I was walking back from the chicken house one morning when I spied our cat playing with some unfortunate critter in the driveway. Kitty batting mice around before she makes a meal of them is not an unusual sight, but, even though I know it's "just what cats do," it always makes me wince.
This particular morning, I stopped to see what Kitty was playing with. A chipmunk. It wasn't really hurt - yet - just kind of dazed and confused. Kitty sat calmly by while the chipmunk hopped about on the gravel. If she thought her prey was getting too far out of range, Kitty would pounce on it, gently pick it up, and return it to the middle of the driveway where it was less likely to make an escape into the grass.
There are a lot of cute little critters in this world, and chipmunks are one of the cutest. Apparently, chipmunks are also very tasty - we frequently find tails, teeth, and other odd remains on the doorstep. But this morning, I'd caught Kitty in the middle of her sport and I did not want to witness a chipmunk execution.
"KITTY!" I hollered at the cat and quickened my pace. Kitty made eye contact with me, and quickly assessed that I intended to put an end to her fun. She stepped closer to the stunned rodent. "Kitty, you stop right there!" Yeah, right - like anyone can tell a cat what to do and the cat actually obey! Kitty took another step toward the confused chipmunk. When I started jogging, Kitty knew I meant business. She froze mid-stride, less than a foot from her "toy."
I reached the cat and scooped her up into my arms. Now Kitty was the one who looked confused. Why had I just ruined her game? We headed for the house. I was determined that Kitty would spend the morning inside, just to make sure the chipmunk had plenty of time to escape. When I looked back from the porch, the little fellow was already hopping through the grass toward the tree line. Yes, this chipmunk would live to face Kitty another day.
All this to say...
Have you ever felt like that chipmunk? Like you were in the teeth of something terrible? Have you felt like a helpless victim of your circumstances? The object of some great malevolent intent? Like life was making sport of you?
I read something interesting recently. "Can the prey be taken from the mighty, or the captives of a tyrant be rescued? For thus says the LORD: 'Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken, and the prey of the tyrant be rescued, for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children. I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine. Then all flesh shall know that I am the LORD your Savior, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.'" - Isaiah 49:24-26
Isaiah was speaking the words of God, encouraging the nation Israel. Israel was in captivity and in hard bondage to a pagan nation. Their plight was terrible and there seemed no hope of escape. They truly were "the prey of the mighty." Who could free them from the strong jaws and sharp teeth of their oppression?
Yes, the king of Babylon was truly mighty, but there was (is) someone bigger than that powerful earthly king. God, He is The Mighty One. The footnote in my Bible for verse 26 reads: "Isaiah reveals the vindication of the people of God. God Himself will fight for His people and redeem them from all adversary."
Back in Isaiah's day, even the king of Babylon was under God's sovereign authority. Maybe Israel felt like they would never escape from his iron teeth. They had no hope of relief. But then God, The Mighty One, told their oppressor to put them down, to let the captives go. And that's just what he did.
What's biting you today? What in your life seems so big that you feel like you'll never beat it, never be free? God knows your struggles, and He is using them to teach you about Himself and to sanctify you. He will not let your trials consume you.
Persevere, and have hope. God is not far off. God is close at hand and is watching. When He has accomplished His good purposes for you in this trial, you can be confident that the Mighty One will command the "tyrant" that presently afflicts you to cease. God redeems captives, rescues the prey. He is our LORD and Savior, our Redeemer. He is the Mighty One of Jacob.
3 weeks ago