Janet gave me Clive Cussler’s latest book for Father’s Day. The Storm is like every other novel in its genre—the good guys are really good, the bad guys are really bad, and a catastrophic crisis is averted at the end, saving the world. Janet doesn’t find such repetitive silliness entertaining, for some reason, but I do.
At one point in the novel, one of our heroes must do a dive using deep-water equipment in order to save millions of people from annihilation. His air hose is his lifeline. Of course it snaps at the worst possible moment, so that he must climb to safety in the most perilous manner possible. He survives, of course, so he can appear in the next novel in the series.
That air hose image came to mind this morning as I was reading Deuteronomy 20. The text begins: “When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you” (v. 1). Note the “when”—it is inevitable in this fallen world that we will encounter enemies more powerful than ourselves. But what God has done in the past he can do in the present; if he defeated Egypt, he will defeat this adversary.
However, there’s a catch: the people must stay faithful to God if they would experience his power and protection. When they enter the land of Canaan, they must destroy the idolatrous and immoral people they find—”Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God” (v. 18).
I found the same warning today in Jeremiah 10, where God laments that “the shepherds are senseless and do not inquire of the Lord; so they do not prosper and all their flock is scattered” (v. 21). By contrast, when “a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem,” so that “all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria” (Acts 8:1), we read that “those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went” (v. 4). The difference? They stayed connected to the Source of their power.
If I will see my communion with God as my air hose, that vital lifeway without which I will struggle and eventually die, I will be more resolved to refuse anything that blocks that relationship. I’ll see sin as rocks in the line, keeping me from receiving the strength that the Spirit intends to supply. I’ll see godliness as the best way to glorify my Father, but also as the best way to experience his powerful provision.
Then as I encounter armies greater than myself, I’ll find in his protection my victory and peace. Is anything blocking your connection with your Father today?