Summary: When God wanted to bring us eternal salvation, Jehovah Sabaoth gave His best - Jesus. He is the one who paid for our sins, who conquered death. Only Jesus ... Jehovah Sabaoth ... The Lord of Hosts ... alone has the power and the authority to do that.
King Hezekiah, king of the southern kingdom of Judah, listened as his advisors, his military leaders, and scouts reported on the horrors and destruction of the North Kingdom of Israel at the hands of the Assyrian army. It was only a matter of time before they finished picking Israel’s bones and turn their insatiable attention towards the smaller kingdom of Judah and the city of Jerusalem to the south. With their backs against the wall, what could King Hezekiah, the Judean army, and the people of Judah do in the face of their possible destruction?
Several years ago I had the privilege of visiting the Holy Land. If you ever get the chance to go, you should absolutely take it. Perhaps the “eeriest” part … for the lack of a better word … was our short tour of the “Golan Heights.” It looked like a deserted World War I battleground. We walked through trenches, looked inside of bomb shelters, and climbed up observation posts. To the north … right there … was the southern borders of Lebanon and Syria and the eastern border of Jordan.
The term “heights” is right because the countries of Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon are up on a huge plateau looking down on the northern territory of Israel … giving them a great military advantage because it’s easier for your enemy to spy on you and shoot down on you than it is for you to try to spy on them and shoot up a them. We asked our tour guide if they were “up” there looking “down” on us and she confidently assured us that they were.
Like I said, it is an eerie feeling … something that we’re not used to here … sharing a border with a country that openly and vehemently hates us and wants to destroy us. Our neighbors … the countries that actually share a border with us … are Canada and Mexico … and we’ve gotten along with them pretty well. I’ve been to both borders and I never got the same eerie feeling that I got when I was standing on the Golan Heights. Looking over the border of Mexico or Canada, I neve got the feeling that they were watching us … waiting for a good excuse or good weather to lob a few SCUD missiles our way.
For many years our geo-political situation gave us the illusion or sense of being protected or far-removed from the hatred, unrest, and bloodshed going on in many other countries and regions of the world. Our country was physically attacked once by some islands 2,000 miles out in the Pacific Ocean … and that was horrifying enough to rouse us to war … but, for the most part, we have felt pretty safe and secure, am I right?
In 1992, a great movie starring Tom Cruise, Jack Nicolson, and Demi Moore, came out that challenged our delusion of safety and security. Most of you have probably seen it or at least heard of it. It’s called “A Few Good Men.”
Tom Cruise plays a brash, young military lawyer whose been assigned to defend two Marines accused of murdering a fellow Marine by the name of Santiago, who was considered to be weak and therefore a threat to the safety and security of his unit. The two soldiers claimed that they were only acting under orders.
In the climatic courtroom scene, Marine Colonel Nathan Jessup … played beautifully by Jack Nicholson … gives this epic speech. “You want answers,” he explodes. “You can’t handle the truth! Son … we live in a world that has walls and those walls have to be guarded with men who have guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know … that Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves live. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties you want me on that wall. You NEED me on that wall. We use words like ‘honor’ … ‘code’ and ‘loyalty.’ We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punch line. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide … and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said ‘Thank you’ and went on your way. Otherwise I suggest that you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a [bleep] what you think you are entitled to!”