THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2011
STRENGTHENING THE BARS OF OUR GATES
January 7, 2011
has grown in unprecedented strength. The scientific advances
boggle the mind--communications technology, medical breakthroughs,
space exploration, nuclear power, etc.
But man’s strength has failed in providing for a better
world. Scientific advances have in fact helped bring humankind
to the brink, where medical developments such as the ultrasound
have been used to expand abortion, where GMOs are helping
produce food that is adversely affecting the health of people,
where nuclear power has brought the world closer to total
annihilation. The wonderful Internet technology has helped
pedophiles more easily target and abuse children. Even the
United Nations, supposedly a tower of strength in bringing
nations together in peace, has pushed the anti-life agenda
and depopulation efforts, aside from being unable to stop
then do we see in this world that has grown in unprecedented
human strength? We see family breakdown and the murder of
the unborn in the womb. We see poverty and hunger for the
great majority of the world’s population. We see war,
both internecine violence within a nation’s borders
and also destructive conflict between nations. In fact, technological
strength in the form of nuclear power is threatening to bring
the world to a cataclysmic end. The world right now fears
what North Korea, Iran or Pakistan will do with its nukes.
we know is that instead of man’s strength resulting
in greater peace and prosperity, none of us are safe and secure
in life. We are afraid of being mugged in the street, raped
in our home, made sick by the food we eat, blown up in the
sky by a terrorist.
What the world clearly needs is not man’s strength,
but God’s strength. In fact, man’s strength is
only attributable to God. If man does not recognize that,
then in the haughtiness of his spirit he certainly will go
astray. It is only God who can provide the true peace and
prosperity that we all seek. It is only God “Who has
strengthened the bars of your gates” (Ps 147:13a).
olden times, cities like Jerusalem were fortified by strong
walls that were high and thick. But for people to ingress
and egress, breaks in the walls were needed. These breaks
were then provided with gates, and the gates were made secure
by bars placed across them when the gates were closed. The
city was protected in effect by these bars on the gates. When
a city was attacked, the attacker would try to break down
the gates so they could enter and assault the city. The bars
kept the gates closed. Whether the enemy would succeed in
breaking down the gates and ultimately destroy the city depended
so much on the strength of the gates’ bars.
strong bars on the gates, the people were protected and reaped
the benefits. Their children and families were blessed, they
were at peace, and they enjoyed prosperity. God, “who
has strengthened the bars of your gates, blessed your children
within you, brought peace to your borders, and filled you
with finest wheat.” (Ps 147:13-14).
How do we take on the very strength of God? If we are truly
God’s people, then we will experience His strength.
If we become like Christ, then Christ lives in us and we can
act in his strength (Jn 14:12). If we become the instruments
that God intends for us to become, then the Holy Spirit Himself
acts in and through us in power (Acts 1:8).
then do we become God’s people, act in Christ’s
strength, be powerful instruments of the Spirit? We need to
obey God, and we need to be faithful to our covenant. This
is how God can form us as His people and as His instruments.
God has already told us how to live our lives. “The
Lord sends a command to earth; his word runs swiftly!”
(Ps 147:15). In particular, God calls and forms His people.
“The Lord also proclaims his word to Jacob, decrees
and laws to Israel.” (Ps 147:19). The Church today is
the new Israel. Our covenant is the new covenant in Jesus’
blood. Christians are inheritors of the promises to Israel.
as we have seen, nations have ignored God’s word. Even
as the new Israel has spread throughout the world, “of
such laws they know nothing.” (Ps 147:20b).
the world goes about its own way in its own strength, and
plunges deeper into darkness. God knows where we are going,
and allows the alarming developments to be warning signs that
should keep us from going further to our own destruction.
“The Lord foils the plan of nations, frustrates the
designs of peoples.” (Ps 33:10). If only we would look
to His perfect ways! “But the plan of the Lord stands
forever, wise designs through all generations.” (Ps
33:11). Then we will experience the peace and happiness that
the world longs for. “Happy the nation whose God is
the Lord, the people chosen as his very own.” (Ps 33:12).
does the world need to do? Know and fear the Lord. Obey His
commands. Live His way of life for His creatures. “Let
all the earth fear the Lord; let all who dwell in the world
show reverence. For he spoke, and it came to be, commanded,
and it stood in place.” (Ps 33:8-9).
We need to recognize, accept and worship God. “Glorify
the Lord, Jerusalem; Zion, offer praise to your God.”
(Ps 147:12). We must know that apart from God we are nothing.
has the most wonderful plan for His people. We are destined
to live and serve in His very power and strength. Let us turn
our lives over to Him, obey His laws, be faithful to our covenant,
and then truly be able to say: “My God is now my strength!”
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