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Friday, September 30, 2016
The Ancient and Present Anchor – 30 September 2016, Anno Domini
17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. (Heb 6:17-20)
One of the most rousing marching songs of my youth, and one that continues a favorite of mine, was composed by LT Zimmerman in 1906 in the Naval Chapel at the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. It was written as a fight song for the Academy when confronting their arch enemy in sports, the US Military Academy at West Point, NY. The song later became the official march tune of the US Navy. The Song – Anchors Aweigh.
Stand Navy out to sea,
Fight our battle cry;
We'll never change our course,
So vicious foe steer shy-y-y-y.
Roll out the TNT,
Sail on to victory
And sink their bones to Davy Jones, hooray!
Anchors Aweigh, my boys,
Farewell to foreign shores,
We sail at break of day-ay-ay-ay.
Through our last night ashore,
Drink to the foam,
Until we meet once more.
Here's wishing you a happy voyage home.
Blue of the mighty deep:
Gold of God's great sun.
Let these our colors be
Till all of time be done, done, done, done.
On seven seas we learn
Navy's stern call:
Faith, courage, service true,
With honor, over honor, over all.
There are a number of relevant points in that fight song that applies to the Christian life as well. To ‘weigh anchor’ means to hoist the anchor up from its fixed point in the bed of the sea. Anchors ‘aweigh’ means that the anchors of the battleship have been weighed and are secured aboard the ship. To weigh anchor means to prepare for sailing. The Christian has his anchor in that immovable Rock of their Salvation – the Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. That Rock will forever hold the Anchor secure and, subsequently, the great Ship of Church, from drift into uncontrolled waters. But the ship must weigh Anchor when the winds of the Spirit are right. We leave not the Anchor behind, but secure it aboard the ship of Church in our travels.
“Stand out to Sea” is the place of the battleship, but the sea of life is also the proper place of the Ship of Church. We cannot forever remain in protective anchor at port; but we always have with us the Anchor of the Word when we encounter storms and maelstroms of doubt and false doctrine. Under such conditions, the ship at sea, and the Church of Life, drop anchor and stand into the storm to weather it.
“Stand Navy out to sea, Fight our battle cry; We'll never change our course, So vicious foe steer shy-y-y-y.” The Battle Cry of the Church is “God, our Refuge and Strength!” “1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. 4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. 5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. (Psalm 46:1-5) When the earth be removed, as it surely shall be at the Last Trump, where shall our feet find firm foundation if not anchored in the Word of God?
We sail into the battles of life with the following winds of the Holy Ghost. “Though the earth be moved,” the Seat of the Sovereign Power shall stand Immovable and Permanent. Compromise is not an option for the Church. The leaven of the rich and compromising churches is precisely what Christ made reference to in the Gospels: 6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. ….. 11b. I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? 12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. (Matt 16: 6, 11b-12)
Well, there are more parallels in that great song that escapes the notice of the modern, dumb-downed theologian or professing Christian; but I will leave those to the committed Christians (as opposed to professing) who usually take time to read these devotions (or better still – the Holy Bible), of mine though poorly written.
Every ship at sea has an intended destination. So does the Ship of the Church. Its port offers a happy rest of comfort and security from the storm. It also allows for the sharing of its cargo with the merchants thereof and the acquisition of other cargo to be carried abroad. In port facilities, the maneuver space is illiberal and any drift may result in collision with other vessels secured in port; so the anchor is necessary to prevent that drift. The Anchor of the Church is defined by Hope and assured by the cable of Faith!
When the Lord appeared to Abraham in the guise of Three Angels and informed of His plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for the filthy sins of the place (including sodomy), Abraham was confused that the Lord, contrary to His nature, might destroy the righteous with the wicked. (see Genesis 18:23-33) With the assurance of God that the city would be spared even if only ten righteous were found therein, Abraham was convinced that God’s character had not changed. But God found not ten righteous in Sodom, so He spared the only righteous man of the city by escorting Lot out in the company of Angels. The Anchor of God never moves, only our perceived reference to a false horizon.
The secure hold of the Anchor is fixed on the unseen Rock at the bottom of the sea and out of sight of the seaman; yet, the seaman puts his trust that the anchor will hold in that fixed position. There are mysteries associated with God’s Word that we may not fully comprehend, but we trust in the veracity of that anchor nonetheless.
The component of faith must not be dismissed in understanding the efficacy of the Anchor of God’s Word for our souls. Faith is that strong cable that holds the ship to the Anchor of Hope. Without Faith, hope would be forlorn.
In order to properly secure the vessel of our souls, the Anchor must be deployed by trained hands. The Word of God, to be properly understood by the initiate, must be taught by those who both love the Word and are accomplished in the study of it. If propagated in love and fervency, it cannot help but accomplish the thing and purpose for which God intended. It is sad to witnessed men preaching false conclusions today from the Word of God, or even a false word itself. The Ship of the Church is drifting aimlessly on the modern sea because the Anchor has not been set in the unchanging Rock that is Christ.
May our Church and people settle for no other Anchor than that of the Word of God as personified in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and His unchanging Word!