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A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

There are no atheists in foxholes.

This common adage speaks to one of the clearest misconceptions of life, especially life in the modern world. That is the misconception of security. We fancy ourselves the masters of our futures, the controllers of our fate. We think that modern medicine promises us long lives, that the American economy promises us comfort and prosperity, that the moral scruples of the educated elite promises us freedom from consequences. Reality begs to differ.

Although there is no real security in these places, we constantly look there for our hope. Our perceived security leads us one of two directions. On the one hand, we may believe that we have no need for a sovereign loving Father. What would we need God for? We have everything we need. Here we find ourselves in the throes of delusional hubris. On the other hand, we are terrified that our security will vanish. We are anxious about our money, our safety, and our future. It is often pointed out that neither of these extremes, hubris and anxiety, are really all that different. They both trade on the same misconception: we are the masters of our world; the future is in our hands.

Today, let’s hear God’s word for us from Isaiah 44:6-8:

“This is what the Lord says—

    Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty:

I am the first and I am the last;

    apart from me there is no God.

Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it.

    Let him declare and lay out before me

what has happened since I established my ancient people,

    and what is yet to come—

    yes, let them foretell what will come.

Do not tremble, do not be afraid.

    Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago?

You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?

    No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”

Today as we fast, let’s hear again that the Lord is God, and apart from Him there is no other. The people of Israel were not to be afraid about their future. They were not to tremble, but why? Is it because they were  strong? Is it because the world’s economy would save them?

“You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?

No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”

The confidence of the people of Israel rested not on vague platitudes about positive thinking, or vain hope in economic or military might. It rested squarely on the only God. They worshiped and served the living God, the Lord of Creation, the Sovereign ruler of all things; this is where they found their hope.

Modern prosperity can, and often does, cause us to miss that what was true of Israel is true of us:  There is no other hope than in the God of Israel. We know no other security than Jesus. Let’s remember that our hope rests not in health, or wealth, but in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who we see in the face of Jesus Christ. In Him we hope, in Him we trust, and to Him we look in our foxholes.

John Cunningham
Ministry Fellow at University of Pennsylvania