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The Opportune Time......

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  • The Opportune Time......

    The Opportune Time…

    In my Bible reading this morning [I was in Mark 6], I read through the familiar passage of John the Baptist’s beheading. I always try to be careful and not think myself so familiar with a passage that I miss something that God is trying to teach me. Sometimes, even at church, if the pastor is preaching on a text that he has preached many times, my initial reaction is to inwardly roll my eyes, but the Holy Spirit stops me and reminds me that I don’t know everything. Even if I have heard it or read it 100 times. I ask for forgiveness and ask God to teach me what I do not know and what I need to apply to my life.

    That happened to me this morning. I almost rushed over this account. I know it by heart – or so I thought.

    The Bible says in Mark that Herodias “nursed a grudge” against John the Baptist. Nursing a grudge. That will allow the root of bitterness to set up in your heart. And it says in Mark that Herod “protected” John the Baptist because he was afraid of him and even though hearing his messages “puzzled” Herod, he “liked to listen to him”. Herodias cannot count on Herod killing John the Baptist and this is consuming her.

    So, all in all, even though imprisoned, John the Baptist is going to be alright. Until….

    Mark says “finally…. the opportune time” came. Some translations say “a strategic day” or “a convenient time” came. It all means the same thing. A day came when all events, details, and circumstances met in unholy and evil unison – making John the Baptist a prime, THE prime target of the devil. And John the Baptist had no idea it was coming. He was worried this may happen – in my opinion – as evidenced by his questioning if Christ were THE one in another passage. But he was oblivious that by nightfall of that “opportune day” – he would have his head removed.

    What this made me think of – well, what God put into my mind – was this passage: 1 Peter 5:8 – “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

    I know from teaching science and from watching too much Animal Planet and having countless cats of my own over my 58 years is that lions [and house cats] are very, very strategic. They hunt with great stealth. Hiding in the grass until the prey is close. Ambushing. Stalking. The great pads on their feet stifling ordinary warning sounds. Moving very, very slowly as to not attract notice, getting as close to the prey as possible. Killing many times without eating. [How often I’ve found a “treat” lying at my door that my cat did not eat, but brought to me.]

    The lion, when prey is caught, will suffocate the prey. Crushing the throat. Stealing the life-giving oxygen. Death is a certainty. House cats are similarly fueled by that instinct.

    “Finally, the opportune time came…”. Don’t think for one moment that the devil doesn’t have an “opportune time” for you and me to fail – to sin. How many times have you said, “I’ll NEVER do that again?” Or “I’ve never done that and will never do that.”

    Peter says to be “sober-minded and alert”. Herod was NOT sober-minded nor alert. Sober-minded here meaning serious, sensible, and wisely cautious. Herod was in a place of total exposure for the devil. His birthday, the important men and military men at a party for him, I’m sure alcohol was flowing, and a beautiful young girl driving both him and as Mark says, his male guests, into a mental state of a total lack of sense.

    Don’t think this was an accident. Nor just a coincidence. The only reason Herod kept his vow to Salome to give her anything was because he didn’t want to lose face, Mark says, in front of his guests.

    Again, NOT a place of sober-mindedness.

    As I write this, the TCM channel is on and a George Brent movie from 1936 is playing. I can smell the meat cooking in the kitchen that we are having for lunch. I just heard the dryer go off. I’ve got to fold those and wash/dry a couple of more loads. And I've got a piano lesson to prepare for this afternoon. It’s just an ordinary day.

    “Just an ordinary day”. For the devil, that means planning, scheming, and strategizing. Getting closer and closer in stealth to my heart – making plans to make me fall. When I stay far away from God’s word, prayer, and gathering with other Christians, I become more and more exposed and in the open – RIPE – for the devil’s attention and attack.

    “Finally, the opportune time….”

    Don’t forget that this is reality for you. Daily.

    Stay sober-minded and vigilant. Be aware of the enemy – the evil one. Stay in the Word, in prayer, and in fellowship with God’s people.
    sigpic
    ".....it's your nickel"

  • #2
    Re: The Opportune Time......

    Amen !
    The word is our map, our food, and our soapy water too, cant get very far without refilling.

    I know what you mean about passing over familiar verses too, just because they are familiar to us.
    I have passed over so much deeper perspectives on bible teaching in my past studies just by reading it too fast or outright skipping a verse or chapter because I thought I had already found all there was to find in that verse or chapter in past reads of it.

    And reading our bibles isn't like a taskmasters burden for us either.
    Isn't God awesome !
    Don't seek too much knowledge. You just may be putting more weight on your shoulders than you're able to bare.
    Let God be the one to decide how quickly you grow

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    • #3
      Amen Jayne. Satan's out there looking for us and he is very, very, very patient. He knows a lot about every man. He's seen a lot of what has worked over the years and he has studied us as well. This verse has always stood out to me when it came to Jesus being tempted:

      Luke 4:13 When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.

      He waited till Jesus was alone and hungry then attacked. When that didn't work, he looked for a more opportune time to attack again. He is sneaky and wise. He is far stronger, and wiser than we are, and for that reason, we need to stay close to the Lord and depend on His wisdom and strength and not our own.
      Matt 9:13
      13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
      NASU

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      • #4
        I love it when God gives new revelation to us. It is not new, but it is to us! Thank you for sharing Jayne.
        Matt 9:13
        13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
        NASU

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        • #5
          Thank YOU for sharing!!
          sigpic
          ".....it's your nickel"

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          • #6
            I was thinking about this post again this morning Jayne. Your post has struck a cord with me. So I went and read the portion you posted in the scriptures again. The translation I read this morning used "And a strategic day came..." I began to wonder, what was strategic about this day? And what was the enemies goal here? What impact was he hoping to have and what was he wanting to accomplish? What did he see that made this day so strategic? All these questions were popping into my mind.

            The first thing that came to mind was that John the Baptist had confessed that he was a forerunner to Jesus to make the path straight. He was leading multitudes to Christ. The enemy wanted to stop that at all cost. (I am sure he never understood till later, that God would make many of His people like John the Baptist through the great commission.)

            Anyway, a couple of things... Heroditas wanted JTB arrested and Herod did so to please her. But in his heart, he was afraid of JTB and he ENJOYED listening to him preach. This is fascinating to me. What made Heroditas angry, pleased Herod. He kept JTB safe in prison. The enemy, having watched Herod for years, saw that Herod would do something to please the woman in his life. And he saw first hand with the imprisionment, that he would harm JTB even though he desired to keep him safe.

            But that day, why so strategic? Because Herod was making it all about himself! It was his birthday. He had invited the lords, military commanders, and leading men to celebrate. And what do evil men do at such times? They drink and lust. Satan saw this as a very strategic time and he went to work. Your post makes clear what happened.

            Through the enemy's plan, JTB was cut off from Herod and the nation. While the nation got other JTB to preach to the whole world. What happened to Herod? The Holy Spirit must have been working in him for him to enjoy hearing JTB tell him about his sin. What made Heroditas angry, brought Herod some pleasure. And he had fear to harm the holy man JTB. But Herod cut off John the Baptist and as a result, he no longer had the preacher in his life that he enjoyed listening to.

            What did Jesus say about it? Mark 8:14-15And He was giving orders to them, saying, “Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”

            The leaven of Herod, IMO, is to hear the word of God but to not act on it. Eventually, the enemy will find a way to steal that word from us even if it is bringing us pleasure. We can enjoy preaching, but a strategic day will come and it will be taken away from us by the enemy because we revel in our flesh and self life. Every preacher, every witness, has a purpose to please the Lord and to make disciples, to point people to Jesus, to make straight the way of the Lord, to be a voice crying in the wilderness. When we hear a message, and we are piqued, or convicted, or encouraged, etc. what will we do?

            Jesus gave this warning to His disciples. Meaning, it is for believers! It is also good for unbelievers. But let us beware of the leaven that will cause us to listen, but not act. For ultimately, the enemy is always trying to get the word out of us (see Mark 4) because if he can do that, he can beat us.

            Thanks again for sharing this post and starting this thread. It has ministered to me yet again.
            Matt 9:13
            13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
            NASU

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            • #7
              Awesome thoughts!
              sigpic
              ".....it's your nickel"

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