In this episode:
- Don’t forget to become a Theodio Premier Subscriber. Offer ends when 2020 comes to a close.
- An explanation of the historical and literary references Thomas Brooks uses here
- The relevant segment of the Precious Remedies audiobook
- One more reference explanation from the end of the book segment
- Episode blog post: Four ways wealth can wreck your Christian life
- The first post in the chapter 2 series: Deceit: Satan fishes with a hook
- Precious Remedies on Kindle
- Podcast introduction: Yabo Obien
- Logo and marque: Jeff Lyons at Light & Story
- Original music: Makeup and Vanity Set
- Kindle version of Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices by John Hendryx at Monergism.com
- Text for Precious Remedies provided by GraceGems.org
This is the Theodio Podcast. I’m your host, Dan Kassis
Are you wondering what this Theodio thing is, exactly? Visit Theodio.com and read the About page. It’s linked up in the header of every page on the site. That will give you some good background on what we do here, and why.
Maybe this is your first time listening. It’s great to have you with us. Last time we finished chapter 2 of the book we are studying, Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks. That chapter was about 12 ways our enemy tries to lure us into sin. Consider going back and catching up with it sometime. I’ll link to the first post in the show notes.
And if you don’t want to miss any future posts, subscribe to the blog in the right sidebar of the homepage or at the end of any post.
As I said, chapter 2 of Precious Remedies focuses on the schemes our enemy crafts to lure us into sin. As we now move into chapter 3, we become familiar with the tactics Satan employs to discourage Christians from faithful service, from devotion to God, and from good works.
Brooks identifies eight devices Satan uses. This episode focuses on the first half of device 1.
By presenting the WORLD in such a dress, and in such a garb to the soul, as to ensnare the soul, and to win upon the affection of the soul.
Satan can present the world as so enticing and alluring that Christians may forsake their devotion to God to run after its riches and pleasures. There is much in the world that is beautiful, that brings joy and pleasure, that creates more emotional and even spiritual excitement than religious duty. The enemy can easily use these facts to his advantage.
Explanation of Brooks’s references
If you have a copy of Precious Remedies, turn to the beginning of chapter 3. I’m going to explain some of the references Brooks uses here. If not, I’ll link to the version I use in our original audio version in the show notes.
Joshua, son of Yehozadak
Brooks’ choice of Zechariah 3:1 as this chapter’s anchor text is an interesting one. Joshua, son of Yehozadak, was the first person chosen to serve as high priest following the Judahites’ return from exile in Babylon. Scholars sometimes call this era in the Israelites’ history “second-Temple Judaism.” That’s because Solomon’s temple was destroyed when the Babylonians sacked the city in the 7th century B.C.
Joshua stands as not only a literal religious figurehead, but also an icon of hope that God’s promises of restoration for Israel would come to pass.
But this hope extends further. Joshua’s name means “the Lord saves,” as does its Greek translation, “Jesus.” This high priest, then, becomes a type and shadow of the Great High Priest who eternally stands as the mediator between God and his elect.
Satan is the accuser of this mediator, in both senses. He comes against restored Judah’s hopes for a return to normal religious life. And he comes against all mankind’s hopes for reconciliation with God. We see this plainly in the gospels’ account of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness, in which the Lord’s triumphs directly counter Israel’s failures in her desert wanderings.
For Israel then and Jesus later and the church today, it’s about devotion. Brooks’ warnings in this chapter center on Satan’s attempts to divert our devotion away from God and toward other things – possessions, false gods, personal ambitions, or whatever else might easily entangle us.
As we approach Brooks’ first remedy against this device of Satan, he uses three historical or literary metaphors to illustrate his point.
The inhabitants of Nilus
This is a difficult reference to decipher. Nilus was the ancient Egyptians’ god of the Nile river. It could be that “Nilus” here represents a city on the Nile. The river’s noisy rushing is so commonplace to these inhabitants that they no longer notice it. Similarly, the “noise” of worldly gain can dull our spiritual attenuation to the things of God.
Those not familiar with the Roman Catholic Bible will miss this reference. The story appears in the apocryphal book of Tobit, a faithful member of the tribe of Naphtali whose family lived during the time the Assyrians conquered Israel. Exiled in Nineveh, Tobias ensures that the bodies of his slaughtered kinsmen receive proper burials.
One day, exhausted from his work, Tobit falls asleep by a wall, under a swallow’s nest. Dung from the nest falls into his eyes, blinding him.
Brooks’ reference is odd, as Tobias is a faithful man, unswayed from his devotion by the world. Yet it is a caution that temptation can drive us from devotion at any time. Blindness would have prevented Tobias from continuing his service to his people.
The apple in Milo’s hand
This is another difficult reference to uncover. The most plausible is a story or fable about a great Greek champion, of wrestling or some other sport, named Milo. While his fellow competitors could not take an apple from his grasp, a woman could get it through cunning and charm. This may remind you of the story of Samson and Delilah.
Say what you will about gender stereotypes here. The story is ancient. It’s intent is to warn us that we can fall into irreligion when we let down our guard through idleness or distraction.
Now that we have explored these literary and historical references, let’s move into our audio segment.
Brooks provides eight remedies to counter the world’s allure that distracts Christians from devotion to Christ. His first four remedies each explain a particular negative quality of material gain.
Wealth and possessions are
- Unreliable, and
We will now hear Brooks examine these four discouragements against worldly gain. And we’ll save rest of this device for the next episode
One more reference
Alright, there’s another curious reference there at the end of this segment. Scytale, or scytalis, is the name of a serpent that appears in some ancient bestiaries – like encyclopedias of animals. In some bestiaries it’s hard to know which animals are real and which are legendary.
Scytale didn’t have a venomous bite and couldn’t crush its prey. To death. So it would dazzle it with the appearance of its beautiful skin. There are real animals that do this. The cuttlefish, for instance, distracts its prey with iridescent waves on its scales.
The point is the hapless fish, or rodent, doesn’t know what’s coming until it’s too late. That’s what our enemy does when he distracts us from devotion to God with the world’s shiny trinkets.
Thankfully we have Brooks’s first four remedies against this device to remember. And we have four more to go. We’ll learn about those in the next episode of the Theodio Podcast. See you then.