How do we overcome Leviathan? Is it simply a matter of exchanging honour for dishonour? In some respects, that’s pretty much the case. But let’s tease out a bit more what it actually means to do that. Uprooting dishonour may involve resolving issues of past injustice—and we’re happy enough for that to happen when we’re on the receiving end. Yet when we ourselves are called to offer restitution to someone we’ve wronged, we squirm and wriggle, invoking all sorts of theological excuses about the other person needing to forgive. Restitution, so it’s said, is ‘Old Testament’ and, on this side of the Cross, is now unnecessary.
I come across so many families fractured by failure to repay a debt. One family member—let’s say a sister—has gone guarantor for a brother and, when the brother’s business goes bankrupt, she winds up losing her house as she pays back his debt to the bank. That’s bad enough, but all too often when the brother gets back on his feet and becomes well situated financially, he refuses to help the sister who lost everything to help him. Legally, he says, he’s not obliged to do so. He’s right, of course, but he’s tossing both mercy and justice to the wind. And it’s not unbelievers I’m talking about here.
What appalling dishonour this kind of attitude displays towards God! It’s saying that, because of the sacrifice of Jesus, God no longer cares about justice. It’s saying that Psalm 89:14 NIV is out of date.
‘Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; love and faithfulness go before You.’
It’s saying the one pillar of the throne of God is now irrelevant. This is never the case.
The reason I’ve brought up this particular example of the brother and the sister is because it helps us understand what recompense is. Leviathan retaliates against us, because Leviathan is able to deal out due recompense. And negative recompense is backlash or retribution, payback, blowback, kickback, whiplash, repercussion, reprisal or revenge. Positive recompense, on the other hand, is denoted by the well-known Hebrew word, shalom. Besides meaning recompense, shalom denotes peace, prosperity, health, wholeness, integrity, completeness, soundness, welfare. Shalom implies that amends have been made, justice has been done, restitution has occurred.
It is the Fruit of the Spirit, peace—or more accurately, shalom—that overcomes Leviathan. How do we get this peace, this shalom, this prosperity—which, by the way, doesn’t mean wealth but rather having enough for ourselves and enough left over to be generous. How do we get this recompense, this integrity? How do we mature this Fruit in ourselves so that it fends off Leviathan?
We have to face difficult tests and pass them. No one can truly be called ‘honest’ who has never been desperately tempted to dishonesty and, knowing they could get away with it, turned from it anyway.
This is the kind of integrity that overcomes Leviathan.
This is Grace Drops and I’m Anne Hamilton. May God mature in you the Fruit of shalom.
Thank you to Lorna Skinner of www.riversofmusic.co.uk for the background music.
More on the spirit of Leviathan can be found in the paperback or ebook, Dealing with Leviathan: Spirit of Retaliation, Strategies for the Threshold #5. More on the spirit of Resheph can be found in the paperback, Dealing with Resheph: Spirit of Trouble, Strategies for the Threshold #6.