By Andrew Jewell
31 “Lord, may all your enemies die like Sisera!
But may those who love you rise like the sun in all its power!”
Then there was peace in the land for forty years.
Scripture is full of references like the above. References to achieving victory, conquering in the heights of His purpose and defeating that which comes against us. Much of this calls to us from a rich tradition of authors all pointing to the strength and enduring power of God throughout the Bible and the plans He has for His people to live with a sense of mastery. Indeed even Wedgetail’s catch-cry scripture (Isa40:31) eludes to just that. But do we claim it and own it as we travel throughout our week?
Funnily enough it’s easy to feel the victory of the love of Christ when we are deep in worship, when we are blessed by a loving family around us, had a fulfilling devotion or prayer session or things are generally just going well. Not so easy when things aren’t going so well or we are doing it a bit tough. .. Sometimes it’s simply hard to rise.
If we look at the above verse we can draw a number of conclusions that can help us not only better understand scripture, but how such a simple phrase can indeed help us to ‘rise like the Sun’ when we are experiencing a flat spot. Below we will see three things; A jealous protective God who looks after His people; The victory to be found in our love of God and; Finally we see the peace that follows from having Faith in our God.
Phrases like this one often make me uncomfortable, purely because in modern society we have become adverse to the brutality, and the blunt portrayal of death often seen in ancient middle east writings. It’s one thing to see it on TV portrayed in fiction, another entirely if we see images from war or oppression on the news. The sentence above really is closer to the latter, it is a recounting of something that happened, and happened because God had His hand upon it. Sisera as we read in Judges was a Canaanite commander who died (rather graphically) by having a tent peg driven through his temple with a mallet, nailing his head to the ground. Such is the fate of enemies of the Lord.
What this passage portrays to me is a jealous, protective God that will do what it takes to look after His own. Just as He will do what it takes to look after you. That doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is about to be struck down in His wrath, but it does illustrate that situations are and that perpetrators of such situations will inevitably face the consequence of their actions when such oppression is torn down.
A quick google tells me that the Sun deposits approximately 1,368 W/m2 (watts per square meter) upon our little water-faced planet with a heat composition of 5,505 °C. To my way of thinking that’s a lot of power. And if we are likened to such a fireball, that’s a pretty big blessing to express.
The Sun to the culture of the time was often recognised as a deity, it gave life, light and warmth and indeed the Sabbath was adopted from the Gentile Christian perspective to replace the Roman day of the Sun. So it’s imagery both to our understanding now and the people then is one not only of great power and significance but reverence.
Moreover, our understanding of the Sun has a timeless, eternal quality much like our legacy in Christ. The Sun always rises and always sets and the Sun will continue to rise and set on our everyday problems as in the Scripture below.
9 History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. (Ecc 1:9)
The last part is important because after the battle, after the struggle and the pain there is a promise of peace. For the Israelite’s under Sisera it was after twenty years of struggle, but the blessing of peace afforded in God’s Grace lasted forty. The last past of the passage shows us that not only will peace come with an overwhelming victory over oppression, but that the blessing will have twice the significance, twice the power of the positive to that of the negative situation.
So what does this all tell us? How is relevant to where I am and what I am facing today?
It tells us that when we struggle, He knows of the struggle. It tells us that when we are oppressed by person or situation God has a plan for deliverance. It tells us that when we suffer, the Father loves to bless way over and above the damage it caused. And finally it tells us that God loves to see His people rise with all the power of the Sun and live in peace.
© Andrew Jewell- Wedgetail Ministries
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