8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,(Psalm 46:8-9 English Standard Version)
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
We are continuing to work our way through Psalm 46. Yesterday, we observed the nations raging, and God providing a safe haven for His own, melting the earth with His voice alone.
Today, the psalmists invite us to come and see what the Lord has done in the past, and is doing in the present. The psalmists use two strong imperative verbs to begin their invitation – “Come” (to walk alongside), and “Behold” (to observe and witness in first person). In today’s language, we might say, “Walk with me and see for yourself God’s actions!”
The psalmists walk us through the empty battlefield, with the remnants of war telling their story: broken bows, shattered spears, the charred remains of chariots.
As we observe and imagine the battle here, we note that these visuals do not tell the story of a negotiated peace settlement or a “cease fire” agreement; their story is of a decisive and overwhelming victory by God Himself.
To help us understand the extent of the victory, the psalmists use the word “desolation” to describe what they observe – the picture is of absolute ruin, with nothing salvageable remaining. This was not a case of the enemy abandoning their equipment and posts; this was utter and complete destruction.
The Old Testament is full of stories where God shows up and conquers the enemies of God’s people. Sometimes God told the Israelites to go and fight; often, God invited the Israelites to the battlefield as observers, to see what He was doing on their behalf.
In the New Testament, we have one story of victory – the ultimate victory – victory over death.
And who is this victor? None other than God Himself, Jesus Christ.
And Jesus invites us to share in this victory over death and sin – to eternal life.
This is the story of Easter, dear friends, a victory worth celebrating!