For those of you who have read This Present Darkness, you may have seen what author Frank Peretti wrote about so vividly enter your own communities. The novel depicts the town of Ashton that has been targeted by dark forces that intend total domination. It portrays spiritual, geographical, territorial entities that control this community combatted by a weakened heavenly host. Why do the angels on the side of God have little power? Because His people have little prayer.
If you’re paying attention to the premise of the novel, these powers and authorities that overshadow this small town correspond to what I’ve previously written about on this website, namely the Deuteronomy 32 worldview. In this understanding of the fallout of Genesis 11 that depicts the Tower of Babel incident, God got fed up with man’s rebellion and disobedience. In this case, He had instructed them through Noah to complete what He had commanded in the Garden of Eden: “go forth, subdue, rule the earth, and multiply.” Instead, the people of that time decided they had a better idea, i.e. gather together on the plains of Shinar and build a tower with the intent of bringing God down to them under their control.
As a result, in Deuteronomy 32:8, we see what God did in response:
When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,
when he divided mankind,
he fixed the borders of the peoples
according to the number of the sons of God.
He placed His divine sons over the nations to rule them in His place. At that time, He then called forth Israel to be His Chosen People. Verse 9 continues and tells us this:
But the Lord’s portion is his people,
Jacob his allotted heritage.
In the very next chapter, God calls Abram. All other nations essentially become the place of outer darkness and chaos because of what happens next that we see in Psalm 82. The sons of God rebel. They disobey His commands and His way of justice and love in order that they might gain power and rule in their Father’s place. He judges them severely, but that’s another story.
This is the scenario in which This Present Darkness operates.
In a couple of other posts, I’ve outlined the spiritual battle that we’ve been fighting in our community. Out city council thought it was a good idea to bring the sale of recreational marijuana into town simply because it’s legal in our state. Never mind that nearby communities have rejected that notion because of the negative consequences. Our council members wanted the people of our town to be guinea pigs.
After several weeks of delays in the vote, that we who were opposed to this chose to see as God’s sovereign hand working in our favor rather than simply the enemy’s strategy to weaken our resolve, the council finally met and voted. Our church was the only one in the community that brought any number of people to the fight. Several other individuals from a couple of other churches showed up in support against the resolution, but it was the twenty-some people from our church that carried the day for the victory that is God’s alone.
Many of us spoke in opposition with various viewpoints: how marijuana is implicitly linked to schizophrenia, violent crime, suicide, potential loss of employment due to workplace restrictions, the erosion of quality of life in the community, personal past histories including incarceration and dissipated lifestyles. The witness and testimony were overwhelming and persuasive.
In the end, the vote taken resulted in a 4-3 victory for God’s warriors. The first three council members who voted were adamant in their support of selling marijuana at a local downtown storefront. They were all in, determined to follow their father’s evil ways regardless that there was no rational benefit, not even financial. Then the tide turned. Two voted against. The third was the one that caused us to hold our breath because this person had previously given every indication of voting in support of the resolution. Instead, it was a no. That, plus the final vote of the mayor turned back the enemy.
It was very close. We got a reprieve. Our community is not yet Ashton from This Present Darkness. But Satan and his minions are hovering, regrouping, planning their next assault.
I can tell you without reservation that were it not for our church, the only church concerned about this incursion of darkness, the resolution for the sale of recreational marijuana would have passed, and the downhill slide for this area would have accelerated.
In these last days, we know that all the Bible foretells will come to pass. The hearts of man will become so darkened that God will have no choice but to do what He did in the flood. He will save a remnant and bring the remainder of unbelieving humanity into judgment.
None of this means that we as believers should sit on our hands in this crucial time. God has called us for such a time as this. We are to occupy and be about our Father’s business until Jesus calls us to Him in the clouds. He is coming soon. We see the signs all around and in the daily struggles we face. Yes, the enemy has his sights on each one of us and our communities, but we have a mandate from the Lord: persevere, don’t grow weary of doing good, continue to fight the good fight. God sees our efforts. They may be futile and of little value in our eyes, but in His, they are worthy of crowns.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)