I do believe we’re all connected. I do believe in positive energy. I do believe in the power of prayer. I do believe in putting good out into the world. And I believe in taking care of each other.
Plagued with a desire to be continuously connected to the “Bread of Heaven” is my thought life this morning. I found myself getting anxious about a particular matter of importance. It was robbing me of my position in Jesus. I began to quite myself so I could hear from within and suddenly It came to me. I am connected as long as I remember my calling and election to Jesus Christ.
Jesus is in his last days, and he’s giving his disciples instructions on how they can stay connected with him, even after he’s absent from the flesh. He’s about to depart and take on his eternal glory, and return to be with his Father for a period of time.
In the gospel according to St John Chapters 13 – 17, Jesus spends his last few days personally with his disciples, preparing them for the upcoming task of spreading the gospel.
Chapter 13; teaches us humbleness toward one another.
Chapter 14; teaches us that he will not leave us comfortless.
Chapter 16; teaches us about the promise of an eternal comforter.
Chapter 17; Christ prays for the entire church, present and future.
Agriculture was greatly depended on by the Israelites, because much of their theology were centered around agricultural concepts. They also considered themselves in partnership with God, each farmer was doing his best for his crops, yet knowing that its success or failure was in God’s hands. The Jewish involvement with the land was reflected in the teachings of Jesus Christ. His imagery and illustrations gave vivid pictures, such as a sower, with a pouch at his side, flinging seed across a newly plowed field. Jesus frequently used metaphors about rich ripe grapes and fruitful vines.
Chapter 15; Jesus makes a very bold statement. Comparing himself to the grapevine.
Scripture: John 15:1-8 I Am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Any branch in me that bears not fruit he take it away; and every branch that bears fruit he purges it, that it bring forth more fruit. Now are ye clean through the word which I have spoken to you.
I Am; is a self nominated proclamation, that denotes the presence of the first person.
12 times in John alone, it is recorded Christ proclaiming openly his existence.
I Am the Messiah; 4:6
I Am the Bread of Life; 6:35
I Am from above; 8:23
I Am the Eternal One; 8:58
I Am the Light of the world; 9:5
I Am the door; 10:7
I Am the Good shepherd; 10:11, 14
I Am the Son of God; 10:36
I Am the Resurrection & Life; 11:25
I Am the Lord & Master 13:13
I Am the Way, Truth, & Life; 14:6
I Am the True Vine; 15:1
Also we all know that he spoke to John in a vision, making the ultimate proclamation in Rev. 1st chapter, Alpha & Omega, beginning & ending, First & last.
And even though he proclaimed his deity openly, we can only know that he is the great I Am, only through a divine relationship with him.
My Father is the husbandman. God is the gardener of the vineyard. Pruning would guarantee maximum yields of fruit. Jesus and the Father have an inseparable relationship, that they cannot be divided. When you have a true relationship with Jesus you cannot be disconnected, no matter how hard the enemy tries. Jesus said; no man can pluck you out of his hands; John 10:28.
Jesus proclaims his Lordship, but also proclaims God’s headship, 1 Cor. 11:3, for the head Christ is God!
Your proclamation must depend on His connection
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit; for without me, ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
The vine carries all the life providing nutrients that flows to the branches. Your strength to bear the fruit comes directly from the vine.
You can have good works, but if you are not connected to the vine which supplies the strength, your good works will only last but for a short time. Righteousness is being transformed beyond the conformity with moral law, Romans 12:2, be not conformed to this world but…
Jesus said; except our righteousness, exceed the righteousness of the Scribes & Pharisees, we won’t make it into the Kingdom of Heaven, Matt. 5:20.
When you have a connection with Jesus, your witness is so smooth, you won’t even break a sweat. You’ll just be a natural Christian. People can tell a fake, from a natural. Fake fruit, from real fruit!
Supernatural blessings come only through the connection
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
The “If” here requires a certain condition. God has promised un-conditional as well as conditional blessings. God told Abram to go and number the grains of sand by the sea, and so shall thy seed be, and that in him shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. This is an un-conditional blessing. But when there is an “if” there’s got to be a “then”. Depending on the condition of “if” will bring the result of “then”. If the requirements are met. 2 Chronicles 7:14 which requires the believer to meet certain conditions.
Personal relationship with Jesus is essential, for a spiritual life with God.
Ask what ye will;
The will here is past would meaning determination, volition, necessity, obligation or acquiescence, which is the binding legal agreement, or moral responsibility. Simply saying “if you would, then I will”.
Its only through the connection that when you ask God for something, or to do something on your behalf, that no man can do for you, God will do the supernatural. Superman is a fairy tale, he’s not real. He’s faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a local motive, can leap over tall buildings.
But God is reality. When in the beginning, He said let there be light, and instantaneously the universe lit-up, Gen. 3:3.
His anointing is so powerful that when Solomon completed the temple, God’s presence was so powerful, that the priest could not minister because of the glory of God. 1 Kings 8:11.
When Jesus ascended on high, what is it that he fist descended into the lower parts first, He that descended is the same also that ascended far above the heavens, that he might fulfill all things. Eph. 4:8-10
Lets stay connected!
Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies – or else? The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
When tragedy strikes, when chaos reins, when calamity turns lives upside down, people ask questions. In their anger and their grief some of the most common questions are about God, even from people who otherwise ignore or even claim to disbelieve in Him.
“Why does God let bad things happen?” “If God is loving and fair, why does He allow hateful and unfair things happen to good people?” In some cases they’re even blaming God for the tragedy.
Now as a Christian it is easy to become upset with people who ask these kinds of questions and call God’s character into doubt with their insinuations and their faithlessness.
But then we have to remind ourselves that they are asking in ignorance, and it is we, as believers in Christ, who are supposed to have some sort of answer for them. Not that we always have the answers ourselves, but the fact is, if they are asking they deserve some kind of response.
With that in mind we must be careful that we give them a proper and helpful response, and in order to be in position to do that we must think things through for ourselves first.
But in the wake of the events of the past week in our own country, and with the memories of the collapsed bridge in Baghdad, the multiple suicides by out teens, and the terror being advocated by North Korea, and the tsunami in Indonesia being so fresh in all of our minds, I felt that I should address this issue to some degree at least.
I know there will be a lot of good sermons out there in these upcoming weeks about grief and tragedy and how to deal with horrible times and I know many of them will give comfort.
Here, I want to come in a slightly different door and hopefully give the reader some food for thought, and perhaps a word or two to share with inquiring minds.
When Adam sinned in the garden, and by saying Adam I mean both he and Eve, they died spiritually, they began to die physically, and if they rejected God’s promise of a Redeemer they died eternally. I personally believe there is ample evidence that they did believe in that promise, but that’s another discussion.
The point is, since all of mankind was in Adam’s loins when he sinned, therefore all of mankind inherited a sin nature (or a ‘fallen nature’) from Adam. (Romans 5:12-15)
That fallen nature in us is diametrically opposed to anything Godly, since it is the nature of the flesh and contrary to God.
This is not meant to be a sermon on basic Bible doctrine, but this point must be understood so that the reader will know what I mean when I say that our natural thinking is backwards in relation to God and everything about Him.
It is only when we are given spiritual life by the Holy Spirit and He begins to lead us into truth that we begin to think rightly at all about spiritual truth; it is only then that we begin to any degree to think like God.
Therefore, when people, sometimes even Christians, ask questions like what purpose does evil serve? The first thing we need to realize is that the question itself is backwards.
Instead of rambling all over the intellectual countryside trying to formulate an acceptable response to these questions, we could save ourselves a great deal of stress and discomfort and more than a little looking foolish, if we recognize that the whole ‘who’s to blame’ approach is backwards, as it comes from the fallen nature which is fundamentally ignorant of the truth of God.
I believe the only proper response to faithless questions, whether they be from someone else or floating around in our own mind, is to go to the Bible, see what the Bible says about God, and evaluate the circumstances in light of what the Bible says He is like, rather than evaluating God in light of the visible and temporal circumstances.
The next thing we must do then, is to determine what our own response and reaction is going to be to the circumstances in light of what we have learned about God.
So I want to take a brief look at two people in the Bible and their reactions to adversity, and the outcome of their reactions. Then I want us to go to just a couple of places that talk about the nature of God and what our response should be to that information, and then I’ll be done.
Here is Daniel 1:1-8
1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 The Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the vessels of the house of God; and he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and he brought the vessels into the treasury of his god. 3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including some of the royal family and of the nobles, 4 youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the king’s court; and he ordered him to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. 5 The king appointed for them a daily ration from the king’s choice food and from the wine which he drank, and appointed that they should be educated three years, at the end of which they were to enter the king’s personal service. 6 Now among them from the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 Then the commander of the officials assigned new names to them; and to Daniel he assigned the name Belteshazzar, to Hananiah Shadrach, to Mishael Meshach and to Azariah Abed-nego. 8 But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself.
Judea, the southern Kingdom, had finally filled up her cup of iniquity with her idolatry and ungodly living, so God gave her into the hands of her enemy for a time of discipline and cleansing. Even then He promised His nation would once more be restored.
In the meantime however, here was Daniel, a young man at the time, forcibly taken into captivity and removed from his homeland. In all of it though, Daniel was faithful to his God, and obedient and prayerful.
Why? Because Daniel was prepared for adversity by his faithfulness and obedience to God in times of relative peace and comfort.
Daniel was blessed and protected by God and to make a long story short, the Bible does not record one fault of Daniel. It does not record one instance in which Daniel wavered in his faith and God used him greatly.
Next let’s go to Genesis 19:1, 2
1 Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2 And he said, “Now behold, my lords, please turn aside into your servant’s house, and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.” They said however, “No, but we shall spend the night in the square.”
Peter, in his second letter, called Lot ‘righteous’. In a seeming contrast we see Lot here, sitting in the gates of Sodom. Now that means he was doing business with the inhabitants of the city, perhaps exchanging philosophies with them, maybe politicking a little. The city gate was where these things took place.
So Lot might have been righteous in that he was religious and did all the right religious stuff, but he was living in tandem with an evil society and being affected by its evil thinking and its evil world view.
Verse 29 of Genesis 19 tells us that it was because God remembered Abraham’s request that He saved Lot and his family out of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. But what we see of Lot is that he had become so embedded in the lifestyle of Sodom that the angels preferred to sleep in the city square than to come into his house.
In addition, His thinking was so tainted that when the men of the city came banging at the door wanting to have sexual relations with Lot’s visitors, he thought that giving them his two virgin daughters would be the solution to the problem.
As if that is not bad enough, when he escapes to the mountains with his daughters he gets drunk and commits incest with them, generating the Moabites and the Ammonites.
Why? Because Lot wasn’t prepared to face adversity and handle it properly and in a Godly way, because instead of staying near to God and pursuing holiness he pitched his tents toward Sodom, (first step) and eventually found himself in the city gates (second step) and even living amongst them in the city (third step).
What about God destroying the cities with fire? Well, He was willing, at Abraham’s request, to spare them all if He could only find 5 righteous men there. That I think is where our focus should be.
Instead of blaming God for the evil that men do, and then blaming Him when He acts against evil, we need to take note that He is patient and loving and not willing that any should perish.
Read Matthew 5:43-48 and remember this is Jesus speaking:
Matthew 5:43-48 (NASB95)
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ 44 “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Two things to note from this portion. One, God causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. He shows no favoritism; He is fair and just in all He does.
Second, and backing up a step in the passage, note that Jesus said, “…love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in Heaven” The point being, that is what God is like. Loving, interceding, even for His enemies. We are to be like Him in that respect.
One final passage:
1 John 4:15-19
15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19 We love, because He first loved us.
God is love, says John, and then he says that as God is so are we in this world. Read this passage several times. Let it sink in.
Then, having the truth about God freshly in mind, go back and look at the circumstances of Katrina, or the Baghdad bridge, or the Indonesian tsunami, or 9/11 or the Columbine shooting and all the other ‘Columbines’, or just the adverse circumstances of your own life, and assess them in the light of what the Bible says about who God is.
If you can do this honestly, if the people you talk to who have these questions can do this honestly, perhaps you can begin to see the times of trouble with a different perspective, knowing that everything about God’s plan for the ages has as its result the end of evil, and the conforming of men to the image of His Son Jesus if only they will come to His cross for forgiveness and to His empty tomb for life eternal.
Instead of trying to second-guess God and instead of trying to answer questions that come from a faithless heart, we should all be more concerned with whether we are close enough to Him, and desiring holiness and justice and righteousness so that when adversity comes we will respond with Godliness and Christ-likeness instead of faithlessness and failure.
The Winds of Fate
One ship drives east and another drives west
With the self-same winds that blow;
’Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales
That tells them the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea are the winds of fate
As we voyage along through life;
’Tis the set of the soul
That decides its goal
And not the calm or the strife.
— Ella Wheeler Wilcox
I am confident of the fact that we all know that we are a church contained within our own selves. The building with the steeple and mortar and clay is not your primary church in as much as your fleshly dwelling. Materialisim and fleshly living are Babylonian practices we as stewards of “The Living God” need to beware of. I recently wrote about being slave to the lender and surprisingly I got no response pertaining to its content. We never feel good about our darkness being spoken of, but in-order to render ourselves stewards of healing we need the word spoken. The scripture says faith comes by hearing and how can the people hear without a preacher.
New King James Version (NKJV)
6 “Will not all these take up a proverb against him,
And a taunting riddle against him, and say,
‘Woe to him who increases
What is not his—how long?
And to him who loads himself with many pledges’?[a]
7 Will not your creditors[b] rise up suddenly?
Will they not awaken who oppress you?
And you will become their booty.
8 Because you have plundered many nations,
All the remnant of the people shall plunder you,
Because of men’s blood
And the violence of the land and the city,
And of all who dwell in it.
9 “Woe to him who covets evil gain for his house,
That he may set his nest on high,
That he may be delivered from the power of disaster!
10 You give shameful counsel to your house,
Cutting off many peoples,
And sin against your soul.
11 For the stone will cry out from the wall,
And the beam from the timbers will answer it.
12 “Woe to him who builds a town with bloodshed,
Who establishes a city by iniquity!
13 Behold, is it not of the Lord of hosts
That the peoples labor to feed the fire,[c]
And nations weary themselves in vain?
14 For the earth will be filled
With the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,
As the waters cover the sea.
20 “But the Lord is in His holy temple.
Let all the earth keep silence before Him.”
The sentence of judgement against Babylon for their character of pride and their action of all-consuming greed (implicit in 2:4-5 and 1:5-7) is clearly and absolutely stated in verses six through 20. Here we have God giving voice to all the victims of injustices in a taunt song against their oppressors. All those nations conquered and plundered by the Babylonians would in due time witness the fall of their conqueror and join in this song of derision and denunciation. The announcement is captured in five stanzas of three verses each all beginning with the denouncement woe. These five woes are not only pronounced against the Babylonians but against the Israelites and all peoples who practice such evils.
I. Greedy Pawnbrokers, 6-8.
II. Secure Extortioners, 9-11.
III. Ruthless Enslavers, 12-14.
IV. Perverse Disgracers, 15-17.
V. Senseless Idol Worshippers, 18-20.
The suffering righteous receive alleviation if they discern the consequences for wicked living. The woes against the vicious wicked begin in verse 6. “Will not all of these take up a taunt-song against him, even mockery and insinuations against him, and say, ’Woe to him who increases what is not his–for how long–and makes himself rich with loans?”
Habakkuk said that all those nations (v. 5b) that Babylon has ruthlessly conquered and plundered will one day take up a taunt-song (mãŝãl) against them. This song of ridicule or mockery sung by their survivors is a poetic composition that has parallelism as its principle form of construction. This song is a type of object lesson for those who overstep God’s boundaries.
Woe is an exclamation of disaster because of certain sins (Isa. 3:11, 5:11, 10:5). It was frequently used by the prophets (22 times by Isaiah, 10 by Jeremiah and 7 by Ezekiel and 14 times in the minor prophets, and often by Jesus). The first is directed towards those puff-up proud who acquire goods dishonestly. They became wealthy by extortion. This woe compares the Babylonians to unscrupulous pawnbrokers who lend at exorbitant interest. They sought to heap up for themselves property that was not theirs. It was of course brazen theft. The valuables taken were not the property of the invaders. How long did they think they could continue doing this with impunity? How long would God let them keep It? Since it was not theirs, God sees it as loaned out to them. We will find out it was loaned to them at very high interest rates.
God’s responses to Habakkuk’s question as to the outcome of the conquering wicked continues in verse 7. “Will not your creditors rise up suddenly, and those who collect from you awaken? Indeed, you will become plunder for them.”
The question in verse 6 about how long they would be rich with the loans of others is answered by two other questions. The first is, will not your debtors suddenly arise? The word debtor/creditor is literally biter. They will bite back and get hold of what is theirs. The word collect is literally shake violently. It is a strong word like the violent shaking of loose leaves and branches by a force five hurricane. Babylon would become plunder or the victim. The plundered will not only get a lockjaw hold on their goods but shake (collect) their oppressor violently to get even more from them. Babylon would now herself be attacked and extorted.
Ambition can be a good thing (Rom. 15:20; 2 Cor. 5:9) or it can be a motivation for greed, selfishness, and abuse. The Babylonians were consumed by selfish ambition and they stopped at nothing to acquire wealth and power. They had hoards of stolen goods plundered from weaker people. God warned them that the owners of this wealth would one day rise up to collect what was due them. The Babylonians then would become the victims.
Some of their crimes are describe more fully in verse 8. “Because you have looted many nations, all the remainder of the peoples will loot you–because of human bloodshed and violence done to the land, to the town and all its inhabitants.”
The punishment fits the crime. The looter would be looted for the plundered would rise up suddenly to plunder. There was going to be a boomerang effect and their action would come back to strike them full force. Babylon’s intimidation and inhumanity would recoil on their own heads. They would reap what they had sown (Prov. 22:8; Gal. 6:7).
This reversal of roles would come about because they had ruthlessly shed man’s blood and had recklessly ravaged both lands and cities. Babylon had shed rivers of blood and so her blood would be shed. The nations will plunder the plunderer. The people will do violence to the violent.
II. SECURE EXTORTIONERS, 9-11. The second woe is pronounce on the violent extortioners who think they have made their life secure in verse 9. “Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house to put his nest on high to be delivered from the hand of calamity!”
Not only were the Babylonians guilty of unjust gain (vv. 6-8) but they also used that plunder for self-exaltation. A man is motivated to try and build a family and accumulate as much as he can by more or less honest means. Then a vulture swoops in and takes it away because he desires to enlarge his portfolio. He does what ever it takes to place himself beyond the possibility of ruin. Like these banks taking people homes in America right now.
The imagery is that these greedy men wanted to build a fortune, elevate themselves to invulnerable financial security depicted by an eagles nest on high. They sought to build for themselves a secure heritage, inaccessible and impregnable from the attack of others (Num. 24:21, Job 39:27; Jer. 49:16 and Ob. 4). They wanted sufficient enough wealth to deliver themselves from all forms of calamity. But this goal wasn’t just for an individual but for a towering world empire that they built with plunder and covetousness.
The conclusion of the proud way is shame and realizing you have wasted your life. Verse 10 continues the second woe. “You have devised a shameful thing for your house by cutting off (killing) many peoples, so you are sinning against yourself.” (10)
In trying to elevate and protect his house and strengthen his rule by robbery and plunder so that his family might live in security he has done a shameful thing. The result of his heaping up evil gain brings shame and not security to his house.
Instead of lasting glory will come shame and ruin. An estate raised by iniquity is always a scandal to a family. But that is not the worst of it. They also sin against (hata) their own soul for he has brought the retribution of God against his own house (Eccl. 8:8) because he ruined many people. The sentence balances the crime, shame for self-exaltation.
Verse 11 indicates that even the items purchased with plunder would cry out against them. “Surely the stone will cry out from the wall, and the rafter will answer it from the framework.”
Even inanimate things like the buildings he has erected to his own glory and for the satisfaction of his own pride will cry out because of the injustices perpetrated first to obtain them and then to use them. Even if all other witnesses were killed the stones of the walls and the beams of the woodwork will testify against them (Gen. 4:10, LK 19:40, Ps. 29:9).
Picture a nobleman in the Babylonian army. He wants to rise to a high position and enjoy its rewards–to have an opulent house and to be secure in it. So he cuts down a forest that belongs to somebody else and from the trees of that forest makes great beams for his home. Then he destroys someone else’s home and takes the beautiful stone blocks it was made of for himself. When he finishes he has a beautiful house, a “nest on high” (v.9). But everyone who looks at it knows where the stones and beams came from, and his pride and joy become a cause for shame. When the opportunity arises they will see that the nobleman is treated as he treated others. The exalted nest would be knocked off its lofty perch and the lavish palaces would become a mausoleum, or an above ground tomb. Saddam Hussein’s palaces are a good examples.
III. RUTHLESS ENSLAVERS, 12-14.
Violent injustice is condemned again in verse 12. “Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and founds a town with violence!”
For the tyrannical oppression of captured peoples, a third woe is called down on the Chaldean conquerors. Here is a nation that has gone from greed, to injustice and now to violence. Not content with what their injustices can procure for themselves they now add crimes of violence to their vices, so great is their lust to have things.
Their cities were built with bloodshed. First the wealth by which the king of Babylon built his magnificent buildings was gain by bloody warfare. Second, capture labor was uncaringly sacrificed to build the structures of the empire. Oppression, murder and tyranny built the nation. Yes, great effort & strength they conquered the world & built an empire, but it was all for naught .
God says that human labor is fuel for the fire for those who build by bloodshed in verse 13. “Is it not indeed from the LORD of Hosts that peoples toil for fire, and nations grow weary for nothing?”
The dirge now turns to the LORD of Hosts and His assessment of the violent scene. The outcome of their crimes against humanity are also crimes against God’s way. Contrary to the proud intentions of the Babylonians the Lord would determine the final outcome of all this toil. All their exhausting work for self-exaltation would be for nothing. Their work would all be consumed in the fire that would bring the Chaldean Empire to an end. God causes the plans and peoples who opposed His way to fail and their eveil life becomes fuel for the eternal fire.
Calamity in the earth is not God’s last word. Verse 14 is the center piece of these five woes. It declares God’s intent to fill the earth with the knowledge of His glory. “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”
In times of old Nimrod had set up a kingdom in Babylon to usurp the power and glory of the Most High God (Gen. 10:10, 11:14). But it passed away. Babylon conquered the known world, but it too passed away. One day again “Babylon” will set up its kingdom (Rev. 17-18) but it will be replaced by the kingdom of God (Rev. 11:15). The Babylonian kingdoms of this world must give way to the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. In order for the earth to be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea, the kingdom of this world that leads peoples away from the knowledge of the Lord God must be conquered, judged and cleansed. The purpose of God in creating the earth was that it might reflect His glory, (Num. 14:21, Isa. 11:9) and in that day it will!
When the Messiah rules in His earthly kingdom, the knowledge of the Lord will be worldwide. Everyone will know of Him (Jer. 31:34). So extensive and abundant will be that knowledge that it will be like water covering the sea. The jagged rocks of injustice and the entangling seaweed of sin will be covered with the deep peace of God’s righteousness.
In 1861, during the US Civil War, author Julia Ward Howe visited Washington, DC. One day she saw a large number of soldiers marching. Early the next morning she awoke with words for a song in her mind.
In the midst of all the ugliness of war her faith led her to write: “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” She grasped that in spite of and even through the ugliness, God was “marching on” toward the day when He will right the wrongs of the ages.
[The prophet Habakkuk came to a similar conclusion. Chapter 1 of his book tells us how troubled he was when he learned that God was going to punish the people of Judah by letting them be conquered by the wicked Babylonians. In chapter 2, God assured His servant that-]
In spite of and even through all the ugliness and wrongs of history–He is “marching on” toward the day when He who rules the universe from “His holy temple” (v. 20) will fill “the earth with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD”.
In contrast to the shame and infamy of short-lived Babylon, God promised that one day His glory would cover the earth. The gloom of the preceding and following woes is broken by a ray of light shining in the midst of the darkness of man’s self-seeking. One day God’s presence will fill the earth (Num. 14:21; Isa. 6:3) permeating every place like water. Theoretical knowledge is insufficient. Each person needs an intimate personal encounter with God.
Have you had one?-an intimate personal encounter with God? Does your ambitions and business practices demonstrate that you have? How has your wealth been accumulated? Let your ambitions be of God and find your contentment in knowing Him. Encounter the unlimited God and you will not greedily grasp limited realm of earth.
Nothing but encouragement can come to us as we dwell upon the faithful dealing of our Heavenly Father in centuries gone by. Faith in God has not saved people from hardships and trials, but it has enabled them to bear tribulations courageously and to emerge victoriously.
Author: Lee Roberson
Words communicate abstract or vague things. We can use them to explain events, to share feelings, and to help visualize the future. Words shape our thoughts, feelings, and attitudes towards a subject. They help decide if we stay neutral or take action. Just reading words can affect your thoughts, attitudes, and feelings. For example, read these six words slowly and vocally, taking notice of how they make you feel.
Murder Hate Depressed Cancer Sad Despair
Now read the following six words slowly and vocally, noticing how the words affect you as you do so. Wealth Success Happiness Health Inspiration Joy
How did these words make you feel? Successful persuaders know how to use the right words to create the desired response in their audiences. Speakers with greater verbal skills come across as more credible, more competent, and more convincing. Speakers who hesitate, use the wrong words, or lack fluency have less credibility and come across as weak and ineffective.
The use and packaging of language is a powerful instrument that can be fine-tuned to your advantage. We all know the basics of language, but mastery of both the aspects of language usage and the verbal situation can control human behavior. The proper use of verbal packaging causes you to be adaptable and easy to understand. This type of language is never offensive, and is always concise. I will try to convey what the Lord choice of the word “In” means and how we should feel while “In” a trial of afflictions.
Glorify ye the Lord” In” the fires. ( Isaiah 24:15 kjv)
Notice the little word “In”! We are to honor the Lord in the trial—In the very thing that afflicts us. And although there are examples where God did not allow His saints to even feel the fire, usually the fire causes pain. It is precisely there, in the heat of the fire, we are to glorify Him. We do not this by exercising perfect faith in His goodness and love that He permitted this trial to come upon us. Even more, we are to believe that out of the fire will arise something more worthy of praise to Him than had we never experienced it.
To go through the fires will take great faith, for little faith will fail. We must win the victory in the furnace. We must win the victory on the battle field as Joshua did, he exuded so much faith that he prayed and asked God to still the sun and God did. A person has only as much faith as he shows in times of trouble, The three men who were thrown into the fiery furnace came out just as they went in—except for the ropes that had them bound. How often God removes our shackles in the furnace of affliction!
These three men walked through the fire unhurt—their skin was not even blistered. Not only had the fire “ not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them” ( Dan.3:27) This is the way Christians I feel should come out of the furnace of fiery trials—Liberated from their shackles but untouched by the flames. I had the honor yesterday to speak with a blessed man of faith name Trevor, he went on to encourage me that though the enemy of our souls was raging against me that I need to remember to preach to myself about the faithfulness of God’s word and His presence while going through. I have found that I have to be “In” the word daily always meditating on what God has promised in-order to prevail.
Triumphing over them “In” it.( Colossians 2:15)
This is the real triumph—triumphing over sickness in it, triumphing over death in dying, and triumphing over other adverse circumstances in them. Believe me, there is a power that can make us victors in the conflict. There are heights we can reach where we can look back over the path we have come and sing our song of triumph on this side of heaven, we can cause others to regard us as rich, while we are poor, and make many rich in our poverty. We are to triumph in it.
Christ’s triumph was In humiliation. And perhaps our triumph will also be revealed through what others see as humiliation. Isn’t there something captivating about the sight of a person burdened with many trial, yet who is as lighthearted as the sound of a bell? Isn’t there something contagious and valiant in seeking others who are greatly tempted but are “ more than conquerors”? Isn’t it heartening to see a fellow traveler whose body is broken, yet who retains the splendor of unbroken patience? What a witness these give to the power of God’s gift of grace!
When each earthly brace falls under,
And life seems a restless sea,
Are you then a God-held wonder,
Satisfied and calm and free?
My life will never be the same because I am not waiting for the prophet to come to me, I am girding myself up and proclaiming God’s power myself to quite this devil that is angry because love kept Christ on point for us due to the fathers love for us. I am going to be successful and powerfully used by the Savior of this world, I will be a great friend and husband, I will have a prosperous ministry, I am fearfully and wonderfully made, there is no sickness that shall prevail against me, I will walk in the power of my creator “In” every trial He allows me to endure In the blessed name of Jesus. Darkness tries to steal our hearts away daily, but remember this beloved “Mercy says No” Things that are visible are brief and fleeting, while things that are invisible are everlasting.
Thank you Jesus for being a ever present help in our time of need, we will not be defeated because we believe you are saying a prayer for us as you did Peter. You O’ Lord will see us through triumphantly in everything we encounter. Let us look to the only thing Lord that will not perish, that is your word that became flesh and dead and arose. Holy spirit thank you for keeping us until our redeemer returns In Jesus Holy name Amen & Amen……
If God would have wanted us to live in a permissive society He would have given us Ten Suggestions and not Ten Commandments. – Zig Ziglar