God is our Strength – Omnipotent (Almighty)
As I assembled the message I shared this past Sunday, speaking on Psalm 46:1, another passage also drew my attention. It was the second half of Isaiah 59:19. Years ago this verse was deeply impressed upon me through a week of revival meetings held in a small charismatic church I once attended. I knew it first in the King James “…When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.”
I recall then not being quite clear on what constituted a “standard.” Perhaps I imagined it like a legal standard… a declaration, a law. The picture in my head was this mighty flood of devilish opposition comes rushing in against the church but, like a huge concrete wall, the “standard” the law, the rule, the “NO!” or “STOP!” command of God appears. The flood of waters smashes against it and retreats again to the sea. The church of God is saved!
More recently I revisited this verse, and I was puzzled by what I found. My image of this was completely wrong! My definition of a “standard” disappointingly skewed! A “standard” was not some mighty resisting wall; it was… well… it was a rather innocuous sounding thing, a flag! A banner! How was that supposed to dispel the mighty flood coming against it?
This mystery can be solved by simply placing the comma in its proper place in the King James rendering. Rather than “…When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” the text should read, “…When the enemy shall come in, like a flood the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” The sense is not that the enemy is the great gushing water flow, but that the great gushing water flow is our God’s response to even the slightest provocation of the devil. In other words, God will flush him out! He will fly the banner of victory!
Paul asks the Romans “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” He then answers himself saying, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Rom. 8:31, 35, 37).
God is our Strength. He is both with us and within us. He will fly His Victory flag.