Flesh and Spirit – Passage #4 – Lesson 4
“Flesh is weak.”
MY WORDS ON THE WINGS OF A DOVE
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Matthew 26:40-42 (in Context) Matthew 26 (Whole Chapter)
All scripture references are from Bible Gateway and can be found using the link below.
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Godly King Hezekiah of Judah when threatened by Sennacherib king of Assyria reminded his subjects that God was their strength and that Sennacherib was fighting the all powerful God with mere arms of weak human flesh.
And as Hezekiah prophesied The Lord God Sent an angel to annihilate the army of Sennacherib who returned to his land in disgrace and upon entering the temple of his god was cut down by his own sons’ swords. 2 Chronicles 32:8
The Psalmist in verse 26 of the 73rd Psalmsays “my flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Gill, in his commentary states that the flesh and heart of man fails perhaps because of deferred communion with God; or through trouble, trial or hardship that seems to be unrelenting. Sometimes the failing of heart and flesh, come through inward trials resulting from indwelling sin, temptations, and desertions, which can lead to sickness of body and can result in fear of death.
Then we arrive at the rest of the story: but “God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Gill says God is “the rock of our heart” when trials come, and we are overwhelmed with distress because of outward trouble, or in dejected or moody spirit the lowest condition with respect to spiritual things;when grace is weak, corruptions strong, temptations prevail, and afflictions are many; then the Lord supports and sustains his people, and strengthens their souls; and in the moment of death, by showing them that its sting is taken away, and its curse removed; that their souls are going to their Lord, and about to enter into his joy; and that their bodies will rise again glorious and incorruptible:
Both in life and at death, and to all eternity; this is a very large portion indeed; those who have it inherit all things. It is immense and inconceivable; it is soul satisfying, and is safe and secure; it can never be taken away, nor can it be spent; it will last always.
The 78th chapter of Psalms recounts the many and various times God had shown his love and faithfulness to the unappreciative Hebrew people. They incessantly rejected and turned their hard hearts away from Him. Yet God had compassion for them and as verse 39 reminds us he remember their frailness.
He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return.
Gill says they were “children of the flesh”, frail, weak, mortal creatures, unable to bear the weight of God’s displeasure, the indignation of his wrath; they were naturally sinful and corrupt, prone to evil, easily drawn into sin; it was what their depraved natures inclined unto; they were impotent to that which is good, and unable to withstand temptations; all this was considered by the Lord in his condescending goodness, and therefore he dealt gently with them; see ( Genesis 6:3 ) ( 8:21 ) ,
The life of man, say’s Gill, can fitly be compared to swift passing wind, losing strength and finally subsiding. Mans’ life is quickly gone and death is the inevitable end till God calls the spirit to return for judgment or reward.
The Psalmist in Chapter 119 is a God fearing and devoted follower of God. He has no regard for double minded men and loves the Law of God.
He seems somewhat out of character with the statement in verse 120 till you put the perspective of all he has said in previous verses to work in gaining his thoughts.
My flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of your laws. Psalm 119:120
Gill interprets it this way… Not for fear of the wrath of God coming down upon him, or for fear of eternal damnation; but for fear of what was coming upon the wicked, for their sins and transgressions. The word used signifies such a dread and horror, which seizes a man to such a degree, that it makes the hair on his flesh stand up.
The Psalmist’s fear is not for himself but for those wicked men upon whom it falls. Good men are aware of their weakness and avoid sin and wickedness in order to avoid being plagued with eternal damnation.
24 but let him who boasts boast about this:
that he understands and knows me,
that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the LORD.
The above verse is saying all glory belongs to God alone who understands everyone and everything as its Creator. The created is to give all glory to the Creator who understands him and upon whom the created is dependent. All men since the fall of Adam are fallen sin filled creatures needing the call of the Creator and his kindness, justice, righteousness and regeneration through His grace and favor, to miserable and undeserving men; in making his Son an offering for sin, and bruising him; and in his righteousness, whereby the law is magnified and made honorable.
“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh— Jeremiah 9:25
Jews and Gentiles together will be punished. The circumcised Jews who trust in their circumcision, and being, as is said in the next verse, uncircumcised in heart, were no better than the uncircumcised Gentiles; both being transgressors of the law, and despisers of the Gospel of Christ, are threatened with destruction; see ( Romans 2:12 Romans 2:25-29 ) .
26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the desert in distant places.[a] For all these nations are really uncircumcised, and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.”
Places and people among which the Jews were dispersed, and whose punishment is predicted in Jeremiah chapters forty six through forty nine.
Dwellers in the desert of Arabia; these, were the Kedarenes, and the kingdoms of Hazor, a people that dwelt in the utmost corners, whom Nebuchadnezzar smote, as Jeremiah foretold, ( Jeremiah 49:28-33 ) . Jarchi, in a note, referred to these dwellers as follows.., “those that are cut off in a corner of the wilderness;” that live by themselves, and have no communication with other people; were at the greatest distance, and secure; dwelt alone, and had neither gates nor bars, as is said of the same people, ( Jeremiah 49:31) . The Septuagint version says, “Upon everyone that shaves what is about his face, and dwells in the wilderness”.
The Arabians used to shave the extreme hairs of the head round about, the forehead, temples, and behind the ears, which are the corners of the head; so Herodotus reported of them, who seem to be meant here; though some think the Jews are intended, to whom this was forbidden, ( Leviticus 19:27 ) : for all these nations are uncircumcised;
in the flesh; though they were not punished on this account, because it was not commanded them, but is mentioned to show that the Jews were no better than they, though circumcised, and that they should be punished together: and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart;
None of these had the circumcision made without hands; and were not circumcised in heart, to love the Lord, to fear and serve him; having the foreskin of their flesh taken off achieved nothing so long as the hardened flesh on their heart remained, and they were Impudent, impenitent, and disobedient.