Scripture: Luke 11:13
Key Verse: If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!
Today we will dig a little deeper into the nature of look-a-like blessings: stones, serpents (eel), and scorpions. As I was meditating on why Jesus would choose these three illustrations the following revelations are what I received. In discussing these revelations with a spiritual big brother, he told me to look again at Jesus’ 40 Day Journey in the wilderness found in Matthew 4:1-11 and see what God would reveal.
First, that picture of the stone as a look-a-like blessing is something that has the potential to diminish our ability to enjoy present and future blessings. This is about the diligence we need to display when we Ask. Think about how costly a hasty decision can be that avoids the necessary due diligence of writing it down and meditating on what you are really asking God for. If not, you may end up being so hasty and hungry that you project what you want to see rather than seeing what is actually there. You perceive what you mentally projected as bread, but what you sink your teeth into is a stone. Before you know it, what you thought was a blessing, can end in a mouth full of broken teeth. From a personal perspective, I have been guilty of projecting what I thought was there and hastily took a bite that left me with a spiritual mouth full of broken teeth.
On the journey the Lord had me sit with those broken teeth experiences so that I would not make those same mistakes on the other side of this journey. Remember that Jesus also had a 40 Day Journey through the wilderness in which He too was also tempted by stones because he was hungry, but I leave with you the words of Jesus, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4). In your asking, spend time in the Word of God, which is where true satisfaction lives.
Second, picture what was probably an eel rather than what we think of as a serpent. The eel is also a look-a-like blessing. The problem for the audience of Jesus’ day, was that an eel was a forbidden food according to the Jewish laws handed down by Moses. The revelation I received was that the eel represented the seeking dimension of prayer. Jesus said, “seek and you shall find.” In our conversation about seeking we discussed the importance of getting the order correct. The eel represents the temptation of getting the order wrong and adding all of the other things, before we truly seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
We must constantly be on guard and resist the temptation to pray for things that may satisfy our physical bodies, worldly desires, and natural appetites, but they pollute, compromise, and corrupt our spiritual being and purpose. An eel would do no good to a member of Jesus’ audience to satisfy their hunger, unless they were willing to break the law. The eel would represent nothing more than a temptation to do what you shouldn’t do and a temptation that would simply intensify your natural hunger cravings, as you hungrily stare with your mouth salivating at what you know you could have, but should not have. God was showing me to be careful what I seek after and the order in which I seek: God then the other things would be added. In my life there hasn’t been too much I didn’t get that I sought after, but God was reminding me that yes you can have it, but at what cost? What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? (Mark 8:34-36) This was a hard lesson!
But I found comfort again in the Matthew 4 and Jesus’ 40 Day journey, where his eel was to leap off the pinnacle of the temple which would have been an act of sensationalism (social media views, likes, and followers) for mere vanity purposes, because as Satan correctly stated that the angels would catch Jesus and wouldn’t let Him dash his foot against a stone. In Jesus’ seeking of the hearts and minds of men and women, He would get it, but it was about the order and process of winning the hearts and minds of men and women. There were no shortcuts, gimmicks, or tricks, it would take years of prayer, ministry, teaching, preaching, healing, and finally a cross. Jesus’ answer to this temptation should be our answer, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” (Matthew 4:7).
Finally, picture that pale species of scorpion curled up, that one commentator suggested could look like an egg. But as I did a little more research, I learned that some scorpions are actually born in eggs. So maybe Jesus was also talking about what lay inside of the egg. When we think of eggs, we either think about boiling or preparing the egg for consumption, or we envision what is inside of the egg and about to be birthed. My mind either goes to scrambled eggs or a small yellow baby chick. Let’s imagine the second scenario in terms of the audience of Jesus who may have envisioned what would be birthed out of the egg. Now let’s revisit the knock and it shall be opened principle of Jesus. In the absence of specificity there is ambiguity, what I mean is that if you just ask for an egg, seek out the egg, when you knock on the door of the eggshell, what is on the other side is a mystery and may not be what you bargained for. Scorpions don’t make good house pets and are dangerous meals. Think of the alternative, you think you’ll be getting a yellow baby chick, that you can nurture and watch grow up to begin producing more eggs and more baby chicks, but instead you get a scorpion with a potentially lethal tail that has every impulse to sting you the first chance it gets.
If we get the asking and seeking right, what is on the other side of the door no longer has to be an anxiety ridden mystery. God again had me sit with the reality of some scorpion eggs that I falsely believed were baby chicks waiting to hatch- jumpstarting a new life cycle that would produce generations of blessings, but what I received was a scorpion who attempted to sting and kill me every chance they got. Jesus too was tempted in this manner when Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world. Satan offered to give it all to Jesus if he would only fall down and worship him. Jesus’ answer has to become our answer, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” (Matthew 4:10). Satan is the scorpion who seduces and allures you by what he knows we really want, through the promise of eggs that we think will produce life and blessings, but in reality they are only scorpion eggs with scorpions on the inside who only know how to sting, kill, and eat you. God told me it’s not personal it’s just how Satan moves and a scorpion’s nature to be a scorpion. Make sure you have the right egg and knock on the right door!
Jesus’ journey ended like this and ours will too, “Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.” If you find yourself on this journey, the good news is that the Lord told me to tell you ministering angels are on the way!
CPR Kit for the Soul:
- Centering Theme: Sit and embrace the journey because even Jesus had his own 40 Day journey
- Prayer Topic: Discernment to know the difference between actual blessings and look-a-like blessings
- Reflection Thought: How can I employ the tools and tactics of Jesus in my own journey, “it is written”
T3 Prayer Booster:
- Father God, I thank you that although I’ve had some spiritual chipped teeth, allowed my hunger to violate your laws, and been stung by scorpions I survived, I’m still here and I’m growing more excited everyday about how You’re going to get the Glory out of this
- Lord, grant me greater discernment to know the difference between true and look-a-like blessings
- Father God help me to embrace Your son Jesus’ witness and His Word for my journey.