© 2018 Lynn Abbott
Although it’s a classic and I am all grown-up, I still find “The Wizard of Oz” absolutely terrifying. Yup. When the Wicked Witch and her flying monkeys appear, I cover my eyes and ears… and I sing very, very loud.
No wonder my family refuses to watch the film with me. I undoubtedly lose myself in Dorothy’s story.
Perhaps, it’s because I relate to her quest to get home. Her pilgrimage certainly speaks to me.
And although Baum’s novel is secular and the Wizard himself is undeniably fallible, I nevertheless find some parallels in the story to my Christian walk through this world, a kingdom that is often hostile to Christ.
Just as C.S. Lewis’ Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy were the focus of the White Witch’s venomous envy, Dorothy faces down a jealous foe.
And I am continually reminded that for those of genuine faith in Yeshua/Christ Jesus, the journey is also fraught with peril. Chosen by Abba from the foundation of the world, those who truly seek to do His will ultimately face the snares of a formidable enemy.
Of course, Ephesians 2:10 assures us that “…we are His workmanship, created in the Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Nevertheless, Satan and his host do their best to sabotage God’s work. In other words, when we united with Christ, we became targets much like Dorothy was when she donned those ruby slippers.
And the enemy doesn’t always use the blatantly evil to orchestrate his attacks. Sometimes, he simply seeks to distract us from God’s purpose with the beautiful or seemingly good.
For me, the image that comes to mind is that field of poppies that stood between Dorothy and the Emerald City. She and her friends needed to pass through those vibrant flowers in order to reach the Wizard, Baum’s modern-day prophet. She believed he would help her get home.
Disguised, however, by that beautiful field, danger lurked. The witch had perverted something of beauty in order to distract and ultimately harm Dorothy.
Satan and his host do their best to sabotage God’s work.
Indeed, our enemy doesn’t always send his “flying monkeys” to harm us. He frequently uses more subtle methods to ensnare us.
He, too, perverts things that God intended for our good, things of beauty, in order to promote an evil agenda. Or as our Savior warned, sometimes, the enemy employ wolves that masquerade as sheep, (Matthew 7:15).
Perhaps, like me, you have encountered someone who at first appeared friendly, but as time passed, that person began to undermine your best interests. What initially appeared fair actually revealed itself as foul…
Satan loves that strategy. He corrupts poppies in order to forestall or block our way home. He is bent on our destruction.
Balaam qualified as a “wolf” disguised in sheep’s clothing. In fact, Peter gives us quite a portrait of the seer, known as Balaam, who posed as a friend of God.
In Numbers chapter 22, circumstances looked pretty bleak for Israel. Og, king of the Moabite city Bashan, feared Israel’s numbers. And so, he attempted to hire Balaam to curse God’s people.
If God’s blessing had depended on Balaam, a greedy seer of dubious faith, Israel certainly would have been doomed.
But God had made a covenant with Abraham. And our God always keeps His covenants. In fact, He is faithful even when we are faithless (2 Timothy 2:13).
Yes, God’s promises last from everlasting to everlasting. And this is as true for those of us who, through faith in Christ, have been adopted into God’s family as it was true for Moses and the people he led–Abraham’s sometimes rebellious descendants.
You see, God has promised His people, ‘No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,’ (Isaiah 54:17).
Does this mean believers will never suffer in this world? Obviously not. At times, God allows the Balaams of this world to enter our lives.
But we can be sure of this: in Christ, our souls are secure. The enemy will not ultimately prevail. There may be minor setbacks. At times, Satan may waylay and deceive us. Yet, ultimately, God holds us sure.
At times, God allows the Balaams of this world to enter our lives.
You might say, God is our “safe-house.” In fact, the wisest man who ever lived–Solomon–certainly believed this to be the case.
He wrote, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe,” (Proverbs 18:10).
Flying monkeys? Our God has got this. I need only run to Him.
Poppy field distractions? If you and I cry out to Him, God will redirect and protect us.
Paul wrote, ‘May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who called you is faithful and He will do it,’ (I Thessalonians 5:23-24, italics mine).
We can be sure of this: in Christ, our souls are secure. The enemy will not ultimately prevail.
Just as salvation is a gift of God so also is sanctification. We all go astray, yet, through God’s grace in Christ, our Heavenly Father invites us to confess our sins and be restored, (I John 1:9).
This amazing grace–available despite our failures–became ours when we placed our faith in Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross and confessed Him as Lord.
Indeed, Christ’s shed blood sealed our covenant with Yahweh. We, too, can rest in the promise that ultimately ‘no weapon forged against you will prevail,’ (Isaiah 54:17).
You betcha. Through Christ, we’ve entered into an everlasting covenant with God.
And God never drops the ball.
“The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe,” ~Proverbs 18:10
“The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it,” ~ I Thessalonians 5:24