Swinging The Battle Axe
The sweet morning dew is rushing through my nostrils. Beams of the rising sun pierce the dawn. My breath is heavy. The fast pounding in my neck distracts me from what lies only a few moments away.
“Today I might go home. I lived my life by the laws our father Moses received from above. I fought every enemy that came against us. I never ran, and I never surrendered. I slew the evil-doer and fought in the army of the Lord all my life. Honor and Glory!”
I can see the enemy approaching. Dark shadows are marching towards us. Iron against iron. The marching order thunders through the ranks. I clutch the leather strapped around my ax, and I bring the resting beast towards my chest. My weapon of choice, my exchange for a shield.
Breath. One. Two. Three. Keep calm and focus. Think of why you are here and acknowledge your fear. Your brother is on the right, and your brother is on the left. And the Lord is going before you. Remember who brought you out of Egypt.
I can already see their faces. I can see their fear. They have heard the stories of Yahweh-Sabaoth, God the warrior. They know he is on our side. They know what happens to the enemies of Israel.
Nothing is holding us back anymore. We rush towards the battle. We bolt towards our destiny because the Lord is with us in life and death. Courage floods my body as a roar of knowing victory fills the battlefield.
They are near. I can see the terror in their faces. And I raise my ax towards the heavens.
The old covenant
It often seems that I would be a better man of God crushing skulls of non-believers. Battle-proofed and ready to conquer the promised land. Willing to claim the promises of God.
It seems like theology was easy back in Israel over 2000 years ago. You knew the rules, the washings, the confessions, the consequences. The framework of obedience and punishments provided a security because people knew what to expect.
God put those rules into place through his prophet Moses. You knew there was a divine order. You knew God was with you because you saw the miracles.
Would it be easier today if Jesus would not have shown up? Follow the rules and you’re good?
“I call you a friend.”
Knowing a person starts outside of rules. The more we know about a person, the more we trust them.
It’s the same with your friends and family that you meet for a Sunday barbecue. There is no agenda. We come together and create an atmosphere of love and belonging. In this environment, free conversations lead to the revealing about ourselves because we trust those around us.
Jesus came because he wants us to know him. Throughout the covenants of the Old Testament all the way towards what we see in the book of Acts, God is moving towards us.
Against all odds, he reveals himself throughout history and time to the people he created and loved. It’s a pursuit of his people from the beginning, a rescue mission of his family who doesn’t understand what they are trapped in.
Wishing for the old
So why then do I want to live in a time of battle and chaos? A time where only rules could bring a fracture of order and righteousness to the people of God?
Humans are afraid of undefined areas. We need to be able to explain our surroundings to feel at ease. We do best in a controlled environment where we know what to expect.
When I first moved to the US with my American wife, I had no issues. At first, it was fun to see all the differences between the cultures. Everything is slightly different yet worlds apart.
As weird situations piled on top of one another, my anxiety started to rise. My “normal” was not what everyone else saw as normal. My foundations began to crack. I couldn’t anticipate anymore what reactions I caused with my behavior. Things fell apart because I lived in an uncertain environment.
The security in rules
We need to know how things work to feel secure. If we don’t, we get anxious, start to worry and get riddled with insecurity. We don’t know how to act because we’re afraid that our actions will have a bad effect on us.
You connect with your friends over barbecue but who wants to grill a steak with the government? We follow the rules set before us, but we don’t want to deal more with them then we have to. But we know we don’t get into trouble if we don’t do what they tell us not to do.
Rules control the environment, but God does not seek machines. He wants his people who love him freely.
Freedom means that not everything is defined. We live out of convictions and a desire to please the one we love.
We yearn for rules like Israel yearned for a King. We have the better, yet we are willing to trade it in for security.
The reason is fear of God. We are as the people of Israel, when God wanted to speak to them, but they refused. Interestingly enough, this happened right after Israel received the ten commandments.
We are afraid because we don’t believe in the goodness of God. We don’t trust that he would not give us a scorpion if we ask him for a fish. We don’t know him as he wants us to him.
There are many reasons we don’t trust God. There are past experiences, disappointments, and betrayals. The pain is real. The things that happened to you are tragic and shouldn’t have happened.
But they did. And we blame God.
If God is almighty, why didn’t he do something? Why didn’t he rescue me? How can he claim to be my father if my dad would have broken my enemies jar, silenced the voices and stood before me?
The truth is that God was there. He was with you as your shirt was drenched in blood and your tears dropped on the concrete.
Ask him and he will show you. Ask him where he was and what he did. God is faithful to reveal himself to you if you ask. He is alive and he speaks. The answer will come, even if sometimes not right away.
There is no straight answer for you from the book. You have to hear the truth from the father. Prayer creates a direct link to heaven. And only there, with you father, can you find your answer.