Lord, Is It Warfare? Week 2, Day 3 & 4
I am again combining two days of Lord, Is It Warfare? because the length of Day 3 was comparatively short and I chose not to go down a rabbit trail although as you shall see, I did with Day 4. Day 3 dealt with the Ezekiel 28 passage that describes a lamentation or a funeral dirge of sorts for the king of Tyre. But as you look at the passage, there are a couple of observations about different words in verse 2 as compared to verse 12. My primary translation for this devotional study has been the ESV.
The word “prince” appears in 28:2 and comes from the Hebrew word, NAGID which has the connotation as a ruler, leader, prince, or a captain. This position would be commonly for a leader in government, religion, or the military. The word “king” is used in 28:12 which uses the Hebrew word, MELEK. It is most commonly used for a man who is in a position of control of a city-state, small nation or government. But there is a further idea that Ezekiel develops when he notes that it is speaking of a cherub. This reduces the equation to the fact that this king of Tyre was a symbolic figure that could be the role of the devil. This cherub would have been a dark angel or demon who was in charge of a group of angels. This would define the role that the devil filled as we remember that Lucifer was one of the archangels. At this point, the devotional encourages us to make the connection between the Garden of Eden as described in Genesis and the account that is given in Ezekiel 28. I would think that we could see the very clear connection between the two especially when we look at the symbols and types that are used in other places in Scripture.
Day 4 moves us to another OT passage in Isaiah 14 which is the classic passage that tells of the fall of the devil. But before going through that passage, the book cited 1 Cor. 2:9-16 of which I would like for you to note and then a few expanded observations about it.
1 Corinthians 2:9-16 ESV But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him"--  these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.  For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.  And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.  The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.  The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.  "For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
-Here are some of the notes that I wrote down in my journal:
1. There are clear truths, revelations, and understandings of spiritual matters the Lord has prepared for those who have been Spirit-filled.
2. The Spirit searches everything about us and we should be open to that searching!
3. I am the only one who truly and deeply knows what kind of person that I am. I am either a sheep or a goat, wheat or tare, profitable or unprofitable servant, and wise or foolish. I can spend my life trying to fool myself and others but the fact remains that deep within I know the real condition of my state with the Lord. These statements are true for all men. We must constantly be cultivating the work of the soul.
4. The spirit of the world (1 Jn. 2:15-17) always opposes the Spirit of God. Therefore we must be sensitive to those things that would either overtly oppose or subtly oppose the intent of the Spirit in my life.
5. The Spirit of God is the only way we can truly gain insight and understanding into the Word of God.
6. Human wisdom at its highest level will always fail in comparison to the Spirit of God and the wisdom of God. However, the world wants to paint the wisdom of God as foolishness.
7. The Spirit will guide us toward understanding as only the Spirit can. It will usually work through the accents of the Word and the conscience. This does not negate the fact the gifts of the Spirit will work toward building and directing but the main soul work is always done through the work of the Word (personal devotion, private study, and the use of the five-fold ministry as Eph. 4 notes).
8. Only spiritual people will understand spiritual things. I should be careful that I do not cast my pearls before swine. Don’t argue with people just to “win” or to show your knowledge because at the end of the day ‘a person convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still.’ Try as you might, you will never get carnal, unspiritual people convinced of the truth of God because there must be a spark of the Spirit to facilitate it.
9. A natural person will always think spiritual things are trite, negative, controlling, bondage, etc. because the flesh is in an active war against the soul (1 Peter 2:11).
10. A spiritual person should always be one who is discerning. This means he will have a sense of judgment and care about what he will see, hear, take into his mind, and associate with.
11. I must have the mind of Christ!!!
-There is an important lesson to glean from Isaiah 14:13-14. There are five “I wills” in that passage:
· I will ascend to the heavens.
· I will raise my throne to a position above God.
· I will sit on mount of the assembly.
· I will ascend to the heights above the clouds.
· I will make myself like the Most High.
-This is a fulfillment of a man who allows himself to be consumed with pride. Paul addressed this as a warning for spiritual leaders:
1 Timothy 3:6 ESV He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.
-Conceit and pride are along the same lines: This is what brought the devil down! It put him into a place of condemnation. When was the last time I preached about pride????? (For the reader: When was the last time you heard a sermon on pride? Not a popular subject in our desire to have “high-church.” Can our seeking after doing whatever it takes to have “high-church” be idolatry? Can our work as preachers seeking to bring people to their feet instead of their knees be the wisest thing for the overall and long-term spiritual health of a church?)
-Apparently Paul is moving me to the understanding that pride is so very detrimental to my calling and to my work as a spiritual leader.
-Thomas Manton in his commentary on Jude notes a great contrast between the attitudes of the archangels:
· Lucifer—Fell to his pride. Chose to seek self as the highest end.
· Michael—Realized he better have a dependence on God. Had no room for self. He shows that. . . The Lord rebuke thee!
-One of the archangels was destroyed by his pride and the other was exalted by his dependence. The modesty of Michael serves as a great lesson to us who are lesser beings than angels. The great danger that occurs in the lives of men is when they began to have some victories, accomplishments, and success to come their way. This can lead us to think more highly of ourselves than what we really should (Prov. 16:19).
-To take your own pride down, look to those who are greater than you are and whom God has set in a higher place than your own.
-Look to the example of the Lord:
· He removed all of his glory to walk among men—Php. 2:7
· He loved those who were enemies of God before they could love Him—1 John 4:19
· He became poor for our sakes—Matt. 10:24
Thomas Manton—Pride is an inordinate affection that seeks out its own glory. It does so at the expense of others.
-Our first parents fell because of their pride—You will be like gods! This appealed to their pride!. . . Gen. 3:5
-God, in His grace and glory, works diligently with His servants. In fact I believe that God is often working harder for our salvation than we are in our own efforts of working out our salvation with fear and trembling (Php. 2:12). I would caution those who are in the grace and faith only boat, you better take into account what the whole of Scripture has to say about obedience, personal sacrifice, and commitment to discipline in our service to the Lord (James 1:19-25).
-Here is where God is working in our behalf to save us. . . He generally lets the servant to be smitten after some accomplishment:
· Jacob wrestled with the Lord and then his hip was fractured.
· Paul was caught up into the third heaven and then was gifted with a thorn.
-Sometimes God will smite his servants before a great work:
· Moses was in the ownership of a leprous hand before he led the children of Israel out of Egypt.
· Jonah was punished because of his disobedience before Nineveh’s great revival.
-Don’t ever be proud of your own sense of holiness, giftedness, personal accomplishments, and so forth.
More tomorrow. . .
Thanks for reading. . . .