Sunday, June 22, 2014

he's got your back -- part 2

The Word for today:
Exodus 15:22-16:36
mark this:
The LORD is a warrior;
Pharaoh's chariots and his army
he has hurled into the sea.
 (Exodus 15:3-4)
Today, we Stand in the Rain, in awe, as we watch the LORD fight for our deliverance.
Yesterday we saw him fight the host of Egypt. Today we will watch as he -- the King of the Jews, pre-figured by David -- single-handedly fights the ruler of this world (pre-figured by Goliath) on Israel's behalf. Then he will shield a single sinner from her accusers. Finally, alone on a cross, he will fight to the death for the salvation of our souls.
They were between the devil and the deep Red Sea. But the Angel of God, the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ, had their backs:
Then the Angel of God, who had been leading the people of Israel, moved to the rear of the camp. (Exodus 14:19)
The Angel physically positioned himself between Israel and their demise, turning their darkest day into their shining hour:
The pillar of cloud also moved from the front and stood behind them. The cloud settled between the Egyptian and Israelite camps. As darkness fell, the cloud turned to fire, lighting up the night. (14:19-20)
When the Angel fought, he fought alone. All of their "help," it seems, would only hinder his efforts:
"Don't be afraid. Just stand where you are and watch the LORD rescue you. The Egyptians that you see today will never be seen again. The LORD himself will fight for you. You won't have to lift a finger in your defense!" (Exodus 14:13-14/NLT)
Later on, surrounded by three armies in the wilderness of Engedi, King Jehoshaphat would be told the same:
"Listen, King Jehoshaphat! Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid!
Don't be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God's. Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel.
But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the LORD's victory.
He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out there tomorrow, for the LORD is with you!" (2 Chronicles 20:15-17)
When King David stood alone -- in the Valley of Elah, to fight in Israel's stead -- it was but a picture of the day when the King of Kings would stand for all of us against evil's entire array -- against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
Disdaining the armor of the world, he chose the full armor of God:
the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:14-17; cf. 1 Sam. 17:38-39)
The only visible weapon he carried to the battle was a cross. They laughed him to scorn: Why, you might as well fight a giant with a slingshot!
You might as well, indeed. The principalities and powers could not perceive that his death would be their undoing; that his victory would be ours as well.
So he placed himself in harm's way, between death and the people, just as he had in Egypt, in Engedi, and in Elah.
He'd fought for all the people, against all the forces of evil, in Egypt and Engedi and Elah, at Gethsemane and Golgotha.
But, in his heart, when he fought alone, when he died alone,
he stood as shield (1) for you alone,
between a solitary sinner and her accusers (2), to deflect the rocks meant just for her.

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