O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’” – Luke 13:34-35
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Under His Wings
I repeat myself a lot, and sometimes I contradict myself. Truth is not always clear to me. It’s a struggle, one that has been going on for six decades and yet continues. If I seem particularly confused the last few
days years, it’s
On the one hand, I don’t want to accept whatever the devil throws at me. The Psalms are replete with pleas not to let enemies have the upper hand and be able to gloat over the fallen condition of the righteous. There’s a large cohort in Christianity that focuses on health, wealth and externally victorious living. This approach is derived largely from God’s relationship with Israel as depicted in the Old Testament. If we trust and obey, God will bless, protect, and prosper us in a way that is obvious to everyone. There’s also New Testament support for divine healing and provision, and I don’t deny that.
What, though, are we to think when something attacks us? This happens. We’re minding our own business and disaster strikes. Christians lose their houses. They get sick. Their marriages fall apart. They are struck by natural disasters. Their children are killed or disabled in accidents or have health problems.
Well, Kenneth Copeland will tell you, you just need more faith. You weren’t “faithing” hard enough. I like Brother Copeland. I even plan to go see him when he’s in Branson in a couple of weeks. But sometimes the way the Word of Faith boys talk, faith sounds a lot like a lot of work. I get aggravated because I don’t have the time, the energy, the inclination, or the intelligence to “faith” against everything that might come my way, and I really don’t think it is my job to control the weather and the stock market and the real estate market and the national economy and what goes on in Washington or what the Iranians are doing and all that other stuff. In other words, I’m not God. There are times when I get to thinking I would like to try God’s job but only for about five minutes. I doubt I could handle it that long, certainly not any longer.
I think it is less about rebuking the devil than about resisting the devil. There’s a big difference. There’s a place for rebuking the devil. Suppose you as a Christian have a friend or acquaintance who is pursuing a destructive lifestyle – whether it’s a workaholic or an alcoholic, too ambitious, too lazy, gluttonous, envious, greedy, whatever it may be. This person may well be under attack by demonic influences. It may be appropriate to rebuke “the spirit of fear” or something as if one were addressing an entity with a personality. I leave that up to the leading of the Holy Spirit in a particular situation.
Resisting the devil is always appropriate because that applies directly to me. By what I allow myself to think about, to contemplate, to accept, to reject, to say, and to act upon, I either resist the devil or surrender to the devil. This is a fight. It’s warfare.
First, let us consider what Jesus says above as He looks over His beloved city of Jerusalem and mourns for the fate she has chosen. The Lord wants to protect us. He wants our permission to protect us. He needs our permission because He has given a free will.
Next, hear James 4:6-7, “… God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Third, I think this is where faith mostly applies. We go deliberately and intentionally to God and surrender ourselves to Him and to His will. Those of us who are Christians have already accepted the finished work of Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, acknowledging our need for and trust in the atonement. If we are not in Christ and have not turned ourselves in and asked for the Lord’s forgiveness and protection, there are a lot of second causes. We are vulnerable to all of the enemy’s attacks. We are under his law, his regime, and his authority. If we are in Christ there need not be any second causes.
Once we surrender our wills to the Lord and accept His offer “to gather us under His wings”, everything that comes to us, comes through Him. If He does not want it to affect us, it does not. If we can believe that, if we can trust God to do what He explicitly says He will do, we enter the rest and peace of God.
So, anyway, that’s what I’ve been doing lately before I go to bed and when I first get up in the morning, just giving myself up to the Lord. He knows I can’t do it without a lot of help, and I’m asking for that, too. We’ll see how well I maintain the first time something breaks. But, if He doesn’t want it to break, it won’t break. Faith! Amen?