A Lunar Lesson in Spiritual Leadership (Part 1)
What does a “Soular Eclipse” look like?
Let me give you some attributes of a person who’s becoming a “Soular Eclipse.”
- Glory Hog
- Absent Minded
- And I saved the best for last… Downright Selfish
Well now, that’s a bit convicting isn’t it. We can see a little of ourselves somewhere in that list. Several Biblical characters come to mind when I think of classic examples of “Soular Eclipses.”
The Scribes and Pharisees – Matthew 23.1-36
If you want to see Jesus come off the top ropes, put Him in the presence of some self-righteous people. In Matthew 23 Jesus confronts the Scribes and Pharisees with, what we might call, uncharacteristic harshness. His litany of adjectives include; hypocrites, sons of Hell, blind guides, blind men, blind Pharisees, fools, whitewashed tombs, serpents, brood of vipers, and murderers. Wow! What got Jesus so spun up? The religious leaders of the day were obscuring the glory of God for the sake of their own. They were posers, pretending to be godly with their garb, rituals, and platitudes. But it was all a scam. They were actually drawing attention to themselves and away from the LORD. They had exalted themselves and Jesus says the next inevitable step is to be humbled (by God). They had become a “Soular Eclipse.”
Nebuchadnezzar – Daniel 4.1-37
King Nebuchadnezzar begins by worshiping God and then flashes back to a story that precipitates his praise. He tells the story about a puzzling dream he had about a tree and an angel with a warning. He sends for Daniel, the man of God, who can interpret such dreams. As he hears the dream, Daniel is immediately place in an awkward and very uncomfortable position. His interpretation reveals that the tree in the dream represents the king himself and the warning is for him. It was a glorious tree but because of it’s pride, it is cut down to a mere stump and it endures the extreme elements. The Angel makes a proclamation and warning; That the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind (v17). Like the tree, King Nebuchadnezzar has been exalted but will soon be cut down due to his arrogance. Daniel begs the king to repent and for a time Nebuchadnezzar seems to be safe. But one day as he walks on to his balcony and surveys his kingdom, his head and heart swell with pride and the dream comes to pass. Nebuchadnezzar degenerates into a senseless being and lives in the fields like an animal. He is assailed by the elements and becomes a horror to look at. And after the appointed time of discipline his reason returns and he humbles himself and exalts God. When the creation gives rightful credit to the Creator, the king’s kingdom and authority are restored. As he praises the King of Heaven he acknowledges, “He is able to humble those who walk in pride” (v37). Nebuchadnezzar thoroughly regretted becoming a “Soular Eclipse.”
Adam and Eve – Genesis 3.1-7
This problem is as old as the Garden of Eden itself. The serpent tempted Eve with this very sly and deceiving statement; “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (v4-5) Wait! What? I thought Adam and Eve were already like God having been made in His image? Exactly! But the serpent’s temptation was for much much more. He was implying that humans can be just like God, an equal. It basically meant that now that we’re equals, we can run our own lives the way we want. Do you see the “Soular Eclipse” happening here. It’s very subtle but just as dangerous nonetheless! Speaking of subtle, notice how Satan was the actual “Soular Eclipse?” Adam and Eve didn’t get tricked in to becoming their own gods. They got snookered into making the devil their god, their king. Adam and Eve’s sin now casts a shadow through the ages. That’s why we need to be “rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought in to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” (John 12.46, Acts 26.18, Ephesians 5.8, Colossians 1.13-14, 1 Peter 2.9) Satan never really wanted man to be god. He has big plans for himself.
Satan – Isaiah 14:12-15
And the serpent, Satan, himself tried to pull this shenanigan long before he bamboozled Adam and Eve. Look at the account in Isaiah and see for yourself;
“How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’
Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol,
To the lowest depths of the Pit.
Satan had become a “Soular Eclipse.” But the results are always the same. Humiliation. You try to eclipse God and you are asking for a boatload of trouble. For believers, it comes in the harshest discipline. For those who aren’t in the kingdom it will cost them their soul. A cautionary note here. It’s very difficult for us to distinguish between those who are and who aren’t in the kingdom with certainty. Maybe this is what Jesus is talking about when He gives this very sobering warning to those listening to Him;
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.”(Matthew 7.21-23)
To be continued…