Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Snare Is Broken

We have escaped like a bird
  from the snare of the fowlers;
  the snare is broken,
  and we have escaped!

The escape David refers to in Psalm 124 was a literal, physical one, from an enemy that would have swallowed both him and his alive if it could; an enemy with “teeth” that regarded him as “prey”. He uses metaphors in his praise, but there was nothing metaphorical about the things from which he escaped. Very likely it was cold steel or a slew of arrows aimed in his direction.

The escape I’m thinking about is of a different sort.

A Diabolic Agency

There was a time when sin would’ve had me for lunch if it could. I’ll say “sin” because I’ve never knowingly grappled with demons, though I haven’t the slightest doubt they exist, any more than I doubt the existence of the Father of Lies.

Nothing else can explain the condition of this planet, frankly. Anyone who believes we’re capable of creating this mess under our own steam is surely entitled to his opinion, but one wonders how we can reasonably expect the same humanity that concocted the foully polluted political, religious, cultural and social atmosphere in which we currently reside to somehow magically provide the solution to it.

I believe there’s a longer-lived, more diabolic agency working behind the scenes, and though I’ve never, to my knowledge, had direct dealings with him, I certainly know all about struggling with the indirect consequences of his work. He has teeth like David’s enemies, and they leave marks.

All the Will in the World

One tiny, embarrassing example: In my teens and early twenties, through regular practice, I gradually became a horrible liar. By “horrible”, I mean that I was exceptionally accomplished at it; so effective and pervasive were my misrepresentations that when I think back now to certain events that took place, I remember the phony stories I told about them better than I remember the events themselves. When Paul talks about “deceiving and being deceived”, I suspect he’s on to something: Lying is not only addictive; it makes the chronic liar all the more vulnerable to the falsehoods of others, and even to his own disingenuities.

On my own, with all the willpower in the world, I’m quite sure I’d never have stopped. But the snare is broken and I’ve escaped, and the answer was the same for me and it was for David: “The name of the Lord”.

With Whom Do You Identify?

That’s where help comes from. It comes from calling on his name. It comes from being called by his name. It comes from identifying ourselves with him spiritually and publicly and in every conceivable way. We call on his name, and he gives one to us.

In doing so we are saved from hell, saved from sin, saved from temptation, saved from despair, saved from confusion, saved from fear, saved from uselessness and futility and vanity and emptiness and probably many other very undesirable things as well.

Hey, some days I still feel like I’m down in the muck with the rest of the world, struggling along like I used to. But never for long.

I just remember his name. And mine.

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