April 5, 2016
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 5 April 2016
Last week's "Georgia Capitol Devotional” emphasized the prophet Isaiah’s divinely-given message to those who believe all hope is lost. Isaiah was cognizant how despair and fear can cause people to make foolish choices, such as seeking anyone or any nation who appears powerful enough to provide deliverance. The enemy of our soul uses similar tactics by making dangerous things appear safe. An illustration of the relevancy of this potential hazard can be found in Prince Caspian, which is the second work by C. S. Lewis in his seven-part Chronicles of Narnia.
Prince Caspian begins “a year ago” from the prior adventure called The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, with the realization that Narnia is now many centuries older, and the land is experiencing deplorable times. A race of men (the Telmarines) rule Narnia despotically, and have forced the citizens of Narnia underground. Caspian, who is a Telmarine himself, is a noble prince, whose governess secretly informs him regarding Aslan, the witch, and the four kings and queens. Caspian sympathizes with the Narnians, and soon his life is in danger from the tyrant Miraz, who is the prince’s usurper uncle-king. A battle with the Telmarines ensues, and the Narnians are routed and imminent destruction awaits. Caspian and the Narnians attempt to summon help by using Queen Susan’s horn, which is successful, yet not readily apparent as subsequent predicaments develop, with a few being unexpected.
The four Pevensie children are drawn to Narnia by the blowing of the horn, and eventually arrive to help Caspian, who is the true heir to the throne. The children arrive at the most opportune moment, as they are able to prevent Caspian’s amoral advisor, the dwarf Nikabrik, from making a dastardly choice. Nikabrik is angry that help has not yet arrived from either Aslan or the kings and queens from Narnia’s long-ago Golden Age. A badger named Trufflehunter, who is a loyal Narnian of old, advises the Narnians to “have patience” because “help will come . . . and may be even now at the door.” Nikabrik snarls against such advice because “food is running short” and “our followers are slipping away."
The tyrant Miraz had suppressed the Old Narnians, and thus Aslan’s sacrifice and the reigns of the four children have been forgotten and/or relegated to myths. Doubting the existence of Aslan and his ability to send the old kings and queens, Nikabrik remarks, “The stories tell of other powers besides the ancient Kings and Queens. How if we could call them up?” Caspian inquired, “Who do you mean?”
“I mean a power so much greater than Aslan’s that it held Narnia spellbound for years and years, if the stories are true.”
“The White Witch! Cried three voices all at once. . . .
“Yes,” said Nikabrik very slowly and distinctly, “I mean the Witch. . . .”
Jadis, the evil White Witch, formerly had Narnia under a spell, which made the land “always winter and never Christmas,” and killed Aslan, the true King of Narnia. Nikabrik is already committed to using black sorcery to summon the Witch. A battle ensues, which is joined by the Pevensie children and Trumpkin the dwarf, and culminates in the death of Nikabrik and his allies.
One wonders how anyone could possibly consider the White Witch as someone who could help, especially as her character reveals the true nature of Satan, the Devil. Lewis was well aware as to how easily and quickly the enemy who devours and enslaves (as opposed to empowering and liberating) is sought. The prophet Isaiah warned the Israelites against this very temptation, which would involve trusting a godless nation for help as opposed to trusting in God for salvation. God’s people needed to wait faithfully, patiently, and trustingly for God to accomplish his work of judgment and salvation.
Lewis demonstrated a remarkable understanding of human nature, and thus depicts Narnia as broken, and with the loss of belief, will lead to evil. For this reason, one of the subplots involves Aslan appearing only to Lucy and instructing her to bring the other children to him, whom she failed to convince and yet is still too fearful to follow Aslan alone, if the others still refuse. Aslan later admonishes Lucy and forgives her, yet she will never know what would have occurred had she first been obedient, which, of course, is a reminder of the eternal consequences involved in our choices.
Lewis serves as a prophetic voice to those who believe all hope is lost. He was mindful how apprehension and hopelessness can motivate people to make foolish choices, such as seeking anyone or any nation who appears powerful enough to provide deliverance. The enemy of our soul uses similar tactics by making dangerous things appear safe. The enemy does not seek to scare us to death, but gives a false sense of security that the danger of a spiritual lapse is only minimal. For this reason, 1 Peter 5:9 exhorts believers to be resolute in their faith. The prophet Isaiah likewise encourages God’s people to pursue his divinely-given mission while we wait for the Lord’s timing to accomplish his plans and purposes.
P.S. Reminder: due to a schedule conflict (as a result of speaking at the annual ISCA Conference), and only for the month of April, the first Capitol Commission (interim) Bible Study will be held on the second Tuesday: 12 April 2016.
God's Grace and Peace to You,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia