The Man Who Never Got to Die

Heron Channelside (5)

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Job scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.” But Job replied, “You talk like a foolish woman. Job 2:8-10 NLT

Like Job’s wife, many have been pushed to the breaking point, to where they see death as the only way out. Fortunately Job realized how foolish this is. Sometimes when we focus on our problems they become bigger than the solution. For example the Sun is infinitely larger than a coin. But if you hold the tiny coin close enough to your eye it will block out the huge sun, only because the coin is closer to your eye than the sun. Sometimes our problems are closer to our minds than God is, and so the tiny problems seem bigger than they really are. This leads some to foolish thinking, and illogical solutions, such as suicide.

It can happen to anyone. After boldly standing for the right, Elijah had a meltdown while running from the queen.

He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die.1 Kings 19:4 NLT

Elijah was short sighted and could only find one solution-death. His problem was like a tiny little coin so close to his eyes that it seemed larger than the sun. This caused him to act and pray foolishly. Look at what happened next.

Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. 1 Kings 19:5 NLT

Elijah was stressed and just needed some rest. When we get tired our emotions get the best of us, and we start thinking foolishly, just like Elijah and Job’s wife. Thank God for the Sabbath rest!

God often uses three different ways to answer prayer. He may say “yes,” “no,” or “wait a while.” In his nearsighted desperation Elijah asked to die. God did not grant this request when it was given, or later. God said “No!” Elijah asked to die, and is one of only two people to never get to die! God had a better idea than death. Instead he took Elijah to heaven in a chariot of fire (2 Kings 2:11). God had a solution Elijah had could never dream up! In our desperate times God is not confined to our shortsighted solutions.

When we, like Job’s wife and Elijah, feel like giving up, let’s remember that the Son is so much bigger than the little problems before our eyes, just like the sun is so much bigger than the little coin we hold before our eyes. Thoughts of giving up and dying are foolish thoughts. Both Job and Elijah saw brighter days, and so will we, when we let God answer our prayers according to His infinite love and wisdom, instead of taking matters into our own foolish hands.

You may study this week’s SS lesson here.

Mark 5; Demon Possession

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Have you noticed several demon possession stories already in the book of Mark? Are these stories relevent to us today?

Mark 5:1 And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. 

And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. 

 5:2   And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 

Here a demon possessed mad has an obsession with death. Is it not the same today? Are not gothic people today obsessed with death?

 5:3   Who had [his] dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 

 5:4   Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any [man] tame him. 

Today there are people in the church (Remember in Mark 1 the demoniac was in the temple) as well as the world who will not be tamed or bound by laws or standards. They want to do as they please without submitting to anyone, yet this is a sign of being controlled by the prince of darkness.

 5:5   And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. 

Studies show that people who are cutters, and suicidal have been abused, usually sexually. With this man’s obsession with death and cutting, he may have been abused. I am glad Jesus came to be His Savior!

 5:6   But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, 

 5:7   And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, [thou] Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. 

Here is a tremendous struggle. The man wants to worship Jesus but is tormented by His presence. Again, it is not Jesus who can’t dwell with sinners, but sinners who don’t want to dwell with God. This man is demon possessed, and so one sign of demon possession is not wanting to be in the presence of God weather it is in the church service, prayer meeting, or family worship.

 5:8   For he said unto him, Come out of the man, [thou] unclean spirit. 

 5:9   And he asked him, What [is] thy name? And he answered, saying, My name [is] Legion: for we are many. 

Jesus did not need to know His name, but asked, so that the disciples could see what they were up against. On our own we are no match for Satan.

 5:10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country

 5:11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. 

 5:12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. 

 5:13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea. 

 5:14 And they that fed the swine fled, and told [it] in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. 

 5:15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. 

Notice being in your right mind and properly clothed go together. Luke tells us this man was naked. The further we are from God the more clothes we are willing to take off. The closer we come to God the more appropriately we dress. For more on this please click here.

 5:16 And they that saw [it] told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and [also] concerning the swine. 

 5:17 And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. 

Hhhmm….They want Jesus to go away. I wonder where those demons went after the pigs drowned. Here is a clue when people are asking Jesus to leave!

 5:18 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. 

A sign of demon possession is wanting Jesus to go away. A sign of conversion is wanting to be in His presence.

 5:19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.