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Mar3TueMarch 3, 2020Just in case you are not aware of this, you have been robbed of the glory of God. Instead of following God’s way man charged in their own direction and because of this, God turned his face from shining on us and we became powerless against our enemies. 1 Peter 1:18 “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” Instead of being redeemed, man chose their own way this empty way has left us in ruins. The church for generations has followed an empty way, which has lead to our captivity and desolation. The problem is mans word replaced God’s word. Jeremiah 23:36 “But you must not mention ‘a message from the Lord’ again, because each one’s word becomes their own message. So you distort the words of the living God, the Lord Almighty, our God.” Peter said about Paul’s letters 2 Peter 3:16 “He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” Ezekiel describes the preachers who have led us here. Ezekiel 13:2 “Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: ‘Hear the word of the Lord! 3 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! 4 Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals among ruins. 5 You have not gone up to the breaches in the wall to repair it for the people of Israel so that it will stand firm in the battle on the day of the Lord. 6 Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. Even though the Lord has not sent them, they say, “The Lord declares,” and expect him to fulfill their words. 7 Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations when you say, “The Lord declares,” though I have not spoken?” Lamentations 2:14 “The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The prophecies they gave you were false and misleading.” Because of these foolish prophets, which are everywhere by the way Jeremiah 51:34 “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has devoured us, he has thrown us into confusion, he has made us an empty jar. Like a serpent he has swallowed us and filled his stomach with our delicacies, and then has spewed us out.” Nehemiah gives us the picture of todays church Nehemiah 1:3 “The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”Hezekiah also describes what has happened and why we have been robbed. 2 Chronicles 29:6 “Our parents were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the Lord our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the Lord’s dwelling place and turned their backs on him. 8 Therefore, the anger of the Lord has fallen on Judah and Jerusalem; he has made them an object of dread and horror and scorn, as you can see with your own eyes. 9 This is why our fathers have fallen by the sword and why our sons and daughters and our wives are in captivity.” 2 Chronicles 30:6 “People of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left, who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 Do not be like your parents and your fellow Israelites, who were unfaithful to the Lord, the God of their ancestors, so that he made them an object of horror, as you see. 8 Do not be stiff-necked, as your ancestors were; submit to the Lord. Come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the Lord your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. 9 If you return to the Lord, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.” Unfortunately generation after generation continued to follow in these empty ways. Acts 7:51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!”Yes this journey is supposed to be about joy. So here is where the joy comes in to play. Like Esther we see God move in power to save His people. Jeremiah had prophesied that after 70 years they would be freed and Daniel prayed 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: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.” The good news is God heard Esther as she proclaimed a fast. God heard Daniel and said. Daniel 9:22 “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. 23 As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed.”Solomon prayed 1 Kings 8:46 “When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to their enemies, who take them captive to their own lands, far away or near; 47 and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captors and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly’; 48 and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to you toward the land you gave their ancestors, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name; 49 then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause. 50 And forgive your people, who have sinned against you; forgive all the offenses they have committed against you, and cause their captors to show them mercy; 51 for they are your people and your inheritance, whom you brought out of Egypt, out of that iron-smelting furnace.”God has promised to hear our cry for mercy. God said Malachi 3:7 “Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.” 1 Kings 8:28 “Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day.” Matthew 15:22 “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Psalm 28:2 “Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place.” So we continue to call out to God because those who went before us have not adhered to the word of the Lord. 2 Kings 22:13 “Go and inquire of the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.”We no longer want to follow those empty ways; we have put our hope in the Lord and will not be like them. Psalm 78:7 “Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. 8 They would not be like their ancestors— a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.” Acts 2:40 “With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Because of this we cry out for mercy. This is our plea to God for mercy. Psalm 79:8 “Do not hold against us the sins of past generations; may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need. 9 Help us, God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake. 10 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Psalm 80:19 “Restore us, Lord God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.” Nehemiah 2:17 “Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” Isaiah 58:12 “Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. 13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, 14 then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Ezra 5:11 “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, one that a great king of Israel built and finished.” Psalm 116:1 “I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.” Psalm 106:48 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the Lord.”