I've long been curious about where the brain's chemical and electrical systems end, and the demonic begins. This series is about that point where human thoughts and emotions end and the demonic starts, and the thought processes that lead to emotional and mental illness.
Emotional and mental illnesses are listed as one of the signs of the last days, though the writers don't use our modern terms - but they describe it perfectly.
Consider King Saul, having rejected God's instructions one too many times and been told by God that his family line would not continue on the throne, had fits of unpredictable rage. Today we might diagnosis him with a condition and prescribe a medication to level his moods, but the Bible says a demon was also involved.
In I Samuel 18:8-12 Saul becomes jealous when the people give David honor for killing Goliath. Saul is jealous and angry. After David ministered before him in song, Saul threw a spear at him to try to kill him. What would we call going from calm to rage in a second? Bi-polar? Intermittent Explosive Disorder? (Rage out of proportion to a situation, like road rage)
Why was a demonic spirit involved in this case, and how did the spirit become involved? Saul clearly opened the door through jealousy and anger, but at what point did a demon become involved?
Basic Bible interpretation:
The King James and most other versions say in v10 'an evil spirit from the Lord' came upon Saul, though the Hebrew is written in the permissive rather than the causative. The Hebrew literally says:"Saul upon distressing from God the spirit that came on the next day..." Some translations say Saul 'prophesied' though the Hebrew isn't talking about godly prophesying, but I like the Revised Version that state Saul 'raved' under the influence of the demon - he went crazy talking nonsense, is one way to understand the passage.
Besides this, a foundational Bible interpretation rule is that we understand the OT through the eyes of the New Testament. That means because James 1:13 says that God does not tempt, test, or try anyone with evil for He is not tempted, tested or tried with evil, we dismiss the mistranslation for what it is - a mistranslation. There are many other OT passages that agree with James 1:13, like Job 37:23 'the Almighty does not afflict' and the whole of Ezekiel 18.
This presents Saul's jealousy and the emotional distress it caused, with anger, as opening the door for a spirit, God allowing it because Saul had left walking with God.
Where do Saul's emotions of jealousy and anger meet with the demonic?
In James 1:2 he writes for us to 'count it all joy when you fall (stumble) into trials, tests and temptations'. (The Greek word here is used to express all 3 of those).
Joy is a fruit of the spirit/Spirit, so he isn't saying to be happy, he is saying to walk with the Lord and let His joy flow out of your spirit while you endure trials, tests, and temptations. He then encourages us to be focus on the Lord, not double minded as we seek His wisdom.
Then in v13 he wants to be perfectly understood as to where those trials, tests and temptations are coming from:"Let no man say when he is tempted, tested, or tried, that God is doing it to him. For God is not tested, tried, or tempted with evil, neither does He test, try, or tempt anyone with evil."
(If you have that understanding, combined with Jesus being the physical expression of the Father, then you'll understand the Old Testament through the eyes of the New, and it will all make sense.)
Here is where the thoughts and the demonic meet
"But, everyone is drawn away when of his own longings/strong desire/lust, and enticed. Then when lust has conceived, it births sin. And when sin is complete (Literally, fully grown, matures), it brings forth (breeds, brings to completion, ends in) death."
THAT is where the desire for sin - lust meaning any desire for sin - and enticing combine to conceive sin in one's life.
This is what the demonic does
The desire for sin is in each of us. The enticing is the demonic. The word 'entice' here is 'deleazo', from 'delear' meaning 'to bait' (a trap). In first century use, it meant "to lure or entice a victim into a moral trap, luring them by their own selfish impulses."
The situation with King Saul was that he cowardly refused to face Goliath, but let a shepherd boy take him down. The honor and adulation from the people he craved went to David. He was angry, perhaps with himself first, and then focused on David.
By refusing to 'get his heart right' when the emotions and thoughts of jealousy and anger first rose, he gave in to them, which opened the door for the demonic. When lust and enticing conceive James wrote, what it conceives is sin.
That sin is birthed the grammar indicates, after a gestation period, like a pregnancy. When it is fully birthed, sin will produce death - literal death, or the death of a relationship, marriage, job, or life. The end result of sin is death in any of its many forms.
But before that birthing process that brings it out into the open, the lust and enticing develop within a person's mind and imagination. That is the gestation period we might say, when the desire to sin combine with the demonic enticing, resulting in a swirl of thoughts and feelings.
This is what Cain faced in Genesis 4:3-16.
Verses 3-4 tell us Abel offered a blood sacrifice, having learned from his parents how the Lord God made the first blood sacrifice and clothed his parents to cover their unrighteousness. Abel was righteous and accepted the Lord's way of a blood sacrifice for the covering of sins.
Cain did not. Of his own efforts Cain offered vegetables in an offering, rather than submitting to the rightful blood sacrifice. When his anger was still within his heart, the Lord God started dealing with him in v6-7:"Why are you angry?" (No answer). The Lord was trying to get Cain to deal with his feelings and thoughts of anger. The first step is why are you angry (It is without cause).
"Why has your expression changed?" (No answer) "If you do right, won't it be accepted?" (No answer, and even here the Lord offers him a chance to do right with the promise his right offering will be accepted.) If you don't do right, sin is at the door at it desires to overpower you. But you must master it." (No answer) Four questions the Lord put to Cain in an effort to get him to deal with his feelings - but instead, Cain kept thinking those thoughts and feeling those feelings.
Things haven't changed - the process is the same for us. All along the way the Lord was trying to stop Cain from the consequences of his unjustified anger. By dwelling on anger his thoughts developed into murder. Sin mastered him rather than him learning to control his thoughts, emotions and anger.
King Saul and Cain should have dealt with their emotions and thoughts, not letting them get out of control. In our world more than at any other time, we are seeing people who haven't been taught to process and think through things. Common sense isn't common anymore.
Pop culture is full of people who talk whatever thought enters their mind, and if they feel it, then to them that feeling is truth. When a culture accepts what is presented to them, whether it be lust or moral issues or political statements, without thinking these things through, we are left with an epidemic of emotional and mental illness.
It is that processing of thoughts, taking some captive to the obedience of Christ and others we ignore, that enable us to make wise decisions, logic with thought supported by strong moral convictions that lead to a successful life.
More about those processes next time. Until then, blessings,
http://www.cwowi.org and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org