Friday, January 18, 2013

It's A Conspiracy!

For the LORD spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.
Isaiah 8:11-15

As the nation of Assyria began to rise in power to the point that it seemed it would conquer the region, many in Israel and Judah began to fear for their safety and future.  The Northern Kingdom of Israel (referred to as Ephraim) joined the people of Syria in a confederacy to hopefully prevent Assyria's domination.  King Pekah of Isreal and King Rezin of Syria pressured King Ahaz of Judah to join in this confederacy to stave off the Assyrian invasion.  When Ahaz refused, the kings of Israel and Syria attacked.  The battle that resulted is often called the Syro-Ephraimite War.  The Book of 2 Chronicles relates that the King of Israel killed 120,000 troops from Judah in one day.  No wonder the people of Judah and Jerusalem were afraid of the confederacy (a Hebrew word that also means a conpsiracy).

It is certain that the events of that time were enough to make everyone fear including the Prophet Isaiah.  As he thought on what seemed like certain doom for the land of Judah; however, the Lord spoke.  His command to the seer was to not fear what was taking place like all the folks around him were doing.  "Don't let their fear be your fear nor allow their worries to be yours," was the sum of the message.  The Almighty then gave his prophet sound advice for fearful times.  He was to fear God more than the situations that surrounded him.  "
Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary..."  Fear God above all else.  In that condition, He will be your consecrated hiding place.  

One thing is certain!  God is in control of all that is going on today.  He is sovereign.  His power is unmatched, unapproachable, and unparalleled.  He knows the end of the matter.  There is nothing--NOTHING--that is currently escaping His eye.  

So many today who look into prophecy and follow the news get too captivated with fear and worry.  Rather than sharing a positive end to all that is going on, it comes out as a garbled message of worry. Why?  Is not God greater than the situations we face?  Will He not have the final say?  Will His divine plan and purpose in revealing His kingdom not be accomplished.  Terrible things are certain to take place but what good will it do to worry about it.  Horrendous judgments are certain to surround, but those without the saving grace of God have a greater need to fear!  All that is coming about reminds those paying attention that good days are ahead--King Jesus is about to return!  Sanctify the LORD Himself.  Let Him be your fear and your dread.   Too many today have lost that important fear of the LORD.  They are like Uzziah who lost His fear of God and then offered an illegal offering as He overestimated his importance.  He lived the rest of his life a leper as a result.  There is no one out there so high and mighty that they have a license to sin.  Fear GOD!

For those looking intently on His coming to the point that the news paralyzes you, trust Him.  There is still much work to be done.  There are many to share the Gospel with and few who are actually working the fields.  God's command to Isaiah kept the prophet keen and useful.  It was that same fear that drove others to seek alternative messages than what God and His word taught.  They turned from God to worldly, satanic voices and held them equal to God's revelation.  Take the advice of our Lord, "
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28)."

Like Isaiah, we need to remain keen to God's voice and useful in His work.  We need to be aware of what is going on around us while we press forward with the sharing of the word of life.  Fear God more than you fear the world and all that is going on and He will be your place of safety.  Trust Him today as Jesus Christ is definitely Soon2Come!!

And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
Isaiah 8:19-20

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sick of Manna

And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes. And the manna was as coriander seed, and the colour thereof as the colour of bdellium. And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil. And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it.
Numbers 11:4-9

Day in and day out the people of God were given manna to the point that they got sick of it.  It did not matter that the manna was all that they needed.  They wanted more.  Is this the reason for Psalm 106:15?  "And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul."  The taste was excellent--like olive oil honey wafers.  The color was beautiful--a shadow of holiness.  The source was heaven--it simply fell on them daily by grace.  The effect was curative--it had the necessary vitamins and minerals for life.  It truly was a gift of Heaven: grain like pointing to truth, oil like pointing to the presence of the Holy Spirit, and honey like pointing to the sweetness of Christ.  But God's people were tired of it.  They wanted more.

Their attitude towards the manna was loathsome.  They ground it, and beat it, and baked it, and boiled it.  They turned it into cakes and fritters while they sought to change it into what they lusted for it to be.  They could not accept it as it was--too boring.  "Let's add to it and make it our creation", they thought.  Did they even ever understand what they were corrupting?  Jesus!

I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.  
John 6:51

It is so easy to point an accusatory finger at the Israelites in the wilderness forgetting that scripture teaches us that the things that befell them could also plague us.  "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come (1 Corinthians 10:11)."  Can you hear Paul's warning?  Don't change Jesus to make Him fit your concept of Him.  Fall on the Rock of Salvation and let Him break you in repentance and humility so that you become like Him and not He like you.  Did you also notice that last phrase?  "...upon whom the ends of the world are come."  It is the same message that Jesus pointed out to Laodicea.  There would be a time near the end when religious men would seek to make Christianity about self and not Christ.  Did not our Lord warn people so caught up with and preoccupied with self that they failed to let Him in their heart though all they did was in His name?

Don't turn Jesus into an idol of your own making like those following:

Jesus w/o commitment
Jesus of self esteem
Jesus the materialist
Jesus of compromise
Jesus of un-forgiveness
Un-correcting Jesus
Jesus of worldly affairs
Jesus of worship without sacrifice of self
Jesus just a man
Jesus of mercy without justice
Jesus of justice without mercy
The emergency Jesus 
Remember what happened to those who heard a message from Jesus that they didn't like when He revealed that He was the true Manna from Heaven.  "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him (John 6:66)."  Stay true to the One who loved you with a love unsearchable.  Remember, He is Soon 2 Come!!