The Hope Of Desolation

Psalm 46: 8-9, “Come, behold, the works of the Lord, who has wrought desolations in the earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire.”

Sometimes I wonder why they even bother. It’s pointless. It’s hopeless. A complete and absolute waste of time, effort, energy and resources. In fact, if you look up the word “futility” in the dictionary, there is a probably a picture of them right there next to it. And the worst part? Men just refuse to give up on it. In spite of repeated examples throughout the course of history, we are determined that we can make it work. Just a little more effort. Just a little better planning. Just a little more perseverance. What does it matter that 1000s of years of examples tells us that it can’t be done. We are convinced that we will be the one exception. The list of empires that have tried and failed reads like a “Who’s Who” of ancient Biblical civilizations and cities. Egypt. Philistia. Nineveh. Assyria. Persia. Babylon. Rome. The enemies of God just can’t figure it out. Try as hard as you can but it just doesn’t matter. You cannot beat God. God cannot and will not be defeated.

Personally, I find verses 8-9 to be some of the most comforting verses within all of Psalm 46. I know. Some of you are raising your eyebrow and scratching your head right now. But think about it. Envision the context once again. The nations have gathered themselves together to lay siege to God’s holy city. Seeking refuge within the walls of the city God’s people look out to see a landscape filled with enemy soldiers and chariots. An entire armada joined together for one solitary purpose, the destruction of Jerusalem. Night falls and the people count down the hours waiting for the attack that will come at dawn.

Imagine their surprise when they awake the next morning. They look out from the city walls expecting to see their own impending doom. But instead they discover that the enemy has been routed. Their bows? Broken. Their spears? Cut in two. Their chariots? Engulfed in flames. God had held true to His promise. When morning dawned He helped His people. He defeated His enemies and delivered His people. He made the war to cease. He had wrought desolation upon the enemies of God’s people. The landscape that just the day before had been filled with the prospect of despair has now become a testimony to the faithfulness and power of God. The enemy’s desolation has proven that hope in God is always the right choice. He is and always will be a very present help in trouble.

I wonder what enemies lurk outside the “walls” of your own life? Sinful habits that just won’t go away? Habits and addictions that threaten to destroy everything you hold dear? Sickness, illness, and disease? Worry, fear, and despair? A past that haunts you at every turn? Desperate personal needs? Trials, tribulation and adversity? I imagine it is something different for each one of us. But we all have those things that threaten and attack our sense of security, that constantly seek to lay siege to our peace and joy.

For me there are two big ones during this current season of my life. My wife’s cancer. And my son’s autism. I cannot begin to tell you how much I long for God to lay those twin tyrants desolate in my life. I am tired of the enemies arrows and spears. Constantly he shoots as me, harassing me with worries about worst case scenarios. Daily I pray that God would “break his bows and cut his spears in two.” That is my longing. That is my hope. That is my expectation. The enemy that threatens us today will not win the victory.

I’ll be honest with you. I know that God is going to have the final say in my life. The enemy might be shouting his threats right now. But in the end God will get the last word. This present war, this present tyranny will not last forever. A new day is coming soon for the people of God. A new Kingdom is coming. There is coming a day when all sickness will cease. Death, disease, and the dominion of darkness will be vanquished. We will behold the works of the Lord. We will see the desolation of the enemy. The enemy is destined for defeat because God cannot and will not be defeated.

Take heart today. Our God works wonders. Our God makes wars to cease. Isaiah 54:17 says it like this, “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper;…” Every plan and purpose of the kingdom of darkness will fail in the end. The enemy may rattle his sabre and brandish his spear. But God will break his bow. God will cut his spear in two. The weapons of our enemy will not stand. In the end the one who sought to kill, steal and destroy will discover himself desolate. Our God will prevail. Our God will triumph. Our God will reign in victory.