Driving through Madagascar, you will quickly notice rectangular structures nestled alongside the pathway. These are typically made of stone and notably influenced by Christianity because of the cross on top of the structure. These are the family tombs and they are central to the life of the Malagasy who do not know God.
These tombs, homes for the dead, are often superior to the living family homes. There are rituals where they exhume their recent dead at a family reunion in order to “include” them in the feast and fellowship. They need to ensure their dead ancestors are pleased because they believe their dead ancestors represent them to the high God. Anyone who does not participate in the rituals of the dead is forbidden to have their part in the family tomb which means certain annihilation. One source even stated the Malagasy people believe they live and work for the dead so they can have the best representation in heaven. It is not any wonder these people live in such poverty and are ensnared by such superstition.
Job 18 describes the traps for those who “know not God” (Job 18:21). Bildad, although mistakenly applies this unilaterally including Job, has some truth in his assessment of those who have no hope. The path of such a person is lined with traps and snares. If he escapes one he lands in another. It is a hopeless system. There is the net for his feet and the snare covering the hole in the path (18:8). Then the gin which wraps around the ankle and hoists him in the air and the robber which slings him overhead (18:9). Then the snare in the ground like an animal trap and the trap in the way (18:10). Living your life always looking for the next trap is terrifying which is why Bildad says, “Terrors shall make him afraid on every side, and shall drive him to his feet” (Job 18:11). All these terrors have one goal: bring him to the king of terrors—death (Job 18:14).
Without the knowledge of God, millions of people around the world including thousands in Madagascar are slaves to such terror. They do not know the truth that Jesus Christ came to “deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:15). He did this when “as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14).
Think of the luxury you have because you know God and the sacrifice of the Son of God. Paul taunts the terror of death when he says, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55). Because you know the Lord, you can be “stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). You do not fear the snares in the way because of Christ, you are steadfast. You do not live and labor for the dead; you serve the living Savior. Don’t forget how rich Christ has made your life all because the “king of terror” has been dethroned.
Don’t take it for granted. There are many who do not yet enjoy such knowledge. Who will tell them?