What? Who Made Me Do It?

Isaiah 14:8 “Even the cypress trees rejoice over you, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, ‘Since you were laid low, no tree cutter comes up against us.’

This is the first morning of the new devotionals. I am choosing passages picked at random by the e-Sword application as the basis of the thoughts I will put down here for the day. Hopefully over time, these notes will take on some semblance of sense … or not. Now, on to the passage.

At first glance, this verse speaks of a condition of which we may not be completely aware. The first part of it was weird: “Even the cypress trees rejoice over you, and the cedars of Lebanon.” What does that mean? Assuming the “you” in here is the Lord God (the context bears this out), this speaks of the whole earth being at peace and joyful about the Lord and the victory that He brings.

Then comes the 2nd part: “Since you were laid low, no tree cutter comes up against us.” Wow. Intriguing. To me, this is speaking of the enemy essentially leaving us alone ever since Jesus was crucified on the cross.

But, you say, “We won’t argue with you about the nature of prophecy, because this is an argument no one can win, but how can this passage say that the tree cutter (speaking of the devil?) is leaving us alone since the time of Christ? How, then do we explain all the evil in the world? Surely the devil continues to prowl the earth like a lion searching for its prey (like Jesus himself told us). How can we explain the evil in the world, if this is true (for that is what I’m seeing here as well)?

Without getting too far into the theology of it, perhaps it isn’t the devil that is making people do the things they do. Perhaps Satan actually was defeated and bound at the time of the crucifixion and has actually remained so since then. Perhaps what has been causing all the problems in the world have actually come from the hearts of the people themselves. But if that were true, wouldn’t this change the way we look at the world? Instead of pointing to some mystical, shadowy figure lurking in the darkness as the source of all that has gone wrong with our lives, what if we shed the light of truth and honesty on the situation and see that the root of our problems reside squarely within ourselves. How would we react then?

I’m sure many will reject the idea that they are to blame for their misfortunes. It is so much easier to point to someone or something else and say, “The devil made me do it” than to admit that it was my own greed, or hatred or pride or whatever I still hold onto deep within my soul that has caused me to do the things that I do.

Since the Lord was laid low no tree cutter comes up against us. Since the crucifixion, no one has set his sights against me except the obstacles I have placed in my own way.

What about the other people in the world? Are they to blame for my misfortunes as well? Other people can turn their anger toward us, but not without reason. I believe that for the most part, people are content to live their own lives and leave others alone, unless something happens that pushes them over the line. If another person has lined me up for special punishment, chances are I could point to something within my own life, my actions or attitude or something, that may have pushed a button within them. This may be what they are fighting against. Again, I won’t really get too deep into this right now, but I cannot imagine anyone, anywhere who hates “just because.” there will always be something that triggers their hatred, that they are struggling against.

I can’t speak for other people, they have to do their own soul searching if they want to improve their lives. I have to look to my own house and put it in order. But as I ponder this passage, I wind up inventorying my own attitudes and prejudices and question why was I hanging onto them in the first place. I pray that I get the strength to let them go once and for all time. It is only then that I will find the liberty to live in a world set free by the Risen Christ.

What do you think about this passage and the approach we took with it? Is the devil alive and well and wreaking havoc in the world, or are we to blame for our troubles? We’d love to hear from you. Join in the dialogue and share your comments with us.

Until the next time, via con Dios!

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