It seems all wars begin with words and loud noises:
“We want your land.”
“The shot that rang around the world.”
“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”
“You can’t drink from our water fountain.”
“I want your oil.”
“Let there be light.”
Most of us are familiar with the above quotes and sayings from historic wars, oppressions, and genocides that changed the course of the world. But, what about the last one, “Let there be light?"
If we draw back the curtain of time—all the way to the beginning of this world—we see the Epic Story God set into motion when He hovered over a dark, formless void, and filled it with light by the noise of His mere spoken word. Then, we realize we are caught smack-dab in the middle of that Epic Story.
Brooding as He did over the formless void, God clearly envisioned something more than darkness and chaos. He saw that what was void could become good, and He made it so through His spoken word.
In contrast, in today’s world, we toil our way through a different sort of words and noise. These words shouting throughout our news outlets tell of evil’s response to the Good Word…Boko Haram mowing down civilians in a school dormitory while a leader speaks, “This is because they are infidels,” and “we will continue to see that the grounds are crimsoned with the flowing blood of prisoners.” “There are so many corpses the gunmen have difficulty reaching the bodies still twitching with life.”
I click to the next story, only to learn this same group of Islamic militants has also kidnapped 185 other innocents, mostly wives, daughters, and children, reminding the world of the 300 school girls they kidnapped just a few months ago. And, then there’s ISIS with their escalating executions, including children and the spoken words of “…any man can take his share…if her eyes are blue, the price will change.”
The words of God brought life and light to what had been void and chaos. Why is it that the words of man so often bring oppression and death? Perhaps it’s because we’re so afraid we won’t have enough—enough land, food, oil…love—that we don’t even stop to ask, “Where does this fear come from?”
The first one to live from such fear, spoke words of war against the very Giver of All Needs. The Fearful One was a glorious and powerful favored one, but that was not enough; he feared he was not enough. He wove war into the goodness, eventually losing his position and pulling his entire army down with him. Since that great fall, he has sought to take all of mankind with him.
This Fearful One continues to speak into our world today. He is the same one who whispers fear in our ears that we will not have enough under our Christmas tree unless we push, shove, and slander at the bargain table. He is the same one who shouts heart-hardening words of fear and bitterness when someone who’s betrayed us seeks forgiveness. He’s the one and the same father of all forms of slavery and oppression, whether that slavery is of the sexual kind for “the high-priced blue-eyed girl” or the pornographic sort lording over the pulpit-holding preacher.
The only Hope for the people of ISIS, Boko Haram, a Bible-believing business woman or soccer dad is in the Spoken Word Who became Incarnate on a night that was indeed Holy, but definitely not silent.
That holy night where the Word became flesh boasted peals of thundering proclamation of the birth of Emmanuel, God with us. At the same time, the host let loose the battle cry against the Fearful One who insists a truth within the lie of Hitler and all fearful ones, “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”
The question for us is, “Which words will we believe—not just with our tongues, but with our flesh?” Oppressive words of grasping for all we can get or life-giving words of freedom—trusting in the Word of life even when it seems it costs our own.
May you experience the Word of the Advent throughout the coming year.
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