In the wake of the tragic events in Paris, PM Malcolm Turnbull gave a strong, sympathetic, and reassuring address to the media. Solidarity with France, the work of the Embassy to determine the status of Australians in Paris, talk of freedom was all expected and necessary.
The fact we are not raising our alert level is comforting to me. Apparently there has been no evidence of a planned attack in Australia. Praise God.
But he also spoke better than he knew, and it’s an insight that God’s people need to remember. “Protecting Australians, protecting freedom, is a global battle. It is a global struggle for freedom against those who seek to suppress it and seek to assert some form of religious tyranny; a threat in the name of God but is truthfully the work of the devil.”
Paul spoke these familiar words in Ephesians 6:12 –
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
The attacks in Paris are not merely perpetrated in the name of radical Islam for the purposes of revenge, or against Western ‘freedom’. They are an attack against the image of God by the one who was “a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44).
It is this reality, that murder is an attack on God’s image by Satan, which should cause us the greatest grief. And it’s for this reason we should be just as outraged by attacks against Shia Muslims in Lebanon, appalled at the selling of illicit drugs, and at the racism experienced by many in our community. Satan is tearing people apart. And, tragically, it is this evil that causes many to doubt God’s existence. Satan is getting what he wants.
Paul’s reason for urging the Ephesians to put on the armour of God is so they would “be able stand against the schemes of the devil” (Eph 6:11). Satan wants us to fall, and his “flaming darts” (Eph 6:16) come regularly.
The leaders of the nations of the world have told France that the thoughts and prayers of their nation are with them. Let’s actually fulfil that expectation. This is a spiritual battle. Our PM has reminded us of that.
The G20 will not be able to answer every question. We must come before our God, knowing that he is sovereign; both over flesh and blood, and also over the spiritual forces. May we not fall from faith, and may faith actually be granted to some in this tragedy. May justice come. And may the “God of all comfort” be active in the hearts of those in Paris, and the world, who have lost loved ones.
Jesse Walz is married to Bec, and they have a three-year-old boy and a one-year-old girl. They attend Darebin Presbyterian Church. Jesse is studying theology at PTC, and Bec is a stay-at-home mum.