While in Exile, Prosper!

Exile is the in-betweens. When life is in transition. When you have come from a good place, are in a bad place, and are waiting to reach an even better place. Exile is a place of both certainty and uncertainty. Certain that the future will be better because of hope, and uncertain because you do not know exactly how long the exile will last. So you wait anyway, because ‘anyone who is among the living has hope- even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!’ (Ecclesiastes 9:4). While in the waiting, many remain stagnant and only wait for the blessed future- like Israel of old who were exiled for 70 years in Babylon. While in exile, their hope was God’s promise that, ‘I will come to you and fulfil my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future’ (Jeremiah 29:10-11). In exile, this promise seems far-reaching, but God commands beforehand for the exiles to;

Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters.

Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper’

(v5-7)

This command seemed to be juxtaposing, because while in exile normal life has ceased. But because God does not stop working, He expects His children to press on and move forward in life regardless of their circumstances. The Israelites were exiled because of their unfaithfulness and rebellion to God. So God ‘repaid them according to their deeds and the work of their hands’ (25:v14) and so their sin was always before them. Like King David, they could lament, ‘For my iniquities have overwhelmed me; like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me’ (Psalm 38:4). While in exile and away from God because of our sins, the weight of our guilt and sin can overwhelm us so much that we cannot pray, praise or see any possibility of redemption. However, in such spiritual exile, God intends for us to continue to ‘seek Him while He may be found’ (Isaiah 55:6). Hosea urges, ‘Let us acknowledge the Lord, let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth’ (Hosea 6:3). Jude says, ‘I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints’ (Jude 1:3).

When the first man, Adam sinned, ‘God banished him from the Garden of Eden’ (Genesis 3:23). Even while in exile because of sin, Adam was still to ‘work the ground from which he had been taken from’ (v23), he still multiplied to fill the earth so that his wife Eve said, ‘With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man’ (4:v1). When their son Cain sinned by killing his brother, God banished him from his presence saying, ‘You will be a restless wanderer on earth’ (v12). Cain responds to God, ‘My punishment is more than I can bear . . . I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on earth, and whoever finds me will kill me’ (v13,14). Cain thought his life was over just because he was exiled, but God responds, ‘Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over’ (v15). Cain proceeded to building a family and a city (v17) even while exiled.

In some way or the other, all of humanity is exiled because of the sin of our first father, Adam. We are exiled on earth temporarily, though it seems like a long time. Like the Israelites who were in exile for 70 years, it is no surprise that ‘The length of our days is 70 years- or 80 if we have the strength’ (Psalm 90:10). Like to the Israelites, God says of our exile, ‘It will be a long time. Therefore build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce’ (Jeremiah 29:28). While many have built lavish houses and settled down, Jesus clarifies that a wise man builds ‘his house on the rock’ (Matthew 7:24). He proceeds to say that, ‘Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand’ (v26). Many have also planted gardens and eaten their produce in this lifetime, but Jesus reminds us that, ‘If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing’ (John 15:5).

In as much as many have become successful during their time in exile, here on earth, they forget to prepare for where they are going. They forget that they are ‘aliens and strangers on earth’ (Hebrews 11:13). They forget that their true ‘citizenship is in heaven’ (Philippians 3:20). Daniel, while exiled in Babylon knew that he would return to a better place and so, ‘resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine’ (Daniel 1:8). In as much as he was also ‘made ruler over the entire province of Babylon’ (2:v48), ‘three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God’ (6:v10). Like Daniel, we ought to realize that though we are in the world, we are not of the world. Even when we prosper in exile, we should not forsake our God, nor ‘conform any longer to the pattern of this world’ (Romans 12:2).

Even when our sin is always before us here in the world, we are to ‘keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life’ (Jude 1:21). We are to ‘keep pressing on’ (Philippians 3:14) because ‘we are not those who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul’ (Hebrews 10:39). When we continue pursuing God’s agenda even while in exile, we will hear Jesus say to us like He did to Daniel; ‘Daniel, you who are highly esteemed. . . Since the first day you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard and I have come in response to the them’ (Daniel 10:11,12).

May you prosper greatly!’ ~ Daniel 4:1

The Metamorphosis of Moses

Moses was an ordinary man, but when he met God, he became extraordinary. While living his ordinary life, God met him during an ordinary day while he was doing an ordinary activity, ‘tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian’ (Exodus 3:1). But this one ordinary day was about to be extraordinary, because he somehow, ‘led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God’ (v1). Of course at this point, Moses did not know whether he had gone to the mountain of God, or if the mountain of God had come to him- but he was about to find out. When he saw that a bush nearby ‘was on fire but it did not burn up’ (v3), he thought to himself, ‘I will go over and see this strange sight- why the bush does not burn up’ (v3). But ‘when the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, ‘God called to him from within the bush, Moses! Moses! . . . Do not come any closer’ (v4,5). This is because seeing God is not determined by how many steps one takes in approaching Him, but how one submits (taking off sandals), when God appears to them.

When God then spoke to Moses saying, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the Jacob’ (v6), scared is the word Moses could use. Because, ‘at this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God’ (v6). This is because hearing about God is a whole lot different compared to encountering Him. When one encounters God and then beholds His glory, majesty, splendour, and holiness like Moses, one becomes afraid then humbled. ‘Moses said to God, ‘Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’ (v11). But when God chooses someone, it is not about who they are, but who is with them- for God responds, ‘I will be with you’ (v12).

After being humbled to be given such a task, doubt creeps in and Moses asks, ‘What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you?’’ (4:v1). However, when God has spoken over one’s life, His Word is final and the opinions of others become insignificant. God like to Jeremiah asks those He chooses, ‘If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?’ (Jeremiah 12:5). Or like to Ezekiel, God says, ‘And you son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions . . . You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious’ (Ezekiel 2:6,7).

Doubt in Moses finally gave way to insecurity and he asks God, ‘O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue’ (Exodus 4:10). God responds, ‘Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and teach you what to say’ (v11). When one encounters God, He redirects their focus from their deficiencies and to Himself, who is all sufficient. Because His ‘strength is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Corinthians 12:9), and ‘faithful is he that called you, who also will do it’ (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

At this point, Moses is catching up and realizing that God is not asking him to do this great thing, but wants to do this great thing through him. Still, Moses does not understand what God requires of him. He was walking with God, but walking in ignorance for he did not know God’s laws and statutes and what He required of him. And so ‘At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses’s son and was about to kill him’ (Exodus 4:24). Moses somehow failed to take note of the Covenant of Circumcision God made to Abraham years back that stated, ‘Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant’ (Genesis 17:14).  Luckily, his wife knew of God’s statutes and so ‘Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses with it’ (Exodus 4:25). At this, his son’s life was spared. Similarly, it is well possible for one to call themselves a Christian by the merit that they believe in Jesus, but miss the mark because they do not know the ordinances of God. They are too complacent to search the Scriptures to know that, ‘circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code’ (Romans 2:29). It is to such who God says ‘my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge’ (Hosea 4:6).

This lack of knowledge made Moses faint at the first sight of trouble. When he had spoken God’s Word to Pharaoh and nothing happened, he ‘returned to the Lord and said, ‘O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all’ (Exodus 5:22-23). If only Moses would have known that God says, ‘my word that goes out from my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper the thing whereto I sent it’ (Isaiah 55:11). When the Word of God was finally accomplished through Moses, and the Israelites were free from Pharaoh’s yoke, Moses then came to an understanding of God. He declares, ‘Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you- majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?’ (Exodus 15:11).

Now seeing and encountering who God truly is, Moses metamorphosises and becomes like God. After he had been with God up the mountain for forty days and walked with Him for many years, Moses now knew all God’s requirements for he was taught by God. He began seeing how God sees and even hate what God hates. For instance, when he saw that the Israelites were worshipping idols ‘his anger burned . . . And he took the calf they had made and burned it in fire’ (Exodus 32:19,20). When one encounters God, sin becomes intolerable and one feels how God feels about it. For instance, when the Spirit of God came upon Ezekiel, he records, ‘I went in bitterness and in the anger of my spirit, with the strong and of the Lord upon me’ (Ezekiel 3:14).

This change in Moses from walking with God made him different, he became separate from all the others so that God told the seventy elders of Israel, ‘You are to worship at a distance, but Moses alone is to approach the Lord; the others must not come near. And the people may not come up with him’ (Exodus 24:1-2). Likewise, followers of Christ live in the world but are not of the world, and so we ‘do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed to the renewing of your mind’ (Romans 12:2). Often times this may mean one is to ‘sit alone in silence’ (Lamentations 3:28) because like to Ezekiel, in such a life, God commands, ‘Go shut yourself inside your house’ (Ezekiel 3:24). As Evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman once said, ‘The consecrated life is a lonely life’, and it was true for Moses. After experiencing God’s glory, Moses shut himself out from the world and the rest of the people. And so, ‘The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend’ (Exodus 33:11). No one in their right mind would trade that for friendship with the world!

Of Grace, Faith, and Hope

What if someone told you that you are human, predisposed to sin (i.e. sinful), and that you actually sin? You would probably believe that because you know it from experience. What if someone told you that as a Believer and follower of Christ, there are times when, ‘what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do (Romans 7:15)? Many Believers would agree to this. What if someone went further ahead and said that even when you do not do what is required and instead do what you hate, God does not count the sin against you if you are in Christ? Luckily, it is not someone who tells us this incredible news, but God Himself- ascertaining its validity. ‘There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death’ (Romans 8:1-2).

Although a Christian does not live a double life, a Christian has two lives. The old life of the flesh (considered dead), and the new life of the Spirit. When we become born-again, God tells us we are not condemned, even though our flesh says otherwise. Our thoughts, deeds, and words from our flesh constantly testify against us. However, God’s intent for saving us was not to make us perfect in our flesh, ‘for the flesh profits nothing’ (John 6:63), but rather make us alive and one with Him in Spirit. The degree to which one believes and accepts this, even when their fallen, dead flesh testifies against them is what one terms them a true Believer- one who believes against all odds. Paul says, ‘Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it has been said to him’ (Romans 4:18). Likewise, the first step to being a Believer is faith, a total and complete agreement to what God says despite the circumstances.

‘Faith is the substance of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen’ (Hebrews 11:1). When we come to Jesus, it is because we realize how fallen we are and run to Him to ‘rescue me from this body of death’ (Romans 7:24). Upon believing in Jesus, we are told that we are a ‘new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!’ (2 Corinthians 5:17). At this point, ‘in my inner being I delight in God’s law’ (Romans 7:22) but Alas! we ‘see another law at work in the members my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members’ (v23). It is at this point that many fall away because they think they are not saved enough, or good enough to continue in salvation, or that the Cross of Christ is powerless. Upholding such errors, they turn away from God, giving reign to their dead life, that of flesh. They backslide.

Abraham, ‘the father of all who believe’ (4:v11), ‘without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead’ (v19). Likewise, as Believers, we face the fact that our flesh is sinful, AND without weakening our faith, continue to ‘run with patience the race that is set before us’ (Hebrews 12:2). Once we accept Jesus into our lives and believe that He forgave all our sins and set eternity before us, we eventually receive God’s gift, the Holy Spirit. Like Abraham who did not ‘waver in unbelief regarding the promise of God’ (v20), ‘received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised’ (v11), so those ‘Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit’ (Ephesians 1:13). Unfortunately, many accept Jesus in their lives but do not believe that they have been set free, as they still consider the sin in their fallen dead flesh. Many do not use their eyes of faith to see the completed work of the cross in their lives, and so do not receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, ‘for without faith, it is impossible to please God’ (Hebrews 11:6).

Therefore, the Christian life is a coexisting life such that ‘in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin’ (Romans 7:25). After having faith in Christ Jesus and His finished work on the cross, and then receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, a successful Christian life, is therefore living the Spiritual life BY faith. ‘Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires’ (8:v5). In other words, those who focus on their shortcomings and fallen flesh live according to their sinful nature, but those who live the Spiritual life by faith believe against all odds that ‘we died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? (6:v2). That is the Gospel of Christ! ‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’ (Galatians 2:20). Against all hope and all odds, we can live and grow in our Spiritual lives because the sins of our fallen nature are not imputed on us for ‘you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God’ (Colossians 3:3). Oh what Grace!

Those who refute grace simply do not have faith, and so essentially are not Believers (for they do not have a Spiritual life). They are those who wear themselves out trying to make their bodies pure through their own will and works. When one does this, God says they ‘offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to-ever increasing wickedness’ (Romans 6:19). For God does not change the sinful flesh, but imputes to those who believe in Him a Spiritual life. So ‘who can make straight, which He has made crooked?’ (Ecclesiastes 7:13). The body is destined for death and those without Spiritual life cannot be quickened to enjoy eternity. So those who try to merit salvation outside of faith in Christ Jesus do so in vain. ‘To the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness’ (Romans 4:5). And so like ‘Abraham believed God and it was credited to Him as righteousness’ (v3), the words ‘were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness- for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead’ (v23).

Living the Spiritual life makes us all the more aware of our fallen flesh. We get to see two contrasts portrayed side by side. The Spiritual life in us makes us aware of our fallen flesh, ‘but sin, seizing the opportunity . . . produce(s) every kind of covetous desire’ (7:v8). Sin in our fallen nature tries to deceive and condemn us, but if we strengthen our Spiritual life, we can counter the notions by living out in faith. ‘For we walk by faith, not by sight’ (2 Corinthians 5:7). Therefore, we can confidently press on because ‘where sin abounded (in our flesh life), grace abounded all the more (in our Spiritual life)’ (Romans 5:20).  So, ‘for by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast’ (Ephesians 2:8-9).

‘Walking in this newness of life’ (Romans 6:4) is not easy, but is possible because of hope. For the Spiritual life we live ‘is subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself (our bodies) will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into glorious freedom of the children of God’ (8:v20). We therefore ‘groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for the adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we are saved’ (Romans 8:23). Faith and grace operate in an atmosphere of hope, an atmosphere of the unseen. Because ‘hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently’ (v24).

And so as we live our Christian life, we are aware of the inward travailing, for the Spirit makes us aware what is of the flesh. The Christian life is therefore about ‘producing fruit in keeping with repentance’ (Matthew 3:8). When sin is brought to our attention, it is not for condemnation but for us to turn it over to God immediately by repentance. We then promptly align with the Spirit, not lingering on our fallen flesh. For ‘the Spirit helps us in our weakness’ (Romans 8:26) and so as Jesus says, ‘Do not be afraid, just believe’ (Mark 5:36). We then ought to focus on building up our Spiritual life in which we are sinless, because ‘the gift (of grace) followed many trespasses and brought justification’ (Romans 5:16).


They like, I hear you talking wins but I see your losses

You celebrating crowns but I see your crosses

That’s the paradox that don’t fit in your Mary box

You might not understand if you walk in this pair of socks

The Victor ain’t the one that’s winning seventh inning

Trophies don’t go to the ones that got a good beginning

When I say I win I don’t mean the state I’m in

I mean that day when the grace got fade out then

I’m winning ’cause I ran with Him

~Lyrics to Sweet Victory by Trip Lee~

Heaping Sin Upon Sin

‘Go to Bethel and sin; go to Gilgal and sin yet more’ ~ Amos 4:4

This is God urging Israel to keep up with their sins for ‘they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil heart. They went backward and not forward’ (Jeremiah 7:24). Granted, ‘all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23) and ‘if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us’ (1 John 1:8). So, sin is not the main setback in someone’s life, but unrepentant sin is. For ‘if we confess our sin he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness’ (v9). God recognizes our fragility and disposition to sin and so forgives us without count or limit. However, to those ‘who cling to deceit and they refuse to turn’ (Jeremiah 8:5), God asks, ‘When men fall down, do they not get up? When a man turns away, does he not return?’ (v4). So, one who heaps sin upon sin does not ‘repent of his wickedness, saying “What have I done?”’ (v6). God says to such;

‘Woe . . . to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin’

(Isaiah 30:1)

Heaping sin upon sin is also focusing on what seems favourable and discarding the rest of God’s commands. Jesus cautions the Pharisees who ‘neglected the more important matters of the law- justice, mercy and faithfulness’ (Matthew 23:23), ‘You should have practised the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel’ (v23-24). When God clearly stated that ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings’ (Hosea 6:6), the Israelites did not heed and so God gave them over to do as they please; ‘Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices and eat the meat yourselves!’ (Jeremiah 7:21). In fact, those who heap sin upon sin are so deluded that they call ‘evil good and good evil’ (Isaiah 5:20). They justify their sinful actions and say, ‘But ever since we stopped burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have had nothing and have been perishing by sword and famine’ (Jeremiah 44:18). So God tells them, ‘Go ahead then, do what you promised! Keep your vows!’ (v25).

The consequences of heaping sin upon sin is that God gives them over to their sin, to a point that ‘your sins have been your downfall’ (Hosea 14:1). Because ‘sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death’ (James 1:15). Unrepentant sin leads to one becoming a captive of sin to a point they are given over completely. ‘Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another’ (Romans 1:25). When one is given over to sin, the Word of God does not penetrate in their Spirit for they have shut it out for a long time that ‘the word of the Lord is offensive to them’ (Jeremiah 6:10). God says, ‘Because your sins are so many and your hostility so great, the prophet is considered a fool, the inspired man a maniac’ (Hosea 9:7). God ‘long(s) to redeem them but they speak against me. They do not cry out to me from their hearts’ (7:v13-14).

One’s ‘arrogance testifies against him, but despite all this he does not return to the Lord his God or search for him’ (v10). They ‘continually provoke me to my very face’ (Isaiah 65:3). God is appalled at such haughtiness and asks, ‘Should you not fear me? Should you not tremble in my presence?’ (Jeremiah 5:22). However, the arrogant simply ‘turn back from following the Lord and neither seek the Lord nor enquire of him’ (Zephaniah 1:6). In fact, such ‘obeys no one . . . accepts no correction . . . does not trust in the Lord . . . does not draw near to God’ (3:v2). They are even ‘still eager to act corruptly in all they did’ (v7). ‘They do not say to themselves, ‘Let us fear the Lord our God’’ (Jeremiah 5:25) and so God tells them, ‘your sins have deprived you of good’ (v25), ‘your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realise how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the Lord your God and have no awe of me’ (2:v19).

A Believer is one who is quick to repent, but the stubborn and rebellious ‘become heartless like ostriches in the desert’ (Lamentations 3) and so God says, ‘I will pass judgement on you because you say, ‘I have not sinned’ (Jeremiah 2:35). In fact, ‘their deeds do not permit them to return to their God. A spirit of prostitution is in their heart; they do not acknowledge the Lord’ (Hosea 5:4), so much that ‘even when their drinks are gone, they continue their prostitution’ (4:v18). In other words, those who are unrepentant, sin even without any influence or motivation. They simply heap sin upon sin. Their ‘sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes’ (Revelation 18:5). But God asks, ‘Why should you be beaten any more? Why do you persist in rebellion?’ (Isaiah 1:5).

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning” ~ Joel 2:12

Considerations from Creation

The expanse in the sky and their lights, the sea, vegetation, birds of the air, fish in the sea, animals and all creatures that move in the water and along the ground were created by God before humankind. ‘God is not a God of disorder’ (1 Corinthians 14:33) and so He ‘made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding’ (Jeremiah 10:12). In creating all else before mankind, God wanted us to learn from creation, and ‘rule over all the earth and over all the creatures’ (Genesis 1:26). However, some take it to extremes and ‘worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator- who is forever praised. Amen’ (Romans 1:25), while others neglect the earth, pollute the environment, and mistreat animals and people alike. God did not intend creation to be worshipped, neither to be abused because, ‘a righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel’ (Proverbs 12:10). Instead, God wanted creation to whisper to us mysteries about Him and our lives. Mysteries that only He Himself reveals to us through creation, and not by us seeking to know God through creation. Big Difference.

Besides taking care of creation, God wanted mankind to attain nuggets of wisdom from it. Paul writes, ‘For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse’ (Romans 1:20). Job notices that creation ‘are but the outer fringe of his (God’s) works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?’ (Job 26:14). So he says, ‘I desire to speak to the Almighty’ (13:v3) and soon enough, God grants him this desire and speaks to him. God uses creation to make Job consider His greatness and power- for creation, viewed from God’s perspective only, draws us closer and not away from Him, and towards creation.

When God spoke to Job, He gave him some considerations from creation that everyone should ponder about. God tells Job, ‘Brace yourself like a man; and I will question you, and you will answer me’ (38:v3). This challenge also goes to the rest of humanity from God:

  • Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand (v4)
  • Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! (v5)
  • Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footing set, or who laid its cornerstone- while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? (v5-7)
  • Who shut up the seas behind doors when it burst forth from the womb . . . when I set limits for it . . .When I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’? (v8,10-11)
  • Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place, that it may take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it? (v12)
  • Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recess of the deep? (v16)
  • Have the gates of death been shown to you? Have you seen the gates of the shadow of death? (v17)
  • Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this (v18)
  • What is the way of the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings? (v19-20)

At this point, most if not all of us are tongue-tied, but some are still concocting theories and making calculations for they know. God says, ‘Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years!’ (v21), and so proceeds questioning;

  • Have you entered the storehouses of the hail, which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle? (v22-23)
  • Does the rain have a father? Who fathers the drops of dew? (v28)
  • Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades? Can you loose the cords of Orion? Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons? (v31-32)
  • Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth? (v33)
  • Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water? (v34)
  • Do you send lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’? (v35)
  • Who endowed the heart with wisdom or gave understanding to the mind? (v36)
  • Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food? (v41)
  • Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn? Do you count the months till they bear? Do you know the time they give birth? (39:v1)
  • Do you give the horse his strength or clothe his neck with a flowing mane? Do you make him leap like a locust, striking terror with his proud snorting? (v19-20)
  • Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom and spread his wings towards the south? (v26)
  • Does the eagle soar at your command and build his nest on high? (v27)

God concludes by asking, ‘Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!’ (40:v1). ‘Let them come forward and speak; let us meet together at the place of judgement’ (Isaiah 41:1). But ‘Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker . . . do you question me about my children or give me orders about the work of my hands? It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it’ (45:v9,11). God therefore gives us these considerations from creation to help us understand that, ‘everything under heaven belongs to me’ (41:v11). He asks, ‘Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told to you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He (God) sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers’ (Isaiah 40:21-22). 

Considerations from creation helps us see that all creation knows and acknowledge its Maker and move at His command. The trees, stars, sun, animals and all creation recognize God and help us see His invisible hand, but man endowed with free-will lives as though he created himself. God even says, ‘The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner’s manger, but . . . my people do not understand’ (1:v3). While considering creation, we should therefore seek to follow the directions of our Creator as all creation does. Jeremiah writes, ‘I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps’ (Jeremiah 10:23).

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?’ ~ Matthew 6:28-30

God’s Caution to the Complacent

‘Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and you who feel secure on Mount Samaria’ ~ Amos 6:1

A quick look at the definition of complacent describes one who is uncritically satisfied with oneself or their achievements. The complacent are apathetic and smug with regard to an apparent need or problem. When the Israelites were prosperous, they found themselves in such as state. Physically, because they had bountiful and spiritually because God dwelt among them. At that time, the complacent were said to, ‘lie on beds inlaid with ivory, and lounge on your couches. You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves. You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical instruments. You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions’ (Amos 6:4-6). As their prosperity increased and justice and righteousness diminished, God sent forth a warning. When God warned ‘I will put an end to your noisy songs, and the music of your harps will be no more’ (Ezekiel 26:13), it appeared like a distant rumour to the complacent- because they were uncritical and satisfied.

The complacent rest on their security. They have experienced success in whatever form for a long time and feel secure. God says, ‘I warned you when you felt secure, but you said, ‘I will not listen!’ (Jeremiah 22:21). The complacent never take heed to warnings because they feel too secure to behold a calamity, even one right outside their gates. When they hear warnings of God’s coming judgement, they invoke the saying, ‘The days go by and every vision comes to nothing’ (Ezekiel 12:22). But God again says, ‘The days are near when every vision will be fulfilled’ (v23). Still, the complacent remain in unbelief just like ‘The Kings of the earth did not believe, nor did any of the world’s people, that enemies could enter the gates of Jerusalem’ (Lamentations 4:12). The complacent, ‘put off the evil day’ (Amos 6:3) and so invite terror on themselves, and God declares, ‘Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile; your feasting and lounging will end’ (v7).

The complacent forget what trouble and suffering is. They have a limited view to things and are uncritical to anything outside of what they experience. They are therefore unsympathetic and unjust, leading them to oppress others and sin. ‘Moab has been at rest from youth, like wine left on its dregs, not poured from one jar to another- she has not gone into exile. So she tastes as she did and her aroma is unchanged. But days are coming when I send who pour out from jars, and they will pour her out; they will empty her jars and smash her jugs’ (Jeremiah 47:11-12). Many do not believe of the coming judgement to earth and mankind, because they continue with wickedness and ‘nothing happens’. They do not consider that God punished wickedness as in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. So God asks, ‘Are you more favoured than others?’ (Ezekiel 32:19). But on the day of judgment, God says, ‘At that time I will search and punish those who are complacent, who are like the wine left on dregs, who think the Lord will do nothing, either good or bad (Zephaniah 1:12).

The complacent suppress any convictions of wrong doing. They eat forbidden fruit and ‘wipes her mouth, and says, ‘I have done nothing wrong’ (Proverbs 30:20). God observes, ‘No they don’t have shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought low when I punish them’ (Jeremiah 6:15). The complacent ‘do not say to themselves, let us fear the Lord our God’ (5:v24). They are good at excusing sin and supressing guilt to a point they accept and lie to themselves that they are not ‘bad people’.  They therefore have an unrepentant heart. To such, God says, ‘But I will pass judgement on you because you say, ‘I have not sinned’’ (2:v35).

The complacent seek options that fit what they want to hear. They close off every word that does not align to their preferences. They do not want to know the Truth which ‘will set you free’ (John 8:32). Instead, ‘the word of the Lord is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it’ (Jeremiah 6:10). And so they come up with their own creed. They say that there are many truths and each person has their own truth. Paul warns, ‘For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths’ (2 Timothy 3:3-4).

They only listen to false prophets who ‘dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious, ‘Peace, peace,’ they say when there is no peace’ (Jeremiah 6:14). In fact, they even hire people who ‘have lied about the Lord; they said, ‘He will do nothing! No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine’ (5:v12). However, God tells them, ‘the visions of your prophets were false and worthless: they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The oracles they gave you were false and misleading’ (Lamentations 2:14). The complacent do not base their teaching on God’s Word, but on humans. So God asks, ‘Where are your forefathers now? And the prophets, do they live forever? But did not my words and my decrees, which I commanded my servants the prophets, overtake your forefathers?’ (Zechariah 1:5).

In the event that they use God’s Word, the complacent misconstrue Scripture to justify their deeds. When they hear of the coming wrath and judgement of God, the complacent ask, ‘Is the Spirit of the Lord angry? Does he do such things?’ (Micah 2:7) but God says, ‘Do not my words do good to him whose ways are upright?’ (v7). They use the Name of God only when they want to support their misdeeds saying, ‘Is not the Lord among us? No disaster will come upon us’ (Micah 3:11). They refuse to read and consider what is also written and so miss the part whereby God says, ‘I am merciful, I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt– you have rebelled against the Lord your God’ (Jeremiah 3:12-13).

‘Tremble, you complacent women: shudder you daughter who feel secure’ ~ Isaiah 32:9

‘Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall’ ~ 1 Corinthians 10:12

Come Out of Babylon!

In case you didn’t know, you live in Babylon. The people of Babylon ‘live by many waters and are rich in treasures’ (Jeremiah 51:13). The earth is 70% water and is rich with all sorts of minerals. Babylon ‘reaches the sky and fortifies her lofty stronghold’ (v53). It is ‘a land of merchants’ (Ezekiel 16:29). Look around you, civilization is a reality and trade is booming. In case you didn’t know, Babylon, where you live, is governed by ‘the god of this world’ (2 Corinthians 4:4), and its systems are not informed by heavenly principles.

Just like Israel of old point to the coming Messiah, so does Babylon of old point to the coming judgement reserved for the world. ‘The Lord Almighty is mustering an army for war. They come from faraway lands, from the ends of the heavens- the Lord and the weapons of his wrath- to destroy the whole country’ (Isaiah 13:4-5). God says, ‘I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless’ (v11). As the day of the Lord approaches, God continually issues warnings, like He did in days of old. God now warns;

‘Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes’ ~ Revelation 18:4-5

Look around you, ‘the earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statues and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore, a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt’ (Isaiah 24:5-6). Injustice, oppression of the poor and helpless, racism, corruption, extortion, child abuse, sexual immorality, sexual violence, idolatry, and passing of wicked laws is the order of the day in present-day Babylon. This is not shocking because in these last days, godlessness will prevail and ‘people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God– having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them’ (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit . . . For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The Kings of the earth commit adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries’ ~ Revelation 18:2,3

Before the fall of Babylon, ‘rumours are heard in the land; one rumour comes this year, another the next, rumours of violence in the land and of ruler against ruler’ (Jeremiah 51:46). Jesus, speaking of the signs of the end of age says, ‘You will hear of wars and rumours of war, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains’ (Matthew 24:6-7). Before Babylon falls, God will make ‘her officials and wise men drunk, her governors, officers and warriors as well; they will sleep for ever and not awake’ (Jeremiah 51:57). Jesus equally predicts that, ‘false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect- if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time’ (Matthew 24:24-25). Look around you, many false preachers and prophets are all around us and leaders are making decisions as if drunk.

Flee from Babylon! Run for your lives! Do not be destroyed because of her sins. It is time for the Lord’s vengeance; he will pay her what she deserves’ (Jeremiah 51:6).  The only way one can flee from Babylon is by being separate. ‘Do not conform to any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will’ (Romans 12:2). God urges, ‘Depart, depart, go out from there! Touch no unclean thing! Come out from it and be pure, you who carry the vessels of the Lord’ (Isaiah 52:11). God says to Israel of old who conformed to the other nations, ‘You not only walked in their ways, and copied their detestable practices, but in all your ways you soon became more depraved than they’ (Ezekiel 16:47). Similarly, God says to those who conform to this world, ‘How weak-willed you are, when you do all these things, acting like a brazen prostitute!’ (v30).

Those who do not conform to this world are marked out by the Lord. Prophet Ezekiel in a vision hears God say, ‘“Go throughout the City of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.” As I listened, he said to the others, “Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. Slaughter old men, young men and maidens, women and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary.”’ (Ezekiel 9:3-6). Similarly, the Israelites at the time of their exodus from Egypt were spared because they had a mark on their doorpost when the angel of death passed over. In the same way, Spiritual Israelites will be spared if they have the Holy Spirit which is God’s ‘seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come’ (2 Corinthians 1:22). This Holy Spirit is only attained if one believes in the crucified and Risen Christ who says, ‘All that belongs to the father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from you what is mine and make it known to you’ (John 16:15). Jesus also adds, ‘My Kingdom is not of this world . . . My kingdom is from another place’ (18:v36), and so ‘friendship with the world is enmity with God’ (James 4:4).

Babylon must fall . . . just as the slain in all the earth have fallen because of Babylon’ (Jeremiah 51:49). Present Babylon must fall, just like Babylon of old had to fall because of its gods; ‘Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low . . . I am God, and there is no other; I am God there is no one like me’ (Isaiah 46:1,9). In the same way, present Babylon has to fall because the god of this world has to be destroyed so that, ‘at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father’ (Philippians 2:10-11).

‘Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said: With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again’ ~Revelation 18:21

Wine of the Wrath of God

‘In the hand of the Lord is a cup full of foaming wine mixed with spices; he pours it out, and all the wicked of the earth drink it down to its very dregs’ ~ Psalm 75:8

The wrath and anger of God is portrayed as liquid. The Bible mentions numerous times whereby the wrath of God is said to be poured out. However, ‘The Lord, the Lord the compassionate God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness and rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished’ (Exodus 34:6-7). Before God pours out His wrath, He sends out warnings for a long time because He is patient. ‘While you were doing these things, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you but you did not answer’ (Jeremiah 7:13). God usually ‘warns you when you felt secure’ (22:v21) but when we do not heed, He says, ‘My anger and wrath will be poured out . . . and it will burn and not be quenched’ (7:v20).

When the Lord decrees the Day of Disaster in ‘the year of punishment’ (11:v23), He pours out His wrath in full measure. He says, ‘because I have spoken and will not relent, I have decided and will not turn back’ (v28). When wickedness has taken root in a person, place, or in the world, the Day of the Lord cannot be turned back, ‘that day belongs to the Lord, the Lord Almighty- a day of vengeance, for vengeance on his foes’ (45:v10). On that day He pours out his wrath saying, ‘I am going to fill with drunkenness all who live in this land’ (13:v13). ‘I will set out a feast for them and make them drunk, so that they shout with laugher- then sleep for ever and not awake’ (51:v39). In the cup of God’s wrath are four destroyers which the wicked drink to; ‘Those destined for death (plague) to death (plague), those for the sword to the sword; those for starvation, to starvation; those for captivity to captivity’ (15:v2).

When the wicked ‘drink it, they stagger and go mad’ (25:v16). Then God tells them, ‘Drink, get drunk and vomit, and fall to rise no more because of the sword I will send among you’ (v27). Because the wicked are stiff-necked, ‘The Lord has poured into them a spirit of dizziness’ (Isaiah 19:14) so that when disaster comes, they will not foresee it until it overtakes them- just like a drunkard who cannot perceive or escape danger in good time. The wicked ‘would not follow his ways; they did not obey his law. So he poured out on them his burning anger, the violence of war. It enveloped them in flames, yet they did not understand: it consumed them, but they did not take it to heart’ (42:v24-25). This is because ‘the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble’ (Proverbs 4:19).

In these last days, God says, ‘I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless’ (Isaiah 13:11). He cautions, ‘Look! Disaster is spreading from nation to nation; a mighty storm is rising from the ends of the earth’ (Jeremiah 25:32). In these evil days, ‘the earth reels like a drunkard, it sways like a hut in the wind; so heavy is the guilt of its rebellion that it falls- never to rise again’ (Isaiah 24:20).

The wine of the wrath of God brings confusion, spiritual blindness, and error to those who are made to drink it. As we live in the last days, false ‘priests and prophets stagger from beer and are befuddled with wine; they reel from beer, they stagger when seeing visions, they stumble when rendering decisions. All the tables are covered with vomit and there is not a spot without filth’ (28:v7-8). In their drunken state, their ‘mind is busy with evil: practice ungodliness and spread errors concerning the Lord’ (32v:6) and those ignorant of the true Gospel become drunk. ‘The Lord has brought over you a deep sleep: He has sealed your eyes (the prophets), he has covered your heads (the seers)’ (29:v10).

When judgement comes to drunken earth, those not ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18) succumb to confusion, disaster and ultimate destruction when God’s wrath is poured out. ‘Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth”’ (Revelation 16:1). The day of judgment will also bring judgement to the god of this world and the beast system; ‘God remembered Babylon the great and gave her the cup filled with the fury of his wrath . . . with her, the kings of the earth committed adultery and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries’ (v19, 17:v2). On that day, those in Christ are assured, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance, with divine retribution he will come to save you” (Isaiah 35:4).

Conversations from the Council of God

In heaven, all the angels and hosts gather around the throne room of God to report assignments and carry out others. The Prophet Micaiah says, ‘I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the host of heaven standing round him on his right and on his left’ (1 Kings 22:19). The Prophet Isaiah also records, ‘I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying’ (Isaiah 6:1-2). Without insights from God, no one can know what happens in the Council unless God Himself gives us a glimpse. Jeremiah writes;

‘For who has stood in the council of the Lord to see or hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word?’

(23:v18)

In the Council of God, critical decisions are made for each individual and for the entire human race collectively- and it usually begins with God asking a question. For instance, King Ahab’s wickedness grew so much that ‘there was never a man like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife’ (1 Kings 21:25). All the while, God observed as Ahab made wrong choices that costed him and the people he governed. When Ahab’s day of reckoning came, God assembled His council and asked, ‘Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’ One suggested this, and the other that’ (22:v20).

‘Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’

‘By what means?’ the Lord asked.

‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said.

You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the Lord. ‘Go and do it.’

(v21-22)

Ultimately, Ahab met his death, putting an end to his wickedness and influence of evil.

In another council, God had observed that, ‘I reared children and brought them up, but they rebelled against me . . . a sinful nation, a people loaded with guilt, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him’ (Isaiah 1:2,4). God then calls His council to intervene. Again, God starts off with a question and a willing party comes forward. Prophet Isaiah ‘heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’’ (6:v8). This time, not an angel, but Prophet Isaiah himself volunteers, ‘for we are God’s fellow workers’ (1 Corinthians 3:9). He says, ‘Here am I. Send me!’ (Isaiah 6:8).

‘He (God) said, ‘Go and tell this people: Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving. Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.’’ (v9-10)

‘Then I (Isaiah) said, ‘For how long, O Lord?’

God answered, ‘Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant . . . But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.’

(v11,13)

God in His magnificent wisdom, uses the rebellion of Israel to birth forth a Spiritual Israel. Paul writes, ‘For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in’ (Romans 11:25). When Israel turned their backs on Him by rebellion, God’s plan was not just to bring them back to Him, but to make all nations turn to Him. Instead of accepting sacrifices from His people Israel, God springs forth a holy seed that will be the ultimate sacrifice for all mankind.

So when Israel of old lied in ruined, then God’s plan sprang into action. Another council was called, but this time round, God did not ask any question because He ‘looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his own arm brought salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him’ (Isaiah 59:15-16). God then sends Himself to bring justice and redeem mankind from wickedness. Prophet Isaiah receives a revelation and records the greatest conversation from the Council of God, before God Himself set foot on earth as a man.

God the Son:I have laboured to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing. Yet what is due to me is in the Lord’s hand, and my reward is with my God’ (49:v4)

God the Father: ‘It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth’ (v6)

God the Son:The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me’ (v14)

God the Father:See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. Your sons hasten back, and those who laid you waste depart from you. Lift up your eyes and look around; all your sons gather and come to you. As surely as I live, you will wear them as ornaments; you will put them on like a bride’ (v16-18)

God the Son: ‘The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back. I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame’ (50:v4-7)

God the Father: ‘I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save. I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh; they will be drunk with their own blood, as with wine. Then all mankind will know that I, the Lord, am your saviour, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob’ (49:v25-26)

God the Son: ‘He who vindicates me is near. Who then will bring charges against me? Let us face each other! Who is my accuser? Let him confront me! It is the Sovereign Lord who helps me. Who is he who will condemn me? They will wear out like a garment; the moths will eat them up. Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God’ (50:v8-10)


Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? . . . If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? He who belongs to God hears what God says.”’ ~ John 8:42-43, 46-47

The Battle is the Lord’s

When battle rages, it is hard to keep still. The battle fronts are action-packed, and being still makes one a liable target- or so we think. However, when one stands grounded, when one is still, it is difficult to be pushed and shoved compared to when one is in motion. When ‘the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord’ (Exodus 14:10). They also complained to Moses saying, ‘It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in this desert!’ (v12). When facing battle, some get disheartened, but when God calls one to a battle, there is no retreat nor surrender. There is not even looking back because God says woe to those ‘who go down to Egypt without consulting me’ (Isaiah 30:2). Moses, knowing too well that the guiding hand of the Lord was upon them in their journey urges the Israelites;

‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you only need to be still~ Exodus 14:13-14

What followed was that ‘during the last watch of the night the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. He made the wheels of their chariots come off so that they had difficulty driving’ (v24-25). The Egyptians, with their horses and six hundred best chariots quickly realized they were not fighting man. They said, ‘Let’s get away from the Israelites! The Lord is fighting for them’ (v25). But it was too late. ‘The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen- the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived’ (v28). This is because, when the battle is the Lord’s, He can be the only winner, for He always wins. Victory belongs to Him. ‘The Lord is a warrior’ (15:v3) and so in battle, ‘he pursues them and moves on unscathed’ (Isaiah 41:3). God says, ‘No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?’ (43:v13).

When two armies of the Maobites and Ammonites came to make war with Jehoshaphat King of Judah, he enquired of the Lord asking for the next step saying, ‘For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you’ (2 Chronicles 20:12). Again, God spoke through Jahaziel the prophet saying, ‘Do not be discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours but God’s . . . You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance of the Lord will give you’ (v15,17).

They indeed saw the deliverance of the Lord, for the next day, ‘Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendour of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army’ (v21). While they were singing and praising God, the Lord, the Man of War Himself took over. ‘The men of Ammon and Moab rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped destroy one another’ (v23). When the men of Judah reached the battle front, ‘they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped’ (v24). On that day, the men of Judah realized that ‘power and might are in your (God’s) hand, and no one can withstand you’ (v6).

The Christian life is packed with battles. It is a watchful life. Battles threaten to erupt from all sides. And so sometimes it is hard to keep still. Even in the small battles, God commands us to be still to a point that, ‘If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also’ (Matthew 5:39). In essence, one is to keep still and not engage in human warfare, and in the human way. When the time came and Jesus was arrested, He did not resist. Judas the Betrayer came with ‘a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people’ (26:v47).

When Judas signalled the men to arrest the man he would kiss, and finally kissed the Messiah, Jesus tells him, ‘Friend, do what you came for’ (v50). One of Jesus’s companions however did not know that the battle belonged to God and so, ‘reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear’ (v51). When Jesus saw that, he admonished him, ‘Put your sword back in its place, for all who live by the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?’ (v52-53).

In this survival-for-the-fittest world we live in, some Christians forget that the battle is the Lord’s. That’s why they wage war the way the world wages war. They get ‘involved in foolish and ignorant arguments that only start fights’ (2 Timothy 2:3). Paul writes to Titus urging him to ‘avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because they are unprofitable and useless’ (Titus 3:9-10). Those who forget that the battle is the Lord’s are easily beguiled in taking up a worldly view and approach to things, yet God says, ‘Do not call conspiracy everything they call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread’ (Isaiah 8: 12-13).

When it comes to spiritual matters, many people forget that the battle is the Lord’s, that ‘salvation belongs to our God’ (Revelation 7:10). So they try to strive and make their way to God by human efforts, not knowing that God says, ‘I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies’ (Amos 5:21). Again He says, ‘Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me . . . I cannot bear your evil assemblies . . . They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them’ (Isaiah 1:13,14). The more we try to merit salvation by our deeds and not by grace through faith in Christ Jesus, God says; ‘Has not the Lord Almighty determined that the people’s labour is only fuel to the fire, that nations exhaust themselves for nothing?’ (Habakkuk 2:13).

God intends that, ‘in repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength’ (Isaiah 30:15). Like to Martha, Jesus asks us to be still and stand our ground, by allowing Him to take on our battles as we linger and praise in His presence. ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her’ (Luke 10:41-42).

Christians ought to shift their focus from the battle to the God who saves. So Paul writes, ‘Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the power of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after having done all, stand’ (Ephesians 6:11-13).

‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord of hosts’ ~ Zechariah 4:6

‘Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth’ ~ Psalms 46:10

‘Jesus said, Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’ ~ John 11:40


Watch: Battle Belongs by Phil Wickham – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtvQNzPHn-w

Watch: Victory Belongs to Jesus by Todd Dulaney – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wa78qxQCKgo