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The Champion

Welcome to the generation that believes we can run the world from a smartphone. Admittedly, it’s a touch of the miraculous to watch all the puzzle pieces of life effortlessly sync up to one another – house, work, car, play; the next best thing to omnipotence may be Bluetooth. There’s a considerable convenience factor in turning off the forgotten iron at home from your panicked moment of realization at work, or the ability to open your front door remotely to a delivery, but it doesn’t end there. Like little tin gods, we’ve become obsessed with knowing and manipulating every aspect of our existence from home and hearth to our on-line, social media branding. It’s a wave of delusion, of course, but what a ride.

You’d think all this cutting-edge technology would make us feel more secure, but the seductive engagement of the World Wide Web is exacting a staggering high price in personal privacy. Every communication, interaction or inquiry is information being stored, analyzed and collated with frightening efficiency. I had a moment of total freak-out the other day when the latest update of Window’s 10 on my computer queried boldly if I wanted an alarm at 6:00 am (my usual wake-up time), and proceeded to remind me of the day’s projected activities. The really unnerving part was that information was extracted from personal habit and e-mail communications, not from any formal calendar entry on the software itself. I’m not too proud to admit it made the hair on the back of my neck suddenly stand up. We’ve created a monster and it’s off the leash.

With the proliferation of the Internet, the most destructive, vile, vice-infested aspects of the human race have become not only magnified, but weaponized. In the old days, villains had to be actually present in order to attack you; now they can do it remotely. The world was always a hazardous place, but today one wrong digital move is lethal. Now, people are terrified to let their children walk three blocks home from school and neighbors shamelessly steal each other’s parcels off the front doorstep. Latent wickedness has exploded to the surface of everyday interactions.

In a life so fraught with danger, how do we continue to function? How do we stay sane and maintain some modicum of human decency, not to mention supernatural lovingkindness The answer is simply understanding the timeless truth that we are not alone. The Almighty is with us. God’s all-seeing eye keeps His people. In fact, if we learn anything from the virtual age we now inhabit, it’s that the realm of the unseen is unspeakably more powerful, immeasurably greater, than that of the natural.

The need for a safe environment free of predators and on-going dangers is acknowledged constantly in Scripture. Psalm 18, one of the most thoroughly blood-and thunder, warrior-themed songs in that book, starts on this note:

I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. Psalm 18:1-3 KJV

Digital generation of 2019: R U lsng? Ancient combatants may yet teach you contemporary lessons. Young David-on-the-run soon became a battle-hardened veteran at the tender age of twenty. The most profound revelation he mastered was the knowledge that in God’s presence, he was perfectly able to remain unscathed. The Lord was His greatest weapon. By simply picking up whatever musical instrument was to hand and praising Him brought the shekinah cloud of divine presence – a sure defense against any impending evil. His spirit-to-spirit connection in worship sent a nuclear detonation of offense blasting through the demonic realm, scattering the enemy before it could even come near him in the flesh.

But he wasn’t the only persecuted. Jeremiah the prophet had a mighty tough gig, standing righteously against sinful Israel to warn them before judgement ensued. At times, he absolutely loses it before God, but he also provides us with some really stellar moments of faith and conviction. He totally understood that God was not only with him, but He was his champion.

But the Lord is with me as a dread champion: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten. Jeremiah 20:11

The etymology for the word ‘champion’ is truly fascinating. To fully grasp its force, picture this. In the days of hand-to-hand combat, huge losses of life were the cost of war. To mitigate death, nations came up with a brilliant alternative. Each side would choose their mightiest, most experienced, battle-scarred soldier. He was their champion and two champions would meet each other in mortal combat on the open field between the two armies. Whoever emerged alive at the end signified the winner of the war.

When we understand that God is our champion, it saves a lot of blood-shed. We grasp the profound truth that He will engage the battle, if we will let Him. He can see trouble coming while it is yet a long way off. When we commit ourselves to His way, the battle, actual or virtual, belongs to the Lord.

I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid;

I will rid the land of evil beasts,

and the sword will not go through your land.

You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you. Leviticus 26:6-7

I’m waiting for the day my hero, Jesus, once more storms the earth to come for His own (Revelation 19). Until that time, I know He’s with me in spirit, keeping me secure on every level from perils seen and unseen. The Shepherd is also the fierce, Dread Champion, now, and always.

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