Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Approaches and This Made Me Think Today

DYNAMIS, Secret War, December 18, 2007, Tuesday
Posted by: "Dynamis" orthodoxdynamis
Sun Dec 16, 2007 5:32 am (PST)
____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2007 Nativity Fast Martyrs Sebastian & Zoe of Rome & CompanionsKellia: Exodus 17:8-16 Epistle: Hebrews 9:8-10, 15-23 Gospel: St. Mark 10:2-12Foreshadows ~ II * Secret War: Exodus 17:8-16 LXX, especially vs. 16:"For with a secret hand the Lord wages war upon Amalek to all generations. " God is waging a covert war against the forces of evil using His invincible weapon, the Cross, as He did when He brought Israel through the Red Sea, provided water in the desert by having Moses strike a rock, and formed Moses' arms in a cruciform during the battle against Amalek at Rephidim (vs. 8).Historically, the Amalekites whom Israel battled at Rephidim were a marauding, warlike tribe that constantly attacked Israel in their fatigue (Deut. 25:17). Amalek's ancestry traces from "a concubine of Eliphaz, the son of Esau" (Gen 36:12). Balaam, the prophetic son of Beor, declared that "Amalek is the first among the nations, yet his seed shall perish" (Num. 24:20). In Moses' final words to Israel, he directed the People to "blot out the name of Amalek" (Deut. 25:19). Samuel, Saul, and David fought against the Amalekites. In the reign of King Hezekiah (729-686 BC), men of Simeon are said to have defeated the last of them (1 Chron. 4:43).The present account of Israel's first encounter with this nagging enemy followed an important miracle in the arid Sinai desert, a region devoid of water resources: Just a few days after God's People saw their Egyptian taskmasters drowned in the sea, they ran out of water. The Lord guided Moses to "the rock at Horeb" that he was to strike with "the rod with which [he had] struck the Nile," and water came out for the People to drink (Ex. 17:5,6). Let all these events serve us in our life in Christ as we journey toward the Promised land of His Kingdom.Follow these steps as they apply to us: God freed us from an Egyptian-like bondage to sin and death by our passage through the Baptismal Red Sea with the sign of the Cross. Now He is leading us through this barren world toward the Promised land, where He promises, "Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst" (Jn. 7: 14). Moses struck the rock, which yielded water. That Rock was Christ (1 Cor. 10:4), as St. Paul says. Since Christ our Rock was struck on the Cross, He brings forth living water to us.After God gave water from the Rock, Amalek, who foreshadows the forces of evil at war against us, came to fight. This is why St. Augustine identifies Amalek with "that most proud things above" who "receives a greater power of domination, unless one avoids the secret snares he is laying." When that evil spirit is openly raging through a sinful people he "is like Amalek - he denies the passage to the land of promise. He then must be overcome by the Cross of Christ, which was prefigured by the extended hands of Moses."Again, it is the victorious Christ Who defeats the forces of evil by the power of His Cross. During His wilderness fast, the Lord Jesus directly confronted the Devil, the head of the forces of evil. Similarly, during the whole of His ministry, He met demons who cried out to Him and against Him, injuring, sickening, and driving God's People to madness. The Lord exerted His authority against the evil spirits, silencing and casting them out (Mk. 9:17-27; Mt. 12:22-29). In this conquest of sin and death, the Lord Jesus exposed the vulnerability of the dark powers.His decisive defeat over the evil powers came on the Cross, which was foreshadowed on Israel's battlefield with Amalek, as we have said. On a hill, overlooking the struggle, Moses stretched out his two arms, forming himself in the identical position as would the Lord Jesus centuries later on the Cross. Thus, as Moses stood in a cruciform, God defeated Amalek and foreshadowed the conquest of sin and death at the Cross by our crucified Savior, Jesus Christ.O Christ our God, Who didst stretch out Thine arms on the hard wood of the Cross for our salvation, ever assist us by the power of Thy Cross to defeat every assault of the enemy.

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