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Mark 064 - Mick Jagger Was Right

A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

Mark 5:11-13

When Mick Jagger first sang “You Can’t Always Get What You Want[1]” back in July, 1969, it was a very different world.

· Just finished my sophomore year in high school.

· Driving my first car, a $400 used 1966 Plymouth Valiant with a slant-6 engine and push-button transmission.

· First summer as a country club lifeguard without the muss or fuss of filling out an application, taking or passing any lifeguard classes or tests either.

· We still had only one rotary phone at home.

· No one knew it at the time, but the predecessor of the internet was born.

The song was an unimportant part of the Let It Bleed album. Its unimportance was further shown when it was given the B-side of Honky Tonk Woman.

When you hear or read the lyrics, each verse starts off hopefully. But that doesn’t last long. The song quickly takes a sharp turn into despair and disappointment. But its sentiment is still true.

You can’t always get what you want.

That certainly was true for the demons holding this poor guy hostage. Looking for a quick way out, they see the pigs and choose them. There was no time to think because Jesus was ordering them out and they were looking for an option. Any option.

Jesus lets them have their way, giving them permission to do what they wanted. There was no command, he allowed them to do what they asked. Nothing more, nothing less.

They left this poor guy on their own and entered the unsuspecting pigs. The pigs respond by going mad. They race down the steep bank and about 2,000 pigs were drowned.

Evil sometimes needs to be commanded, forcefully thrown out. That’s what Jesus was doing, commanding the demons to leave this guy. But they came up with a creative solution, asking to go into the nearby pigs.

When evil chooses, the results can be more devastating and create a greater image of just how corrupt and horrible our enemy is. Jesus had thrown other demons out. Sometimes there was a scream, other times not. But nothing like the image of a herd of 2,000 pigs running into the water and drowning.

It may be hard to hear and accept, but our enemy is not looking to help us. It’s not even trying to be neutral. It has one, and only one goal in mind: to inflict pain, kill, and destroy.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

1 Peter 5:8,9

Our enemy is so anxious and focused to feast on us that he loudly roars to frighten us. Hoping in our fright that we’ll forget who we are. Forget whose we are. Many people have done very foolish things when frightened.

That’s why the 1 Peter verse starts out with the command to be alert, calm, free from illusion. We’re to be levelheaded, not flying off the handle when we hear the enemy.

Remember, hearing the enemy means that they are in the area, but not necessarily right on top of us. Hearing the roar is a warning to be alert and to be ready for action. We’re to have our guard up.

We’re to resist and stand firm in the faith. Not standing firm in our intellect, in our clever answers, in our friends, in the app on our phone. No, we’re to stand firm in the faith. Not just any faith, but the faith. Immovable. Not buckling, giving way, or giving in.

Truth is true, no matter how old, or who said it. Once true, it’s always true. If for some reason it’s no longer true, then it was never really true to begin with.

The demons quickly received the truth that they can’t always get what they want. They wanted out, and they got it. But not in the way they expected. It spelled immediate death and destruction to them, to the pigs.

Our choice should be to resist the enemy, standing firm against him, standing firm with God. And then we’ll really get what we want: ultimate peace and security in Jesus.



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