Dear redeemed Bride of our Lord Jesus Christ, how’s your head for heights? Do you get dizzy when standing on the top of a tall building or cliff edge? Yesterday we saw how Jesus stood at such a place and defeated Satan on the second of His trials leading from the wilderness, here’s our key text again:
Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” Matt 4:5,6
Listen to what the historian Josephus writes about the great height at the top of the temple “if anyone looked down from the top of the battlements, or down both those altitudes, he would be giddy: while his sight could not reach to such an immense depth.” Antiquity of the Jews Book XV
I want to make a comparison with the trial that Jesus faced, to the one which faces the Bride today. For just as Satan took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem, so also Satan will attempt to take the Bride to the heights of religious and political power. You will recognise such a place, because below the dizzy heights, and scattered amongst the throbbing crowds in the courtyard, will be the money changers, the merchants and those who dare to turn the Father’s house into a “market place” John 2:16
Did you know that Satan lusts after the Bride? That he desires to have her for himself, and to impregnate her with his seed? And when I talk about seed I refer to his words, or the things he says, in the same way that Jesus taught about the good seed being the Word of God in the parable of the Sower. But Satan’s seed is deception and falsehood, and with these, he deceived Eve, the Bride of the first Adam in the Garden of Eden. But now he lusts after the Bride of the second Adam who is Christ, except this time, the venue isn’t in the Garden of Eden but at the place of spiritual ascendancy. Here Satan will attempt to seduce the Bride and to place his seed within her. He will try to take her to elevated heights and to make her head spin with notions of her own identity and self-importance. You will see far from such a height. Your eyes will be opened to all kinds of possibilities, and then the temptation comes with the words “If you are His then why not show the world and jump …..” The strategy is cunning yet deadly. To go beyond what is written in the Word. The deceiver will give you scriptural basis to justify your plans and notions, but beware the heights upon which you stand. For our response will determine the steps that we will take. Stand back from the edge, don’t entertain the thoughts that exalt themselves to separate your intimacy and lifeline with your head, Jesus who is your Bridegroom.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” 2 Cor 10:4,5
Can you see just how precious the wilderness is to the Bride, and how essential those oils of myrrh are in her preparation? For there she learns to hear and recognise the voice of the Bridegroom, or as John 10 describes, the Good Shepherd’s voice. This intuitive discerning comes from a life of intimacy and stillness before the Lord. There are too many voices in the public arena, too many opinions and influencers, that without this living reality of communion with the One who is the Word, the bride is ill prepared for either the crowded marketplace below, or the spiritual heights above. The Bride has no need to prove herself to anyone for her identity is in Christ and what He says about her is all she needs. She does not need the spiritual heights to understand who she really is. Indeed the opposite is true, it is in the lowlands of the wilderness where she is at peace and discovers her true identity. And it is in this place that prepares her to ascend. Without the depths, she cannot ascend the heights, not at least without endangering herself, or as we will see tomorrow, others, for there is great temptation at the place of spiritual ascension.
Stay hidden in Christ, let nothing entice you to sacrifice intimacy with your Bridegroom or to depart from the written Word of God. For “Your Word is lamp to my feet, and a light for my path” Ps 119:105