Key Word:- STRENGTH
Title:- Of Wolves & Shattered Shields
Isaiah 28:5,6 In that day the LORD of hosts will be For a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty To the remnant of His people, For a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, And for strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.
It is true that over a billion people are presently more familiar with the fictitious names of Frodo, King Aragorn, Gandalf, and the terrible Sauron who has finally been met at the black gates of Mordor, rather than the real names of Goliath, Gath, (a heavily fortified wall city of giants) Ekron (the seat of Bealzebub) and the double gates of Shaaraim. Never the less, both the fictional and real, paint the same double message for us today. Evil dwells behind strong black gates, and those who are more than conquerors, must turn back their advancing foes and pursue them to these very gates of origin, root them out and utterly destroy them.
The fundamental idea that John Eldridge presents in his book ‘Waking the Dead’ that: ‘the only way we can understand the world and our place in it is that we are in a dreadful battle for our hearts’ is more than a proposition for calm consideration; it is a Biblical presentation of dreadful fact, that calls us to arms. Jesus places us upon a fortified rock and calls His church into existence in the midst of this mighty conflict! Listen “I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” . Matthew 16:18-19.You can't get away from it friends, we are born for bruising, birthed for battle and made to be more than conquerors amidst this red and roaring, ripping rumble of all out war. Christianity is not about old ladies in furry hats sipping tea on a Tuesday afternoon, eating cake and cooing over the nice young vicar! It’s not about nice suits and tidy children, marching into shiny pews on a Sunday to hear some overqualified youngster droning on about Greek grammar and the exciting twist of a Hebrew nuance! It’s about war! It’s about conquest! It’s about fighting! Fighting for our hearts and the hearts of others. It’s about rescue, recovery and redemption. It’s about facing the fiercest foe that ever existed, chopping his head off and pursuing his dreadful demons back to and behind, the very gates from whence they came, rooting them out, burning down their towers and claiming all the land for your self. Indeed, every place your foot shall tread shall be yours!
Now, wait a minute young Frodo, don’t go charging off towards the black gates of Mordor by yourself just yet. Our foe is truly, a black evil that never sleeps. He has been around a long time, is well organized, fortified and supplied. Me thinks though, that a Caleb might show us how to overcome him , or a band of three brothers might dare into captured Bethlehem once more and bring some freshness to a thirsty king. Truth is, in this fearful fight, we need one another. Truth is that we need to be band of brothers, especially when we are tired, especially when we have pursued the enemy back to his lair, and the towering black gates before us make us drip with fear. Community and conquering kings, are the only things that will keep us men of the west, facing the foe and overcoming our fears.
So today, to all my tired and retreat tempted warrior friends who are drawing back at the serpentine sound from behind those big black gates and shivering with fear; I counsel you to listen to the true words of a fictional king, that never the less, have a few fine words for warriors like you that have dared to come so far and have besieged the gates of Mordor:
“Hold your ground—hold your ground! Sons of Gondor—of Rohan, my brothers!
I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me.
The day may come when the courage of men fails,
when we forsake our friends and break all bands of fellowship
—but it is not this day!
An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the Age of Man comes crashing down
—but it is not this day!
This day we fight!
By all that you hold dear in this good earth,
I bid you stand,
men of the West!
Listen:- Now the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted, and pursued the Philistines as far as the entrance of the valley and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell along the road to Shaaraim, even as far as Gath and Ekron. 1 Samuel 17:52
Pray: - Master and Commander of the armies of heaven; fairest Lord Jesus, we shout with You today, for those walls we see are coming down! Even the gate bar of Damascus will shatter before our hearts of pounding faith! For Surely, if You are for us great King, then who can stand against us? Lord, by your grace and power, this day we shall stand and fight.