September 2 I Friday
1 Corinthians 13
“You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and exquisite in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God…I ordained and anointed you as the mighty angelic guardian…You were blameless in all you did from the day you were created…” —Ezekiel 28:12-15, NLT
Who do we think the opening verse of this devotion is referring to? Would we say Solomon, because he is “full of wisdom?” Or maybe Jesus, because He is “the model of perfection”? The shocking truth is that these verses are actually referring to Satan. God did not create an evil devil; rather, the identity and origin of Satan was a beautiful angel. He was the model of perfection, but because of his pride, rebelled against God. Ezekiel 28:17 tells us, “Your heart became proud on account of your beauty and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendour.”
What was the nature of Satan’s pride? Isaiah tells us, “[Satan] said in [his] heart, ‘I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High’” (Isaiah 14:13-14). Satan says “I will” five times in making himself more important and lifting himself higher. But Isaiah tells us the reality of Satan’s resolve, “How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn!…You are brought down to the realm of the dead” (Isaiah 14:12,15). The “morning star” refers to Satan, since angels are sometimes referred to as “stars” in Scripture.
This morning star, therefore, became characterized by violence and was thrown out of heaven. Ezekiel 28:16-17 reveals, “I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones....I threw you to the earth.” The most beautiful of all God’s angels was cast out of heaven and onto earth because of his pride.
Paul tells us, on the contrary, in the New Testament that Jesus, “being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God…He made Himself nothing…He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8). As a result, “God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name” (Philippians 2:9).
Satan—the antithesis of the Spirit of Jesus—who wanted to make himself into something equal with God was brought down low; while Jesus, who humbled Himself and made Himself lower, was exalted and raised by God to a higher position. The late American preacher Donald Grey Barnhouse used to say, “The way to up is down. And the way to down is up.” May we seek to lower ourselves in humility and allow Him to be the One to exalt us up.
Prayer: Dear God, take away my pride and humble my heart. Thank You for giving Jesus as an example of what it means to live in humility. Praise You!