There is a growing wrath in the hearts of wicked men against the very name of Jesus. All over the world, there is arising a red-hot hatred for God’s Word. The Bible is despised, mocked and cursed by ungodly men. I ask you: What is it about Jesus’ name that stirs up such anger by its mere mention? No name is so despised, yet there can be no salvation in any name but His. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
We know that Jesus’ name has always been hated by wicked men, but now that hatred has turned into a demonic rage. Christ’s name is slowly and subtly being erased from society, by legislative mandates in nations all over the globe.
I received word from a very reliable source about an astonishing development in the U.S. military. An attempt is being made to rule that no chaplain, Catholic or Protestant, can mention the name of Jesus Christ. The reasoning behind this is unbelievable: “We must have spiritual maturity in a pluralistic society.” What a deception! Think of it: first, forbidding any mention of the name of Jesus, and then saying it’s a matter of spiritual maturity. This is straight out of hell!
Why is there such rage against the Son of God? Why do wicked men shudder at the mention of His name? It is because of what Christ’s name represents—deliverance from sin. His name means freedom from the dominion of sin. It means death to the old, fallen, sinful nature, and entry into newness of life. It means power to forsake and deny all ungodly lusts and pleasures.
God’s Word tells us the destruction and blasphemy being brought about by man’s wrath won’t last much longer. “Surely the wrath of men shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain” (Psalm 76:10). How will this happen? Simply put, the more intense the wrath of men becomes, the more God will pour out His grace. “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20).
Israel's crossing of the Jordan happened at harvest time. During that season, the banks of the river weren't just full, they were overflowing. Humanly speaking, it was the worst possible time to cross over.
The skeptics around Joshua surely would have scoffed, "You picked the wrong time, Joshua. We've got pregnant women, sick people, the elderly. This isn't of God."
Yet God does call us to things that are humanly and physically impossible. He looks at our situation and says, "The conditions are perfect for Me to move on behalf of My people. Now the world will see how I rejoice to supply all to My servants."
Right now you may be thinking, "God, I feel You leading me to make a tough decision. I know I don't have what it takes to pull this off." That's right where He wants you. In our weakness, God is made strong. And in our lack, our God is great. We say it is impossible, but with God at the center, nothing is impossible. “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible’” (Matthew 19:26, ESV).
Up to that point in their history, God had parted the water for Israel but this time He was asking them to step into the water first. Specifically, He commanded the priests to carry the Ark of the Covenant into the rushing river by faith.
Imagine the skeptics' voices! "God has never led us to do this before. He has always parted the water for us. This isn't obeying Him, it's tempting Him!"
Even Joshua may have had his doubts. "Lord, I've been down this road before with You and I know how it works. You always part the waters first. Why would You have us step into this rushing, muddy water? It doesn't make sense."
It never matters how risky or challenging the path is that God has put before us. If we step in with faith, He'll part the water. And we can move across on dry land.
“Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters” (Isaiah 43:16, ESV).
If there is one thing we have learned through our ministry—through facing the enemy on his own turf time and time again, day after day, week after week—it is that Satan is a coward. He picks on the most defenseless among us, the most hopeless and desperate. Like a playground bully who runs for cover as soon as a kid his size shows up, Satan retreats at the first sign of real power.
Do we truly understand the power we have at our fingertips? Do we grasp the significance of the message that we bring to a lost world? Do we comprehend how easily evil can be beaten and revoked by simply opening ourselves up to the moving of the Holy Spirit?
Do we know what God is capable of doing among us?
How I long to see a day when Christians stand shoulder to shoulder, arm in arm, in this war with Satan and finally draw a line in the sand, right in the middle of his path. A line that stops him dead in his tracks. A line that says, “You’ve had your day! You’ve had your fun! But your day is over. In the name of Jesus, you can go no further.”
I long to see an army of soldiers rise up against him. A regiment of soul-obsessed believers, taking up arms in this fight against evil. An army of men and women with hearts that burn for God and lives that are dedicated to His will.
Isn’t that the kind of army you long to be a part of? Don’t you wish you could play even a small part in such a huge battle for God? Isn’t this what you’ve been waiting for, what you’ve been hoping for, what you’ve been praying and believing that God would bring your way?
If so, then God wants you to know that the army is already in place. The war is being waged. All you have to do is take up your sword and find your place in His ranks!
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).
Nicky Cruz, internationally known evangelist and prolific author, turned to Jesus Christ from a life of violence and crime after meeting David Wilkerson in New York City in 1958. The story of his dramatic conversion was told first in The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and then later in his own best-selling book Run, Baby, Run.
King David was overwhelmed by the anti-God spirit of his day. He cried out to the Lord, “Consider mine enemies; for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred” (Psalm 25:19). Likewise, Psalm 124:2-3 tells us: “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us: then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us.”
David expresses what many in the Church feel today. At times it seems that we’re helpless to stand against the evil forces amassing. I can hardly believe how, day after day, the morals of our country are being trampled into the dirt.
Will the Lord allow this wrath against Him and His Church to go on until our society becomes like Sodom, with every man a law unto himself? No, never! Right now, we are experiencing the Lord’s incredible patience. He is going to bring judgment, but all His judgments are meant to redeem. Isaiah gives us a wonderful picture of this:
“And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them. They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye are our gods. Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see” (Isaiah 42: 16-18).
Beloved, the divine grace Isaiah describes turned Saul the persecutor into Paul the apostle. It raised up a multimillion-member church in communist China. It’s sending refugees fleeing from terrorism and war into the loving arms of devoted servants of Christ. And right now, a Teen Challenge center in a country dominated by false religions has raised up five hundred converted drug addicts who are eager to preach Christ. God is indeed pouring out His redeeming grace in these last days.
We are not to fret over the battles that Satan seems to be winning. The battle we are in is an eternal one and the gates of hell will not prevail against Christ’s Church. Our Father has declared it: Jesus already reigns as King!
Today, a radical, pagan religion is a kind of Babylon with mad leaders like King Nebuchadnezzar. This religion is threatening the whole world with its demand to worship its deity. Terrorist organizations with religious support are demanding: “Bow to our god, or we will blow up your airplanes. We’ll bomb your towns, trains, buses and tunnels. We’ll kidnap you, torture you and behead you. Our religion is going to prevail.”
As we consider such demonic forces, we should turn to the story of Nebuchadnezzar and those three faithful servants of God that is related in Daniel 3. It tells us that in a single hour, the Lord came down and delivered His servants—and that changed everything.
Everything looked different when the Lord manifested His power, causing the king to cry out: “Blessed be the God of [these three men], who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God” (Daniel 3:28). Immediately, Nebuchadnezzar issued a different decree. This one stated that the only God to be worshiped was that of the three young Jews: “Because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort” (Daniel 3:29).
Let’s turn now to the Psalmist, who asked why the heathen nations rage against the Lord. According to him, here is how God responds to such wrath: “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure” (Psalm 2:4-5).
The Lord Himself then declares: “[I have] set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. . . . Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee” (Psalm 2:6-7). Religiously supported terrorists and other heathen religions may hope to install their gods as king, ruling the globe. But Jehovah God says, “I have already installed My Son, Jesus Christ the Messiah, as king of the heavens and the earth. He is even now Lord of all.”