23 October – Additional Notes
EPHESIANS 6: FREE AROMOUR FOR KNIGHTS!
Living on the Scottish borders is really nice for taking our visitors to places like the Gretna Visitor’s Centre. Three times I’ve taken my family from Australia on short ‘tours’ to lochs and castles in both the summer and winter. There just seems to be something special about Scotland and its history, which seems to be endowed with timeless fascination. Last time I was in Edinburgh, I found a small booklet on the Family history of the Knights. I thought knights were English, but there it was with a Coat of Arms, clan tartan, and family history to buy in the tourist shop!
I think if I had a big house with oak wood wall panels and wide staircases, I’d probably buy a suit of armour to guard the black and white tiled entrance hall! It just doesn’t seem right to have Knight as a family name, and not own a suit of armour! But with all the nostalgia aside, protecting one’s self from harm has always been a serious thing throughout history’s gruesome past.
The tournaments for medieval knights in gleaming armour, watched on sunny days by beautiful maidens seated beneath crisp flags, were nothing compared to the horrible Gladiator years of the Roman Empire. Those were the days when innocent people were stolen from their homes and taken to war, or thrown into arenas to fight or die.
If I look around at our “refugee crisis” today, as thousands flee from North Africa, we don’t seem to have changed since Paul’s letter to those living in Ephesus in the first century AD. If we’re not victims of trouble, we’re causing it. Moreover, we still have insolent children who aren’t just disobeying their parents [v1-3], they’re abusive to their teachers and anyone else they don’t like! The latest bid to pass the euthanasia bill through UK parliament would then allow children to terminate their parent’s lives when they felt it was right to do so.
There is a saying “A man’s house is his castle”, but Fathers still haven’t managed to evolve into good “rulers”.[a] Far from being good role models, fathers today can be non-existent, abusive (in varying forms), or simply not empowered by society, or their family, to lead. Connecting in a meaningful way with mobile-texting, computer-gaming children is hard enough. But “bringing them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” [v4], so that they’ll evolve into what their Maker has created them to be, is virtually impossible. This is especially so if there’s no interest in being trained or instructed as His image-bearers. “Attitude reflects leadership”, and this comes from the top down.
Yet the key to everything seems to always come around to a central issue, in every chapter that Paul writes. It’s the hub of the wheel that makes life, as experienced by humans, turn round. It’s the issue of the existence and involvement of the Master Planner. The daily battle through life is part and parcel in every country and culture on earth. However, the daily battle seemed to make sense for me when I acknowledged two things: (i) that my Father God exists, and (ii) that He shows no favouritism. [v9]
The plight of every single one of us is equally important to Him because we’re all His image-bearers. So no matter where I find myself treading the grind-wheel of this life [v5-8], I can be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. [v10] Why have an armour at all, if He didn’t know just how difficult our human experience would be.[b] Getting His image-bearers through “life on Planet Earth” required not just skins[c], but also a full body suit of armour. [v10-17] This, the Creator God offers just as He did with the skins when HIStory began: free of charge. If we accepted the skins back then, and still wear every kind of clothing against every kind of storm today, how much more should we accept His armour for protecting our souls…
With all that said, Father God goes yet another step further. He’s opened up the channels of communication on a 24/7 basis when He invited us to “…pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests”. [v18] Now I can be fearless, as I make known the mystery of His gospel message. [v19] It’s the Good News of the Creator God’s global Masterplan, and it’s the greatest story ever told!
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[a] Genesis 1:16
[b] Genesis 6:5-6
[c] Genesis 3:21