by Tim Hall
This week’s visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has received much attention. Many claim that Iran is an unashamed sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East. Why allow him to walk safely within our borders? When Columbia University extended to him an invitation to speak, the protests increased.
Some of those protesters were calmed, however, when Columbia University President Lee Bollinger used his introduction of the guest to denounce Ahmadinejad as “a petty and cruel dictator.” Other harsh remarks were made as the Iranian leader waited for his turn to speak. Bollinger was applauded by many for having the courage to confront one whom many consider a serious obstacle to world peace.
Bollinger would never have been able to make such a public rebuke in Iran, of course. Power is held tightly in countries like that, and dissidents are not treated gently. But Ahmadinejad was in the United States. Freedom of speech is a cherished and protected right, and thus Bollinger could confront the dictator without fear of recrimination.
One of the more chilling statements in the Bible is found in 1 John 5:19: “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” The “wicked one,” of course, is Satan. He is the father of all lies and is a murderer (John 8:44). He has the power to take even an apostle and sift him like wheat (Luke 22:31). We must never underestimate this enemy. He is truly the tyrant of all tyrants.
But we who are Christians live within the borders of God’s domain, his kingdom (Colossians 1:13). With God’s protection surrounding us, we have the ability — and the responsibility — to confront this tyrant. James declares this truth: “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” We are called to follow our Lord’s example, who in the desert rebuked Satan’s suggestions (temptations) with God’s written truth (Matthew 4:1-11).
Hundreds of years ago, Martin Luther penned these words: “For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe. His craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate. On earth is not his equal.” Thankfully the song continues: “Did we on our own strength confide, our striving would be losing were not the right one on our side, the man of God’s own choosing. Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is he! Lord Sabaoth his name, from age to age the same, and he must win the battle.”
Determine now to confront the tyrant who seeks to rule your life. Flee to God for refuge. Once secure within his loving might, never fail to rebuke the doomed enemy!
by Tim Hall