Feb 21 2018
God named Ishmael ‘God hears’ before he was born. Years later, God heard Ishmael’s cry when he was perishing in the wilderness and opened his mother’s eyes to see a spring of water from which she gave him drink – and he lived!
Islam claims Ishmael as a spiritual forefather. Today’s Muslims are in the wilderness perishing and crying out for living water. Let the Church pray to the Father to reveal the well of living water, Jesus, so they might live!
Here comes the sun!
Why did God create the sun, moon and stars? “[T]o give light on the earth, to rule over the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness” (Ge 1:17-18). To these basic reasons, Genesis 1:14 adds something mysterious: “…and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and for years” (Hebrew and English Tanakh). The Bible specifies wonders in the heavens associated with the season (or “appointed time”) of “the great and awesome day of the Lord” (Joel 2:10-11, 30-32, Mt 24:29, Ac 2:17-21).
Why did God arrange for the tiny moon to briefly and periodically obscure the much larger sun?
The crescent moon was adopted by the Ottoman Empire as its symbol in the 19th century, and has since become associated with Islam. An example of how this plays out is the “International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement” in which the Red Crescent symbol is used in Muslim nations apparently offended by the cross, a Christian symbol. It’s elementary for a Christian to compare the reflective and inferior moon chosen as Islam’s symbol to the powerful, life-giving sun, representative of Jesus (Mal 4:2; Rev 12:1, 21:23-24). Even so, both sun and moon praise Him (Ps 148:3).
But eclipses are very interesting. We can make our own eclipses. Take a dime, the smallest of coins, hold it close in front of your eye, then look toward the sun. It is more than eclipsed by the dime. One can stare at the moon and examine it in detail, but not the sun – I still have the sun’s radiance in my vision minutes after a quick glimpse before putting the dime in place!
What does Islam teach Muslims about Jesus? The Qur’an presents Him as Isa according to the revelations of their prophet, Muhammad. Isa (the name has no meaning) has some characteristics of Jesus (whose Hebrew name means “God is salvation”). For example, he performs miracles and is born of a virgin. But Isa is not God the Son, cannot save others, did not die on the cross, was not resurrected and is superseded by Muhammad, the “seal of the prophets”. The Qur’an presents Muhammad (whose name means “praised one”), not Jesus, as the perfect example to follow for a successful life and for knowing how to obey Allah.
I’ve been picturing “the praised one” like that dime, held right up against the eye of Muslims, obscuring the glory of Jesus, who alone is worthy of praise (Rev. 5:9, 12-14). Muhammad died June 8, 632 A.D., but his legacy still speaks powerfully today to keep Muslims from seeing Jesus as the only One who is worthy. “[I]f your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Mt 6:23)
Here is the mystery of prayer. Is God using the eclipse to point to a spiritual truth, even to a coming season of harvest among Muslims? The eclipse is complete, but momentary. A cosmic rotational power moves the moon out of the way, just as it moved it into place. A spiritual power is holding the image of a long-dead human being, who never claimed to be God, in the eyes of Muslims to blind their minds about the living Lord Jesus, who did claim to be God and was affirmed by the Father and the Spirit to be the Son (Ac 1:3, Mk 1:9-11, Jn 5:18, 2 Co 4:4).
Let’s come confidently into the throne room of God in full assurance of faith (Heb 10:19-22). This is our heritage!
Remembering that we ourselves were once blind, but now we see, and being full of compassion for Muslims who are now blinded from the truth, let’s simply ask the Creator of the universe to move that image forever out of the way to give Muslims “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Co 4:3-6). If you are filled with faith for this, command that image to be permanently re-moved in Jesus’ name (Mt 18:18-20).
Spend time in worship (2 Co 3:18). HE IS WORTHY!
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