Monday, March 26, 2012

The LION and Intercessory Prayer

Then said I, O Lord GOD, cease, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small. The LORD repented for this: This also shall not be, saith the Lord GOD.
Amos 7:5-6

What a merciful Savior.  The LORD has roared his warning in order to find those who will turn to Him.  In his attempt to warn an erring people of impending judgment, He has chosen a prophet who is also an intercessor.  Isn't that the way that it should be?  Should not those who see the dangers of the just actions of God on a sinful people call out for mercy on the very persons that they have been sent to warn?  This was the heart of the prophet Ezekiel, "Then fell I down upon my face, and cried with a loud voice, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou make a full end of the remnant of Israel (Ezekiel 11:13)?"  It was the heart of the weeping prophet Jeremiah.  It was also the very thing that God rebuked Jonah for not having--a merciful heart of intercession.  "And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle (Jonah 4:11) ?"

In chapter 7 of the Book of Amos the prophet is shown visions of judgment on Israel.  In each instance the heart of a prayer warrior comes through.  Though Amos understands that the Lion, God our Savior, must deal with sin, Amos calls on God to be merciful.  Verses 1-3 seems to be an allusion to dealing with the political corruption in the administration of Jeroboam II.  Amos is asking to God judge their sin only as far as is needed to bring correction.  God answers with mercy.  Amos pleaded that God would not reduce the numbers of Jacob (Israel) to the point that they could not recover, and again God answers with mercy.  The question should then be who's heart are we really seeing?

There is no greater picture of the heart of God than the person of Jesus Christ--Emanuel, God with us!  At a time when most would seek to call down judgment from God, we see the LORD crying out for mercy.  At the cross where He purchased our salvation by His precious life's blood, He prayed for those who nailed Him to the cross.  Listen to the words of the heart of the Lion who warns repeatedly before He comes with justice, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34)."  Had you been whipped, beaten, mocked, punched, and nailed to a tree by the hands of cruel men, would you have been as gracious?  God's heart is one of mercy even in times of justice.  He does what He must but exacts no more.  What a merciful GOD!

The prophet Ezekiel warned us of a battle near the coming of Christ in chapters 38-39 of his work.  Most call it the battle of Gog/Magog.  Just last week, one of the primary countries involved, Russia, moved troops into Syria as a "peace keeping" force.  Russian Anti-Terror Troops Arrive in Syria - ABC News  Again, think of the mercy involved here.  This stunning prophecy that has all of the nations mentioned aligning themselves for the first time in world history is another example of the intercessory warning of the Lion of Judah.  Around 83 percent of the soldiers who attack Israel in that day, a day coming soon, will be destroyed.  Yet there is God's warning that has been in place for over 2000 years.  What mercy!  As we see the impending judgments fall, the heart of a true "prophet" will cry out in prayer for those in harms way.  Christ's servants will pray with the heart of a lion while sharing the message of the Lamb of God.  They act like their Lord Jesus who is Soon2Come!

Foreboding News

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