June 11: 8 Sivan
It was on this day in 1940 that the extermination camp known as Auschwitz was opened. In the course of its existence, two and a half million people would be killed there. Another 500,000 would die of starvation and disease. That totals about three million people. Think of it this way: estimates are that, when Israel left Egypt, the total number of men, women and children was anywhere from two to three million people. So then, as many as comprised the entire nation of Israel when they left Egypt were murdered in just that one extermination camp known as Auschwitz.
This is just one example that demonstrates how intent the adversary is to destroy God’s people. However, we also need to highlight the fact that Hitler, Himmler, Göring and all those other Nazis are dead. Stalin and all those in times past who tried to destroy God’s people are gone. Yet the people of Israel live.
“Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us break their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us.’ He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath and distress them in His deep displeasure: ‘Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion.’” (Psalm 2:1-6)
Though the nations and their leaders have, throughout history, and will in the future, plot a vain thing and try to annihilate God’s people, they will fail. God will hold them in derision and, in the end, His King – the Messiah – will sit upon His Holy Throne in in Zion. His people will live.
Sometimes the war waged against God’s people that we see takes on a specific characteristic, and by that, I mean that it gets personal. While most of the trials we have to endure may be the result of our poor choices, there are those times when the adversary does come after us and we must contend with the devil. On one occasion, Christ told Peter:
“Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” (Luke 22:31-32)
There are, indeed, times when Satan targets individuals in order to “sift them as wheat.” When that is the case, accordingly, the Messiah serves as our advocate, just as He did for Peter. He is on our side, pulling for us, and praying that our faith would not fail. And though we might stumble through the trial, He remains faithful to forgive us. And if all of that is so, then after we’ve come through the trial, shouldn’t we be expected to strengthen others in their time of testing?
Unfortunately, there are times when we must fight the Devil. But when do, we have the confidence that our Advocate is petitioning the Father on our behalf, believing for us that we will come through the trial and help those around us. And so for all of those who are currently in the Adversary’s sites, though we be sifted as wheat, let us pray for strengthen to overcome and to come out on the other side, equipped to help our brothers and sisters.