Devotional

Doing Battle

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Hebrews 4

In both Old and New Testaments God makes reference to a battle of words. In a Messianic prophecy, speaking about the servant-Messiah, He revealed to Isaiah “He made My mouth like a sharpened sword”. Jesus Himself describes a battle over which He will be victor: “Repent! Otherwise I will soon come to you and fight against them with the sword of My mouth” (Revelation 2:16).

Most humans at some time or another have been wounded by words, whether intentioned or not. Some have referred to this as the pain of the soul, a problem that lasts far longer than physical scars. James describes the tongue as a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It is capable of corrupting the whole person, of setting the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell (3:6). Have you ever been burned by someone’s words?

If the power of the human tongue can do that much damage, then consider what the judgment of Christ’s tongue might look like! Jesus describes it as a two-edged sword (Revelation 2:12). In our scripture reading, the writer of Hebrews is talking about the consequences of unbelief, warning “Today, if you hear His voice [the words of the Gospel] do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 4:7). God’s intention is to give His children peace and rest – the whole of this chapter is devoted to that.

However, Satan is very actively engaged in negating the words of God. From the very beginning, as we have noted many times before, he questioned whether or not God really did say certain things. Is God the Creator of peace and justice? Do His laws, decrees, words of wisdom and guidance mean anything to us today? Do we believe He is a perfect and just God, one who knows everything – our motives, our thoughts and deeds?

Why would He not be fair to His children? The greatest battle between good and evil was won at the cross, followed by the miraculous resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The cost of God’s perfect gift of salvation has been fully paid, but Satan still wants you to believe it can be earned. We have been given a full description of this event in words of Holy Scripture. How then is it possible for the wisdom of Satan, or of man to question what God has revealed? Isn’t this the battle of the ages?

Reflection:

Down through time we see the sword of truth “dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, judging the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The question becomes personal when we ask ourselves, what does God see in our hearts? Do we long for purity and truth, for justice and spiritual integrity? Does the church, or indeed do I bring glory to God by following in the steps of Jesus my Lord? Will I do battle against compromise and overt evil? Has my passion for God grown lukewarm?

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

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