Friday, June 6, 2014

Deus Ex Machina

There is  literary device in the world of fiction, called, Deus ex machina. It name is Latin for, the God from the machine. It is used to denote when a resolution to a plot comes from outside the plot. It's as if some god decided to change the final endings for some undefined purpose.

It is a pretty sad literature device in most instances; however, in the real world, there are many instances of Deus ex machina . Time after time, the Lord will save his people from doom, whether that be from keeping them from harm or preventing them from hurting others. Today, we highlight a few examples of such things.

King Saul confronts David

Throughout the years between when David was anointed king and when he became king, he was constantly in danger of his life at the hand of the current King Saul. More times than one can even count, the Lord protected David from the hand of King Saul. One particular instance is instructive. 

In I Samuel 23, David is on the run from King Saul. Against the urging of his men, David follows the will of the Lord to protect the city of Keilah from the Philistines. David knows that is he stayed in Keilah after the battle that he would be caught by Saul (the Lord told David as much), so he leaves. 

Even still, the actions have alerted Saul as to the whereabouts of David and his men. The Lord keeps Saul from finding David, but Saul is persistent. David cannot relax for a while here as Saul and the Israelites pursue him. 

Then we have our Deus ex machina. The Philistines have regrouped and are now invading Israel. Saul's attention can no longer be turned towards David. As I Samuel 23:27-28 says, 
"But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and come; for the Philistines have invaded the land. Wherefore Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines."

Israelites Selling Children into Slavery

It is a sad time again for the Israelites. They are in captivity under Persian rule. There is a famine in the land and they are struggling to make ends meet and pay the taxes that Persia has placed upon them. But that is not the worst of it! No indeed, the rulers and nobles are taking advantage of the harmed economy, exacting interest and buying the Israelites' children as slaves. 

There seems to be no end in sight for these struggling Israelites. The only people they legally have a claim to complain to are the ones that are harming them. The Israelites have no option available to them in order to present the possibility of getting out of this situation. 

Then just when things couldn't get worse, the enemies of Jerusalem knock down the wall! Now, on top of having no food, no resources, and no children, they have no defenses. The situation is really hopeless now. How are they ever going to get out of this? 

Then comes our Deus ex machina. You see, a little while after Jerusalem's wall is torn down, King Artaxerxes appoints a new governor over Jerusalem with the purpose of rebuilding the wall. The Lord has started to orchestrate an option for the Lord to provide for His people to have defenses. 

But that's not the end of it. Although there is still a famine in the land after the 12 years that Nehemiah serves as governor of Jerusalem, Nehemiah rebukes the leaders, and requires them not to take advantage of the Jews. The Jews start to cooperate together in this situation, and ultimately, their children are restored and their lives return to normal. 

No Heat for the Orphans

A minister is running an orphanage. The orphanage is usually without extra funds because this man believes on fully trusting the Lord to supply funds, and thus doesn't specifically seek donations for this purpose. This works out quite well for the orphanage over many years. The Lord worked through several smaller Deus ex machinas to keep this orphanage running.

Then the boiler for their heating apparatus broke. It couldn't have happened at a worse time. It was just starting to become winter, and without this boiler repaired quickly, the children could have frozen.

It took some great lengths to get the repair people there to fix this boiler for the orphanage, but the Lord blessed in this area. An appointment was set with the workmen to repair the boiler.

But as that day approached, a tremendous North wind appeared. It was going to be cold, and the orphans would deal with that. The date of the appointment couldn't be changed and the boiler couldn't be running while it was being repaired. There was a considerable question about how in the world the orphans would survive this day.

But the minister decided to pray. He prayed that the North wind would miraculously change into a South Wind and that the repairmen would have a mind to work and finish their repairs quickly.

And wouldn't you know it? That is exactly our Deus ex machina in this story. As the minister writes in his autobiography,
"The evening before, the bleak north wind blew still; but on the Wednesday the south wind blew: exactly as I had prayed. The weather was so mild that no fire was needed. The brickwork is removed, the leak is found out very soon, the boiler-makers begin to repair in good earnest. About half past eight in the evening...  In speaking to the principal of this, he said in their hearing, 'the men will work late this evening, and come very early again to-morrow.' 'We would rather, sir,' said the leader, 'work all night.' Then I remembered the second part of my prayer, that God would give the men 'a mind to work.' Thus it was: by the morning, the repair of the boiler was accomplished...and all the time the south wind blew so mildly that there was not the least need of a fire."

This great minister spent many of his years like this in prayer, and would provide a plethora of examples of Deus ex machinas. His name is George Muller, and he explained,
"When I am in need of anything, I fall on my knees, and ask God that he would be pleased to give me what I need; and he puts it into the heart of some one or other to help me. Thus all my wants have been amply supplied during the last twenty-six years, and I can say, to the praise of God, I have lacked nothing." 

The Conclusion: Trust the Lord

Here we have several examples of the Lord controlling things that we have no access to to save us from harm, yet we still don't trust him, do we? We don't think that he can solve our problems. We try to figure out everything on our own, and will not take our situation and place it in God's hands. 

But we should. These examples show that he is able to be trusted with our lives. Thank goodness, Deus ex machinas happen in the real world. 

No comments:

Post a Comment