For The Destruction Of The Flesh

Thou art like a young lion of the nations, and thou art as a whale in the seas: and thou camest forth with thy rivers, and troubledst the waters with thy feet, and fouledst their rivers.  Thus saith the Lord God ; I will therefore spread out My net over thee with a company of many people; and they shall bring thee up in My net.  Then will I leave thee upon the land, I will cast thee forth upon the open field, and will cause all the fowls of the heaven to remain upon thee, and I will fill the beasts of the whole earth with thee.” Ezekiel 32:2b-4

 

This, which The Lord says, is directed at Pharoah; but, God says to the prophet to lament over Pharoah as he delivers this message.  This is how much Love He has for the entirety of mankind.  Not a single one of us is beyond His Love or hidden from His sight.  He sees all, and He cares for each and every one of us.  He cares so much that if we will not come to Him on our own, He will allow trials in our lives to try to get us to realize He is there and that we need Him.  God likens Pharoah to a whale in the seas, seemingly hidden in the vast depths of the ocean.  Yet, God readily fishes him out in a singular throw of His net.  He is unerringly accurate and He is able to do what needs be done.  This principle carries into the New Testament unchanged.

 

And He said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.” John 21:6

 

Just like the allusion of the whale, Jesus knew exactly where the fish were, as He stood on the shore watching His disciples.  There is nothing beyond His sight.  He told the disciples where to throw the nets, and the fish that were there were found.  Interestingly, they were not lost, per se, to the disciples, but the disciples had fished all night and caught none.  Jesus does say, “ye shall find,” which speaks to the principle of the lost being found. (Matt 18:12&13)

 

The disciples following The Lord’s command to cast their nets portrays the portion of His Word to Pharoah of “spread out My net over the with a company of many people.”  Jesus used the disciples, as they willingly followed the command of His Voice to catch the fish.  This is why He had said to them previously, “I will make you to become fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17)  As fishers of men, they were to preach and teach the gospel of Peace, for in doing so, they preached the Cross, which is the power of God. (1 Cor 1:18)

 

In this sense, the Cross is the net that catches men.  But there is so much more to it, in that the Cross is also the line by which we are held and measured.  This leads into the final portion of the passage where The Lord says to Pharoah, “I will leave thee upon the land… cast thee forth upon the open field… cause all the fowls of heaven to remain upon thee… fill the beasts of the whole earth with thee.”  This speaks of being left to the world, and allowing Satan to be the school master, that without the protection of The Lord, we would learn the hardest of ways to return to and depend solely upon Him.  We see this principle in the New Testament unchanged, as well.

 

In the letters to Corinth, the Apostle Paul addresses the issue of a man who has committed adultery, without repentance, thus defaming the glory of The Lord.  In the first letter, Paul says that they should “deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (1 Cor 5:5)  And so they do, for in his second letter, Paul brings up the subject again and writes, “sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.  So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him , and comfort him , lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.  Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.” (2  Cor 2:6-8)

 

This shows us that God’s Love is far reaching, and that He allows all things to bring us to dependency on Him.  This principle is discussed by Jesus Himself when says that we should bring offenses up one to another, then if there be no repentance, bring in a couple of brethren, then the church, then, if there is still no repentance, treat that man as a heathen or a publican (Matt 18:15-17), meaning treat him as though he were not a believer and had refused salvation, given over to the world.  Paul tells us the very same reasoning when he gives the example of himself having personally had to do this very thing to Hymenaeus and Alexander “that they may learn not to blaspheme.” (1 Tim 1:20)

 

All of this to say this:  God does not change.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Even when He was speaking to Pharoah, these principles were employed.  God saw him for who he was at heart, even though Pharoah thought those things were hidden.  God would reach down and snatch him up in one fell swoop, using men to do it.  God would cast Pharoah to dry land, exposing him and leaving him vulnerable to the wiles of the devil and the world.  This literally came to pass, and though Pharoah most likely never repented, God still was faithful to give him the chance.

 

He still does this today.  We only need to replace ourselves for Pharoah.  When we realize that nothing is beyond the sight of The Lord, we should not try to have that hidden sin.  We may have the perfect Christians life outwardly, but The Lord is aware of all things.  Just like every single fish of the one hundred fifty three, God sees all in the depths.  Whale or fish, He will pull us out to expose our hidden sin if we are unwilling to release it ourselves, for it is better for us to obey than to sacrifice.  If we find ourselves in a wilderness, somehow without the church and the protection that comes with it, may we turn back to God quickly, for that would be the purpose of being placed there.  May we never find ourselves without the church to begin with, instead remaining faithful and following as closely as we can to train of the Master’s clothing, receiving His Love directly and fully without having to suffer separation of any kind.  Remember, Jesus had to suffer that separation on the Cross, so that we wouldn’t have to.  (Matt 27:46)

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