduced by the shadow of a cloud, so the song of the ruthless is stilled."

"On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine--the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the people's disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken. In that day they will say, 'Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.'"

Isaiah 25:1-9

HT: Redeeming the Time