A DAY OF MOURNING
TAX DAY - April 15
Seeing as how this is a national day of mourning for the American people, we should probably say a word in remembrance for the oppression and waste that April 15th commemorates.
The passage that comes to mind is Mat. 22:21. As we know, the Jews were a captive people to the Romans. The feeling was high against the Romans, and a tax revolt was in full swing. In this the enemies of the Lord saw an exceptional opportunity to place Him between a rock and a hard place. We read of their motive of asking this question in v. 15.
Therefore, this would be the situation. The people hated the captivity to Rome which the high taxes represented. Rome was well aware of this feeling against them and were on guard at all times for open revolt, Acts 21:38. These enemies of Jesus were certain they had Him with this question. If He said to pay the oppressive tax, the people would turn against Him. If He said not to pay the tax, Rome would be on Him as a leader of rebellion.
So what does He say? Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. This was not at all what was expected and they marveled at this answer. They left him, and went their way, knowing that they wouldn't come out any better if they perused it further.
Let's look at the context of this exchange. Actually, it begins back in 21:23 where the Lord exercised his authority (Jn. 1:19), and drove the moneychangers out of the temple. These were crooks who were stealing from the people who desired to serve God at the temple. There had been a deal worked out between these men and the temple rulers which involved all kinds of wickedness. Thus, these crooks were there with the permission of these leaders who were getting their cut of the "proceeds" from these religious robberies.
Needless to say, this did not set very well with the rulers, and the Lord did not let it alone. Verses, 28-32, He called the publicans and the harlots better people than what these rulers were, because of their willingness to repent.
Verses, 33-44 He presses them to the wall. He gets extremely pointed against them, making the point so clear that they couldn't miss it. The Lord has identified them so well that they desire to kill Him, vv. 45, 46. (And we think that our messages causes friction at times!)
The Lord doesn't let up as He continues on. Mt. 22:17, He tells them that their rebellion against the God of heaven is going to result in the total destruction of them and their city. (Note, he send forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Thus, the armies of Rome that came against this rebellious people in 70 A.D., were the armies of God.)
Verses. 8-10, the original people are cut off completely and the gospel taken world-wide. Verses 11-14, He doesn't leave out the ones who don't really have anything.
(This would correspond to Mt. 7:21-23. Included in these ones with a false hope would be the ones who made a profession without the clear understanding of the substitutionary death of Christ and the necessity of trust in that payment for them, Eph. 1:12, 13. We hear of folks who say they asked jesus into their heart before they understood about this substitutionary payment of Christ, or they may have known about the facts of His payment for them, but they where told that asking jesus into their heart, or turning their life over to him, was the way of salvation. Then they go on to do many good works and then look at those works as proof of their salvation. We see here that the Lord stood against any such foolishness. The saddest thing about this false hope is that they did not realize it for what it was until it was too late.)
22:15-22 gives us the issue at hand. Now let's look at some things, keeping the whole context together (21:23 to 22:22).
Of major importance is the second parable, 21:33-43. Here He tells them of their refusal to glorify God as God. They were refusing to render him the fruits in their seasons. They were refusing to give to God what belonged to Him, and these men understood exactly what Jesus was saying to them.
This whole passage is emphasizing the main theme, the authority of the Lord to lay claim to everything. This lays the foundation for His answer in 22:21 (compare with 21:41). He pointed out to these wicked men that they were under this oppressive bondage to the pagans because they had rebelled against the King. They had refused to give to Him what was due Him. When He let out His vineyard to the husbandmen, He left them with instructions (laws) to follow. As they obeyed the householder, they rendered the fruit to Him.
There is no way to avoid the passage which establishes this principle, Deuteronomy 28. We will say very little other than point out the main issue at hand.
V. 1 lays the foundation for the entire principle of obedience to God. If His people observe and do all of His commandments, He will set them on high above all nations of the earth. The blessings of God will overtake them as a football tackle will overtake the one carrying the ball.
V. 58. On the other hand, if they do not observe to do all the words of this law, ..the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful.
The next obvious reference is in 1 Sam. 8. We have covered this in the past, so we won't again other than our one point. (Copy available upon request, Who Is King.) God promised that among the results of rejecting the authority of King Jesus (the law of God), from over them, would be oppressive civil government, confiscation of property and high taxes, vv. 14, 15.
Thus, in Mt. 22:15-22, the reason for the oppressive laws and taxes, was their refusal to give to God what belonged to Him. They refused to recognize the authority of the law of God over them and the God-sent result was the oppression they were now under.
All of the parables in this passage lead up to this fact. Thus, when the Lord said, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's, they knew exactly what He meant. As the husbandmen, they had failed to glorify God. They were controlled by their own lusts rather than the command-word of God. They knew this because the Word of God had told them so, Jn. 8:44.
Clearly, the principle is still in effect and it can not be avoided, no matter how much one might desire to believe otherwise. The work of Christ did not do away with the physical results of sin, Rom. 1:21; 2:1-11; 6:12-18; 8:13; Gal.6:8. It is foolish to think that this principle is restricted to the individual, Psa. 33:12; Pro. 14:34.
Where does this leave us today? The areas that the child of God has given to the state (Caesar), contrary to the law of God, which belongs to God, is legion.
1. We have given His children to the state by sending them to the state schools.
2. We consumed His money upon our own lusts.
3. We as individuals (and the church), are looking to the state to provide what only the Lord is to provide.
4. The law of God has been replaced with the law of man, and the "Christians" have quietly accepted this replacement. Some who name the name of Christ have even gone as far as to say that we should not try to work to bring our civil government back into conformity to the law of God. Someone's law will prevail, either God's law or man's (humanistic) law. Therefore, what these people are saying is that they refuse to have Jesus reign over them, Lk. 14:14.
6. Men like Jerry Falwell, who have claimed to be Christians doing God's work, now go to court to prove that they are not doing the Lord's work (rather they are now doing "moral" work), so they can get government aid, (THE CHRISTIAN NEWS, 1/29/90, pg. 22. Copy upon request).
7. National leaders (Reagan), seeking after the gods of this world while claiming the Lord. Astrologist claims control of timing White House events, (Indianapolis Star, 3/27/90).
All of the above and much more, fits in this confrontation of our Lord with these Jews, Mt. 22:21. We see the sum total of this wickedness in Jn. 19:15 We have no king but Caesar. They willfully choose Caesar over the rightful King (rejected His rule through His laws for the state's), and then complained when the promise of God was fulfilled in the oppressive state, 1 Sam. 8:7.
APRIL 15, most certainly a day of mourning for the American people. The mourning isn't over the high taxes which confiscate the property of the average citizen, or the oppressive civil government and all that goes with this.
The mourning is over the departure from God's law by those who claim to be His covenant people. Mourn for a nation that has departed from the law of God for direction and its standard of justice. Mourn for the "Christians" who see nothing wrong with this departure and are making no effort to correct it. Mourn for God's people who refuse to glorify God as God over every area of life. Mourn for the denial of the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ over His Church, Joel 2:13.
But, the Lord can turn the mourning into gladness. This terrible day of mourning should remind us to cry out to the Lord that He would see fit to pour out His Spirit of Grace and repentance, Joel chapters two and three, and Zec. 12:10.
The mini genocide treaty in Indiana which we mentioned in the last letter was not as strong as we indicated. I mentioned what I heard at a meeting without checking it out more thoroughly. I don't often do that without documentation, but I did this time. We checked further and here is what I understand.
The legislature tried to get through a very strong bill that reflected the International Genocide Treaty, which some pastors were able to get stopped in committee. There was a watered-down version added to H.B. 1234 which would allow a judge to increase the sentence of an individual (accused of another crime), if he feels that the defendant was in a conflict with another because the other was a member of a particular group.
I realize that this sounds confusing and it is. Evidently it is not as dangerous as we indicated here in Indiana. What is the dangerous thing about this is that it is a crack in the door which permits the judge to determine what the motives of an accused person might be. If he determines the motives to be a hatred against another, he can increase the sentence if the individual is found guilty as charged for the first crime.
This is only in Indiana. The documentation that I have for the strong Anti-Hate laws which are now being pushed through stats legislatures, is in regard to Arizona (America's Promise Newsletter P.O. Box 30,000, Phoenix, AR 85045. The article is WILL ANTI-HATE LAWS MAKE YOU A LAWBREAKER? August 1989.)
There are some extremely dangerous events taking place all around us, with very few crying out in alarm. We hear a lot of preaching on 'salvation' and how to be more spiritual, yet in this 'eternal security' and spirituality, we are being reduced to little more than slaves, and very few care.
We hear the Televangelists tell us how to get our prayers answered and how to feel better about ourselves, even love ourselves more, (send me your money to cure problems, as the Lord of heaven and earth comes running to your aid). We receive many instructions on how to be more secure in our faith. Never mind that we are so secure now that the Lord Himself can't move us to any kind of action to stop the downward spiral of society. As long as we have security in our faith, all will be fine. The new Christian's anthem is I SHALL NOT BE MOVED, when it should be, AM I A SOLDIER OF THE CROSS?, or, SOUND THE BATTLE CRY.
The Lord has something to say about watchmen who are supposed to warn the people of God, but they don't make a sound. He identifies them as dogs who won't bark, dumb dogs.
Paul identified the dogs (false teachers), in Philippians chapter three by what they are saying (concerning the true circumcision). God, in Isa. 56:9-12, identifies the dogs (false teachers) by what they are not saying.
In Isaiah the Lord is calling the God-hating antichrist crowd against His people because they have turned from His law-word as their every instruction in righteous living. He tells the antichrist crowd that it is safe to come against them because the watchmen who are supposed to warn and call them back to His command-word, won't. They will not cry out the warning to return to the law of God, nor do they teach the people of God how to apply it to the situations at hand.
Rather than warning the people, they are saying that everything will be fine, in fact, tomorrow will be better than today. The reason they are saying this is for the gain that is in it for them.
According to God's instructions in Isaiah, a pastor's responsibility is to keep abreast of the danger to the people of God (and to society in general), warn them of the approaching danger, and call them back to the Lord so they will know how to stand in the face of that danger.
Obviously, I am becoming more hostile over pastors who claim to love their people, won't obey the Lord and warn them of the dangers ahead, and then instruct them from the law of God how to respond to those dangers.
Indiana, very quietly, has just passed legislation which makes it illegal to make any kind of derogatory remark about a person's religion, race, or sexual orientation. This legislation is patterned after the wicked international Genocide Treaty.
The deal over the situation in Panama shows us that the U.S. army will go anywhere in the world to enforce, not only this law, but, any civil law they so desire. This should cause us utmost alarm and fear for our freedom to preach the whole counsel of God. This is total misuse of power and authority. The makers and enforcers of such laws forfeit any allegiance and obedience to them from the people of God. God provided us with a whole book to explain this principle to His people, the book of Daniel.
It is only a matter of time before these antichrist laws are used against Christians and preachers who stand for the total sovereignty of King Jesus over every area of life.
There is presently a case in Ohio which clearly shows the danger and the lateness of the hour. A man was at a gay rights march with a sign. This sign had a scripture verse on it against sodomites. One of the marching sodomites called over a police officer and brought charges against this man. The man was arrested under this legislation and is now facing, I think, 18 months in jail. The excuse for the arrest is that he maced the female sodomite. The man didn't even have any mace on or anywhere near him.
These are called ANTI-HATE laws, but their purpose is to stamp out any kind of Christianity which might raise a voice against their wickedness. These ANTI-HATE laws are not against blasphemy and cursing God, but they make it the worse of crimes to tell someone they are doing wrong. Upon enforcement of these laws, it will be illegal to read passages such as John 8:44 from the pulpit.
Some would be tempted to say, "I just won't speak out against those things which I'll get in trouble over." Ps. 50 makes it clear that this attitude makes the one who won't speak out, as guilty as the one doing the evil.
SLEEPING DOGS -- False Teachers! According to Isa. 56:10, 11, one of the main marks of a false teacher is that they do not cry out against this kind of wickedness. As they sleep and slumber, the antichrist crowd moves against the people of God to destroy them.
These sleeping dogs may have all of the pleasant points that the men of Phi. 3 had. 1. These are sincere and dedicated men, convinced that they are serving God and have others convinced also. Yet they raise no alarm. 2. These men have very winning (charismatic) personalities and excellent, enticing words. These false teachers will not speak out against danger for fear of offending someone. 3. They have an immense amount of worldly wisdom and knowledge. 4. They are moral men. 5. They may be prosperous, even identifying godliness with gain.
Unquestionably, if one is doing evil (in this case, failing to warn the people of God of the danger ahead), they are evil. It takes evil men to do evil deeds, AND GOD'S WORD DEFINES EVIL. Isaiah says that a watchman who does not warn the people of God to return to the word of God, is an evil man.
Paul identifies these apparently good men as evil because they are doing evil. The evil they were doing was teaching doctrines contrary to the revealed word of God. Isaiah identifies these men who won't cry out against the evil in society as, DUMB DOGS.
If the watchman doesn't speak out, who will? When the judgement comes, and it will, who will the Lord hold responsible, Ez. 3:18?
RETURNING GOOD FOR EVIL
(I Thes. 5:15)
What is God talking about when He instructs us to return good for evil? Without question, this is a major area of misuse and misunderstanding.
The definition of words is probably one of the greatest areas of abuse and misinformation today. Because of our sinful nature as well as our humanist training, more often than not, we read the Scriptures in these very corrupt contexts.
What is the good that we are to return for evil? If someone steals from us, speaks badly to or about us, offends us, what is the good God commands to return to them? If someone commits murder, what is the good God commands to return to them by society for that evil which they committed? What is good? Define good.
We'll give a hint that will answer this question, What is good? That hint is, What is evil? Define evil.
As Christians, the answer to that is obvious. Evil is what God defines as evil. His word defines good and evil and defines the degrees of that good and evil. Therefore evil is anything that is contrary to what the law of God requires.
What do the Scriptures say? The Bible is always its best interpreter so let's look at a few places where the Lord uses good. Rom. 12:9, 21; Gal. 6:10; Eph. 4:28; 3 Jo. 1:11.
These all use the basic word good but the clearest and only place that has the exact word in it is II Cor. 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Compare this with the usage in I Thes. 5:15. (The word evil here and in II Cor. 5:10 is the same word also.)
Good and evil are contrasted and both are in relationship to the total of the law of God.
Thus, the Scriptures define this good which God commands to return for evil as, that which is upright, honorable and acceptable to Him.
The Lord tells us in I Thes. 5:15 that we are to follow that which is good, not only toward the brethren, but toward those outside the faith.
This gives us the definitions of these two words: Good is that which is acceptable in God's sight and conforms to the principles of His total word: Evil is the antithesis, defined as anything that does not conform to His law.
What He is saying is that no matter who does what to us, we can not justify any departure from God's instructions in righteousness. The response to the situation must always be in the way He requires. God's word alone defines what is good and instructs us how to apply that good to the evil around us (and in us, we might add).
If a fellow member of the faith does evil toward us, we must respond as instructed in the total of God's law-word. If the wicked man does evil toward us, God still requires us to respond to that evil as He instructs.
This is a requirement of God upon His people. He tells us in Matt. 4:4 (given by the Lord before there was a NT), if we want to live, we must apply His law to everything.
Thus, if an unbeliever or believer steals from us, we are to require that he make restitution if we are going to return good for the evil which he did. If he commits murder, it is a life for a life. Why? Because God defines this as the good to return in these situations.
When a believer commits and remains in the evils mentioned in I Cor. 5:9-11 with an unrepentant spirit, the good God tells us to return is excommunication. The required good for the temptation to join with evil persons in dating, in business, in close friendships, is separation, II Cor. 6:14.
Exodus chapters 21 and 22 give some of the requirements of the law in particular situations. For times sake, we will only look at three very obvious ones to get a little idea of what we are talking about. There are many excellent points here that cover every situation.
In Ex. 21:12, 13 the Lord defines the good to return for the evil of murder, as well as the good to the manslayer. In Ex. 21:16 (Deut. 24:7), God defines the good to return for the evil the kidnaper did. The good to return for the evil done is clearly restitution or repayment in equal value, Ex. 21:24, 25. On down in v. 33, we see the requirement of restitution for damage which resulted from personal negligence.
Thus, to fail to require the thief to make the repayment as God's law says he must, we have returned evil for evil. Evil is the departure from God's instruction in righteousness, 1 Jo. 3:4. God's laws cover every area of life, telling us exactly what good to return for whatever evil might be done.
A good example of this is in Deut. 22:1-4, with the requirement to aid a brother in distress. Yet this requirement is not restricted within the faith. Clearly Ex. 23:1-7 extends this responsibility to include even our enemies. If that person needs assistance, my responsibility is to do for him as God's word requires of me.
Indeed, if he is openly hostile to me or to God, that can not prevent my returning to him good as God defines good for the evil he may be doing or may do.
The implications with this goes all through our relationship with others. Even with the involvement of anger, jealousy, strife, envy, hate, pride or any other of the works of the flesh, on EITHER SIDE, the requirement is still to assist in any way we can.
The command found in Eph. 4:31 was not new. God gives it in Prov. 15:1 and again in 25:15. Therefore, Christ gave no new commandment in Matt. 5:44 when He said, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. God's law-word defines the love and good we must show to all men; loved ones, friends or enemies.
Paul's instruction in Rom. 12:17-21 is no different when we understand the definition of evil (any departure from the law of God). The wicked's departure from the law of God never justifies His people's departure.
(A note in passing. Deut. 23:6 [Ezra 9:12, 13] forbids seeking the peace or prosperity of those who are against God. This is on a national scale. This tells us that we can not help nations that are against God. There is no conflict with the Lord's words of Matt. 5:44.)
Both Christ and Paul re-emphasized what had already been given in the OT. This fact made the antinomians who wanted to be free from the law of God, very hostile. It does no less today.
Another note in passing. Matt. 5:38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: Notice that the Lord said, Ye have heard that it hath been said. This shows that He is not referring to this law as given in Exodus. Every other time He refers to the law, He says, It is written.
We know that Christ could not be doing away with the requirement of restitution (Ex. 21:24-25). If there had been the slightest hint that He was, the Pharisees would have been on Him like a duck on a June bug. Therefore, He was dealing with its perversion and situations similar to what we see so much of today. "That person isn't worthy of my aid, therefore, God doesn't require me to obey Ex. 23:1-7 toward them." Christ came to deal with such evil attitudes as He places the proper spirit back into the law.
Remember, He is dealing with some of the most effective hypocrites of all times. These were men who claimed to love God, yet they devoured widow's houses, Matt. 23:13-39; they crossed the road to keep from having to help a person in distress, Lk. 10:30-37; they used the law of God to escape their responsibilities to their parents, Mk. 7:7-13; they thanked God they were not as other men, Lk. 18:11.
This would fit in with the above. Even if we had a fight with someone, we are not relieved of the requirement to return what God defines as good for any evil they might do. No matter how bad our personal relationship might be with an individual or if we feel they are worthy, this does not relieve us of our responsibility to do Ex. 23:1-7.
The command to return good for evil does not let the offender off the hook. In both cases (with the saved and/or unsaved), God's word defines the good to return for the evil which was done. That good may be very 'bad' in our eyes, but we can not make that determination.
Another example would be Israel's warfare against the Canaanites. This war was at the command of God. That command made the war which destroyed every living person good. Thus, Israel returned the good which God commanded for the evil of these nations. When Israel failed in carrying out this command of God toward these wicked nations, Israel did the evil and faced the wrath of God for their wickedness. In their disobedience, they returned evil for evil to the nations around then, Judges 2:15.
Let's consider the other direction also. Not only are we to work hard for the person who may be over us and doesn't treat us proper (good for evil), but we are to work hard for the person who tries to treat us good. We all know of people who take advantage of an employer who tries to treat his employees good. In this they return evil for the good.
Never are we permitted to depart from His instructions in righteousness. His word always tells us what good to return for the evil perpetrated against us or against society. The word of God alone defines what is good and evil. His law-word is the only source of instruction which gives the balanced punishment which properly fits the evil done. Remember what Satan told Eve? "You don't need God's word to tell you what is good and evil. You can decide for yourself." This lie is as effective today as it was then.
Therefore, anytime we try to determine what good to return for the evil committed, we are following this lie of Satan. The only way we can return good for evil, is to return whatever action God requires of us for that evil which was done.
Love fulfills the law toward all men, Rom. 13:8-10. Love toward anyone will always fulfill the requirement of God's law toward them , not what we might feel is best in the situation.
Perfect love will separate from evil when separation is required. It will respond to their wickedness just like God's word requires, whether with mercy or with the death penalty. He alone defines true justice and mercy.
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself makes this requirement of responding as the Father would against evil, Matt. 5:48. Paul tells us where to find this standard of perfection, II Tim. 3:14-17. Peter also presents the standard for those who have been redeemed, 1 Pet. 1:16.
Absolutely, we must return good for evil in every situation.
When a person commits the evil of robbery or defrauds, the good returned is that he make restitution.
When a person commits the evil of murder, the good returned is capital punishment.
When a believer commits and remains in the evils mentioned in I Cor. 5:9-11 with an unrepentant spirit, the good returned is excommunication.
When God tells us to turn the other cheek, turn the other cheek.
GOD'S WORD ALONE DETERMINES THE GOOD WHICH IS TO BE RETURNED FOR THAT EVIL.
It is our responsibility to find out from God's word how we are to respond to whatever evil we confront.
A NEW DISEASE
FOR A NEW DECADE
There is a new brand of religion going around today, not only in America, but world-wide, although it is not a new religion. This new brand of that old religion is called in our day, Humanism. One of the many faces of Humanism will be found under the name of Environmentalism.
The state schools are the training ground for this religion, as they openly teach the children that their problems are not within themselves, to be dealt with through the gospel, but their problems are with the environment.
We are also being overwhelmed with the idea that there is a new disease in our day called, Mental Illness. Is there? Is depression an illness as we are being told that it is? What does the word of God have to say about what we are being told? Does the word of God address this illness?
We find the root of the problem in Gen. 3:12,13. Obviously, this is the original sin. As you can easily see, both Adam and his wife, when they were confronted with their sin by the Lord God, tried to blame someone else. They both tried to lay the blame on their environment. And by environment, we mean anything outside of themselves. They both said that their sin was caused by something beyond themselves, over which they had no control.
I like this idea. Environmentalism allows me to blame my lack of discipline on everyone except where the problem and the answer lies, myself and my relationship with my Creator. Of course, this is as opposite from the word of God as anything can possibly be, James 1:13, 14.
Environmentalism says that the environment pollutes man instead of man polluting the environment in his pursuit of his own lust. This basic doctrine has grown and is reaching full flower in our day. The Environmental movement says, "Clean up the environment and man will be clean." Christianity says, "Clean up the man and the environment will be clean." The gospel cleans up the man, and holds man responsible for keeping his environment clean, Deut. 23:4-13. Our responsibility is to take the Cleansing Agent into all the world.
Adam was given the command to conquer his environment for the glory of God, not to be a victim of his environment. Christ renews this command.
The natural result of trying to blame sinful man's actions on someone or something outside of himself is what we are seeing and hearing so much about today, mental illness and depression. Thus, as the Environmental (and Humanist) movement grows, so will the so called "Mental Illness" problem.
God did not make man with the ability to carry a guilty conscience, yet humanistic man refuses to admit wrong or sin. He may admit poor judgment or a mistake, but not that he did wrong. The humanist's goal is to do away with all Biblical moral standards, leaving only the individual's moral standard in effect.
But the individual's standard is soon laid aside for what is best for the world-wide society. "What more daring a goal for humankind than for each person to become, in ideal as well as practice, a citizen of a world community." (humanist manifestos I and II, pg. 23. Observe the frequency of this term today.)
DOCUMENTATION! What brings this about is the article in the US NEWS, Mar. 5, titled, BEATING DEPRESSION (emphasis added). The opening blurb says, "Treatment of mood disorders is psychiatry's greatest success story. As the biological roots of the illness become better understood, the stigma is subsiding."
Then they discuss the scientific and psychological advances in the field of mental illness. In their discussion we find this statement;
"Tracing the origins of mood disorders, illnesses that affect not only behavior and physiology but our very sense of ourselves, is a formidable task. For mind and body are inextricably joined, and everything we imagine, dream, experience or fear is ultimately translated into the firing of nerve cells and the ebb and flow of chemicals in the brain. How do we sort out the events that began internally in a strip of DNA or a malfunctioning neuron, from those that have their roots in external events: a broken love affair, the death of a friend, the loss of a job? It is with this conundrum that scientists who would understand mental illness struggle..."
Notice the inconsistency in what they are saying. They open the article with the statement that science and psychotherapy is dealing with the root of the problem, yet within the article, they admit that all they are actually doing is treating the results of the problem.
The problems are triggering a chemical imbalance and they are tracing and treating the chemical imbalance with scientific means. Their statement is as true as the Scriptures themselves, as they tell us that the mind and body are joined. Every thought, dream, experience and fear, has an affect on our physical well-being. The power of the gospel includes the power over these things that would control us to our destruction. The power of Christ allows the believer to bring all of these things under control, to the word of God, that life might more abundant.
Let's look at some facts from this article, then we will look at the word of God in this very important area.
We will use their term, Mental Illness, which they use over 20 times in this short article. This term is totally unscriptural. The word of God never refers to mental illness, although there is a legitimate mental illness in the sense of maybe Downs Syndrome. But to identify mental illness with depression as they do in science today, is totally anti-christian. We should also mention that medication may cause a lose of ability to control ones mind.
1. Regardless of how they open the article, they make it abundantly clear that the problem is in the mind. The mind is racing out of control. "Depression and manic depression appear to be triggered by stress." "...episodes of mania and depression appear initially in response to some external stress, but latter seem to acquire a momentum of their own. Repeated low-level stresses might build up until they trigger a manic swing in mood.."
"[E]nvironmental stress" also is blamed for this swing in mood. In other words, the actions and circumstances around us, therefore out of our control, are blamed for these destructive mood swings. Sinful man is controlled by, rather than being in control of, his environment.
It is obvious to all with any common sense, control the stress and the mental illness is gone. The message of the gospel never offers an escape from the stressful situations, but offers the individual victory in the situations.
2. Some personalities are more susceptible to this depression than are others. The sensitive and open personalities are more vulnerable to `mental illness.'
3. What starts in the mind then causes a genuine chemical imbalance which can definitely be followed by careful scientific study.
4. This leads to identifying the problem as a chemical imbalance and science is coming to the rescue. The research is centering around finding chemical substitutes to bring the body's chemical balance back into line to what it should be.
Thus, we see that psychotherapy is used to identify the problem, then science is used to develop antidepressant drugs which form a cornerstone of the treatment for mood disorders.
5. Psychotherapy is being tailored to the individual patient's needs, whether to change his thinking from a negative pattern, or to address the problems which the patient has encountered in his personal relationships. (They say nothing about making those personal relationships right, as God defines right. Freud himself, as he developed psychiatry, said that its purpose was to usurp the minister's work [J. Adams, Competent to Counsel, pg. 12]. In addition, psychotherapy is telling us that we don't love ourselves enough. This causes us to have a low self-esteem which is then identified as the root of the problem. See A NEW GOSPEL FOR A NEW DECADE in this letter.)
6. Treatments include electroconvulsive therapy, which has a side effect of memory lose and confusion. Also included is sitting in front of very bright, full-spectrum lights for hours a day. Group therapy is also mentioned as a major method of treatment.
(This is one of the more destructive moves against Christian values, as it conditions people to face their problems and to work as a group, not as individuals. This type of group treatment is leading to the acceptance of the larger group, ultimately the world-wide group. The Lord deals with us as individuals. To the devil's crowd, we are no more than a number in a group. This is one reason the work place is going to the group method of work. Work to please the group, not the Lord or even the employer who pays the bills. This is democratic socialism [communism] in action at the lowest level, the work place.
Our allegiance is not to the group [socialism], nor to the individual [anarchy]. Man's allegiance is toward the Creator of heaven and earth, as revealed in His word. When allegiance is removed from God and directed to anything else, the inescapable result will be socialism (total central control), or, anarchy (no self-control). Let us add that there is a "group therapy" in a Biblical sense, but it is centered around Christ and the word of God, Heb.10:25, etc.)
7. The generation which saw the marked increase of depression (`mental disorder'), is the baby-boomers, those born between '45 and '55.
The possible reasons they give that this generation is the start of the downward shift is: the fiercer competition in the labor force during the 60's and 70's; the great gap between expectations and fulfillment than in previous generations; increased drug use and greater mobility.
They also mention that once they turn 40, suicide declines in this age group. They also point out that those born in succeeding decades show a decrease in the rates of depression.
(This is the generation which saw the concerted effort to remove God from every area of society, starting in the state schools. Therefore, they are the ones who started the trend down into this abyss of nothingness. This is the generation which replaced Christianity with Humanism, self, with no thought of even recognizing the Lord, let alone pleasing Him. This generation saw the seeking of the good life at the expense of everything else.)
8. Some of the symptoms which are mentioned: Brooding over imagined failures. Salvador Luria, even as he went to Sweden to accept the Nobel Prize for medicine in '69 was undermined with doubts, "I had a feeling of undeserved recognition." (Here we see that he had the wrong standard, himself. He was serving the wrong master, self. Self is an extremely harsh taskmaster. We do our best for the Master and leave the results up to Him.)
The man they build their story around could not keep from reliving the past and how he should have done things differently. He also said, "There's a sense of doom, of sadness."
Thus, we see that there is a deep sense of guilt, either over what we have done or over what we haven't done.
Another point they make with Patty Duke is the uncontrolled crying, maybe for days on end. They mentioned the depression that comes from the seasonal change. They are developing drugs to combat. Persistent sad, anxious or empty mood. Feeling hopeless or worthless. Loss of interest or pleasure in activities, including sex. Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions. They emphasize that the mental problems develop into physical symptoms such as headaches, digestive disorders, nausea or chronic pain.
Also present can be increased energy and decreased need for sleep. increased talking, moving, impulsive behavior without regard to consequences.
They mention Mike Wallace. During his trial for libel against Gen. Wastmoreland, he lost sleep, weight, and had phantom pains in his arms and legs. He says, "Depression is palpable, you begin to feel like a fake and fraud. You second-guess yourself about everything."
9. This depression is as disabling as is coronary-artery disease or arthritis. The person spends more days in bed than those with chronic lung or gastrointestinal problems.
10. They also emphasize that "Depression is a family affair." They mention that it can be hereditary, passed from one generation to the next. (Of course, this allows one to blame their parents for their failures and sadness. The word of God is extremely strong on this. God demands accountability from each person for their own sins. Then He provided the redemptive work of Christ to free us from anything that would hinder our obedience to His word. This includes anything from our fathers, 1 Pet. 1:18,19.)
The theme of the article is that depression is an illness which deserves our sympathies and understanding. It is treatable as you would treat any illness by applying therapy, then science and drugs. Yet without saying this in so many words, they say that all the treatments only treat the major symptoms
In conclusion, they give some advice on where to go for help; medical-school psychiatry department, community mental-health center, local mental-health association. THEY MAKE NO MENTION OF GOD IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM.
We could go on and on about all of this mess, but it is time to look at some sound Biblical answers to this dilemma which the devil's crowd is using to their fullest advantage.
An interesting note here is a letter which Ann Landers ran from a Doctor who wrote about Mental Illness (Indianapolis Star, 3/6/90). In the letter, this Doctor said that mental illness was a result of a chemical imbalance in the brain. Therefore, it is an illness like any other illness and can be cured using scientific methods.
This is typical pagan philosophy. As even the article in the USN pointed out, the chemical imbalance is a result of stress, even a result of the feeling of guilt. Therapy seeks to enable one to accept that guilt or transfer it outside of self, to the environment.
The public disinformation service is doing its best to reclassify these "mental problems" as an illness as would be the flu. Everything is then offered to keep the individual from looking to the only source of help, the word of God.
WARNING! Now, let us sound an alarm here. As this indoctrination about mental illness grows, is it only a matter of time before any kind of faith in the inspired word of God which brings obedience, joy and peace, will be considered `mental illness,' to be treated with therapy and drugs?
Pro. 17:22, this word MEDICINE means "healing, cure." I think that we can safely speculate that the joy which is the natural result of being at peace with the Lord, also brings a chemical imbalance, just as much as does being at war with Him. Only this chemical imbalance is for our good. (Let us speculate further. God created man with the perfect chemical balance. Sin disrupted that balance. Through Christ that balance is restored. Sin in the Christian's life disrupts it again. Now, let's suppose that science decides to examine a child of God, who is living a life of obedience. He is at peace with his fellowman and with his Creator. They compare the results with one that is in rebellion against God, yet on the outside all appears to be just fine. The chemistry differs by quite a bit. Which would we suppose would be considered mentally ill, needing drug treatment?)
It is significant that the article says that this terrible malady of depression started to gain ground with the baby-boomers, after the WW II. It peaked between '75 and '80.
We could say that WW II was a major turning point in removing the last vestige of Christianity from the American society. The big push to remove all reference to God started in ernest in the 60's. This is the time that the article identifies as the turning point towards depression and madness. Statist education has done its job well.
CAUSE! Now, let's look at the word of God. There is a direct reference to what we are talking about in Deut. 28:15, 28. [Madness, fig. of wild and helpless panic.) This madness is the natural result of society and the individual turning from God's law.
Zech. 12:4, the Lord says that He will smite with madness, all who are against Him, His church and His laws. This all means all and that is all it means. All includes the saved and the unsaved alike, Rom. 2. Judgement comes upon anyone who is against the truth as revealed in His holy law-word. And part of that judgement is wild and helpless panic, madness.
This is a general point which stood out in the article. All of those `afflicted' with this illness had a feeling of helplessness and panic, maybe over impending doom (the future), over the past catching, up, or even over the present, which seemed to be out of control.
A Biblical illustration would be the situation with Saul. Whether he was saved or not is a matter of discussion, although in the light of Samuel's statement in I Sam. 29:19, it appears he was.
Saul acted like a mad person. He felt that everyone and everything was against him, even his own son. We find in I Sam. 16:14 that the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, replaced by an evil spirit. In I Sam. 18:10, the evil spirit is identified as coming from the Lord and music would calm this spirit.
(Depression is becoming so prevalent in our secularized society that PBS is starting a series, "Moods and Music," to sooth the madness. State education is having its effect and now they plan to use science to deal with it. The devil's crowd desires to bring order out of chaos, never mind that they created the chaos for their purpose.)
Where did Saul's madness start? I Sam.13:8, Saul had been king for two years. He had done right and obeyed the word of the Lord. The Lord had given him some marvelous victories. After two years the Philistines gathered to war against Israel. Samuel told Saul to wait for him seven days at Gilgal, then they would then make the offering and go into battle.
Saul didn't wait, and Samuel showed up. Samuel rebukes Saul for his rejection of the commandments of God for what he felt was best at the time.
Saul was given another chance in chapter 15, where he almost obeyed the command of the Lord completely. But he sacrificed the command of God for what he felt was best. Once again Samuel rebuked Saul for turning from the commandments of the Lord, vv. 22-24. This leads to the departure of the Spirit of the Lord from Saul, which is the result of leaving the law of God for what he felt was best? Saul lives in a state of madness for the rest of his life. His madness resulted in the taking of his own life, 38 years after his first departure from the commandments of God.
The word of God clearly establishes that madness, fear, depression, doom and gloom are a result of turning from the law of God as our rule of life. Therefore, the national madness (fear, helplessness, panic. A minority group of the smallest sort, can strike fear in our leaders), such as we are experiencing now, cannot be reversed apart from a national return to the law of God. I don't see this in our present system, but only God knows.
But it can and must be dealt with on an individual level. We cannot expect the leaders of the land to do what God's people refuse to do, recognize the law of God as their guide for good government.
His way is far cheaper than having to buy those drugs to cure the chemical imbalance in the mind. But the natural man would much rather spend money than discipline himself in the way of the Lord. His way is the only answer which will give lasting results. It cures the root of the problem. God isn't in the business of treating symptoms, because that will not change a thing.
Isaiah 26:1-4... (Note what the wall is around the new Jerusalem.) Trust is work. Trust is compliance with the total command word of God, Trust ye in the Lord is what Saul refused to do. He felt that his way was better than the path outlined in the commands of God. V. 3, the peace that man is searching for comes only from following the command-word of the Lord over what we feel is best.
As we follow on in Isa. 26, we see that God promises to bring down those who "dwell on high," even to the dust. Mike Wallace said that his depression made him feel lower than a snakes belly. (If this doesn't appear to be a fulfillment of Isa. 26:5, I don't know what would.) Those who are at war against the law of God will be cast down to the dust.
Science is searching for the means to bring them back up without even having to mention the Lord, let alone even considering a return to His law.
SOLUTION! Now let's get a little more practical. As we have already mentioned, everything must be built upon obedience to every command word which proceeds out of the mouth of God. Remember what the Lord told the devil, Mat. 4:4. If a person is antinomian, all of these next steps are useless.
Just about everything else fits into this second point, and that is this, GET CONTROL OF THE MIND. There are no shortcuts or substitutes for this discipline. ONLY THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL WILL PROVIDE what is needed to do this.
Isa. 57:20,21. (Wicked, criminal. Guilty of hostility to God or his people.) Keil says, "With these words, which have even a more pathetic sound here than in 48:22, the prophet seals the second book of his prophecies. The "wicked" referred to are not the heathen outside Israel, but the heathen, i.e. those estranged from God, within Israel itself. (pg. 383)"
Thus, we see that the reference is to the saved individuals who refuse to acknowledge the authority of the command-word of God over them. This includes anyone who refuses to submit their own will and way to the law of God. No doubt this is a reason we see and hear so much about "mental illness" in the church. When the law of God is removed, madness takes over.
Is it any wonder that the self-acceptance gospel is growing so fast, both within and without the Christian community? It is so much better to preach self-acceptance than to preach return to the command-word of God. Here in Isaiah we see that those who refuse to submit to the command-word of God are unable to control their thoughts. All of the muck and mire from the past is continually being thrown up to them.
On the other hand, to the obedient child of God, the past is under the blood of Christ. Yet he still must discipline the mind to the law of God to leave it there once it has been dealt with properly, Ph. 3:13. And don't think for a moment that the enemy doesn't know this and use our memory against us.
Under this return to the law of God are such things as restitution and apologize when needed. Involved also is control of the tongue and control of the emotions that fly out of control. There are a tremendous amount of principles here. We can safely say that as we search the word of God according to Ph. 3:15, God will show us the areas that need attention according to His word.
In addition, the obedient child of God has Rom. 8:28,29. Here is our confidence that the God of providence is in total control of all circumstances. Everything that comes into our life is permitted by the Lord in order to form Christ in us.
We are assured that there are no mistakes with the Lord, Pro. 16:33. As we do all things for His glory and accept all of the things as from Him, it relieves us of the responsibility of worry about the results. Absolutely everything which comes into our lives must be viewed in this light. If we don't, we will doubt everything and be driven to depression.
Finally, we have the principle found in Matthew six. As we obey God in every area of our life right now and seek first His kingdom, we have the promise of His protective providence in our lives.
With all of this we have Ph. 4:6-8, the continual guarding of our mind. If we allow our mind to brood over the past, or how it was, or how we wish it had been, the mistakes, failures, wrong decisions, we will hatch an egg. That egg will contain a viper which will destroy us. As we mentioned at the first, some personalities allow for easier control in this area.
If we allow our mind to dwell on unholy thoughts, those unholy thoughts will overtake us and our actions will soon be unholy. There is on way around this.
Pro. 23:7, the heart in the scriptures, refers to the seat of the will, not the emotions. Modern usage sees the heart as the seat of emotions. Therefore, it is the will that must be brought under the authority of the word of God.
As our mind and then our actions are contrary to the holiness of God as revealed in His law, He will give us over to the feeling of helplessness and panic, madness. This is the promise of Deut. 28.
There is no escape from that panic and hopelessness without a return to His every command as our standard and His thoughts as our thoughts.
As the individual substitutes his will for God's law, as society continues to depart from the law of God, the disabling depression will continue and even grow, according to the promise of God's word.
Science can treat the chemical imbalance all they want to, but it only covers up the problem. Only God's way will work.
A NEW GOSPEL FOR A NEW DECADE
The Indianapolis Star ran an article by Suzanne Fields on their editorial page, 3/6/90. THE LATEST CURE-ALL FOR EDUCATION: SELF-ESTEEM. "When a child faltered in the classroom, we used to blame his work habits. He should study harder and longer, without television, radio, movies, boom-boxes and other distractions. Now we blame the books, the teachers, the culture...
The latest hip word to cure our ills is "self-esteem." California spent $375,000 of public money on a task force to "promote self-esteem and social responsibility.""
She goes on to say that 49 of that state's 58 counties now have self-esteem task forces, and so do Maryland and Virginia. She tells of the plans for a new multicultural curriculum that will help children feel better about themselves, and to develop a more "global" approach to education.
"SELF-ESTEEM is touted as the "social vaccine" of the '90s, a quick fix for young people who are turned off and dropping out."
Christians are buying this pagan thinking, hook, line and sinker. The Christian community has been well prepared for this new Self-Esteem gospel which places the blame everywhere except where it belongs.
"The matter of personal worth is not the concern of those who lack it. In a real sense, the health of an entire society depends on the ease with which the individual members gain personal acceptance." Then this author emphasis, "Thus, whenever the keys to self-esteem are seemingly out of reach for a large percentage of the people, as in twentieth-century America., then widespread "mental illness," neuroticism, hatred, alcoholism, drug abuse, violence, and social disorder will certainly occur." James Dobson, Hide or Seek, pg. 12-13.
Anyone who is a Christian and knows anything at all about the word of God, should be able to see that this is not sinful man's problem. His problem is not that he doesn't love himself enough, or think enough of himself. What has happened to good old common sense? From the way all of this self-love is being accepted, we would think that all Bible belief is laid aside for a gospel which makes the sinner feel better about himself.
As an added note: H.E. (3/31/90), tells us that there is a bill (ADA) currently going through Congress which will provide almost unlimited legal protection, for all types of handicapped person. 'Mental Illness' is included as a handicap. This bill will require the employer (no matter how small), to make provision for the handicapped person at tremendous expenses.
WHERE ARE THEY COMING FROM? Let us look at just a little of the Humanists' plans for the world. The connection with the above will be quit obvious. Equally obvious is that this manifesto is the outline of the plan of action for the state schools. (We will add the emphasis in these quotes from the humanist manifestos I and II. Prometheus Books 932 Kensington Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14215.)
"Eleventh: Man will learn to face the crises of life in terms of his knowledge of their naturalness and probability. Reasonably and manly attitudes will be fostered by education and supported by custom. We assume that humanism will take the path of social and mental hygiene and discourage sentimental and unreal hopes and wishful thinking." (This was written in 1933.) In the conclusion of this '33 document, we read, "Man is at last becoming aware that he alone is responsible for the realization of the world of his dreams, that he has within himself the power for its achievement. He must set intelligence and will to the task."
In the introduction of their Manifesto II, 1973, they say, "As in 1933, humanists still believe that traditional theism, especially faith in the prayer-hearing God, assumed to love and care for persons, to hear and understand their prayers, and to be able to do something about them, is an unproved and outmoded faith. Salvationism, based on mere affirmation, still appears as harmful, diverting people with false hopes of heaven hereafter. Reasonable minds look to other means for survival."
They go on to say, "Using technology wisely, we can control our environment, conquer poverty, markedly reduce disease, extend our life-span, significantly modify our behavior, alter the course of human evolution and cultural development [the are firm believers in predestination, predestination by man], unlock vast new powers, and provide humankind with unparalleled opportunity for achieving an abundant and meaningful life." (Note the Biblical term, abundant.)
Under their first point in this second Manifesto they say; "While there is much that we do not know, humans are responsible for what we are or will become. No deity will save us; we must save ourselves."
Then the last point which has to do directly with our subject; "Fourth: Reason and intelligence are the most effective instruments that humankind possesses. There is no substitute: neither faith nor passion suffices in itself. The controlled use of scientific methods...must be extended further in the solution of human problems." (Guess who will hold the controls, and it won't be the christians.)
There are 31 pages of this and its implementation in society is very obvious. The humanist goal is to identify the problem then solve that problem through education and science. This is the direction that society is being manipulated into as Christians remain silent.
1 Kings Chapter 17
There are some points well worth our time in this familiar passage.
Elijah had been told to go to Zarephath and there a widow woman would sustain him. He goes, then meets her as she is gathering sticks to cook the very little that she has left for herself and her son. Then she planned to die of starvation.
Elijah tells her to fix him a cake first, then fix her own. At first she protests, because she has nothing but a handful of meal and a very small amount of oil. This wasn't even enough for one person, but she was going to split it with her son, and then die.
Elijah tells her not to worry, fix his cake first, then fix whatever she needs for her and her son. He tells her that if she will do this, the meal and oil will last until rain comes to relieve the famine. She follows his instructions, and the meal and oil last for many days. The margin says that these lasted for a full year. We know from James 5:17 that the total length of the famine was three years. Evidently, Elijah was by the brook for two years.
First, the place of the supply. It was where she was. The famine made the situation extremely difficult at Zarephath, but the Lord didn't tell her to move to a better place. Rather, He had a plan to supply all of her needs where she was. The Lord knows exactly where we are today and has provision for us there.
Second, the method of supply. She was hard at work. She was not sitting at home saying, "Woe is us, we are going to die." The supernatural supply of the Lord found her hard at work.
Third, the Lord did not fill up the meal barrel or oil container. Rather He provided just enough to meet the need at the time it was needed.
Many times when we pray for the Lord to supply what we need (even in fulfillment of our needs according to Mat. 6:33), we expect Him to fill up the barrel. If He doesn't, we feel He has failed. Here we see that He only supplied enough to get by on, day by day, where we are.
Let us not fall into the trap of thinking that because He doesn't open the windows of heaven and rain down all of our requests, that He isn't supplying all of our needs. To hear many talk, if the barrel isn't full of oil and meal, God hasn't heard or answered our prayers. This is the message found in the gospel of prosperity, "Turn your faith loose and you will never have a financial need again." That just isn't true. Most of the time He supplies just enough to do what He has for us to do, and no more.
We claim the provision of the widow, but we want the prosperity of Solomon. Solomon, at the start of his reign, loved God with all of his heart, and prayed accordingly. He prayed for the Lord to give him wisdom to do the job that God had given him to do.
Fourth, we see the principle here that the provision of the Lord has one purpose only, and that is to be able to obey the word of the Lord. God told this widow to feed Elijah, then He provided just enough. When the famine was over, that supernatural provision stopped.
How many of us pray that way? How many of us have foremost on our minds a prayer that God would give us His wisdom to know His will, then His provision, power and the grace to do His will?
We have two types of praying. One for what we need to be comfortable in this life. The other for what we need to do God's will for our lives. He will provide all of our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus to do His will, IF doing His will is our goal.
Agur, in Proverbs 30:8, 9, said, Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.
Usually, the provision of the Lord is just enough to get by on, in whatever situation we might find ourselves. We are far better off being content therewith.
Fifth, she placed the Lord first when she didn't feel like it. Certainly, she didn't relish obeying the word of the Lord when everything appeared to be over for her and her only child. All hope was gone, yet she obeyed God. She was on the bottom with no hope of going up. She was clutching at her last straw, and now someone was asking her for that last straw.
Her time was gone, her money was nonexistent, her only child's life was at stake as well as her own, and everything was coming apart. Everything was in a turmoil; the end was within a very few days as far as she knew.
It is easy to obey the word of the Lord and God's will for our lives when everything is going fine and there is an abundance. What happens when things are not? Most people desire to serve God down deep in their heart, but that desire to serve Him is a willingness to obey Him out of the abundance. If the barrel is full and maybe overflowing, then they will serve and do what they can for Him. Is a person really placing God first when they approach His service thusly?
True faith is shown by obedience when the barrel is empty and destruction appears imminent. This obedience by faith isn't as evident in our abundance as it is when we follow out of our need, as this widow did. (Job 1:9)
Sixth, we doubt God because He supplies for us as He did for this widow rather than as He did for Solomon, yet He was as much in the supply of one as He was of the other.
We hear of others upon whom it seems that God unloaded the riches of Solomon. This causes us to doubt that God is hearing us. We hear the message that big is proof that it is God giving the increase. This type of theology says that this widow was not right with God, because God didn't keep the barrel full. Yet it was the miraculous provision of God to never allow the barrel to run out, even though she probably took out the last handful of meal and drained the last drop of oil daily. Even then, Elijah and the widow never doubted the supply of God.
This shows there will always be enough oil and meal (maybe just enough) to obey the word of the Lord and His will for our lives. And maybe even as we look back, there is no great event which 'proves' God's supernatural care.
More often than not, we expect far too much from God, which leads to disappointment when He doesn't come through with what we expected from Him. We may even doubt that He heard us or that He is taking care of us, or we look for sin in our lives to see why He did not give us what we expected of Him.
Seventh, when we don't see or experience the overflowing containers of oil and meal, we think we are doing it on our own. Because the `advance' is only a little at a time, we are unable to see the hand of God.
Eighth, most of us require full containers to rejoice and praise God. We have just barely enough to continue doing what He requires of us; God keeps it from running completely empty as we obey Him, yet we complain because there is just enough or that it is not running over.
This widow found plenty to rejoice and praise God for in just a handful of meal and a few drops of oil. Pride is not grateful for the small things, the little added strength to obey the word of the Lord.
Ninth, sad to say, most of God's people never reach for this last drop. They see the barrel is empty after pursuing their own thing; therefore, stop short of obeying God.
Tenth, this is another point that we tend to overlook that we have nothing to offer God except an empty barrel.
Eleventh, our last point. Notice, it is a daily supply, just enough to get by that day. He will provide the meal and oil daily that we need to obey His purpose in our lives. GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD.
Too many look at the handful which the Lord has provided for us to face today with, and worry about whether it will be enough for tomorrow. This widow didn't know how long the famine would last, only that the Lord would take care of her until it was over, v. 14. She acted on the promise that the Lord would take care of her as long as the need was there, v.15. As she did this, there was the daily supply of all that she needed, v. 16.
We have a bad habit of looking at the handful which the Lord has provided for today, and then we worry that it isn't enough for tomorrow. And we are right, it isn't. In this promise of the Lord in Mat. 6:24-34, and the illustration of this promise in 1 Kgs. 17, is the supply for whatever tomorrow holds for us as we seek to advance His kingdom today.