One of my favorite writers lives under my own roof. I really liked a couple of pieces Tina has written lately and asked her permission to include them on this blog as a way to share them with others. The first is a reflection she wrote early in the Advent Season, after one of our family devotion times. It seems very appropriate to the challenges our country and world face leading into Christmas this year.
Christmas: The Heart of the Battle of the Ages
By Tina Longard
“So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,“Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals!You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.And I will put enmity between your offspring and hers;he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Genesis 3:15 (NIV)
Throughout the ages the battle has raged between the offspring of Eve and the serpent. The battle raged as the people of Israel cried out in agony in their slavery in Egypt. God’s hand was on Moses, “son of Eve.” The Serpent through Egypt’s pharaoh, reared his ugly head–struck, but missed Moses, as God “hid” Moses under Pharaoh’s very nose. Other infant sons of Eve died from that strike of the Serpent. Moses grew up to lead the people of Israel out of that land of slavery, into the Promised Land.
But many years later, the blessed Land of Promise, lay under siege—occupied by the Romans. Again the ugly serpent is rearing his head—this time through King Herod. This time the offspring of “Eve”, is also the offspring of God Almighty. Jesus is the target of the serpent. The serpent knows that this Offspring of Eve has the ultimate power to destroy him; but right now Jesus is only a vulnerable infant. Now is the time to strike! The serpent coils and strikes, but God has warned Joseph in a dream, and he and Mary have already fled humble Bethlehem. Again, other infant sons of Eve die from the strike of the serpent.
How ironic it is, that the Israelite Land of Promise had become the land of danger; whereas Egypt, former land of slavery, had become the land of refuge. Jesus is sheltered in Egypt until Herod’s death.
Jesus will battle the serpent again and again during his time on earth—in the wilderness, in the garden, but ultimately on the cross. At Golgotha he will be lifted up on a cross—just as the serpent was lifted up on a cross in the wilderness in the time of Moses. As the Israelites who looked upon the bronze serpent were healed of the effects of their snake bites (Numbers 21:9), those l who look upon Jesus will be healed of their sin. What appears on the surface to be Jesus’ death and defeat, is actually Jesus ultimate victory over the serpent, and over sin and death!
Yet, here we are 2000 years later, still feeling the vibrations in our world, as the serpent writhes in the throes of death. In reading the book of Revelation, we see that the serpent is doomed; yet, right now we see around us the far-reaching effects of his destructive strikes against the sons of Eve.
“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is the Christmas carol/prayer that most resonates with my heart in this Christmas season.
“O come, Thou rod of Jesse, free Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
from depths of hell Thy people save. And give them vict’ry o’er the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel .”
~ Verse 2, Latin Hymn, 12th Century
“He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” Rev. 22:20 (NIV)