“God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.”
Editor’s Note: During a recent meeting of good people, some Christian, some not, I couldn’t help but detect a feeling of futility when the world situation was discussed. Almost to a person, they felt there was nothing that could stem the downward tide in our society. When I brought up the name of Jesus, the discussion was basically ended. The next day, as I was seeking articles for the magazine, I came across this 1992 article written by long-time correspondent Earl Mott. It seemed to fit exactly what I should have relayed the previous evening.
From the earliest records of Hebrew and Israelitish history we find that always among this people were found prophets and seers with a profound understanding of God. This enabled them (when the often stubborn, stiff-necked people would listen) to be obedient to His Will and to rise above what often seemed certain calamity into the safety of God’s government of events.
Many, many times this was proved. We remember the account in Genesis of how Noah and his family were directed and protected when the flood covered the earth, and the ark in which they found refuge was set down on Ararat, a mountain peak of almost 17,000 feet. Thus they were saved. We have studied too in the Bible how Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were guided and protected and nourished as they put God first and were obedient to His direction. Joseph, by his obedience to God, saved his entire family from famine, together with the land of Egypt under its Pharaoh, when the whole region was wracked with drou gh t for seven years. All these events proved God’s constant care for His people as long as they were obedient. Throughout their history it was ever the same. What a heritage and a promise is ours!
Ephraim and Manasseh, Joseph’s sons, carried on in thi s promise, completing the twelve tribes when the tribe of Levi became the civil service, scribes, and priests for the nation. Moses the prophet was of this tribe of Levi, a tribe for which law was paramount. This ingrained sense of God’s Law governing man was a strong characteristic of Moses. He ever strove against injustice, as when he smote the Egyptian who bullied the Israelite as told in Exodus 2:12. Again this sense of God’s justice led him to defend the rights of the daughters of the priest of Midian when they sought to water their father’s flocks at the well and the local shepherds would have driven them away. (One of these daughters was named Zipporah, who became Moses’ wife).
This same certainty that God’s Law must prevail in justice for His people enabled Moses to lead the Hebrew nation out of slavery in Egypt against all human odds, and in spite of the fearsome military might of the Pharaoh. Then the miraculous passage through the Red Sea, and through the trying and testing times in the wilderness over a period of forty years. These were tests of Moses’ faith in God to supply the needs of the people when they hungered and thirsted and no food or water were evident, and every time it was proved that God could meet the human need. Moses and his people were thus shown the great truths repeated today in our Bible, “Power belong e th unto God.” “I can of mine own self do nothing.” “The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” In somewhat the same way as a teacher of mathematics demonstrates the certainty of the results of applied mathematics, so he strove to teach and show his people the certainty of the results of obedience, or of disobedience, to God’s Law.
Every event in the long history of this people, the Children of Israel, has underlined the truth of Moses’ teaching, even their frequent failures, from his time to ours, proving the ever-present principle which must be honoured and obeyed.
To this great man, already firm in the conviction of God’s rule and government, He revealed the Ten Commandments. These, together with the Statutes and Judgments which the Lord made between Him and the children of Israel in Mount Sinai by the hand of Moses, must be the basis of all legitimate Law, the foundation on which all human law must stand if it is to have any validity.
The rise and fall of empires and dynasties depends on the degree of national obedience to these Ten Commandments, together with the Statutes and Judgments. The wise King Solomon is quoted in Proverbs 3:1-2, “My son, forget not my law; for length of days, and long life and peace, shall they add to thee.”
Jesus Christ came to earth many centuries after Moses. The idea has been propagated that He brought a new, soft dispensation to humanity by which the old rules and laws could be set aside and only a dreamy, starry-eyed love have power. This has set such dreamers up as an easy target for aggression. To them the Laws of Sinai seem unduly harsh and stern. But when we study Jesus’ own words and teaching, we find that He said, in His Sermon on the Mount, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law and the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall not pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” And He also warned His twelve disciples when He sent them forth to heal and preach, as Matthew 10:34 informs us, “Think not that I am come to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.”
Christianity is not a submissive doctrine. It does not teach that its followers should be passive against evil. Wickedness and evil are essentially weak, impotent, a lie claiming to be true. When faced with God’s Truth, their doom is certain. As someone has observed, “They haven’t a prayer.” And why? Because, as the Psalmist affirms in Psalm 62:11, “God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.”
As we trace the history of Israel in the Bible we marvel at the frightful barriers they overcame as recounted in both the Old and New Testaments. The Power to overcome was God’s Power. The same Power is available to us today when we are on His side. We can take courage from that prayer which Jesus’ followers repeat frequently, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.”