LIVING THINGS – The Soul
E. C. Richards
Jesus said, “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” Mt. 22:32. In living things let us consider the soul of man. Gen. 2:7, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” This is the Word of God, so it is true. The soul of man was created by the great God and graphically portrayed an “breathed.” The Creator can do things simply. Man must do his works frantically complicated. Only a few understand the methods, and the rest are frantic in trying to find out what is what. We call that education.
God does not ask us to understand, only to believe His Word. Notice, that the human soul is called “living.” It is the beginning of a stream of life that has not been stopped after thousands of years. It will exist forever, yet redeemed in the New Creation action by the same Maker as of the first.
Now as to the first domain of this soul, it is the earth. It has a strong earth connection. We cannot be too critical to man’s being interested in the things of this earth. That is the built-in propensity of this living soul, passed on to each of us at birth. Only God, dwelling above, and knowing what and who is above, can divert the attention from the first passion of the soul, the earth. However we cannot be totally oblivious of this earth, even its systems. Both God the Father and the Lord Jesus referred to “my soul,” so such is a part of our being in His image, Amen!
Let us consider some factors about this integral part of man. Gen. 12:13, (Abraham and Sarai in Egypt) “Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.” Because of Sarah, Abraham expected to live, or continue to live on earth. This shows the strong earth connection of man, even God’s people, with the earth. It has a strong consciousness of this earth. Whether digging, planting, producing plant life, buying and selling, traveling or just admiring, the earth impresses the human psyche. It crosses over into the set-ups of earth, the various segments of existence such as governments, civilizations, societies, even religions (many of which are earthly).
The soul lives and has consciousness of its environment. Also it has a sense of its own existence, or self-consciousness of its environment. By the soul, we know that we are a separate entity from other like, but distinct entities. Out of this consciousness comes our emotions toward other things around us. We have the two extremes, love and jealousy. Of course, the bad emotions are tainted with sin, for the soul, since the fall of Adam, has the poison in it.
Here are a few Scriptures revealing some emotions of the soul. I Sam. 1:10, “And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.” Of course, this is Hannah, who had an adversarial companion in Peninnah who taunted her because of her barrenness. “She was in bitterness of soul.” That is a forceful and nagging emotion of the soul, and can be overwhelming. She did the right thing; she prayed unto the Lord and the problem was salved. Have you ever been in bitterness of soul? Here is the remedy, praise the Lord!
I Sam. 4:10-18, we will not cite all this passage, but it is the account of the defeat of Israel by the Philistines in the time of Eli, the priest, and the fulfillment of the prophecy through young Samuel of the judgment on the house of Eli. Vs. 17, “And the messenger answered and said, Israel is fled before the Philistines, and there hath been also a great slaughter among the people, and thy two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God is taken.” Vs. 18, “And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ask of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy. And he judged Israel forty years.” So, here another emotion killed Eli, sorrow. We all experience it sometime, and the soul is living and when wounded, only God can assuage some grief. He could not do it for Eli.
Then in I Sam. 18:1, “And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” So the strongest human emotion, love, is part of the soul’s possessions. Even human love, that some think is non-spiritual and something that is only a concession to the flesh nature, it really is an outflow of the soul. Marriage, friendship, brotherhood, even spiritual, is rooted in this precious human emotion that God has given the redeemed soul. These two men had a sad ending of their soul-friendship, but it was real, nevertheless.
Yet, there is a temporarily sad destiny of the soul: the sentence in the garden of the living soul to be spiritually dead. No true believer doubts the ultimate good of the Maker for this His handiwork, but it has it poignant side, the soul still living on earth sheds tears at the going of a dear soul, yet bittersweet it is, for the soul has been graduated.
Let us enter into empathy with Jacob. Gen. 35:16, “And they journeyed from Bethel…And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also. And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni” (son of my sorrow). Yes, it must depart this earth, but it has its destination and sublime destiny because of the sacrifice of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ. He said the night before he went to the cross, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful.” It was a hard thing for Him, but the way for the living soul’s glory was opened, never to be closed. Bless His name!
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