Chapter 19 Meanings

Walk with the Wind

The saying, “Walk with the wind and you won’t want the fruit,” illustrates Galatians 5:16.

“I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

What an amazing promise! You will not gratify the desires of the flesh. And what is the requirement for receiving this promise? Walk by the Spirit. The more we keep in step with the Holy Spirit, the less we cave to the desires of the flesh.

Adam Tasted … Nothing

Tasting the food illustrates having fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ by “feasting” on (receiving and enjoying) his grace. I depicted this in terms of enjoying food because God so often compares himself to food and drink in Scripture (water of life, bread of life, honey, milk, wine, the richest of fare, etc.). God’s grace strengthens, satisfies, nourishes, and gives life to the human soul much like food and drink to the human body.

Adam’s inability to taste the food on his first visit illustrates those who read the Bible, listen to sermons, and expose themselves to gospel ministry but do not have a satisfying experience of fellowship with God through it.

In Adam’s case, it was because of his divided heart. His appetite was partly for the Ruler’s spread and partly for Abigail. We will find God when we seek him with all our heart (Jeremiah 29:13).

Chapter 20 Meanings

Abigail’s Pursuit of Adam

Chapter twenty begins with a conflict between Abigail and Watson over whether she should go after Adam. Watson’s warnings illustrate the danger of close friendships or romantic relationships between a believer and unbeliever. While the believer’s motives may be pure, simply desiring to win the unbeliever to the Lord, there is considerable spiritual danger.

In any close friendship, influence flows in both directions. Scripture warns us of this in 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1.

What ultimately happened with Abigail (the cooling of her passion for the Ruler and subsequent captivity in the lowlands) mirrors the sad consequence that so often results from those who seek to win unbelievers to the Lord through a romantic relationship.

Such an approach is dangerous for both parties. It influences the believer in a worldly direction and places the unbeliever in a position of not knowing for sure how genuine his interest in spiritual things really is. He may be excited about going to church and reading his Bible, but is it because of love for the Lord, or is it driven by a desire to please his girlfriend? Or a mix of both?

It’s next to impossible for him to know as long as he is in that relationship. Romantic emotions have a way of confusing motives. So even if some of his motives are genuine, the Christian woman is doing the man a disservice by continuing the relationship.

Taking Hodia to the Lowlands

When Anzu hears that Morax is taking Hodia to the lowlands, he objects.

 

“The lowlands? What is that going to accomplish? She won’t take fruit. Hodia hasn’t eaten so much as a grape in twenty years.”

“Yes,” Morax acknowledged with a subtle grin, “and she’s proud of it.”

 

Going to a bar or some other place of evil can be dangerous in two ways. For some, the danger is the temptation to join in the evil. For others, like Hodia, the danger is to be proud of the fact that they aren’t tempted to indulge.

Hodia assumes it is because she’s better than Abigail. She fails to understand that apart from God’s grace, she would be just as susceptible to the evils of that place as anyone else.

If a demon can get us to indulge that pride, it does as much damage as getting us to indulge in immorality.

Don’t Spook Her

When Abigail catches up to Adam after he leaves the banquet, Adramelech is careful to keep quiet so the warriors remain undetected. This illustrates Satan going out of his way to see to it that you are not tempted. He does this to lure you further into his trap.

A man might find himself alone with his girlfriend. And, because neither of them feel any temptation, they move further and further into the trap (extending their time alone together, watching a movie on the couch alone, late at night, when they are tired, etc.). Then, when they are all the way in to the trap, Satan springs the temptation and they fall.

Satan even appears as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14)—whatever it takes to keep us off our guard.

Fruit for the Stomach

Adam says, “What is fruit for if not the stomach? And the stomach for fruit. It’s the most natural thing in the world.”

This argument is modeled after the Corinthians’ saying in 1 Corinthians 6:13 (“Food for the stomach and the stomach for food”). The Corinthians evidently used that argument to justify sexual immorality. Why do bodily urges exist if not to be satisfied?

Paul’s answer is, “The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord” (1 Corinthians 6:13). This is reflected in Abigail’s words, “Your stomach was not made for fruit. The Ruler designed your body with appetites that can only be satisfied by his delicacies.”

Abigail acknowledges it is natural for a merely natural person. This reflects the idea in 1 Corinthians 2:14 and Jude 1:19 which speak of the “natural man” (Greek psuxikos) who does not have the Holy Spirit. James 3:15 uses the same word to speak of the wisdom that is earthly, psuxikos, and demonic. This is what Abigail means by naturalness not being a reliable guide for what is morally good.

Another reason she gives is that eating fruit “strengthens you to resist the wind.” That is, disobedience makes future disobedience easier. The more one engages in sin, the more damage he does to his conscience, searing it as with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:2).

Additionally, she points out that while he stopped eating fruit, he didn’t stop loving it. This illustrates the fact that what matters most is not what we do, but what we love. Note how many times the word “love” appears in Paul’s description of the most depraved evil:

“People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:2-4).

She goes on to point out that one reaps what he sows in his thoughts. This illustrates the principle of Galatians 6:7-8.

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7-8).

Today Is the Day

When Adam says he isn’t ready, Abigail insists, “Today is the day,” and gives him a cottage piece that says, “Seek him while he may be found.”

These are references to the following:

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3:7-8).

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6).

I Am not My Own

Abigail’s words, “It isn’t just a matter of my heart and soul, but also my body. I am not my own. I was bought with a price and I must honor the Ruler with both my affections and my actions” reflect Paul’s words to the Corinthians:

“You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Don’t Follow Your Heart

When Adam wanted to follow his heart, Abigail objects. “Your heart is the worst thing you could follow. Nothing will deceive you more thoroughly.”

It seems nothing is more universally believed among Hollywood screenwriters than the maxim, “Follow your heart,” as if the heart could never be wrong. But Abigail is right.

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

Adam counters that he is at peace with his decision. This foolish method of discerning right and wrong pervades not only Hollywood, but the Church. Christians often point to a sense of peace as evidence of God’s guidance.

It should be noted that Jonah had amazing peace while running from God (fast asleep in a deadly storm—Jonah 1:5). And Jesus had no inner peace at all when he was at the very center of God’s will. Anticipating the crucifixion, he sweat drops of blood (Luke 22:44) and said, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Mark 14:34).

Even Abigail doesn’t understand her own mixed motives until the wind blows on her. This illustrates the fact that apart from God revealing them to us, we are often unable to discern even our own motives (Proverbs 16:2, 1 Corinthians 4:4-5).

You Can Change Where You Belong

“Abigail, can’t you see that I don’t belong here?”

“Maybe not. But you can change where you belong.”

 

This is to reflect the fact that at conversion, a person goes from being an outsider to an insider—a foreigner to God’s family to being a member of it.

“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household” (Ephesians 2:19).

 

Chapter 19 Study Questions

EXCERPT

“Dishes?” Hodia asked, already on her feet.
…Adam watched the … way people stepped aside for them, pausing their conversations, the looks of admiration-“Are they rich? Or … famous? Or …”
Abigail cocked her head. “Adam, they’re servants.”

QUESTION 1

Scripture calls us to honor those worthy of honor in the church (Philippians 2:29, 1 Corinthians 16:18, Philippians 3:17). What sort of people receive the most honor in your church? What sort of people receive the most honor in your heart? And how does that square with Mark 10:41-42?

MY ANSWER

In some ways, the Church has done poorly in this area. People with impressive gifts, such as in music or other high-profile roles are regarded as more important than those with more ordinary gifts. Very often, people who are wealthy, attractive, or educated are honored above the poor, unattractive, or uneducated. This was a problem even in New Testament times (James 2:2-7).

On the other hand, however, there is still a significant difference between the world and the church. In the church, people are honored when they have love for God, humility, love for enemies, and other virtues produced by the Holy Spirit. And it’s not uncommon for people who are lowly in the eyes of the world to be elders in the church. We honor missionaries who give their lives to reach the lost, while the world despises them.

EXCERPT

   “Are you feeling sorry for them?” Abigail chuckled again. “They’re in the kitchen now …” she raised her eyebrows, “with the chef. Everyone at this table envies them.”

QUESTION 2

What are some ways you could follow Christ’s example when he washed the disciples’ feet?

EXCERPT

“So you just keep eating until the food runs out?” Levi asked.
“It never runs out,” Watson said. “That is part of what makes the banquets so enjoyable-the sheer abundance.” He waved his arm in a sweeping motion. “If every person ate all day and all night they would not consume a tenth of the spread.”

QUESTION 3

God has promised abundant provision, yet many times we lack what we desire. What has God promised to provide to us in abundance? See Romans 5:17; 2 Corinthians 9:10; 2 Peter 1:3; 2 Corinthians 12:9.

MY ANSWER

Ro.5 – Grace and righteousness
2 Cor.9 – Our store of seed and harvest of righteousness
2 Pe.1 – Everything we need for life and godliness
2 Cor.12 – Grace to handle torment

EXCERPT

Abigail and Kailyn’s conversation sounded to Adam like a foreign language. Filet mignon, rib eye, rack of lamb, garlic potatoes-what were these strange terms? Adam and Levi exchanged puzzled looks. Could they be talking about food that wasn’t fruit?

QUESTION 4

There is a kind of sweetness to sin, which is why it’s so tempting. Contrast the satisfaction that comes from sin with the satisfaction that comes from what God offers. See John 4:13–14, 6:27.

MY ANSWER

The satisfaction from sin is incredibly short-lived. It usually degenerates into regret moments after it’s over. But no one ever regrets communion with God. If a person attempts communion with God and fails, that can be boring, but actual fellowship with the Lord is always satisfying.

Secondly, the happiness sin brings is fragile. There have been Christians who have sung songs of joy while burning at the stake. That’s how powerful the joy of God’s presence is. It can carry us through the most excruciating loses and suffering. The pleasures of sin can’t even begin to do that.

QUESTION 5

Skim the section headings in your Bible in 2 Samuel 11–24 and consider how a few moments of “sweetness” effected the rest of David’s life. What are the parallels between David’s experience and Proverbs 5:3–14?

MY ANSWER

Indulging his eyes and then his body for one night was, no doubt, pleasurable. But the rest of David’s life was indeed bitter as gall and his sin cut him like sharp as a double-edged sword. Death dominated his house for the rest of his life. His years were consumed by the cruel and his enemy (one of his sons) took everything from him. The groans that came from David in those years were cries of sheer agony and regret and he came to the brink of utter ruin in view of everyone.

EXCERPT

   As the servers brought tray after tray to the table, Levi leaned toward Adam. “We’ll all be sick tonight!”
… “No we won’t …” Watson explained. “The chef’s delicacies are unlike fruit in every respect. You may indulge as you please. Indeed, the more you consume, the better you feel.”
“It doesn’t hurt your gut?” Levi asked.
Watson shook his head. “No nausea, no discomfort, no obesity, no adverse effects of any kind. Every bite brings only improved health and growth.”

QUESTION 6

There is no danger of over-indulgence in God’s grace because God satisfies our desires with good things (Psalm 103:5). What are some examples of how the same desire might be satisfied with good things or bad things?

MY ANSWER

We have a natural desire for honor. It is evil to seek to satisfy that desire with human applause (Mk.9:33-35), but it is good to seek honor from God (Ro.2:7).

The desire for happiness can be fulfilled by running after the pleasures of sin or by enjoying fellowship with God (Ps.16:11).

QUESTION 7

When God satisfies our desires with good things, the result is renewed youth (Psalm 103:5). What are some examples of that? And what are some examples of the opposite effect when desires are satisfied with bad things?

MY ANSWER

When I have had desires to experience the presence of God, to understand his Word more deeply, to show love to people for his sake, to edify the saints, or to do God’s will in some way, and those desires have been satisfied, I am energized in life. Regardless of how I feel physically, I have increased energy and motivation for life.

In times when I have indulged the flesh in sinful pursuits, afterwards I felt drained and life itself had less appeal.

QUESTION 8

Regret is one of life’s most painful emotions, and we all have regrets. What are some of the things you do in your life that you never regret?

MY ANSWER

In my sinfulness, there have been times when I have done the right thing and had feelings of regret because my heart still loved the sin. But I have never regretted anything I have ever done that resulted in experiencing God’s presence.

And in the long term, I do not regret any time I have resisted temptation

EXCERPT

“If you never feel over-full,” said Adam, “and the more you eat, the better you feel, and it never runs out, what makes you stop eating?”
“Only lack of appetite,” Watson said.
“And Judas desires,” Abigail added.

QUESTION 9

What is the one restriction on who may feast on God’s delicacies? (To whom is the banquet offered?) See Isaiah 55:1; Matthew 5:6; Revelation 22:17.

MY ANSWER

It is offered only to the hungry.

QUESTION 10

How would you describe your current level of hunger and thirst for God?

MY ANSWER

Woefully inadequate. I pray on a daily basis for God to ignite greater desire for him in my heart.

EXCERPT

Charles smiled behind a gray beard. “It’s not like it’s rocket science, Layth. The chef does all the work. All I have to do is get it from the kitchen to the table without dropping it.”

QUESTION 11

The Greek word for deacon means “server” and was used of waiting tables. In what ways does the task of church leaders resemble that of a waiter? See Matthew 20:25–28; 1 Peter 5:2; 2 Corinthians 4:5.

MY ANSWER

The primary task is one of serving. The waiter does not produce the food. His job is to simply get it from the chef to the customer without messing it up. The pastor’s job is to get the nourishing truth of God’s Word from the Scriptures to his hearers without distorting it, adding to it, or subtracting from it.

Also, church leaders are to feed God’s Word to the people like a shepherd feeding sheep (Jn 21:15-17).

QUESTION 12

What are some examples of how a pastor could fail in his task of getting the meal from the Chef to the congregation without messing it up? See 1 Corinthians 1:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:5.

MY ANSWER

1 Cor.1 – by mixing it with human wisdom (such as psychology or philosophy)

1 Thes.2 – by contaminating it with sins of greed (using preaching for financial gain) or flattery (using the ministry to gain favor in the eyes of men).

EXCERPT

The joy you see in him grew up out of the soil of bitter suffering.

QUESTION 13

What are some ways joy can grow out of the soil of suffering? See 2 Corinthians 12:10; James 1:2–4;12; 2 Corinthians 4:16–17; 1 Peter 1:6–7; Matthew 5:10–12.

MY ANSWER

2 Cor 12 – When we believe that the power of Christ rests upon those who are weak, we will delight in our weakness.

James 1 – When we believe trials can produce perseverance resulting in spiritual maturity, we will consider those trials pure joy if we value perseverance and spiritual maturity.

2 Cor 4 – When we believe that our troubles are accomplishing for us an eternal weight of glory, we will rejoice if we value eternal glory.

1 Pe.1 – When we believe that trials refine and prove our faith, we will rejoice in them if we value genuine, refined faith.

Mt.5 – When we believe God will reward us greatly for enduring persecution, we will rejoice and be glad when we are persecuted if we value great reward.

EXCERPT

Walk with the wind … and you won’t want the fruit.

QUESTION 14

Read Galatians 5:16. What an amazing promise! You won’t gratify the desires of the flesh. What is the requirement for receiving this promise? And what does it mean in practical terms?

MY ANSWER

We won’t gratify the desires of the flesh if we walk by the Spirit. Walking by the Spirit means living life in step with what the Spirit desires. All through the day we are faced with countless decisions. And most of the time we know what the Spirit would have us do. We know when he would be more pleased if we got up rather than stay in bed, made a phone call instead of turning on the TV, put the fork down and push the plate away, spend some time in prayer, clean up a mess—in each case, if we do what we know he wants us to do, we remain close by his side. But if we go with the impulses of the flesh, with each little decision we move a little farther from him. And after hours of doing that, when a big temptation hits, we find we have no spiritual power. But when we have remained by his side, then his power will be available to us in the moment we face a major conflict with the flesh.

QUESTION 15

What significance do you see in the fact that living by the Spirit is described in terms of walking?

MY ANSWER

Describing life as a walk reminds us that each moment that goes by you take a step in some direction. Every action, every word, and every thought you have is a step moving you one increment closer to some destination.

QUESTION 16

What are some specific changes you could make in your life to walk by the Spirit more?

MY ANSWER

The change I’m currently working on is to be more aware that my goal is to be a servant of Christ. I want a higher and higher percentage of my decisions to involve conscious awareness of this goal. I find it much easier to live the right way when I think this way, but I’m currently finding it difficult to remember except when I’m having my devotions.

EXCERPT

He tasted nothing. … It was like eating air.

QUESTION 17

What is it that Satan prevents unbelievers from seeing/experiencing? See 2 Corinthians 4:4. Why would that be such a priority for Satan?

EXCERPT

Which was worse-feeling confused and condemned in the banquet hall, or empty and dry in the orchard? Both were unbearable.

QUESTION 18

Why might an upstanding person feel confused and condemned at church while a former murderer has a delightful experience? (see 1 Corinthians 2:14; 11:31)