No Overpowering

Sunday, June 29, 2014, 7:47 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “To Be Like Him.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 7 (NIV).

Hearts Shaken

When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it.

Now the house of David was told, “Aram has allied itself with Ephraim”; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.

Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub, to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Launderer’s Field. Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood—because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying, “Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.”

Obviously this is a situation spoken of in Biblical history, and so these directives are specific to this particular situation. Yet God’s word teaches us that ALL scripture is God-breathed and is useful (profitable) for teaching, reproof, correction and for training in righteousness (See 2 Tim. 3:16). So, we look at the principles that are being taught here, and we interpret them in light of the New Covenant relationship between God and his people, the church, and we pray for wisdom and understanding to know how this can be applied to our lives today.

The people had received a report of an alliance between the king of Aram (in Syria) and the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Israel was then divided into two kingdoms, and Jerusalem was in the southern kingdom. True Israel today is the true church, the Body of Christ, not to be confused with the institutional church, an institution created by humankind. Perhaps an analogy could be made here that the “Israel” of today, i.e. the church, is also a divided kingdom and only in the southern kingdom (not a physical location but in a spiritual realm) does Jerusalem, The Holy City, the heavenly Jerusalem, the Bride of Christ dwell.

In other words, when in America someone says “church,” they generally mean a non-profit corporation of the federal government of the USA, instituted of men (humans), and run much like a business, though they don’t generally picture it that way. Usually they think of it as the true church because there are some true Christians who go there, but there is a definite distinction that must be made here between the “northern kingdom” and the “southern kingdom,” i.e. one is an institution of humans (a physical entity) and is in an alliance with the federal (or global) government, and the other is a spiritual entity of the Spirit of God in which dwells the Holy of Holies, the Spirit of God.

They are not one and the same, though the true church may attend the meetings of the institutional church. And they are operated completely different from each other, too, i.e. one has as its head human beings and government, and the other has Christ as its head and is ideally operated by the Spirit of God. Yet, the institutional church is definitely at war with and is coming against the true church, the Body of Christ, of the Spirit of God, yet the institutional church will not overpower the true church. God will not allow it. So, we are to be careful, keep calm, not be afraid and not lose heart. We will not be overcome. Amen!

Not Happening

Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“‘It will not take place,
it will not happen…
If you do not stand firm in your faith,
you will not stand at all.’”

…The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah—he will bring the king of Assyria.”

In that day the Lord will whistle for flies from the Nile delta in Egypt and for bees from the land of Assyria. They will all come and settle in the steep ravines and in the crevices in the rocks, on all the thornbushes and at all the water holes. In that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the Euphrates River—the king of Assyria—to shave your head and private parts, and to cut off your beard also. In that day, a person will keep alive a young cow and two goats. And because of the abundance of the milk they give, there will be curds to eat. All who remain in the land will eat curds and honey. In that day, in every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels, there will be only briers and thorns. Hunters will go there with bow and arrow, for the land will be covered with briers and thorns. As for all the hills once cultivated by the hoe, you will no longer go there for fear of the briers and thorns; they will become places where cattle are turned loose and where sheep run.

This is what I believe the Lord Jesus is showing me here. It would appear, from all outward signs, that the true church of the Spirit of God, headed by Christ himself, is dying out, and that it is being overrun by the institutional church, of the making of and being operated by humankind. We see so many lies, manipulations and deceptions within the institutional church today. We see the gospel being destroyed from within. We see the focus of the church turning more toward man-made religion, humanistic teachings and philosophies, and worldly values and standards, and it breaks our hearts. And, it can get discouraging at times, with no visible end in sight other than the total and absolute obliteration of truth and of godly principles and values. So, the Lord is encouraging us here, that even though things look bleak at the moment, his church will survive and they will overcome! Amen!

Yet, not all is encouraging, for the way in which he must get his church to thrive and survive in this world of lies, deceptions and manipulations, is that he must bring judgment upon his adulterous and idolatrous church, and that involves the persecution and death of even the genuine followers of Jesus Christ. The King of Assyria, I believe, is symbolic of this beast of Revelation which will be allowed to conquer even the saints of God, but only physically. They can kill our bodies, but they can’t kill our souls. I believe God will use this judgment against his church to open up the short-sighted eyes of his church so that they can see the reality around them, so they are no longer deceived by the liars and manipulators, and so they will follow Jesus Christ wholeheartedly, even to their deaths.

I believe the church will actually grow during this time, as many will come to Christ through the time of severe persecution that has come and is coming upon the church throughout the world. Satan can try all he wants to destroy us, but we will only grow stronger. So many times we can only see what is directly going on around us. God wants to give us long-distance vision to see what lies ahead for us in the future, so that we do not give up hope.

To Be Like Him / An Original Work

March 16, 2014 / Based off Scripture

Crucified you are with Jesus.
To be like Him, oh, you’ll be,
Because He died at Calv’ry,
So from sin you’d be free.
Oh, what joy He brings into your life,
Giving life with Him endlessly.

Oh, what plans He has for your life.
Share the gospel faithfully.
Show the people He loves them.
Now His witness you’ll be.
Tell the world of sin about Jesus,
How He died for them on a tree.

Purifying hearts, He saves them,
Who believe on Christ, God’s Son.
Turning now from their idols,
New lives they have begun.
Jesus saves from sin; we’re forgiven.
Over sin, the vict’ry He won!

When He comes again to take us
To be with Him evermore,
There will be no more crying.
Gladness will be in store.
Heavens joys will now overtake us:
We’ll be with our Lord evermore.