Series: The Mind of God
Message: What Was He Thinking?
Preacher: Mark Johnson
Refresh: Open with prayer. Read or listen to Psalm 31:19-24.
Read: Hebrews 1:1-3 - Re-read in the ESV translation for new insights/questions.
Reflect: It is clear that things are not perfect in the universe, and the Bible claims that “an enemy has done this.” (Matthew 13:28, ESV) We see glimpses of this enemy in places such as the Garden of Eden, the first chapter of the book of Job, the book of Zechariah, the desert of temptation with Christ, and in heaven making war with Michael and His angels. He is called an enemy, the father of lies, the evil one, and the accuser of the brethren. Who is this person, and why has God allowed him to cause such destruction in His perfectly created universe?
For Seventh-day Adventists, perhaps the clearest descriptions of who this enemy of God is are found in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. In Isaiah, the description begins with the king of Babylon and then continues into a description of someone who appears to be supernatural, and in Ezekiel the working begins with the king of Tyre and quickly moves into a picture of someone who appears to be more than a mere human.
Many of our Christian friends think we are stretching our exegesis in finding Satan, the adversary and accuser of the brethren, in these descriptions, but this act of starting with a human and moving to describe Someone who is supernatural is accepted by them in Isaiah 7, where Isaiah begins by talking about a sign that is to be given to King Ahaz and then moving quickly into a Messianic prediction of Christ, Immanuel.
The point of all of this is not to highlight a rather unusual prediction, or to remind you of the longest name in the Bible, Mahershalalhashbaz, which can be very helpful in Bible trivia games. The point is to show that it was not unusual for prophets to begin with a lesser being and move rather rapidly into a description, or depiction, of a greater one. If we take these narratives as describing the enemy of God, we see that he was “blameless in (his) ways from the day (he) was created”; he was “an anointed guardian cherub”; he “was proud because of (his) beauty”; he “walked in the midst of the stones of fire”; he said he would set his throne “above the stars of God”; he claimed he would make himself “like the Most High”; he was cast down as “a profane thing from the mountain of God”; and God will destroy him.
So we’re back to questions we’ve raised before, “What was God thinking” when He created this “son of the Dawn”? And what does it mean for us as we attempt to search the mind of God?
Respond: Pray for humility.
Research: What does the story of Lucifer teach us about God’s priorities?