I admit when I first read this verse and the concept of the Sevenfold Spirit, I was baffled. Here they are listed…God’s empowering of the coming Messiah… the Spirit of the Lord, truth, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge, and piety. Then I followed this idea to the book of Revelation where John writes about the Sevenfold Spirit four times in his revelation of Jesus Christ, (Revelation 1:4, 3:1, 4:5, and 5:6). Finally, I followed it to Galatians where it is called the Sevenfold Graces (or Fruits of the Spirit) given to Believers by the Holy Spirit…truth, power, love, self-discipline, wisdom, judgement, and life. The Sevenfold Spirit is one of those wonderful mysteries of God that I may never understand, but still stand in total awe of.
You’ve probably heard the old saying…If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Oh that we would take that to heart the next time we’re frustrated or angry and our children are close enough to hear us. Careless words confuse and at times frighten children, even when the words are directed at a car that just cut you off or at your spouse. For children feel the angry emotions and then can mistakenly blame themselves for your outburst…even if they had nothing to do with it. ( Interestingly enough, I’ve found this reaction to parental bickering does not go away with age). Romans 14:19 reminds us, ” Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification.”
In I Peter 3:12 the Apostle Peter quotes Psalm 34:15 when he writes, ” For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayers.” Peter was writing to God-fearing Christians, encouraging them to endure the persecution that was prevalent at the time. Persecution can take on many type of faces. It can be internal physical affliction that drags us down…or it can be external forces that exasperate and irritate us. Peter wanted to show that regardless of the kind of persecution…God’s loving mercy is everlasting and always near to those who love Him.
This story about the boy and the evil spirit was important enough to be in three of the four New Testament accounts by the disciples. Matthew, Mark and Luke all give slightly different takes on this event, but the main thought rang true throughout all three…the disciples couldn’t heal the boy on their own. But instead of admitting defeat, giving up, or walking away, they came to Jesus searching for answers. In Matthew 21:21 Jesus replied to their inquiry by telling them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt…” Doubt is being double-minded or having a divided mind. So when we doubt, we sway back and forth between faith and fear…never achieving full confidence and trust in what God can do. But just like the disciples, if we will go to Jesus admitting our shortcomings, He will speak truth in order to dispel our doubt. And if, like the boy’s father we ask Jesus to, ” Help me overcome my unbelief!” He will show us the way.
So why is it that the world is not attracted to the things of God? Instead of being drawn to Him, they’d rather say, “Go away!” The answer can be found in Jeremiah 9:6 where it says, “You live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge Me, declares the Lord.” Our carnal nature tells us we are independent self-made people who don’t need anybody’s help. Couple that with all the world’s misleading and deceptive ideas and it’s no wonder we would have no desire to worship God. Deception tells me I’m the center of the universe…the Truth bears witness that I’m not…and I don’t want to admit that.
This verse speaks specifically to those within the Church-body that preach and teach the Word of God. They are to be compensated for their work. But I would like to take this idea of consideration a step farther. When was the last time you thanked that friend who spoke encouragement, hope and prayed for you during a hard time in your life? Or when was the last time you called a long-time friend who had been instrumental in your walk with God and thanked them for faithfully speaking the truth? We could all benefit from reaching out to friends today and just thanking them for sharing the Good News.
The people of Israel and Judah had gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. This great assembly rejoiced and praised God for being able to meet together once again. And as their prayers rose to God, revival broke out. For before they even traveled home, it says they went throughout the country-side smashing false idols, cutting down Asherah poles, and destroying other places of pagan worship. Their prayers had been heard, they caught the vision God had for them, and they could not help but act on it. I pray for the same type of revival to break out in us.