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Religion

The Maginot Line

By Pastor Phillip Howle
web posted July 16, 2014

RELIGION – I read a great book a few weeks back about the Gold Medal Olympic Rowing team that competed in the 1936 Olympics in Germany. Realizing my WWII history is not as good as it should be, I was fascinated by a story about the French I have never heard. It was about the Maginot Line between France and Germany. From 1929 to 1938 the French built a huge line of defensive fortifications along their border with Germany under the direction of French war minister André Maginot.
 
The wall contained heavy guns, thick concrete, air-conditioned living areas, areas for recreation, and even underground railways which all assured the French that they would be safe against German aggression. Their confidence in the wall meant that when the German military began to build itself back up under Adolf Hitler, the French smugly thought they could ignore the matter. After all, they had the Maginot Line!
But the old French did not think very well. When the Germans finally invaded, they came through Belgium, outflanking the Maginot Line and rendering it utterly useless. The wall took ten years to build; but it only took the Germans a few weeks to march around it.

The reality is that we want our own Maginot Lines, and then we put our trust in them. We take great pride in our possessions, our accomplishments, our jobs, or nest egg in the bank. So we functionally begin to trust in them to bring peace and security instead of God.

God is not against us taking joy in our things or our career, but he is against trusting in anything to the exclusion.  This is also grace. God knows that none of the things we are tempted to put trust in can truly save. Notice in both the above verses God promises to be with the person who is contrite. For this person God promises to revive the spirit, and look with favor in the person who submits to Him and trembles at His word.

We are naturally prideful. Contrition does not come easy for us, and many of us may have never actually used the word in a sentence. The Hebrew word used for “contrite” is used in other places is translated as “crushed” (Job 5:4, 6:9, 22:9). The word for contrite is also Isaiah 53:5 – “But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.”

Jesus was “crushed for our iniquities.” His body was destroyed, His emotions were crumbling and His will was most assuredly shaken. Otherwise, He would never have asked His Father to “let this cup pass from me” Jesus who never needed to show any contrition, was crushed for you!
 
When you get this, you let go of all the false hopes and the great Maginot Lines of your imagination and you simply put your faith and hope in Christ. The old wonderful hymn Rock of Ages powerfully captures what this looks like.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure;
Save from wrath and make me pure.

Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.






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