Admittedly, I used an odd title for my post tonight, but it is entirely appropriate. You see, earlier today I went to the bank and one of the employees asked me about my day. He remarked that I was always on the road and that his generation was much more concerned with life balance issues than my generation, the Baby Boomers. And he’s right. After all, he’s a little younger than our kids and even our own children have different world views than Janet and I do. For example, it’s not uncommon for the younger generations to take a day off on their birthday. And last week when our own son Andrew did that, Janet remarked to me that she can’t ever remember me taking my birthday as a vacation day. We both spoke a little about it, but no big deal – we just think differently than the younger folks.
Anyway, the conversation in the bank this morning turned to the past and how different things were when Janet and I grew up. I told him that I remembered when Lyndon Johnson remarked, when Sputnik was launched by the Russians, that the US would not go to bed by the light of a Soviet moon. Of course, I also recalled Kennedy’s comments about sending, and safely returning, a man to the moon by the end of the decade (1960’s). And of course, I know exactly where I was when I found out that Kennedy had been assassinated. None of these things seemed to even get a small rise out of the young bank employee, so I decided to amp it up a little.
After all, Janet and I grew up in Chicago, which was one of the target cities for a Soviet attack on the US. Several times each year, we had air raid drills. Today, schools have fire drills, which we also had, but the threat of nuclear war has all but gone away in terms of the Soviet Union. We still have the prospect of terrorists, but back in those days, there was a clear and present danger about air raids in Chicago. Perhaps others of you out there, who are older, remember similar drills in your own schools. Anyway, whenever the alarm sounded, we ran to our lockers, removed our coats, sat on the floor outside our classroom with our legs crossed, and pulled our coats over our heads. The teachers had to pull down the classroom shades to minimize the danger of flying glass when the windows were blown in.
The drills lasted quite a while because when the signal for the end of the drill came over the speaker system, we returned our coats to our lockers and finally re-entered our classroom, ready to resume our studies. The teachers were very serious during these practice sessions and really believed that we could be subject to attack. I think we were too young to really know the dangers that we were facing as little kids.
But if an attack had been launched against the school, we could have been annihilated. Not that any of us as little kids knew what that meant, but it sounded serious. And now, years later, as I study the Bible, the word “annihilate” always conjures up a special level of destruction that I have a better appreciation for. There are only several usages of the word in the entire Scripture, and it usually refers to nation against nation, but there is one instance that really stands out in my mind.
In the book of Deuteronomy, we are told that the Jewish people were getting ready to cross the Jordan and enter into the Promised Land, which was inhabited by giants, the Anakites, and other tribes who already lived there. But God wanted his people in this particular region. In Deut. 9:3, we are introduced to the idea that God will clear the path for His people to be victorious in capturing the land they have been promised. We are told, “But be assured today that the LORD your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the LORD has promised you.” See that word “annihilate?” That means to utterly destroy, or more accurately, “to reduce to nothing…”. Kind of says it all, doesn’t it.
God doesn’t like it when antagonists threaten His people. And I hope that you never question God’s power and authority to right any wrong that He sees fit to get involved in. My encouragement this evening is to affirm that God will squash any foe that gets in the way of His mission to advance the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. My prayer is that you will call upon this supreme power of the universe to draw you closer to Himself. After all, being protected by God is far better than sitting in a hallway with a winter coat pulled over your head. In fact, it’s the ultimate protection against Satan, whose power to destroy makes an atomic weapon look like a child’s toy. So, trust God, and use Him as your shield to protect you all the days of your life. Have a great day in the Lord, and as always, I pray for your grace and peace…