Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
In a nutshell, the marching orders:
Behold, I send you forth as sheep (proboton: sheep as referring to mankind, who as needing salvation obey the injunctions of him who provides it and leads them to it; so of the followers of Christ) in the midst of wolves (lukos: applied figuratively to cruel, greedy, rapacious, destructive men): be ye therefore wise (phronimos: prudent, i. e. mindful of one’s interests) as serpents (ophis: as a snake who is cunning), and harmless (akeraios: free from evil) as doves (Matthew 10:16).
I share the Scripture, above,* as a reminder, a stress-reducer, and as a means to re-direct one’s anxiety-prone thoughts, these days, what with all the espionage, counter-espionage, counter to the counter-espionage and pure evil being perpetrated on the masses by those thinking they are close to taking over nations, cities, people, and even minds (see my last post about the “minds” part), their hubris eclipsed only by their rush to the bottom.
But I know: it seems too mild-mannered, doesn’t it?
I mean, it’s easy to get the “clever as snakes” part, but “harmless as doves”?
I mean the bad guys seem to have their fingers poised to press the Red Button of Doom (figuratively and literally), as in the mechanism to cue up the wrath of God (literally and prophetically), and when the voices of all those with “insider knowledge,” “top-level security clearance,” and prepper expertise are calling everybody to arms, to bunkers, to panic–(well, maybe that’s just some of us tempted to panic)–re: what Jesus told us to do?
Ah…we live in the real world, Bud…
…Some of us might think…
And yet, when you unpack Jesus’ brief “marching orders” given to those of His day that He was sending out (in two’s) to heal the sick, cast out demons, and preach the Good News, the directives help keep one’s mind clear and away from the hubris-bound, fear-mongering short-sighted “snakes” who have clearly NOT read the back of The Book.
So, this morning, besides the comfort packed in that verse, it occurs to me it outlines a clear plan, as well:
- choose “the fold” by choosing “the good Shepard”;
- understand that no matter how hip, slick, cool and popular the “enemy” might appear, he/she is, to one degree or another, cruel, greedy, rapacious, and destructive; SIDE NOTE: but how can we KNOW they are, well, C, G, R, and D? Here’s another word to the wise from The Word Made Flesh: “by their fruits you will know them.” Jesus was referring to religious “false prophets,” but aren’t the hawkers of today’s New World Order also prophets as, interestingly, the NWO makes provision for its own “belief system”?;
- exercise prudence, look out for one’s interests (personal, family, friends…), physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually;
- remain free from “evil”; and
- don’t leave home alone.
Jesus Christ includes, in that short verse, both spiritual and practical advice, and except for one word dedicated to the opposition (“wolves”) He directs our minds and hearts to a plan that has been effectively thwarting the beasts and their ilk for centuries.
I mean, seriously, if one has studied any history at all, it’s easy to tell who (as in Who, the archetypal–and real–“good”) tends to come out the winner when all is said and done, even if all the king’s horses and all the king’s men appear to have won–for a season.
But even if not, don’t you think that the end-all of unbridled “evil” would still be apparent to anyone with discernment? Of course, followers of said evil, no matter if by ignorance or on purpose, have a huge handicap because the thing about wolves (who can come up with some pretty convincing sheep’s clothing) is that they (literally and figuratively) are predators…
And prey often doesn’t realize that it is lunch until it is too late.
Meanwhile, back in the trenches, dodging mental, physical, and psychological land mines and keeping sword in one hand, trowel in another (as did wall-rebuilder Nehemiah when surrounded by his enemies), we also have this promise–and comfort:
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6).
Keep your eyes on the Good Shepherd and carry on.
LATER THIS SAME DAY…
It occurs to me that now would be a good time to feature, once again, a free devotional based on the verses of Psalm 91, often cited as the “go to” Psalm for hard times. In the series of anecdotes featured in this booklet, you will find one or two stories of some pretty phenomenal (miraculous type) incidents that will raise your faith.
*Which I have commented on elsewhere.
In fact, here’s a whole ream of commentaries and devotionals on the basic theme of survival in these so-called “end times,” or “end of the Church-age” days in which we live: https://pnissila.wordpress.com/category/end-times-spiritual-survival/ … these days, particularly these nights when, usually about 3 a.m., you find yourself awakened, suddenly, by some scrap of remembered headline or by that-which-goes-bump in the night or in the psyche, the mind, or even the subconscious and you just need some kind of information and reassurance…