Thursday, January 31, 2019

"The Damsel Protocol"

The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…

"The Damsel Protocol"

     I find the following narrative in the book of Acts to be one of the Bible's most disturbing passages.

  "And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying.  The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.  And he came out the same hour" (Acts 16:16-18).

   Note several facts contained in the narrative:

1.  The girl mentioned was demon possessed.
2.  She spoke the truth, correctly identifying  Paul and Silas as servants of God who showed the way of salvation.
3.  The Apostle Paul did not realize she was possessed of a demon for "many days."  Certainly had he known when first encountering the girl, he would have acted sooner.
4.  The girl thus gave no immediate indication to being demon possessed, and actually seemed to be a herald of the Gospel and its communicators.

   This should splash a bracing draught of  cold Biblical water in our faces.  A demon possessed human being can seem sane, rational, and even appear to be a Truth-proclaiming servant of God.    No less than the Lord's chief Apostle failed to immediately recognize the demonic presence in the girl.  This flies in the face of all we tend to think about demon possession.  Normally, the subject causes us to think of obviously possessed people like the Gadarene demonic:

    "When He was come out of the ship, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains.  Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones" (Mark 5:2-5).

   Encounter the Gadarene demonic, and we will instantly react, "That man is demon possessed!"  The aforementioned damsel, however, might cause us to think, "Thank the Lord for this godly young lady helping the Apostle Paul preach the Gospel!"  A draught of cold water, isn't it?  In the face.  I would go so far as to suggest that our ancient foe the devil likely utilizes the damsel protocol in matters of demon possession far more than the Gadarene version.  Thus, we must be careful to not instantly give spiritual credence to that which may seem godly in both demeanor and utterance, but which actually involves Satan's sinister subtlety.  The Apostle John called us to "try (test) the spirits, whether they are of God" (I John 4:1).  Moreover, the Lord Jesus Christ commanded, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24).  Certainly our spiritual enemies know we may well give credence to truth-speaking damsels who are no less demoniacs than the obviously possessed man of the Gadarenes.  The former is thus far more dangerous than the latter, and far more difficult to detect.  Surely the devil's damsel protocol presses us to be far more vigilant, careful, and prayerful regarding who we trust in matters of the Spirit and of Truth.

"Be vigilant."
(I Peter 5:8)
"But I fear lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."
(II Corinthians 11:3)

Weekly Memory Verse
     Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight, but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do."
(Hebrews 4:13)

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