America rejoices this week with the appearance of another hero. Captain Richard Phillips' brave action of allowing himself to be taken hostage to save the crew of his merchant ship off the coast of Somalia was a welcome story of personal bravery and responsibility. The story ended with the crew and captain safe and recovered from the clutches of the lawless pirates.
This case of piracy offers a metaphor to remind us of larger "pirates" holding the world hostage. Iran pursues its effort to build a nuclear weapon. No one seems able to prevent this game-changing scenario. Israel's new government warns it will take action against Iran if it continues down this path. Israel clearly sees the gun pointed at its head—better than any other country does.
North Korea recently fired another missile from its shores in defiance of United Nations sanctions. That this missile could reach the western borders of the United States with a nuclear weapon did not go unnoticed. The paranoid leaders of North Korea know full well they can command world attention with such an action. Like a sick child with a dangerous weapon, they use such tactics to gain moments of delusional grandeur. Yet no one should be deceived about the danger behind this action. The Korean Peninsula is the Balkans of Asia. It could explode and drag the region, and the world, into chaos.
Pakistan is another tinderbox threatening to catch fire. The central government has a feeble hold on power as terrorist groups control other parts of the nation. Pakistan already has nuclear weapons. The West fears that those weapons will fall into the hands of militant Islamists and threaten the stability of the Asian subcontinent.
These larger "pirates" point us to a deeper spiritual truth that explains our present world condition. Our world is held captive by a spiritual force of deception more powerful than any weapon that paralyzes a nation or person with fear. People are not aware of this reality, but God's Word shows us the reason for the evil in our world that prevents peace from breaking out among nations and individuals.
Revelation 12:9 describes Satan the Devil as a master deceiver who holds this world hostage. "So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." This deception covers the world in blindness to the solutions to the great problems of our time. World leaders struggle to find ways to fix the conflicts among nations, the poverty within developing nations and the economic instability of the global economy. While many acknowledge the basic problems of hate, ignorance and greed as the cause, no religious, philosophical or social system has come forward to provide lasting solutions.
Why? Because there is a spiritual deception on the world that can only be understood by revelation. The solution lies in understanding there is One whose life has ransomed you, a "spiritual hostage," from the grip of this evil being. The choice is yours to begin the process of gaining your freedom.
You see, we have already had Someone offer His life for ours to save us from the spiritual captivity that enslaves the world. Consider these words: "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6-8).
I invite you to consider the astounding truth that this world is held spiritually captive by a force that transcends any hostage story in today’s headlines. I challenge you to accept the encouraging truth that you have been ransomed from this captivity by Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Read more about it here in our booklet Jesus Christ: The Real Story.
Today’s headlines point to spiritual realities. Learn that lesson and you can understand how the world works.