Turn Back The Battle

Monday, February 17, 2014, 9:50 p.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song “Living Water” in my mind. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 28. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+28&version=NIV

The Fading Flower

Woe to that wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards,
to the fading flower, his glorious beauty,
set on the head of a fertile valley—
to that city, the pride of those laid low by wine!

Samaria was the capital city of Ephraim, the northern kingdom of Israel. It was a prideful city filled with luxury and self-indulgences. “Ephraim’s drunkards” appears to be a reference to its supposed spiritual leaders. They may have been literally drunk on wine, and/or they may have been inebriated by their own sense of pride, arrogance, and/or believing in their own lies and their feeling that nothing could bring them down. Their capital city sat on a hill and was their crown, their floral wreath on their heads. Yet, the Lord described this floral wreath – their capital city – as a fading flower.

The Lord has one who is powerful and strong. He will use this divine instrument of judgment, which he compared to a hailstorm, a destructive wind, a driving rain and a flooding downpour, to throw this capital city forcefully to the ground. It will be trampled underfoot. It will be swallowed up by God’s judgment. The Lord brought the scripture to mind here – “For we know him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:30-31 NIV ’84).

As I prayerfully considered this before the Lord, I believe he gave me a picture of the U.S. government, for those of us who live in the USA, as the pride of the institutional church in the USA, i.e. their floral wreath worn on their heads. The institutional church (incorporated under 501c3) is under the headship of the U.S. government. In most of these institutions of men, the flag of the U.S. government is prominently displayed at the front of the sanctuary so that the “worshipers” can always see the USA flag before them. On certain occasions, the church leaders even lead their people to pledge allegiance (loyalty; commitment; adherence; faithfulness; fidelity), with hand over heart, to the U.S. government. The institutional church gives honor to the US government and preference to the government over God’s commands where the government stipulates what a minister of God can or cannot say from the pulpit. This worship of the US government is taught so strongly in the church and in schools today that anyone challenging the actions of the government may be treated as a blasphemer of Almighty God. This sets the church up for falling under the deception of the evil one, so that the people blindly follow these leaders to their destruction.

Befuddled with Wine

The drunkards are the leaders of the people – could include political leaders, judges, pastors, elders, etc. – anyone in a position of religious and/or governmental authority over the people of God. This staggering from wine could be literal and/or it could be figurative, describing those who lack spiritual discernment and judgment of God. A table is a place where decisions are made; plans are put together, etc., yet the Lord describes their tables (places where they make their decisions) as covered with vomit and that there is not a spot without filth. I did a search on the word “vomit,” and it rendered “bile,” which rendered “bitterness; irritability; temper; wrath; anger; fury; rage,” which then fits with what Isaiah states next. He is quoting these “religious leaders” here:

“Who is it he is trying to teach?
To whom is he explaining his message?
To children weaned from their milk,
to those just taken from the breast?
For it is:
Do and do, do and do,
rule on rule, rule on rule;
a little here, a little there.” NIV ‘84

These “religious” leaders of the people were mocking the words of God given to Isaiah, God’s messenger to the people. They were insulted that God would use Isaiah to speak to them, kind of like Balaam and his donkey, i.e. what an insult that God would use a lowly donkey to be God’s messenger to Balaam. The donkey saw with spiritual eyes, but Balaam did not, so he kept beating the donkey until God finally spoke through the donkey and opened Balaam’s eyes to what he was doing. Isaiah declared the word of God to these “inebriated spiritual guides” of the people. They questioned what right this prophet (messenger) of God had to teach them the spiritual milk of God’s word. They didn’t like it that Isaiah was telling them God’s commandments for them for holy living. They don’t want anyone telling them that God has rules for daily living of the Christian life that we, as Christ’s followers, must follow. They like the false grace messages that tells them that God does not require repentance and obedience as part of believing faith, by his grace, and that he is pleased with them no matter what they do, so that they can continue in their sin and in their willful rebellion with a false sense of security in what they falsely call God’s grace.

So, God has declared his judgment against these blind guides of the people. He will send foreigners against them to “speak” to this people. They will be judged by God because of their failure to hear the word of the Lord, as found in the Bible, which could have led them (back) into a right relationship with God. They don’t want to hear God’s truths. Fine! The next message will come through foreigners. It would now be through judgment that God would speak to his people. And, this will happen to the church here in the USA, too, if they do not repent of their stubborn rebellion against Almighty God, and if they continue to reject God’s words concerning what God requires of them in living in holiness and obedience to Christ. God keeps calling out to them to enter into his rest and to be saved (and/or revived spiritually), but they will not listen. Confidence in people’s own wisdom and abilities stands as a barrier to hearing the word of God and to following Jesus Christ in humble obedience.

These “blind guides” to the people scoffed at the words of God. They really thought they were untouchable and that no harm would come to them - The reason? They believed their own lies, i.e. they made their own lies their refuge and falsehood their hiding place. In other words, they were trusting in lies and were hiding their evil deeds behind falsehood thinking that God would not see and that God would not act against them. That is the ultimate in pride and arrogance.

A Stone in Zion

Even though these wicked leaders were bent on refusing and mocking God’s words to them because of their pride, God was still calling out to them to enter into his salvation, because he is a God of grace and he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. So, if they repented of their sin of unbelief, and if they chose truly to walk in the ways of the Lord from this day forward, God would restore them to fellowship with him and with his Son, Jesus Christ. Yet, if they refused God’s words, Jesus Christ, the stone in Zion (a fortress of salvation to the believer), would become a stumbling block over which human beings would fall to their spiritual deaths. Jesus Christ himself was rejected by the religious leaders of his day, and he is God. No wonder men still reject the truths of God’s word, because they rejected Christ through whom those words come.

So, if they continue to refuse God’s words on holy living, and they choose to continue in their own stubborn ways of rebellion against Almighty God, God will sweep away their refuge, i.e. their lie, and water will overflow their hiding place, i.e. their falsehood. This judgment of God would be continuous and often – morning by morning and day and night it will sweep through. This sounds like the time of tribulation which will be one judgment followed by another followed by another. Yet, the Lord is still speaking. He is saying, “Stop your mocking or your chains will become heavier.” “Listen to my voice; pay attention and hear what I say.” Allow God to instruct you and to teach you the right way, not the way of falsehood, lies and deception. “Wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom” is the word that comes from the LORD Almighty.

At The Gate

In that day the Lord Almighty
will be a glorious crown,
a beautiful wreath
for the remnant of his people.
He will be a spirit of justice
to the one who sits in judgment,
a source of strength
to those who turn back the battle at the gate.

In that Day of Judgment the LORD Almighty will be a glorious crown for his people, unlike the floral wreath of the capital city previously worn on their heads in pride. He will be a “spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, a source of strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.” I believe this “turning back the battle at the gate” has to do with those who have resisted Satan’s lies and deceptions and temptations in their own lives, as well as this represents those who are actively involved in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in order to turn back this battle of Satan against God’s people, and at the gate of human’s hearts so that people can be saved, so they can be free from the power of Satan and sin over their lives, and so that they no longer allow Satan and sin to overcome them. They stop it at the gate. For those who have done this, i.e. for those who have “turned the battle back at the gate,” God will be their refuge and strength. This does not mean they will not suffer or even die for their faith in Jesus Christ and for his gospel, but it means that he will be with them even in death and he will bring them safely into his glorious presence.

Though God/Jesus Christ will be a stumbling block for those who trust in humans and in their own resources (lies, deception, pride), he is a precious cornerstone and a sure foundation for those who put their trust in the Lord. They will never be dismayed. Their God will instruct them in the right way; the way of holiness; and in walking in the light of truth. Wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom is the LORD Almighty to those who put their trust in him and in him alone. He will comfort them in times of distress with his love.

Living Water / An Original Work / November 21, 2013

Based off Various Scriptures

My people have forsaken Me,
Their Savior, who died on a tree;
Made idols, and they worshipped them;
So empty, they will ne’er fulfill.

Lord, You are the hope of Your chosen ones.
Those who turn away from You will be shamed;
The Spring of Living Water left behind.

Living Water satisfies.

The thirsty, let them come and drink;
Believe in Jesus as their King;
The gift of Jesus given them,
So they will never thirst again.

Indeed, the Living Water flows within.
It springs up like a fountain cleansing sin.
Eternal life in heaven promised them.

Living Water glorifies.

Oh people, won’t you come to Him?
Obey Him and repent of sin.
Let Jesus come and live within.
Surrender all your life to Him.

My people, won’t you turn your hearts to Me?
Forsake your idols and then you’ll be free.
Won’t you come now to Me on bended knee?

Living Water sanctifies.