We Wrestle Not Against Flesh and Blood

cherry-blossomsIn The Garden

Feeling confused these days? Is your head spinning from the daily manifestation of anger, violence, taking of sides, threats, justification for attacks, walk-outs, school-skipping, road-blocking, pin-wearing, generalizations, criticisms, hurtful words, etc.? If one could step back away from it all and objectively observe the mess, one could ask the question, “How in the world did this all come about?”

This is a very important question. My standard strategy for figuring out the reason for all problems related to mankind is to look in a garden. And not just any garden – the garden. Many of you have seen the great quote: “Life Began in a Garden.” This is beautifully true. But what is also true, and sadly so, is that death began in that same garden – death in the body and in the soul. We all understand what death in the body is; we see it every day, whether in its progressed state (“at death’s door”), or in its progressing state (normal everyday fatigue, aches and pains, gray hair, etc.) But what is death of the soul? Here is where we begin to inch toward some understanding of the confusion of today, the twin sister of the confusion that began in the garden.

”There is nothing new under the sun. The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9

Death of the soul is that complete deadening of our hearts and souls toward the One Who created us and in Whom we originally had lively fellowship. What was sweeter and completely without confusion than the daily communion Adam and Eve had with each other and with God in the garden? Even those who scoff at the reality of God get a sense that there was sweet, three-way fellowship manifested in what these same scoffers like to perceive as just a fairy tale relationship. That sweet, holy fellowship and communion was targeted by the great author of confusion, Satan, in his attempt to bring sinful confusion into God’s everlasting plan. This deceiver did not attack physically, but with words – words that were meant to raise doubts, and, yes, confusion.

“And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? ….. For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Gen 3:5.

When Eve, Satan’s victim of deceitful words, began to consider in her mind that God might be lying to her, the great domino effect of sin rapidly began to take its destructive course. Clear, sweet, peaceable fellowship and communion gave way to utter confusion. Immediately, there were lies conceived, finger-pointing, and an attempt to hide from the reality of personal sin.

God, in His Grace, out of His own good pleasure and from all eternity, predetermined to show His Glory and His Love to the now dethroned king and queen of the garden by promising to impute their sins onto His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, unleash Holy Wrath on Him, and then, wonder of all wonders, clothe His redeemed children with His Son’s Redemptive Royal Robes, giving them a new heart. We see a poignant picture of this redemption when God slew an animal to clothe Adam and Eve with its skin.

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10

Life came back to the garden, and perpetual confusion was stymied, but not completely eradicated, for this husband and wife, our first parents, would have to live with and strive against their fallen nature for the rest of their lives. God’s people, ever since, though redeemed, have had to daily live with and prayerfully strive against this fallen nature that desires to create confusion of heart and soul. Though this confusion demands perpetuity, God is faithful to hear the prayers of His people, and continually restore sweet, clear communion with Him.

“Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping. Psalm 6:8

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corin. 1:13

For those who still believe the lie of Satan and who refuse to obey the One and True God, the confusion germinated in the garden is their taskmaster. And what has been the result of embracing this lie? How has “godhood” played out in the world? See Cain murdering Abel; hear the doomed scoffers in Noah’s days; read how mankind openly sought to be God, vainly building a tall tower in order to usurp God (in response to which, God caused His own type of confusion); watch in horror as the homosexual men in Sodom and Gomorrah demand sexual union with Lot’s male visitors and instead Lot offers his two daughters; see King Saul make excuses for not obeying God; hear David lament in the Psalms regarding how his many enemies (including his own son!) are set on destroying him; watch as the Israelites are carried away into captivity; see the murder plans for baby Jesus, resulting in the killing of hundreds of innocents; see the crucifixion of Jesus, and the ensuing persecution of believers up to this day. See how the persecution of believers is applauded by many as being good and right.

As Jesus said: “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” John 16:2.

Here is confusion. Here is calling evil, good, and good, evil. Furthermore, under the fragile (see Psalm 2), usurped rule by today’s autonomous “godheads”, confusion says to kill babies in the womb, sanction homosexual marriages and shut down private businesses if they strive to obey God and His Word. Confusion says to encourage rioting, violence and hatred. Confusion says to mishandle money, information and other people’s lives. Confusion says right is wrong, and wrong is right. Confusion says that since humans came from apes, God is just a part of a fairy tale, and therefore it is impossible that He could have any bearing on our lives. Confusion says to re-write the Bible so that wrong is made to appear right. Confusion says if we don’t get our way, then we will sulk and pout and resort to violence like King Ahab and Queen Jezebel did when King Ahab could not have a certain garden he desired (1 Kings 21).

“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” James 3:16.

Take a Biblical look at what is going on around you today. If you are a believer, you will clearly see why there is so much confusion following the election. It did not start on election day, it did not start the week before election day, nor a year before, nor ten or 100 years before. It started in the garden with the lie of Satan. Ask the person who is beating up those with whom they disagree, or who is violently protesting, or who is supporting and promoting sexual relations outside the sexual mandate in the garden. Ask them if they are doing good and right, and they will say “Yes”. They will say “Yes” because they believe the “godhood” lie of Satan.

Is it necessary to try to unravel all the political and social particulars that led the United States to our current state of confusion? Perhaps, but the crucial thing for Americans to do is to get on their knees, and seek, not the god of confusion, but the God of truth and wisdom. “For God is not the author of confusion.“ 1 Corinthians 14:33. Once on our knees, we need to repent and seek His Wisdom from His Book, knowing that “…the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” James 3:17

As we continue to watch and, for some of us, experience, the unpleasant results from the current confusion in The United States of America, let us remember how and where it all started. Then, let us thank God for His loving mercy to His children, seek to live His truth in our personal lives, and share the light-truth of His loving, forgiving mercy in this dark, confused world.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever. Psalm 111:10

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
Proverbs 9:10

In The Garden