Wednesday, November 04, 2015

"Don’t Let the Monster Eat You"

Jeremiah 51.34 RSV

“Nebuchadrez’zar the king of Babylon has devoured me, he has crushed me; he has made me an empty vessel, he has swallowed me like a monster; he has filled his belly with my delicacies, he has rinsed me out.”

Contrary to what you may have told your kids, monsters are real. They’re big and scary with sharp teeth ready to crush and devour you.

Speaking for exiled Jews 2,600 years ago, Jeremiah the prophet acknowledged, “Nebuchadrez’zar… swallowed me like a monster”. Satan is a ravenous “monster” eager to chew you up and gobble you down. As the apostle Peter cautioned, “Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1st Peter 5.8). Don’t be his next meal!

In his final letter, senior devil Screwtape expressed serious disappointment in his nephew’s poor performance. He warned Wormwood that he may be eaten alive as the penalty for failure to lure his human charge away from the Lord.[1]

“How mistakenly, now that all is lost, you come whimpering to ask me whether the terms of affection in which I address you meant nothing from the beginning. Far from it!”

“Love you? Why, yes. As a dainty a morsel as ever I grew fat on.”

“Your increasingly and ravenously affectionate uncle

SCREWTAPE”
In his toast to Dr. Slubgob, Screwtape describes most human sinners as “pretty poor quality”, “gastronomically,… deplorable”, “tasteless… fare”, “unfit for diabolical consumption”, and “hardly worth damning”.[2] If I rejected Jesus Christ, I would sin hardy and hope to be “worth damning”. I would not be satisfied with run-of-the-mill, common sinner behavior. I would try to be a tasty pagan, good to the last mouth-watering bite for the monster lucky enough to gorge on me. Just like Screwtape in C.S. Lewis’ brilliant spoof, Jesus also had harsh words for the bland of heart on either side of the moral fence:

”I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.
I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm,
and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
Revelation 3.15-16 NKJV

If you give the “monster” an inch, he’ll take the proverbial mile and eat you alive. Guaranteed! If you have been “swallowed” up by your own sin, there’s hope. Like the big fish that belched Jonah onto dry ground and the grave that opened its mouth to release Jesus on the day of resurrection, you too can be freed from the jaws of the “monster”. God, who is bigger than any monster or sin you face, made a promise:

“I will make him spit out what he has swallowed.”
Jeremiah 51.44 NET
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[1] The Screwtape Letters with Screwtape Proposes a Toast, C.S. Lewis, Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., New York, 1961, p.145.

[2] Ibid., pp.154f, 157f.

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