A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label Pride. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pride. Show all posts

November 26, 2023

The Devil's In The Details -- Part One

I recently listened to a teaching on how Satan lost his position in the heavenly kingdom of God, and couldn't help but recognize how he has been able to tempt so many men and women to follow in his footsteps. That alone is a scary thought! Who me? I couldn't possibly be equated with Satan's rebellious sins ... could I??

So, I have been spending time in the Word [and in my heart] to see exactly what God has to say about His enemy, and to see if I need to go before Him seeking repentance and reconciliation. The first thing I needed to do was to find out what God thought about Satan, and there is no clearer picture than Ezekiel 28. The Book of Ezekiel begins with God telling the prophet to speak to "the prince of Tyre". 

Before we can begin to explore what God revealed through his prophet, Ezekiel, we  need to know about the city of Tyre, and to whom God was speaking. According to my research, the ancient city of Tyre is located along the coast of Phoenicia in what is now modern Lebanon. The site has been occupied since the Bronze Age. The city became a prominent Phoenician city-state between the 9th and 6th centuries BC, settling prestigious colonies around the Mediterranean Sea, such as Carthage and Leptis Magna. 

Furthermore, the biblical city of Tyre and the modern city of Tyre are the same. It is 50 miles south of Lebanon's capital city, Beirut. From a Biblical perspective, Tyre is about 105 miles north of Jerusalem. Tyre was known for their wickedness and idolatry and many prophets predicted doom upon the city-state. According to history, it was Alexander the Great who later conquered Tyre. In the New Testament, Jesus mentioned Tyre as an example of a city that refused to repent, as evidenced in Luke 10:13 ... Woe (judgment is coming) to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented and changed their minds long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes [to show deep regret for sin].  

But God wants Ezekiel to speak to the prince of Tyre. And here's where the Scripture makes the connection to Satan. Holy Spirit made it clear that God is not only speaking about a human prince, but also to a "spiritual prince" [as referenced by Paul in Ephesians 6:12... our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places

Remember when Daniel prayed to YHWH while in captivity in Babylon? The Bible tells us that it took 21 days for the Angel Gabriel to answer Daniel's call. Why so long? Gabriel tells him that he was held up for 21 days by "the prince of the kingdom of Persia". This prince was one of Satan's high-ranking angels from the kingdom of darkness, sent to work in this realm to stall Daniel's purpose for the Kingdom of God. We need to see that Satan can send his demonic messengers to influence human men in their roles on the earth, so that they identify with Satan, and then act in their human capabilities, representing his evil desires. So, the prince of Tyre is a human leader influenced by Satan's "princely" angel assigned to the city of Tyre. It is to this human leader [influenced by Satan] whom God begins to speak to [through Ezekiel] in verse 2.

The entire chapter of Ezekiel 28 identifies the beings to whom God is speaking. In Part One of this two-part post, we will take a look at the first being God addresses, the satanically influenced human leader of Tyre; the human being who is behind the wickedness and idolatry demonstrated by the city Tyre. It is my intent to identify him by God's own description of him and then to highlight the spiritual characteristics that not only identify him and his followers, but differentiate them from Christ's qualities, of which we should be equated. 

In verse two, God accuses this human leader of having a heart that elevates himself. He actually tells him, "You have said you're a god, sitting in the seat of gods, in the heart of the seas". Here, the seas represent humanity; and this leader is declaring that he is centered in the midst of humanity; he is at the heart of humanity. Yet, what does God tell him? He is [only] a man [weak, feeble, made of the earth], and is most certainly not God. Furthermore, this human leader imagines himself to be more than mortal, and thinks himself as wise as God; to be wiser than Daniel; that no secret on the earth is hidden from him. Then God acknowledges that by his wisdom and understanding, this leader has acquired riches and power; bringing gold and silver into his treasuries.

Then God says something that struck my spirit deeply... By your great wisdom and by your trade, you have increased your riches and power, and your heart is proud and arrogant because of your wealth. The King James Version says by your traffic ... The Hebrew word for "traffic" is rekullah, meaning "trade as in peddled merchandise". Are you beginning to get the picture? Yes, God is speaking to the ancient leaders of the wicked and idolatrous city/kingdom of Tyre. But the Bible is the living Word of God and speaks to us in our time, too. Can you recognize the Pride of our nation and leaders in what God speaks to Tyre? Are our nation's leaders not operating in this same proud and arrogant spirit, trading in human lives through sex trafficking, child pornography, and drugs? None of this trade would exist if US leaders truly wanted it eradicated. By default, they are complicit in its existence.

God goes on to tell ancient Tyre that there is a price that will be paid for their Pride. He will bring strangers upon them; "the most ruthless and violent of the nations". He warns that they will draw their swords against the beauty of Tyre's wisdom and defile their splendor. We are seeing that today in our homeland! The beauty of our physical land and the once magnificent qualities of our national identity are being squandered. God further warns that ancient Tyre will be brought down to the pit of destruction by these invaders, unable to still claim to be a god. He reminds Tyre that they are only men (made of earth) and not God; unable to save themselves from those that wound and profane them. "You will die the death of the uncircumcised [barbarian/pagans], by the hand of strangers, for I have spoken, says the Lord". 

I ask you, can you see that the Pride and Arrogance of our once grand nation is on the verge of bringing us down to destruction? That strangers have been brought upon us, even as our leaders proclaim that we are still the "Greatest Nation on Earth"? Can we, with true humility, still say that? Or has our pride so corrupted us that we think that God will allow us to continue in our wicked "trade and trafficking", without calling us to account? 

I believe God blessed this nation into existence; that we once represented everything good about men who followed the Lord -- the freedom to become who we were designed to be; to reap what we have righteously sown; to recognize, honor and worship the One who bestowed such riches upon this land. But I also believe that we have been guilty of taking it all for granted; that we thought we didn't need to protect those blessings because we began to think it would never end. Just like the human prince of Tyre, we began to worship ourselves and our abilities, thinking we were still honoring Him, even as we proclaimed that He was no longer needed in our schools or the halls of Congress. We began to become our own gods, thinking we were as wise as God, able to outthink Him and make our own plans. And now we are reaping what we have unrighteously sown.  

God warned ancient Tyre that He was taking away His protection from them and removing their position of authority in the land. We may soon experience that in our own land. But even in the midst of that kind of invasion, we must remain true to who God created us to be. We have not been promised a rich and prosperous nation forever; to live in comfort and wealth. We have been promised eternal life by walking humbly with Him; giving Him glory [rather than ourselves]; and steadfastly remaining in faith, even in the midst of sorrows and persecution. That is the message of the first half of Ezekiel. In Part Two, we will take a look at the "spiritual" king of Tyre; who that might be and how his pride and arrogance will be his downfall. 

#princeoftyre #kingoftyre #prideandarrogance #ezekiel28 #ephesians6:12 #satansinfluence #thedevilisinthedetails #prideandhumility #reapwhatyousow #godsrighteousjudgment #manversusgod #manswickedheart #iamgod #wickedandidolatrous #godofheavenandearth #pridegoesbeforeafall

Jeremiah 9:23-24     Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”    



December 9, 2021

Is The Body of Christ Suffering From Spiritual Inflation? Keep In Mind What God Weighs and Measures!

Inflation is on the minds of Americans these days because we are faced with the declining value of the dollar as the world's currency. And so we are all clear on the economic definition of Inflation, here is a simple definition that I think we can all agree on: Inflation is a general increase in prices; it is a fall in the purchasing value of our money, and resulting in a crippling rise in the cost of living for everyone.

  All of us are experiencing inflation in the world today. What we paid for a loaf of bread, a gallon of gasoline, or a new car last year has increased by 6.2% [according to the NY Times], the fastest rise in 31 years. And just try shopping for toys for Christmas this year! Approximately 80% of all toys worldwide are made in China, and because the value of the dollar is decreasing, it now takes $24 to purchase a toy that cost $15 last year. I am not schooled in economics, but this much I know ... as long as our government prints new money [to cover their deficit spending], and floods the market with worthless paper notes, the value of that paper is going to drop, and it is going to take more of those paper dollars to buy products than it has before.

Here's a bit of history you will find interesting; from 1878 until June 4, 1963, our money had "Silver Certificate" printed above the image of George Washington. That meant you could take a dollar bill into your local bank and exchange it for a silver dollar. That dollar bill was backed by a silver dollar which had real value. That coin was approximately one ounce of silver, at a value equal to the Silver Certificate. But the price of silver was on the rise, beginning in 1961 and soon an ounce of silver was worth more than that $1 dollar bill, so the government began to regulate the price of silver and discontinued the use of Silver Certificates. Our dollar bills now say, "Federal Reserve Note", and sad to say, the redemption of silver certificates into real coins of value was replaced with the issuance of paper money, which has steadily decreased in worth, with nothing to back up its value. For a far more educated discourse on how our money has lost its value, please read this informative article on CoinWorld.com. 

So, while today we might have more money, because workers demand higher wages to pay for the higher prices, the money we have buys less. Consider this: the dollars we earn for hard work have real value - something is exchanged for the monetary note deposited in your bank account. But mixed in with these dollar bills in our economy is all the money simply created by printing presses; the government pushes a button and no value is exchanged for these bills that flood the market. So how does economic understanding of inflation relate to Religious/Spiritual inflation? 

Within our Churches and the Body of Christ, there are millions of Believers who use terms like "born again", Spirit-filled"; "Revival"; "Kingdom". Now, I'm sure you will agree with me that these words and terms have real value; especially if you have a sincere and covenant relationship with the Lord and know the value His Word assigns to each. But what happens when those words become a "catch-phrase" or "buzz-word" and are over-used to describe Christian attributes in a vague or ambivalent fashion by millions of Christians with no real understanding to back their words? Let's say you are in a group of 15 Believers and the question is posed, "What does it mean to be born again"? If ten of that group stand up as mature Christians and give a substantial answer that reflects God's Word and His understanding of that term, then being "born again" has great value to the group. But if you have ten people who each give answers that are different, and which rely on their human interpretation without reference to God's Word, then what value can you assign that term? 

Can we say that the majority of the Body of Christ is Biblically sound in their understanding of Born Again? Yet nearly everyone will declare that they are. What about Justification and Sanctification? What does Redeemed mean? How would they describe Glory? And does the Body understand how, what, and where the Kingdom of God exists today? I agree that it's nice to hear these words in sermons and podcasts, but are they spoken of in terms of God's Truth with Biblical accuracy? Or have they become slogans with nothing of real value backing them? It is the Holy Spirit of God which backs up the true Biblical value of those words and phrases, giving them real worth because we have received the revelation of what it cost to pay for their existence and usage.

Among the warnings that Timothy gives us in the New Testament is the perilous times that will occur in the Last Days... He says [among the various translations] that people will become "lovers of themselves, boastful, proud, swollen with conceit, heady, high-minded, arrogant, puffed up with pride, and scoffers of God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly" (1 Timothy 3:1-5). In other words, they will value themselves and their ways more than understanding and acting in God's ways. They will weigh their self-worth in the Body and not find themselves wanting; they will be satisfied with measuring themselves by their own standards of faith and knowledge. 

But the Bible has a lot to say about weights and measures ... A just balance and scales are the Lord's; all the weights in the bag are His work (Proverbs 16:11) ... A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight (Proverbs 11:1) ... Can I forget the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is accursed? Can I tolerate wicked scales and a bag of dishonest weights? (Micah 6:10-11). In other words, I do not believe that God will tolerate an increase in unhealthy, unsound, or flawed representation of His holy precepts. He's not interested in flooding Christianity with a baseless currency of words. It is incumbent upon us as reliable witnesses of His Holiness that we not tolerate the degradation or dilution of His standards and principles. A minimal or barely sufficient understanding of God's commandments will not be adequate. In other words, it will be found scant and cursed, as it says in MicahLet us not flood the Body of Christ with deficient and weakened teachings that do not give the full and immeasurable quality of God, Himself. Let us be wary of the false prophets and teachers who do not demand full accountability of what it means to call ourselves a follower of Christ. 

So, just like the inflation we are facing in our monetary economy, we must be diligent to prevent inflation in our Churches and religious/spiritual organizations. We must back our faith with an understanding that is Biblical; real and tangible; worthy and of substance. The mere use of Biblical terminology does not mean one represents God accurately, just as saying a dollar bill is really worth a dollar. Biblical vocabulary does not guarantee Biblical value. Instead, let us demand more of ourselves and set standards for Biblical understanding, teaching, and leadership that pleases our Father. Let us show the world the true value of faith in Jesus Christ. Let us follow Paul's admonition to the Church at Corinth:  If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know ( I Corinthians 8:2). And Paul addresses the inflated Believer in Galatians 6:3, For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. We have far too much inflationary deception in our world as it is ... in regards to our economy, our government, the media, our educational system, the military, the entertainment industry, and our families. We don't need it in our Christianity! Let's guard against spiritual inflation and keep our faith free of inflated influences.

Thanks to Middletown Bible Church for their teaching on Inflation as one of the "Crises of Our Day".  

Romans 12:3    For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.