Turning Victory into Defeat

Who knows why genius pops up like a rare specimen of flora from time to time, and who knows why it indwells such diverse characters as composers and politicians, mathematicians and military generals. Hannibal was such a military general whose creativity and cunning both on the battle-field and with men brought him to the brink of destroying Rome. But after his intrepid journey over the Alps he had to content himself with relatively small conquests in northern Italy until further help arrived from Carthage. That help never came, and so his impressive campaign of victory was turned into defeat. (https://www.ancient.eu/article/290/the-price-of-greed-hannibals-betrayal-by-carthage/)

Victories that are not pressed home and not revitalized sit on top of the ground like ripe fruit until they begin to rot. A battle may be won by a commander foolish enough to lose the war through a lack of follow through. The strange story of Elisha’s final prophecy (2 Kings 13) testifies that even 3 victories may be but the stepping stones to defeat.

This truth can instruct us and inspire us. The lesson is that we must pursue our advantages until the enemy is defeated. We need to shore up our victories with fresh supplies and new recruits. What has been gained can easily be lost. Or in the case of those on a weight loss plan, what was lost can be easily gained back!

It inspires us because it means that righteousness will always defeat evil in the end. Evil may win some battles here and there but their sum can never total up to a complete victory because evil does not have an endless supply of reinforcements.

Sin is not original in the sense that it always was and is and will be. Sin is a parasite that requires a host. It is a straight line that has been bent to become crooked. Lust only exists because desire exists. Violence only exists because passion exists. Sin was not the Alpha and so sin cannot be the Omega. Sin is derivative and not original.

Were it not for the anguish it causes we might almost pity evil, for it is weary at heart. It is ever growing tired and seeking some new malevolence to feed its dying fire. It is wearing itself out like a toddler desperately amassing all of its strength to try and topple his father while his father stands firm, laughing with the morning dew of manly strength. It is like an insane man dashing his head against a hillside in hopes that the hill will split. One day its insanity soared to unspeakable heights when it thought it really had split the hillside of Calvary, only to awaken three days later with a splitting headache of its own.

Goodness, righteousness, and holiness – on the other hand – are original. Before there was a beginning these things were in the world, personified by the eternal Godhead. And because the eternal Godhead is also the infinite God-head, there will always be fresh supplies of holiness, goodness, and righteousness. There are cataracts of joy to quench every fire of despair and a million suns to light every inch of darkness.

So fight with hope.  Fight with all of your strength because reinforcements are on the way.  Fight because God fights for you, and if God be for you who can stand against you? Fight as though the eternal dawn is breaking  and night is fleeing from His face.

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