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Lowell Brueckner

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An Easter Message


“Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered,
 and let those who hate Him flee before Him”  Psalms 68:1

David’s battle cry

David’s army was like no other that the world had ever known and there has arisen none since. Goliath’s killer was a young man without armor, bearing only a sling and five stones. His battle qualifications rested in the fact that, as a shepherd keeping his father’s sheep, he had killed a bear and a lion with his bare hands. 

When he became an army general, this was his testimony: “By You I can run upon a troop; and by my God I can leap over a wall… The God who girds me with strength… He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, and sets me upon my high places. He trains my hands for battle, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze… You have girded me with strength for battle” (Ps.18:29,32-34,39).

He taught his soldiers the ways of God’s warfare and they learned them well. Adino slew 800 men at one time and Eleazar struck the Philistines until his hand clung to the sword. Shammah stood alone against the Philistines and defended a plot of land. Three soldiers went through the files of the Philistines just to draw water from the well of Bethlehem, then returned and gave it to David. Abishai killed three hundred with a spear and Benaiah killed two Moabite heroes, then went into a pit to face and destroy a lion. He went unarmed against an Egyptian with a spear, snatched it from him and killed him with it. These learned David’s battle cry, “Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered!” (see 2 Sam.23:8-21).

Four lepers  (2 Kings 7)

In the days of the prophet Elisha, the Arameans came to besiege the capital city, Samaria, of the northern kingdom of Israel. It was an effective method of warfare, in which no life was lost among the besiegers. No one left the city, nothing was allowed to enter, and the besieged people began to resort to cannibalism.

Outside Samaria was the leper colony. We don’t know if the king of Israel was devising a plan of defense, but if he was, I am sure he wasn’t including anyone from this colony. Israel had lost the battle cry, as well as God´s method of warfare. The Spirit of God began to work among these helpless men and four of them were talking about this situation. It is the first step in the right direction, when people are willing to talk negatively and face reality.

They contemplate three options for themselves. 1) To sit there until they die. When God moves among His people, passivity should never be the response, but it is often the path that Christians take. We will sit here and accept whatever happens. 2) To enter the city. This was an option that they didn’t consider for very long. If some women are eating their babies, it’s not very likely that they will leave something for lepers, who are not to ever mix with the population. Leprosy was dangerously contagious. 3) To enter the camp of the enemy. Often there is no promising option that can be taken, but this is the one, for which the lepers decided.

When the best of three possible options is to throw yourself on the mercy of cruel enemies, you know that you are in desperate condition and in dire need of a miracle. Humanly speaking, this action is hopeless, but then, humanly speaking, these lepers are helpless, so what is there to lose? “If they spare us, we will live; and if they kill us, we will but die.” In the eyes of God, a nothing-to-lose attitude is very useful towards His purposes.

If I can inject a little imagination into this story, I will not have to stretch it very far. The physical condition of lepers was normally similar to what I will describe. The toes on the foot of one has been eaten away; he must lean on a companion in order to advance. Another has no fingers on his hand and must depend on the good hands of others. In what other ways this crippling disease had affected these desperate adventurers, you will have to use your own imagination to discern. One thing is certain, God could not have used weaker vessels, in which to deposit His strength. Ah, the ways of God! They are consistent throughout the Bible and men, with all their abilities and means will never persuade Him differently.

As the sun sets, these four move at a miserably slow pace away from the walls of Samaria towards the fearsome enemy camp. Now God commands that a heavenly microphone be dropped to pick up the sound of these halting steps and then turns up heaven’s amplifiers to their maximum power. The blast thunders out, as if it were the noise of thousands of chariots and horses, the sound of a mighty army. Almighty God arises and scatters His enemies!

“Those who hate Him flee before Him” and leave behind them their tents, horses, donkeys, food, drink, clothing, silver and gold. The lepers in their wildest dreams never dared even to wish for such treasure! They find much more than what might save their life; they find abundant life. They ransack one tent, eat, drink and hide what isn’t edible, the precious metals and clothing. They do the same in the second tent. At that moment, that wonderful gift of God, distributed and placed in every human being, his conscience, kicks into gear.

“We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, but we are keeping silent… Let us go and tell the king’s household.” Egotistic action is never right; good news is to be shared with others. Back in Samaria all the pain of famine still exists, because the populace has not heard the good news of abundance of life. They continue, barely able to survive in cruel hunger and poverty. A few men in chariots skirt the enemy camp and find outside, clothes and equipment that their enemy had left behind to hasten their flight. When the king and his subjects believe the good news, the city is saved.

The women

I want to take you now from the walls of Samaria to see Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and another woman called Mary, walking away from the walls of Jerusalem at daybreak. He was now lying in a tomb, near the Place of the Skull, where He had been crucified. They had seen His burial. They have prepared their last act of service for Him, bringing now the spices for his inert body.

They ask each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” Ah yes, ladies, the Bible says that it is extremely large and far too heavy for you three to move. And have you thought what that troop of Roman soldiers might do to you away from the protection of the city? They walk on towards the enemy camp and are not concerned for their lives. Life had lost its luster for these three, because the Master, whom they had followed, trusted, and to whom they dedicated themselves totally, had died. When the source of life has died, what future can be expected? They have nothing to lose.

I believe we have a repeat performance of what occurred in the enemy camp outside Samaria. The delicate footsteps of these women joined with the force of angelic wings; the ground shook and the stone was rolled away.

Consider the force of the enemy army, besieging the tomb of Jesus. There is the huge rock, but beyond the weight of it, the seal of the Roman government, the mightiest government in the world, is upon it. That seal says, “Rome declares that Jesus of Nazareth is legally dead; to rise is illegal and He may not.” There is a troop there as well. They have been placed there at the request of the religious powers of Jerusalem to be sure that the body of Jesus remains in that tomb. They guard it at the price of their lives. Religion declares, “We have judged Him and found Him guilty of death. We have successful destroyed His body and it must not leave this tomb.”

It is safe to assume that there are other powers there. David saw them many centuries before: “Many bulls have surrounded me; strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me… as a ravening and a roaring lion… Dogs have surrounded me… Deliver… My only life from the paw of the dog. Save me from the lion’s mouth; from the horns of the wild oxen…” I think without question, David saw savage spiritual powers involved in the death and the burial of Christ. The powers of death surrounded His cross and now, they join their supernatural power with Rome and the Sanhedrin to assure that Jesus Christ will not leave the tomb.

“Rulers, powers, world forces of this darkness, the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (excerpts from Eph.6:12) have left their posts to form a demonic concentration around the heavy stone with the all-important mission of containing the body of Jesus inside the tomb. There is one more power present: He is called the prince of the power of the air, the dragon, the ancient serpent, Satan, the devil, Abaddon and Apollyon, the latter two being the Hebrew and Greek names for destroyer. He is there and takes personal charge of holding the stone in place.

The earth shakes at the command of the Almighty, the stone rolls away and the Lord Jesus Christ, King of Glory arises from the dead, walks out of the tomb, alive forevermore! His enemies scatter. We know the stone is no longer an obstacle, the seal has been broken, the troop of soldiers have left their charge running. Demonic forces flee, according to rank, beginning with the common unclean spirits and up to the leading generals among fallen angels. Only one remains and Jesus now approaches him with the command: “Give Me the keys of hell and of death!” Immediately they are surrendered and now, the prince of this world is cast out. He backs away, he turns and runs in full flight.

The prophetic Word has found complete fulfillment: “Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered, and let those who hate Him flee before Him.” He has risen, He has risen indeed, and His enemies have suffered a thorough defeat!

We still must cover another aspect of that glorious morning... take the message to men! Mary Magdalene is alone, crying near the tomb. She had hoped at least to see the Lord's body, but it has been removed. What joy, when He appears, calls His sheep by name and she recognizes the Shepherd's voice! Whatever emotion the lepers experienced at the discovery of the essentials and treasures in the camp of the enemy, it was surpassed when Mary re-discovered her Savior and clings to Him.

You do not well, Mary, while the disciples remain in unbelief and sorrow, spiritually destitute in the city. There is life to be taken, abundant life, but "how shall they believe on Him of whom they have not heard, and how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Ro.10:14) The greatest event in the history of mankind has taken place, assuring the benefits of the cross to all that believe.

May Magdalene is the first to receive the order to tell the story of the resurrection to those who wait in Jerusalem. "Stop clinging to Me... but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God'. Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, 'I have seen the Lord.'" (Jn.20:17-18) The message of the resurrection has been announced time after time from that day in Jerusalem to this very day to the ends of the earth. People come from their impossible spiritual poverty to take freely of resurrected life and to sing:

Christ is risen, He’s risen indeed,
Oh, sing Aleluya;
Join the chorus, sing with the redeemed,
Christ is risen, He is risen indeed.

How can it be, the One who died,
Has borne our sin through sacrifice,
To conquer every sting of death?
Sing, sing hallelujah.

For joy awakes as dawning light,
When Christ’s disciples lift their eyes,
Alive He stands, their Friend and King;
Christ, Christ He is risen.

Where doubt and darkness once had been,
They saw Him and their hearts believed;
But blessed are those who have not seen,
Yet, sing hallelujah.

Once bound by fear now bold in faith,
They preached the truth and power of grace;
And pouring out their lives they gained,
Life, life everlasting.

The power that raised Him from the grave,
Now works in us to powerfully save;
He frees our hearts to live His grace,
Go tell of His goodness.



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