Ask Your Preacher
Thank you so much for using God’s Word as a light to our paths; you have helped lots of people with the health of their souls!!! My question has to do with the ‘spirit of heaviness’ cited in Isaiah 61:3 “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified.”
I have a friend that says depression is a demonic entity that attacks us; he then says the only way around it is praise to Jesus. Is there any truth to this doctrine?
Friend Of Eeyore
Dear Friend Of Eeyore,
Isaiah 61 is dealing with the blessings and victory that exist in Christ’s church, and it has nothing to do with demon possession. Though it is true that focusing on our blessings and showing praise can help us when our spirits are heavy, demon possession is an entirely separate issue.
Evil spirits are real, but they were cast out and their powers greatly reduced by Christ and the apostles. Demon possession ended not long after the days of Christ. Jesus made it clear that one of His jobs was to bind the devil and take His strength away by casting out his demons (Matt 12:28-29). When Jesus’ disciples had come back from their evangelism trips and related to Him that they had cast out many demons, Jesus told them that they were defeating Satan by getting rid of Satan’s demonic minions (Lk 10:17-18). When Jesus and His disciples cast out demons, they did it permanently (Lk 8:30-33) and bound Satan by their acts. We no longer have to deal with such overt attacks by the devil because he has been bound by Christ’s sacrifice (Rev. 20:2). Demon possession no longer exists; the devil must use subtler methods to deceive us now.
When God confused those who were building the tower of Babel, He gave them all their own language. Was that mixed language perfect because God gave it to them? God is perfect; man is flawed. How could fallen builders understand and use perfect language?
The word 'perfect' simply means that something is 'suitable or fit for the task'. A perfect car part is the part that fits your car. Sometimes, we get confused into thinking that perfect always means that something is without any flaw or problem, but that isn't true. Two people can get married and be a perfect marital match... but that doesn't mean they won't have struggles or that they both don't sin at times.
The languages that God created at the Tower of Babel were perfectly suited to the task at hand – confusing the crowds and getting them to scatter (Gen 11:9).
Who or what are the sons of God in Genesis 6? I’m not sure if they are literal, as in someone like Jesus, or figurative. Please help; I'm not understanding this very well.
Dear Guess Who,
The sons of God referred to in Gen 6:2 are mortal men. This language seems confusing at first, but it is perfectly scriptural to refer to mankind as ‘sons and daughters of God’. In fact, Jesus mentions that we are all sons of God (Jhn 10:34-36). Gal 3:26 refers to christians as children of God. Humans are made in the image of God (Gen 1:27), and that makes Him our Father (Eph 4:6). Gen 6:2 is simply stating that men married women, had children, and populated the earth.
How do I get into the Bible and how do I read the Bible?
Starting To Study
Dear Starting To Study,
The key to any kind of worship or Bible study is to make it a regular habit. Daniel had a habit of praying (Dan 6:10). Make a decision to put Bible study into your day first (Matt 6:33) and schedule other things around it. Most people fail to study their Bibles because it isn’t a part of their regular life. Make it a part of your morning routine, your lunch break, or bedtime ritual. Somehow schedule it into your life and make it a habit.
After you do that, it is just a matter of what you want to learn first. Many people read a Psalm a day, a chapter of Proverbs each week, or use a ‘read the Bible in a year program’, or you grab one of those five things you want to look at and read away. Any of these is a perfectly acceptable system. In fact, you can buy Bibles that are organized, so that you read a little of the Old Testament and a little of the New Testament every day. For new Bible students, I often recommend reading the gospel of Matthew or the gospel of John first, so that you become acquainted with Christ’s life; then follow that up with the book of Acts and familiarize yourself with the first century church.
The goal is to study your Bible, not just read it. God tells us to study to show ourselves approved (2 Tim 2:15) and to meditate upon God’s Word (Ps 119:15). You could read through an entire book of the Bible in an hour or so but fail to appreciate any of it. Read your Bible with a notepad beside you and a pen or highlighter in hand. Write down your questions and get them answered. Highlight meaningful verses. If you don’t understand something, don’t move on until you do. It is more important that you understand than that you read a large portion of text. And lastly, enjoy your Bible reading time; you are reading the most influential and meaningful book on the planet!
It troubles me that God caused an evil spirit to come on King Saul. I don't know another place in Scripture that says He does this. Does God do that today?
God Is Good
Dear God Is Good,
God caused that evil spirit to come upon Saul because Saul had turned away from the Lord (1 Sam 16:14). Saul had failed to serve the Lord, and God withdrew His blessings from him and rejected Saul as king (1 Sam 16:1). God didn’t randomly curse Saul; Saul had made choices that earned punishment. As far as whether God does that today, Rom 1:21 says that God allows the hearts of the wicked to be darkened, and He removes His protection from them. How God does that, we don't know, but He does warn that He punishes the wicked.