I finished up Session 54 by mentioning Leviathan under a different name: Resheph. In that particular guise, Leviathan takes an especial interest in dishonour during prayer.
In the Tabernacle, and later, the Temple, the altar of incense was where prayers were offered. Resheph is a word connected with intense heat and burning coals. The name is similar in Hebrew to ‘rizpah’, the ceremonial stone where consecrated oil was poured before being placed in the fire to produce an exquisite fragrance. The word ‘rizpah’ also denotes a tile to be joined together with others. Here we see its overlap in meaning with Levi, joined, and Leviathan, joined sea monster.
The rizpah is a symbol of being joined to God in prayer. This is designed to be in honour, not in dishonour.
Zachary, the husband of Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin, is another example of a person who offered God dishonour at the prayer altar. There were so many priests eligible for service in the Temple in the early part of the first century that they were chosen by lot for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in the sanctuary. So there was Zachary, in the Inner Court, at the altar of incense and the angel Gabriel appeared with a message. Did Zachary rejoice and praise God that the desire of his heart had, at last, been granted? No. He doubted. He couldn’t believe that he was about to have a son and that, after so many years, Elizabeth would bear a child.
Even though an angel was on a mission to tell him so.
Right there, in the middle of offering prayer, he dishonoured God. It wasn’t a huge dishonour, but it was enough. Zachary was struck dumb. And his tongue was only loosed when his son was born and he named him John according to the angel’s instructions.
Some months later, the angel Gabriel visits Mary—who likewise has a few doubts. But is she struck dumb like Zachary? Does she break out in leprosy like Uzziah? Does she realise her arm has just withered like Jeroboam? Does the earth open up like it did for Korah, Dathan and Abiram? No, none of these things.
So has God suddenly mellowed? Not at all. Just as Zachary was troubled, so Mary was troubled. However, there is no mention of her location at the time. She definitely would not have been at a prayer altar of any kind; and quite likely she was not even in prayer. And that seems to be the difference.
If we dishonour God in prayer, Resheph-Leviathan has the spiritual legal right to retaliate against us instantly. And because we react instinctively and impulsively, we don’t always have the chance to repent before the consequences are upon us.
In other circumstances where we have dishonoured God—situations that don’t involve prayer—it may be years before retaliation comes crashing in. This is God’s mercy—giving us time to repent before the whiplash strikes.
This is Grace Drops and I’m Anne Hamilton. May you always highly honour God, particularly in prayer.
Thank you to Lorna Skinner of www.riversofmusic.co.uk for the background music.
More on the spirit of Leviathan can be found in the paperback or ebook, Dealing with Leviathan: Spirit of Retaliation, Strategies for the Threshold #5. More on the spirit of Resheph can be found in the paperback, Dealing with Resheph: Spirit of Trouble, Strategies for the Threshold #6.