Sunday, November 6, 2016

I want this superpower!

I came across a rare superpower in the Bible that I'd like to have. This valauble but often overlooked power has even been borrowed and adapted for some Marvel comic characters, though I much prefer the true-to-life Biblical version.

It's important to remind ourselves that any superpowers described in the Bible are quite different than the superpowers imagined as part of the hugely popular DC and Marvel Comics Universes. The musclebound fictional superheroes of these comics all operate according to powers inherent in them and controlled by them. The real-life superheroes of the Bible, though, all operated according to powers belonging solely to God and controlled by God, meaning that these men and women might've appeared as scrawny, humble types of no seeming consequence. But the vast army of superheroes in the Bible did things of great consequence, and were able to do so because of God's great power at work in or through them  whether it was Moses calling up cascades of water from desert rocks, or Elijah calling down devouring flames from the sky, or Daniel sleeping unharmed among hungry lions. God's superpowers at work in God's humble servants made mighty heroes of them all. Just check out Hebrews, chapter 11 for a list of what they achieved through faith in a great God of incalculable power!

But there is one superhero in the Bible whose superpower from God is often forgotten when celebrating the Heroes of the Faith, and it is this superpower that seems so appealing to me. The hero's name is Ezekiel, and his superpower is truly the stuff of legends. The Marvel Comic Universe wouldn't have created the indestructible Wolverine or the awesome power of Ultron if it weren't for this great power. I speak of the mythical adamant stone, from which is derived the fictional alloy of adamantium. Because God knew that Ezekiel would face great opposition due to the harsh and disappointing nature of the message God gave him to deliver to His people, God transformed Ezekiel's forehead into adamant stone, the hardest substance in all the earth. "Like adamant stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead; do not be afraid of them, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house" (Ezekiel 3:9, NKJV). Other translations use the word "emery" or "flint" due to the unfamiliarity of the archaic term "adamant," but I prefer the strong and illustrative connotations of the adamant stone.

To us today, the word "adamant" is a descriptive word rather than an object. It means to be firm and unyielding, resolute and determined. A person who is adamant will not give in to anything. But before it was an adjective, "adamant" was a noun: a legendary stone of impenetrable hardness, its root meanings including untamable, unconquerable and unyielding. The Greek word adamas, from which it is derived, meant unbreakable or invincible. To have a forehead of adamant stone would enable a person to withstand anything that came against it, any opposition, any conflict, any warfare. (No wonder Marvel Comics latched onto it!) It is such meanings that give the word such force and make it such an excellent choice for the translators of Ezekiel's story. Ezekiel, with his super-powerful forehead of adamant stone, had been called by God to be unyielding and unwavering in the face of forceful opposition!

Ah, but of course, this is all meant to be understood in a figurative sense, and would be more accurately understood as God giving Ezekiel a resilient spirit in the face of stiff resistance, but I still love the graphic language God used to describe His equipping of His prophet Ezekiel. And it's a superpower from God that I often long for in the face of the many challenges life throws at me.

I think all of us would benefit from asking God for a forehead of adamant stone, so long as we used it wisely. I would want to use it to express my determination to trust God no matter what! But it's important to remember that it is only meant for those who are facing great resistance or strong opposition. Do I want that? Deep down, I suspect I have no choice if I want to follow Jesus. Following Jesus means entering a spiritual battle for which we need to be heavily armed with spiritual weapons that reflect God's divine enablement and protection. So I'm simply saying that having a superstrong forehead of adamant stone that reflects an unyielding, unshakable and absolutely indestructible faith in God is among my God-given superpowers of choice.

© 2016 by Ken Peters

1 comment:

Eileen said...

Some great thoughts - thanks!