April 22

Isaiah 13-17, Psalm 112

If we closed our eyes and were asked to envision someone or something which we dislike we could probably come up with someone. It might be someone that you know personally who you feel has done you wrong. It may be someone that you don't know personally like a militant group or a world leader or the perpetrator of a heinous act. For Jesus, when confronted with those who mocked Him, beat Him, lied about Him, and eventually pinned Him to a cross to die, He responded with, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." (Luke 23:34). Jesus knows what we often forget, as Paul said in Ephesians 6:11-12, "Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places."

Today, we read a portion of Scripture which along with Ezekiel 28 describes our enemy, the devil. We read of the favored state that he had in heaven and his sin in Isaiah 14:12-14, "How you have fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the most High'. You know there is a problem when every other word used is the word, "I". The same lure Satan used to tempt Eve in Genesis 3:5, "You will be as God, knowing good and evil.", is the same lure that led to his downfall. We read that the future antichrist will also believe this, "who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." So many in our society fall to that same lure. In practically every field, there are "experts", who people raise up and exalt as such. So called experts don't know even a fraction of what God knows on any subject. Yesterday, as I was walking along the beach marveling at God's Creation, I realized just how foolish man is. Even if one was an "expert" astrophysicist, that same person is not also an expert marine biologist, chemical engineer, or an expert in any other field of biology, chemistry, physics, etc. Compared to God, our level of intellect is laughable. As Paul put it in Roman's 11:33, "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!" Many "non-experts" still feel like they can be like God through new philosophies such as the New Age Movement. We read in Ezekiel 28:14-15, that Lucifer was not just an ordinary angel, "You were an anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you." We know from Satan's rebellion that one third of the angels chose to join him which make up the demonic horde now present.

Though Satan is powerful and present, for those of us who are of Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit, we have nothing to fear, as We read in 1 John 4:4, "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." Though he can't have us, he will continue his attacks on us, as we read in 1 Peter 5:8, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." Though Satan can't have us, if we fail to put on the armor of God he can beat us up and rob our joy. For those who mistakenly want to be God, God has already walked this earth around 2000 years ago. As God, He was mocked, beaten, misrepresented, and eventually executed. Though He will come again to rule and reign, the previous account represented what God looked like on this earth. Any who mistakenly believe that is what they want to be should remember that. May we reach others with the Word of Christ so that they can have the only real protection against our adversary. This protection is the filling of the Holy Spirit.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster