Saved Out Of It

Monday, March 25, 2013, 8:08 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “Have Thine Own Way, Lord,” playing in my mind. Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read Jeremiah 30 (quoting vv. 4-9, 12-15, 17 NIV):

These are the words the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah: “This is what the Lord says:

“‘Cries of fear are heard—
terror, not peace.
Ask and see:
Can a man bear children?
Then why do I see every strong man
with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor,
every face turned deathly pale?
How awful that day will be!
No other will be like it.
It will be a time of trouble for Jacob,
but he will be saved out of it.

“‘In that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty,
‘I will break the yoke off their necks
and will tear off their bonds;
no longer will foreigners enslave them.
Instead, they will serve the Lord their God
and David their king,
whom I will raise up for them.

…“This is what the Lord says:

“‘Your wound is incurable,
your injury beyond healing.
There is no one to plead your cause,
no remedy for your sore,
no healing for you.
All your allies have forgotten you;
they care nothing for you.
I have struck you as an enemy would
and punished you as would the cruel,
because your guilt is so great
and your sins so many.
Why do you cry out over your wound,
your pain that has no cure?
Because of your great guilt and many sins
I have done these things to you…

But I will restore you to health
and heal your wounds,’
declares the Lord,
‘because you are called an outcast,
Zion for whom no one cares.’

A Time of Trouble

The time of trouble to come upon God’s people may have had an immediate fulfillment in some respects, yet it is clear that there is also prophecy here concerning the time of tribulation at the end of time prior to Christ’s return. Whereas the false prophets had been prophesying (and still are) a time of peace, Jeremiah had been prophesying judgment on God’s people for their many sins against God. It would be (and will be) a time of terror. The distress of that time will be like that of a woman in labor (cf. Matt. 24; Mark 13), “unequaled from the beginning of the world until now” – “no other will be like it.”

While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief (1 Thess. 5:3-4).

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:9-14).

“The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world… This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people” (Rev. 13:5-10).

Break the Yoke

God’s people at the end of the age (and since Christ died and was resurrected to purchase our redemption) are those who have accepted God’s invitation to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior via repentance (turning from sin) and obedience (turning to God) – see Luke 9:23-25; Eph. 2:1-10; 4:17-24; Rom. 3; 6; Gal. 2:20; 1 John, et al. Those who were once non-Jews by birth were excluded from citizenship in Israel, but now in Christ Jesus we are able to be brought near to God through the blood of Jesus Christ. God destroyed the barrier that once stood between Jew and Gentile and we, by God’s grace and through faith, have become one in Jesus Christ. So, we who have trusted in Jesus Christ are now fellow citizens with God’s people, and both Jew and Gentile have access to God by one Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ (see Eph. 2).

Isaiah 2 (and most of the book of Isaiah) is a parallel prophecy concerning the last days to that of Jeremiah 30. The mountain of the Lord and the temple of God are clearly synonymous with Jesus Christ, as the embodiment of the kingdom of heaven – his life, death, resurrection, gospel of salvation, life of the true church, etc. Jesus Christ is exalted above all and all nations are and will stream to him, to his eternal kingdom and to his gospel of salvation, thus becoming one with Christ and with his Body, the true church. Jesus Christ is also synonymous with the law and the word going out from Zion and from Jerusalem, initially from these literal locations and then and now from spiritual Zion and spiritual Jerusalem, i.e. from Christ’s body, his followers - the true church.

The picture painted for us in Isaiah is that God’s people (the church of the last days) who are rebellious, idolatrous, spiritually adulterous and unrepentant will be judged by God during this time of tribulation (cf. Rev. 2-3). She will thus repent of her sins, be revived, and as a result all nations will flock to Jesus Christ, to his gospel and to his eternal kingdom, of which we are a part. Then God will restore her and she will dwell with him in safety during the time known as the millennium and also for eternity with God in glory.

Jeremiah painted a similar picture here in Jeremiah 30. Although this would be a terrible time for God’s people to have to endure, she would be saved out of it. How? For those who confess Jesus Christ as Lord in word only but not in heart, their salvation will truly come through new birth, yet to those who had trusted in Christ as Savior but had forsaken their first love or who had become lazy, complacent and/or rebellious, idolatrous and spiritually adulterous, even refusing the idea that they need to repent, their salvation will come through judgment because it will open their eyes to the reality of what they have been doing against God, they will repent, and God will revive and renew them. As revived and renewed followers of Christ they will thus go forth with the gospel of Jesus Christ and many will flock to Christ and to salvation as a direct result.

This breaking off of the yoke, thus, for the church of today, I believe has to do with breaking off the yoke of slavery to sin via divine discipline and correction and also the yoke of slavery to men, man-made religion, false gods, et al. In other words, many are following the ways of men instead of the ways of God, so through judgment God will get their attention and they will realize their sin, they will repent and thus they will be delivered of those yokes of slavery and their desire will be for their Lord God alone; for Jesus Christ. May that be so in our lives without us having to be divinely disciplined by God Almighty.

Have Thine Own Way, Lord / Adelaide A. Pollard, 1862-1934

George C. Stebbins, 1846-1945 / Tune: ADELAIDE, Meter: 54.54 D

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o'er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!