Friday, August 15, 2014

Excitement in the boat, part 25: The Problem of the Pigs

Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain; and the demons implored Him to permit them to enter the swine. And He gave them permission.And the demons came out of the man and entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. (Luke 8:32, 33 NASB)

In the preceding verses, we saw the destructive hold the demons had on the man. Though the enemy of our soul can be quite deceptive, yet he is ever bent on absolute destruction. We must understand this without confusion. It is Christ, and Christ alone, whose goal is freedom and abundant life. The goal of the devil is destruction and death.  

The power and the heart of Jesus are clearly demonstrated in the restoration of the possessed man. Loosed from that Legion of demons, he was free to operate from a sound mind and a heart of love for his Redeemer.  No longer was he controlled by the power of darkness, compelled to wander, naked and alone, in the tombs. 

The intent and action of the enemy is clearly highlighted by the problem of the swine. Those demons desired to possess, control, and destroy. What we do not seem to understand is that this legion of demons would find a new target. They would possess someone or some thing. They would find a new object for their terrorism. Their desired goal would be a human, of course, but, in the presence of Jesus, that was not open to them. The pigs were their next best host. In allowing the demons to enter the pigs, Jesus prevented them from entering one (or a legion) of the townspeople. 

His ways are not our ways, as is so clearly demonstrated here in the matter of the pigs. The pigs were lost, and it was a real, and significant, blow to their owner. The herdsmen were upset, and it is understandable. It is likely that none of the townspeople ever realized that, in losing the pigs, they had been spared much torment and grief. 

We have that same difficulty, don't we? Because our vision is finite, we cannot know what the future would have held if not for the intervention of God. It is a common response of mankind to view difficult circumstances with a jaundiced eye, disparaging hard times and resenting the trouble they bring. If we had a glimpse of that which those hard times spared us, we might not be so quick to complain. We might, in fact, embrace our trials with thanksgiving, just as we have been commanded. 

Though we will never know, this side of eternity, what we have been spared, we would do well to thank God for His mercy in choosing freedom for us and sacrificing "the swine" (those things that bring temporary loss, yet in that loss bring protection from something worse).  We do well to thank Him, even when we do not understand. 

As you pray today, thank God for all the things we have been spared by the circumstances God has allowed, regardless of their difficulty. 
Link to last night's post:
Our terrorist/terror group of the week is the former ISIS, now the Islamic State. Their leader is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. To learn more about them and their goal of spreading radical jihad and sharia rule throughout the world, click here: