And For Them

"Are we conscious of the devil and unconscious of God?"

IN MATTHEW 25, JESUS was the bridegroom who had come for the marriage, but half of the bridesmaids were not prepared. He is the master who came to see what had been done with each man’s “miraculous power” (several ability) and found one man had an incorrect revelation of him. He is the King separating the nations into sheep (righteous) and goats (unrighteous), and those who didn’t see him from the beginning of time were lost in darkness.

Men can be standing next to Him and not see Him. They can be aware of His story, of His Bible, of religious practices, even be faithful to attend, or not attend at all, and not see Him and not know Him. These parables in Matthew picture Israel at that time, but they also picture us. People get hung up on how much money the talents were and why the virgins awaited the bridegroom and why the bride is not mentioned. They debate why sheep and goats. None of these are the point. Like in the story of Cain and Abel. Cain’s anger, his murderous intent, was the point, not the correctness of his sacrifice verses Abel’s (grain or sheep).

The Pharisees paced around in the temple with no knowledge or understanding of the God of the temple who healed the sick, the blind, the deaf, and the lame, right in front of them. They had the wealth of the history of the Jews, the Old Covenant cut between Abraham and God as their ancestry, they had all the history Paul mentions in Hebrews, yet could only think of murdering a man who didn’t “do as they did.” They were far off-center from what they should have been.

“And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,” (Matthew 21:14-15)

Where was the ark of the covenant that had killed a man who touched it and destroyed the God Dagon? Where was the presence that had frightened their people on Mt. Sinai? Where was the Spirit of God who had parted the Red Sea and made dry land? Where was a man like Moses? Zacharias the priest saw an angel and did not believe. A supernatural being spoke to him while he ministered in the temple, and he doubted. The Sadducees had decided there was no resurrection at all. You died and were dead. They tempted Jesus with their silly question about the tradition of a deceased man’s brothers marrying his wife when they didn’t even believe it was possible to be resurrected, much less that Jesus would give them a truthful answer.

These were men supposed to know the God of the Law. That there were Pharisees and Sadducees speaks to division in the Jews. Divide the people further now also into the poor and the sick, who these men ignored, as evidenced by there being multitudes who followed Jesus seeking healing. Why were there unclean spirits in the temple? The people knew there were, knew that people suffered from demonic beings, but had no solution for deliverance from their religious leaders.

“And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice,” (Luke 4:33)

See Nicodemus’ confusion over Jesus words in John 3. “How can a man be born again? Can he enter again into his mother’s womb?” Is this a serious question? The unclean spirits existed but not the God of their people? 2,000+ devils could inhabit a man and yet no one would seek help for him past tying him up. When God is invisible and the devil still exists, we’re screwed up in our thinking.

A father brought his son to Jesus because the disciples didn’t know what to do. A Syro-Phoenician woman sought Jesus for deliverance of her daughter, aware a demonic spirit was the issue, and she wasn’t even from Israel. A Roman Centurion had more faith than anyone in Israel. A Roman soldier! A tax collector repented of his crimes and offered to pay back money he’d stolen, and Jesus forgave Him. Yet, the Pharisees sold Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver and chose to buy a field with it when it was returned. They didn’t care about Judas’ death nor Jesus’ either. They’d rather free Barabbas (which name means “son of the father”). Jesus forgave the thief, while dying, and he (the thief) was guilty.

God is looking for just one man. Where is one man who will walk after Him, stand for Him, and speak His words? He found Simeon, who lived to see the Christ born. He found Anna, who lived in the temple, seeking the Lord, and SHE WAS A WOMAN. Priests and scribes were all men. He aligned Himself with John, the rogue prophet, baptizing people in the Jordan River and not in the temple. He used unlearned fishermen to minister to the Jews and a trained uber-knowledgeable Pharisee to minister to Gentiles.

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)

“And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” (Ezekiel 22:30)

Are we spreading the gospel, are we retaking the seven mountains of society (Revelation 17:9) from the devil, who does exist, and putting Christ back in culture, education, and government, or are we too busy figuring out how much those talents are worth? We have reduced the altar call to QR codes, faceless confessions, and packets in the lobby. Lest anyone get embarrassed by accepting Jesus? Or should we go all Sean Feucht and make people come forward, on a city street, in front of gang members, who are GETTING SAVED during the protest. A man stole his guitar and pawned it and now is laying hands on people. This isn’t about Sean Feucht. He’s human, but he’s doing with his 5 talents what half the church isn’t, having buried their one in the sand.

Are we conscious of the devil and unconscious of God? Like the people around Jesus, knowing our sick ones are fighting the demonic, but past whispering a prayer, doing nothing to set them free? The devil is SCARY, and God is ABSENT. (Read that like I wrote it, tongue-in-cheek.) Or did Jesus defeat the devil and enforcing that defeat requires knowledge of the Word, revelation of the Spirit, and a relationship with God? We quote “resist the devil” and think the devil is gone in a blink. But no, ask a police officer about enforcing his authority when a man is determined not to get caught. Persistence is required. We can’t be content with a nice outfit, broad phylacteries, a shiny coat, our face painted bright. A wall mural of our accomplishments, our doctorate, our ordination, our business report. Paul called all that dung. He wanted Christians to DIE then he wanted them to repent and live. But it took a bright light and the voice of God from the sky to change his mind.

We’re waiting on our Damascus Road experience, and God is waiting for us to surrender all, all to Jesus. To submit to God and die to self so that all that’s left of “little ol’ me” is Christ. The God of the Bible is greater than the devil who chose to exalt himself above God and ended up with nothing, flat on his face. God of Abraham is greater than God of Egypt, an old drawing on a wall that men created in their thinking. God of Elijah still calls down fire from heaven on the altar, but the altar isn’t stones and water and animal sacrifice, it’s us. Elijah slew the 400-something prophets of Baal. Where was the devil to save them? Where was God when Elijah crawled into a cave, far-far away from Jezebel? Baal saved no one. The devil laughed it up, then raged in the Queen. God called out to Elijah and reminded him that there were still people left in Israel who believed.

God is calling for us to lay down our arms and pick up our sword. To make Him bigger than the devil who he defeated soundly and to stop separating church and state and education and healthcare and pretending half’s the devil’s and 1/16th is ours. (To quote Lance Wallnau, “It’s ‘Go ye into all the world,’ not ‘Come ye into the church.’”) God needs a lawyer who will fight for His justice. He needs a judge who will listen fairly with God’s judgment in his heart. He needs a doctor who believe that Jesus heals miraculously. He needs the church to lay hands on the sick and cast out devils even if they are sitting in the pew wearing horns and a pitchfork. Or a suit.

God wears a robe, and I’ll bet it’s majestic. I’ll bet His glory shines through it, and He looks all golden and awe-inspiring. I know if we saw Him, if we could look Him in the eyes, we’d fall on our face and repent. Then stand back up and carry the cross He’s laid on our backs, the burden of the lost, of thieves and robbers, of orphans and widows, of the mentally ill, and the one million suffering with cancer. Disgusting that there’s so much cancer when we have Jesus.

Big God. Small devil. Isn’t that what we say? Let’s act like it. Let’s put God first and become the sanctuary built without hands, made perfect in the heavens, and be God’s kings and priests, cleansed by the blood of Christ, who ever-liveth to make intercession for us. And for them.

“Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” (Matthew 25:44-45)

Image by Avery Fan from Pixabay

Suzanne D. Williams, Author