“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 15:55-7
The Australian box jellyfish is considered the most venomous creature in the ocean. It gets its name from the cube-like shape of its bell. As many as 60 tentacles grow from the bell and can reach 10 feet in length. Each tentacle has about 5,000 stinging cells. Its venom contains toxins that attack the heart, nervous system, and skin cells. It is so overpoweringly painful, human victims have been known to go into shock and drown or die of heart failure before even reaching shore. You do NOT want to bump into a box jellyfish.
Unless, of course, someone had removed every stinger from its tentacles. Without stingers, there would be nothing to fear from a box jellyfish. It would become as dangerous as the stuffed octopus your child won at the county fair. There would be no reason to fear this formerly frightening creature.
The Bible tells us about another formerly frightening creature we no longer need to fear. It is a creature we will all face. Unlike the box jellyfish, we cannot avoid this creature by staying out of the ocean. The creature is death.
But listen to what the Bible says about death: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Death is frightening because we know that when we die we will meet our Maker. And we know we have disobeyed him. But Jesus washed away our disobedience when he went to the cross. He removed our reason for being afraid of death. Because of Jesus, death is but the doorway to a far better, eternal existence in heaven.
If you are ever swimming off the northern coast of Australia, you have good reason to be afraid of box jellyfish. But you do not need to be afraid of death. Jesus has removed its sting.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you, thank you, thank you, for washing away my sin so that I do not need to fear my death. Grant that this truth comforts and calms me this day.
This is what the LORD says – he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and the reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise. – Isaiah 43:16-2`1
Isaiah is telling God’s people that he will send them a Savior, a Redeemer. He reminds them of the grand way that he rescued them in the past, the crossing of the Red Sea. This was the big event among Old Testament believers. It is mentioned again and again how God opened up the Red Sea and allowed the Israelites to escape the charging Egyptians on dry ground. And why not, this was a miracle that perhaps millions of people saw at one time. It was a miracle that was visually impressive. It was a miracle that saved a large number of people.
Now the Lord through Isaiah says, “Forget all that.” That was nothing. You think making dry ground in the middle of the sea is a big thing? Watch me make the dry ground a stream. The Lord says that the jackals and the owls will honor him. Jackals and owls are creatures of the desert. I guess you would expect them to be happy because the Lord is providing water in the desert. But that is not why they are happy. God says, “Because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland to give drink to my people.”
It is clear something else is happening here. God is rescuing his people by giving them the water of life. God is talking about the forgiveness and life that he brings to the world through Jesus Christ his Son. It is a far bigger miracle than he performed at the Red Sea. God sends a Savior not just for a few people but for the whole world. With his suffering and death, Jesus didn’t just provide for us a rescue from earthly death but saved us from eternal death. By faith in him he gives us eternal life with God. That is the water of life that God has provided for us. How glad we are to proclaim the praise of our God who has saved us!
Prayer: Oh Lord my God, thank you for giving me new life through Jesus. Help me proclaim your praise in all that I do today. Amen.