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The Promised Warrior

midweek devotion for Lent based on Isaiah 42:13 for Risen Savior

There have been some terrible wars in the history of the world.  It’s estimated during the Crusades that one to three million people were killed.  The Revolutionary War saw about 37,000 die in battle.  During World War I something like 23 million were killed.  That was surpassed by World War II, the deadliest war in human history.  Some say 70 million people died.  Frightening totals stack up when all wars of all time are added together.  There can be no question, this is a world of war.  Yet there’s a worse war still happening.  One that started long ago.  The victims number into the billions and counting.  Starting tonight we look at this war and the final showdown.  The verse from Isaiah we consider tonight speaks of who this war, this showdown, all centers on, the Promised Warrior.

The first skirmish started it all a long time ago.  Satan slithered into the Garden of Eden with a temptation for Adam and Eve.  Our first parents didn’t even realize they were in a battle until it was all lost.  The war had begun.  From that moment on death and hell would be the normal for human beings.  God and humans were in a state of war, opposed to each other.  Yet God changed the course, stepped in, promised a warrior.  Someone would restore what was lost.  Restoration of perfection, the relationship between God and mankind, wouldn’t come easy.  It would be a war, one that would only end when Satan’s head was crushed.  Along the way many battles would be fought.  Many would become casualties. 

We would have been one of those casualties.  In fact from birth, every person starts on the side of death.  We’re opposed to God because inside us is sin.  There’s no medical procedure or drug that can fix it.  Sin is the enemy, which is encouraged by Satan, the world around us, and leads to death.  We couldn’t approach God for a peace negotiation.  We couldn’t get a cease fire from Satan.  Sin lurks behind every decision we make.  When we want to be good towards others, sin can cause us to get mad instead.  We’ve wanted to help others, and found ourselves with selfish motives looking out for ourselves instead.  Sin dragged us down again.  We can be selfish or dishonest.  Getting ticked off at something someone did.  Even hoping things don’t work out for them.  It’s a battle each day with sin. 

Your only solution is all out war.  You’re fighting for a total defeat of sin.  But daily you fall short.  Yet again, God changes the course of the battle.  Isaiah speaks of war, and God promises a hero.  “The Lord will set out like a hero.  Like a warrior…”  Who are your heroes?  It might be cops and firefighters.  Your picture of a hero might have the hero wearing a cape and a mask and can fly.  Warriors are the people with the big muscles carrying superior weapons in our military.  That might be your picture of a warrior.  God’s warrior is noted in Isaiah as one who would have a special birth.  He would bring a judgment of righteousness to an entire world of unrighteous people.  He would be deeply wounded in the fight, but his wounds would bring healing.  

Strength for this warrior wouldn’t be in muscles or guns.  Rather a willingness to allow others to treat him wrong.  The hero was taken captive.  The enemy beat him, mocked him, and ultimately hung him from a cross.  He died there, in a sad and stunning end.  For a moment it seemed the enemy was winning the battle.  The hero was dead and gone.  But that wasn’t the end, it was part of the plan.  The warrior let it happen.  The abuse, the apparent defeat, was to let the enemies kill him.  That’s when he brought defeat to every enemy.  The warrior crushed sin.  He stomped on Satan.  And lastly the warrior faced off against death itself, and won.  All this he did without advanced weapons.  It was his life here, lived without sin.  The hero was totally good, totally perfect.  He was your substitute.  The battle was fought with you in mind.  Love for you.  “He will shout.  Yes, he will raise a war cry.  He will be heroic against his enemies.” 

The war cry of the hero isn’t oo-ra.  It wasn’t something to get himself pumped up so he could fight.  He didn’t lead with his war cry, but finished.  At the end, when the battle was over, when the warrior died on the cross, came his war cry.  “It is finished.”  With that he was victorious.  The war cry of triumph means your sins are forgiven.  Your guilt is gone.  You get the perfection of the warrior to count for your own.  The enemies are defeated and the battle is over. 

This long promised hero, this warrior spoken about from the very beginning, this triumphant substitute is Jesus Christ.  Before you could try and enter the battle, before the war even started in your life, the hero fought in your place.  Jesus gave you the victory.  He won your soul.  War wasn’t easy for him.  To win you meant his own death.  But that was worth it, to have you, to love you, to give you eternal life and all his promises.  The war is over.  Jesus won.  You won.

Today’s technology allows us more in depth knowledge about wars than ever before.  Almost in real time leaders can watch the battlefield as it unfolds anywhere around the world.  And no battle, no war goes unnoticed.  But that much information desensitizes us towards news of the battle.  More casualties pass almost without a nod.  Battles get fought and few notice.  Not so in your own life.  Life seems like a battle.  Fighting with your boss, with your family, with hassles and headaches.  And fighting against your sins and guilt.  You need the promise of the Christ.  You have a hero who fought the greatest war on your behalf.  Your own personal warrior battled Satan, sin, death, and won.  He has your soul.  He has your life.  As you face these next weeks, whatever they may throw at you, you have the victory already.  Christ is your warrior, your hero.