“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” (Ps. 121:1-2)
From The Christian Church in the Last Days
As King Saul’s deadly pursuit of David is on several occasions within a hair’s breadth of succeeding, David must think to himself whether God’s promise to him through the prophet Samuel will ever come true. Joseph’s own attempt to get Pharaoh’s butler and baker to speak well of Joseph to Pharaoh and hopefully procure his exoneration and release from prison, falls flat.
When the Israelites are trapped up against the banks of the Red Sea with the Egyptian chariot army in deadly pursuit, it never entered the minds of the Israelites as a plausible solution that God could open up the Red Sea. If the Red Sea bordered on a forest, some small number of people might have used drift wood as floatation devices to swim safely on top of the surface of the water to the opposite shore. But this body of water was in the middle of a desert…there were no trees or driftwood. Some daring people might have considered attempting to swim across the entire width of the Red Sea. Opening up a dry land passage through the midst of the waters was something that only God could even imagine, much less actually accomplish.
Upon first hearing God’s plan to successfully defeat the opposing army, we can imagine Gideon asking God “Did I hear you correctly…you want us to do what?” Esther throws all personal caution to the wind in seeking an uninvited audience with the king, in an extremely tight set of deadly circumstances forced upon her by the expediency of the crisis, not at all of her making.
Even on Resurrection Day, as the two disciples are walking toward Emmaus and speaking with the as-yet unrecognized Jesus, after some of the disciples had already reported discovering the empty tomb, they still did not understand the magnitude of the power of the resurrection. They say about Jesus that He was “a prophet, mighty in deed and word before God and all the people” (Luke 24:19), and that “we hoped that it had been he who should have redeemed Israel” (Luke 24:21). They did not realize that Jesus, a “prophet mighty in deed and word,” had that very day conquered the great final enemy of death and hell for them, through His divinely empowered resurrection from the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea.
Most of us did not fully understand the second half of the cross…the surrender of the sovereignty of sitting atop the thrones of our lives as self-autonomous kings…when we experienced believer’s water baptism. When we were submerged briefly below the surface of the water, and then assisted up into a vertical standing position representing resurrection into new life, we grasped the basic outlines of the cross and the resurrection. Only after some length of time in our journey of faith do we begin to comprehend in some measure the depth of God’s purposes, patterned for us in the narrative examples of faith recorded in the Bible. This concept of placing our personal Isaac on the altar of sacrifice so that God can insert His higher ways into our lives, will crystalize into a major theme for Christians as we enter the last-days to close out the long redemptive history of mankind. This is another key to our success as the Christian church in the last-days.
Just as the cross and the resurrection conquered death in a way that was beyond our capacity to accomplish for ourselves, the second half of the cross is a divine creation beyond human imagination or creative literary invention. The narrative stories of faith in the Bible, and our own personal experience of salvation and a journey of faith following Jesus Christ, will be a calm harbor of refuge and a sturdy anchor of protection through whatever worldwide turbulence lies ahead.
A journey of faith through the second half of the cross is at the pinnacle of divinely inspired and revealed orthodoxy, as orthodox as orthodox can be. This is the part of the message of the Bible that is designed to illustrate the Spirit-born transformation that takes place within a person, from having merely an impersonal knowledge about God, to a personal, purpose-filled, new covenant adventure of faith following Jesus Christ (Jeremiah 31:31-34).