In the past week, with the events of September 11, 2001, we have seen man at his worst: savage, brutal, unprincipled, and fierce. There is tremendous hurt and grief over missing loved ones and deaths. There are massively broken hearts and crushed, despairing spirits. Let us look at the source from which this sinfulness, heinousness, viciousness, and depravity have emerged. First, Jeremiah 17:9 shows us that “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” Secondly, we see Paul describing the unregenerate heart in 2 Timothy 3:1-4, saying that in the “last days…men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” Paul knows this kind of man is governed by unconstrained passions, savageness, and fierceness. Paul, who knew what the unregenerate heart was capable of, mentions twenty-four sins in Romans 1:28-31. The Lord, who knows all men intimately and completely, and does not need anyone to testify for man because He knows of what man is made, reveals another thirteen sins of which the human heart is capable. (See Mark 7:21-23)
These sins and many more were manifested in the events of September 11 in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. I believe that the perpetrators of this heinous crime were possibly demon-possessed. From this crime’s inception, the scheme was satanic. This horrible time of mourning, grief, and tragedy could be reflected in what we read about in Revelation 20 as a future vision. This involves Satan nearing the end of His age of grace, before he is cast into the lake of fire. He knows that his time is short, so he creates perilous times that are difficult to handle for the people of the earth. In addition, as a matter of interest, we should consider the source from which these dastardly crimes of September 11 came. Abraham, seeking to aid God’s plan for a son, committed adultery with Hagar, Sarah’s servant, recorded in Genesis 16. From this illicit union there was born a son whom they called Ishmael. Ishmael is the father of the Islamic faith. God told Abraham that Ishmael and his descendents would be “wild men” and that their “hand would be against every man.” (See Genesis 16:12) God also mentioned that he would become a great nation, and “multiply exceedingly.” (Genesis 16:10) We can see that today this has definitively come true, as the Islamic peoples now have enormous populations. With this event, we also see evidence of their hands being against men as well.
In these perilous times there is only one resource we can turn to, and this is prayer. In biblical stories of the conquest of the land, we see that “Joshua prayed” to the Lord in desperation. (See Joshua 10) Here, the nation was fighting for its existence and vying for the land. All hope of survival had gone as they stood daunted by such frightening enemies. Suddenly, the Lord sent huge hailstones from the sky, and more enemies were slain by these hailstones than by the sword. Furthermore, the sun stood still for about one day, allowing Israel to completely destroy the enemy like they were commanded to do by the Lord. The summary of this incident is short in length despite its dramatic events. We are told, “There was no day like it before it, or after it, that the Lord hearkened to ‘the voice of man.’” (Joshua 10:14) Beloved, we see with this story and in many events that nothing is impossible with God! All things are possible with Him, the great and almighty Master and King. Another example is a personal one from World War II during the days of Dunkirk in which British troops had withdrawn to the port of Dunkirk, surrounded by the German forces and cut off from the French army. In desperation, the French nation had opened its churches for prayer. As we prayed, a thick fog enveloped the beaches and the stormy English Channel grew cold. The German Air Force was crippled because of bad visibility. This hiatus enabled countless numbers of ships, large and small, to race across the miles of water and rescue over three hundred thousand stranded and helpless soldiers! The next day the nation went back to the open churches and prayed and sang heartily and passionately, O God Our Help in Ages Past!
God indeed answers our prayers in great and miraculous ways. For a nation or an individual, remember the words of Psalm 46:
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at the break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire. Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
After the events of September 11 happened, we know the nation was in a state of grief, sorrow, tears, and broken heartedness. Yet when we saw the worst of men revealed through these events, here we see God at His best: loving, kind, forgiving, and sacrificial. Let us remember our great resource in prayer to our Mighty God who knows the needs of all of us and searches the hearts of men.