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Mar20MonMarch 20, 2017Yesterday we looked at the life of Job. Here was a faithful man who lost everything but did not sin against God or curse Him. Through this journey he had come to a deeper understanding of who God was even though satan threw everything he could at him. Job 42:5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job then said Job 42:2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. Yes Job could have cursed God and died but he didn’t. He knew he did nothing wrong and he stood his ground. Job 13:15 “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.” 5 I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. 26 And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; 27 I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”If you are in a battle and you are seeking God wholeheartedly and living as Job said, Job 23:11 “My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. 12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread,” then know that God’s plan for you will not be thwarted and Job 23:10 “when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Yes it feels that God has abandoned you and the enemy is overpowering you but hold on, God’s plan for your life will not be thwarted. As you wait for God’s plan to unfold you will be stronger than ever before. You are not going through this journey for nothing; there is a purpose for it. David tells us in 2 Samuel 7:25 “Do as you promised, 26 so that your name will be great forever. Then people will say, ‘The Lord Almighty is God over Israel!”Of course the enemy thinks they will defeat you. During this time you will be mocked and made fun of you as they think they are successful against you. Job, David and Jesus were mocked so why would you think it would be any different for you. Jesus own family thought he was crazy. Mark 3:21 “When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” According to the worlds standards it may just look that way but know that it isn’t. It is simply God carrying out His purpose for us as we follow his word wholeheartedly. In the end we will come out as gold and His name will be made known to the nations. Another example of this is found in Acts 12:5 “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” God answered their prayers and Peter walked out of prison. He actually thought it was a vision. Acts 12:11 “Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.” Then Peter stood at the door and knocked. Rhoda came to answer the door. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!” 15 “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.” So they had prayed earnestly for Peter but because they did not believe they thought this servant named Rhoda was out of her mind. God moves in mysterious ways. He does things in our lives that don’t always line up with our thinking but it really isn’t our thinking that it needs to line up with. We must be in tune with God. Maybe if the church would stop being so lukewarm for just a moment and open the door when God knocks we may understand better how God works. Revelation 3:19 “those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Instead of believing God is at work in our lives, those around us think we are nuts for opening the door to his working in our lives. We just don’t want to travel on the empty way any more and that is offensive.We must be willing to go on the journey God has for us. Being obedient means following God and doing what he says. The problem is so many are unfamiliar with how God woks. Remember we have the book of Job right before us so we can see it. Exodus 15:26 “He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.” Look at what God said to Jeroboam even though he refused to obey later. 1 Kings 11:38 “If you do whatever I command you and walk in obedience to me and do what is right in my eyes by obeying my decrees and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you.” So no matter what anyone thinks, we follow the word of the Lord. To do this means we know His voice because we are his sheep. satan is going to use those close to you to do his bidding. They will usually harbor bitterness towards you and that makes it easy for them to be used. Look at the blessing given to Joseph from Jacob. Genesis 49:22 “Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall. 23 With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility. 24 But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, 25 because of your father’s God, who helps you.” After Joseph told his dream to his father and brothers his father Genesis 37:10 rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” If you recall the story, God showed Joseph some amazing things that caused his family bitterness towards him, so much so they wanted to kill him but sold him and did not care what happened to him. The brothers were easily used by satan to go against Joseph. But God had a plan of salvation and his plan was not thwarted. In the end they did bow to him.We have this great promise from God. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” In the end God’s plan will be fulfilled in our lives. Yes we may go through some intense trials. Events may happen in our lives that we never saw coming or even believed they would happen but they do. Job I doubt would never have dreamed he would loose everything nor did he even dream God would bless him so abundantly. I don’t think Joseph, Daniel or Mordecai would have ever believed they would rule with such authority in a land not their own and Israel never dreamed that God would actually carry out his plan all though they were warned over and over. 2 Kings 17:6 “In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in the towns of the Medes. 7 All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods 8 and followed the practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before them, as well as the practices that the kings of Israel had introduced. 9 The Israelites secretly did things against the Lord their God that were not right. From watchtower to fortified city they built themselves high places in all their towns. 10 They set up sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree. 11 At every high place they burned incense, as the nations whom the Lord had driven out before them had done. They did wicked things that aroused the Lord’s anger. 12 They worshiped idols, though the Lord had said, “You shall not do this.” 13 The Lord warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and seers: “Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your ancestors to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets.” 14 But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the Lord their God.”Take hope, as God’s plan will not be thwarted. Israel was warned over and over not to disobey. That applies to us also. Part of God’s plan was to use Assyria against Israel. Paul warns us Romans 13:12 “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” We are running out of time as the end of the end times is here. This onslaught of the enemy brought total devastation to them to the extent that only a remnant would be left but God kept his promise. This also shows us that God is serious about His commands. Habakkuk looks past the enemy and says, Habakkuk 3:16 “I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. 17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” Habakkuk said earlier in the chapter 13 You came out to deliver your people, to save your anointed one. You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness, you stripped him from head to foot. 14 With his own spear you pierced his head when his warriors stormed out to scatter us, gloating as though about to devour the wretched (poor, oppressed) who were in hiding.”God always has a plan. From the beginning his plan is to bring us back to Him but remember that usually involves just a remnant. Ezra 9:8 “But now, for a brief moment, the Lord our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage.” When we look at Isaiah we see the coming Saviour. It still boggles my mind that the Jews can’t see it. It also baffles me how many so-called christians are still waiting like the Jews for peace even though the Prince of Peace already came. In Isaiah we see a war taking place between King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel who had marched up to fight against Jerusalem. Isaiah 7:2 “Now the house of David was told, “Aram has allied itself with Ephraim”; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.” Isaiah is then sent to King Ahaz and he is told to ask for a sign but he would not ask So Isaiah said, 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” He also said, “17 The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah—he will bring the king of Assyria.” Because this people rejected God as they warned over and over about Assyria. The Lord is about to bring against them the mighty floodwaters of the Euphrates— the king of Assyria with all his pomp.” Later when they did come, we see the arrogance of the Assyrians against King Hezekiah, Ahaz’s son. said, 2 Kings 28 “Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29 This is what the king says: Do not listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says, ‘The Lord will deliver us.’ 33 Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria? In the end this enemy took both Israel and Judah away because they disobeyed the word of the Lord. But as Jeremiah said they would be delivered. Daniel 9:2 “In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. 3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. 4 I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed:”We have great hope in Immanuel our Messiah but we must not turn from him no matter what comes before us. We must stand firm on the word of the Lord. 2 Peter 3:11 “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.” Do not be deceived by false gospels as there are many and doctrines of demons that have infiltrated the church. 2 Peter 3:17 “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.” Even though this has happened, we hold on to God’s word. Psalm 33:11 “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. Isaiah 7:9 “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.” I don’t believe the church fears for itself because of their disobedience but we should. The enemy has brought great desolation to the church. God is knocking but is anyone listening. 2 Thessalonians 2:4 “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” We are war with this enemy. But know this, when you die eternity is forever. Do not be deceived but stand your ground as Job did. Do no turn away as your life depends on it.The good news of the gospel is this enemy can be defeated. We are told in Isaiah 8:9 “Raise the war cry, you nations, and be shattered! Listen, all you distant lands. Prepare for battle, and be shattered! Prepare for battle, and be shattered! 10 Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will not stand, for God is with us.” Isaiah 41:12 “But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, 9 I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. 10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.11 “All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish.12 Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all.13 For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.14 Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob, little Israel, do not fear, for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.15 “See, I will make you into a threshing sledge, new and sharp, with many teeth. You will thresh the mountains and crush them, and reduce the hills to chaff.16 You will winnow them, the wind will pick them up, and a gale will blow them away. But you will rejoice in the Lord and glory in the Holy One of Israel.”We have nothing to fear. Do not give up as we have a savior. Not one promise has failed. Matthew 1:22 “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means “God with us”).” Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. 5 God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. 6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. 7 The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” We give God praise as no purpose of yours can be thwarted.