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Week 4 December 2023, Devotion Part 2

His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth. Revelation 12:4

The timid prefer to be kept in the dark about the Christ Child who rocks heaven and makes the earth reel with the shock waves. They flock to the season’s festive light extravaganzas and the amusement park where Victorian carolers and Halloween vampires coexist peacefully. The nightmarish dragon of Revelation masquerades as an angel of light. The biblically illiterate are in the dark about Lucifer’s self-exaltation that led to his expulsion from heaven and his subsequent demonic hold on earth. The Light-Bearer had said in his heart, “I will ascend to heaven; above the stars [angels] of God…I will make myself like the Most High” (see Isaiah 14:12-14). This fallen angel of light delights in mankind’s darkened understanding especially during a holy season.

David, Israel’s “sweet singer” and victorious warrior king, testifies of the God whom he knows personally and intimately, “Yea, thou dost light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness. Yea, by thee I can crush a troop; and by my God I can leap over a wall. This God – his way is perfect; the promise of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him” (Psalm 18:28-30).  (Part  2 of 2)

Comment: Luke 10:17-20 tells of the 72 awestruck disciples who returned from a mission telling Jesus that even demons were subject to them in His name.  He said that He had watched “Satan fall from heaven like lightning,” then cautioned them to rejoice only “that your names are recorded in heaven.”  Luke’s story in Acts 19:13-16 unpacks the critical “name” aspect by telling of seven exorcists who attempted to cast out evil spirits by saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.”  It backfired when a certain demon sneered, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”  Then the man possessed by this evil spirit “leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.”  Paul, newly arrived in Macedonia, was walking the streets of Philippi to absorb its sights and sounds.  Perhaps the voice behind him was like a dripping faucet that annoys, but is tolerated for awhile.  Acts 16:17-18 explains that a woman followed Paul and Silas for days, crying “’These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.’  But Paul was annoyed…”  Why, we wonder, did he scorn the free publicity?  Alas, the fortune-teller was possessed by a “python spirit” and Paul cast it out.  The mythical snake worshiped at Delphi was linked to the Delphic oracle; the term “ventriloquist” originated there.  Her furious owners had Paul and Silas thrown in jail, where beaten and bloodied they sang at midnight and witnessed to the terrified jailer after a strong earthquake. All prisoners were accounted for. So, instead of killing himself, he tended to their wounds, turned to Jesus, was baptized with his household, and their names were promptly recorded in heaven.. Some people have a “devil of a time” precisely before Christmas because of money, family, and time issues.  We “cast” it out by casting our burden on the Lord, and heeding the counsel of James 4:7, “Submit yourselves to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  Revelation 12

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1 Comment

Vreni, as always, thank you for your wonderful insights into these passages. You are a wonderful gift to us! Cindi

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