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Rock Report by Pastor Paul

This is a blog that comes from my personal devotions each day. It will also include sermons as I have to delete them from the audio section of the website. This blog will also keep you up to date with what is happening at the Rock in Strathroy Ontario 

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  • Feb23Sun

    Rescued from Disaster

    February 23, 2020
    Call to Worship:  Psalm 100:1 “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
     
    Songs:  Let the Praises Ring - Travis Cottrell          
    Celebrate Jesus  - Don Moen     
               
    Scripture:- Psalm 18:1-50
     
    Songs:  Awake My Soul  - Hillsong Worship    
    Haven't Seen It Yet  - Danny Gokey
     
    Sermon:   “Rescued from Disaster”
     
    Closing Song:  Joy of the Lord - Rend Collective
     
    Benediction:   Isaiah 51:9 “Awake, awake, arm of the LORD, clothe yourself with strength! Awake, as in days gone by, as in generations of old. Was it not you who cut Rahab to pieces, who pierced that monster through? 10 Was it not you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, who made a road in the depths of the sea so that the redeemed might cross over? 11 Those the LORD has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
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    Sermon: “Rescued from Disaster”
                This week represents the beginning of some pretty amazing events in history where God’s people were rescued from disaster. This Wednesday, February 26, 2020 is the beginning of our Lenten Journey. Our theme this year is the “Joy of the Redeemed.” Isaiah 52:9 “Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.” This journey will be based of the book of Esther, the Esther 9:22 “time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration.” Ash Wednesday is the first day of our journey and as you know by now we are simply using these 46 days as time to really focus on this topic. Not only is this a time of reflection but a continued desperate plea for God to move among us just as He has down through the ages. So I would ask that during this journey will continue to cry out to God so that we may be saved from our enemies. Psalm 84:2 “My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” We have great hope that God will rescue us from our enemies as we read earlier Psalm 18:3 “I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.”
                When we look at the book of Esther we see how God works. Even in captivity, God saved the remnant just as he will save us today. I recommend reading the book of Esther before Wednesday. Without going into all the details today, God saved His people from certain disaster. Esther 9:1 “On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them.” We read earlier in Psalm 18:17 “He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. 18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. 19 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” In Esther the Jews were to be destroyed but God saved them. Nahum 2:2 “The Lord will restore the splendor of Jacob like the splendor of Israel, though destroyers have laid them waste and have ruined their vines.” After the Jews were saved Esther 9:20 “Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, 21 to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar 22 as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration.” God made a way for this to happen and this event called Purim is still celebrated today by the Jews. Sadly they do not worship Jesus who would bring the same salvation that took place in Esther, the same blood that saved them in Egypt, yet they stubbornly refuse to believe! Purim will be celebrated this year March 10 /11. This day on the Jewish calendar is the 14th day of Adar, which is one day following the victory over their enemies. It is said, “Adar is the happiest, most joyous month of the Hebrew calendar. In fact, its motto is “When Adar comes, joy is increased.”
                While we are talking about dates on calendar, know that the power of God transcends time and calendars. What happened at Purim can happen anytime because in Jesus our joy can be restored at any time.  Psalm 51:12 “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” Now having said that we are praying for a day where God will do exactly as he has done in the past. We pray this because the church has not followed God’s word and have been taken captive by the enemy. There have always been specific moments in time where God moves in powerful ways. These times where God has moved in history can be seen in the last month of the year and first month of the year on the Jewish calendar. Also as the Jews and Gentiles alike show us, dates can become meaningless events that are celebrated year after year which have lost the power of the original purpose. The church everyday is supposed to be a Christmas, Easter and Pentecost church yet those days come and go year after year. As Solomon said at the beginning of Ecclesiastes 1:2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!”     says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” But at the end he tells us what we should do. He said, Ecclesiastes 1:12 “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. 13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”
                Now back to calendars and history where we can see God move in powerful ways. The month of Adar on the Jewish calendar is the last month of the year. This month represents some amazing historical events. To name a few, the month of Adar would be the last time spent in captivity in Egypt. Exodus 13:4 “Today, in the month of Aviv, you are leaving. This month is also called Abib but now on the Jewish calendar it is called Nisan. This is the first month of the year when Passover is celebrated. (This year by the way, Easter and Passover coincide.) Deuteronomy 16:1 [ The Passover ] Observe the month of Aviv and celebrate the Passover of the Lord your God, because in the month of Aviv he brought you out of Egypt by night.”
                Another event changed the world not just those enslaved in Egypt but those enslaved by satan. Obviously we are not Jewish yet thankfully were given the same hope in Jesus Christ. Isaiah 42:5 “This is what God the LORD says— the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: 6 “I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, 7 to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. 8 “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols. 9 See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.” Jesus changed everything. Galatians 3:26 “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Like Egypt, Jesus was the Passover Lamb yet the Jews missed it. Passover saved them in the past but Jesus saves us in the present and gives us hope of a future. John 1:29 “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God! 37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.” We must do the same.
                Passover celebrates freedom from Egypt; Easter represents salvation and eternal life. The Jews celebrate freedom yet are still enslaved. Today the Gentiles are enslaved because of disobedience because His words have been rejected. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” So if you think about it, Passover was to be celebrated on the first month. Jesus is now the Passover of which the church calls Easter. Therefore we can have joy knowing that your redemption is near. Jesus gives us the same opportunity to come out of our slavery. While the Jews are still focusing on being saved from Egypt, those who believe Jesus is the only way, focus on Jesus redeeming them Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”     So this is a joyous time knowing that God wants to rescue us from darkness just like He did in Egypt and when Jesus died to save us. Yes the last month may be in slavery but Jesus came to save us which gives us hope of a future. 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.” 1 Corinthians 5:7 “Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” Hebrews 11:28 “By faith he (Moses) kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.” Revelation 12:10 “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. 11 They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. 12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”
                Jesus was supposed to be our salvation so that anytime anyone called on the name of the Lord you would be saved but like Israel the church turned away and went their own way. Deuteronomy 29:19 “When such a person hears the words of this oath and they invoke a blessing on themselves, thinking, “I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way,” they will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry.” Disaster has fallen on the church and we have been in captivity ever since; missing out on redemption because of our disobedience. Like Israel held captive in Babylon and Egypt, we too are in captivity and surrounded by darkness. The good news is the same for us as it was when Moses told Israel they would be freed and when Jeremiah prophesied Israel would be freed from captivity in Babylon. So like Israel our time in captivity is coming to an end. Daniel talked about it when he was shown the end. Daniel 9:27 “And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” 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.” Paul side prior to this 2 Thessalonians 2:3 “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessnes is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.” Unfortunately the church did not listen and was deceived. The good news is that His time is coming to an end and the church will rise up once again. This is such a joyous occasion we are waiting for. It is like the last month in Egypt or just before leaving Babylon.
                Even though in Esther they were saved, they still had not returned to the Promised Land as spoken of by Jeremiah. They were not yet in their own land. Even while in the desert, God protected them. Joseph endured, David survived and Job stood strong. Even while in captivity God saved and protects His people. Although he allowed them all to go into exile, He would keep His promise to David and the exiled would return to the land. Jeremiah said Jeremiah 29:10 “This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 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.” 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:” We need to believe that God will free us. God will save His people just as he did in Egypt and just as he did in Babylon. Ezra 1:1 “In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing: 2 “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: “‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. 3 Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them. 4 And in any locality where survivors may now be living, the people are to provide them with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.’”
                Here is one more examples of this last month. Near the end, Jehoiachin, king of Judah was taken captive. He had reigned three months before he surrendered but later he was released from prison. 2 Kings 25:27 “He released Jehoiachin king of Judah from prison. He did this on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month. 28 He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honor higher than those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon. 29 So Jehoiachin put aside his prison clothes and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the king’s table. 30 Day by day the king gave Jehoiachin a regular allowance as long as he lived.” So we too continue to pray that God will also release His church from captivity.
                Many events also happened during the first month, which obviously follows the last month of the year. We saw the flood come to an end. Genesis 8:13 “By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry.” So while in the twelfth month the earth was still flooded but God had promised to save his people. Genesis 8:1 “But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.” In this last example they had too much water but in this one there was none. Numbers 20:1 “In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried. 2 Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. 3 They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord! 4 Why did you bring the Lord’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here? 5 Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!” So even though it looked bleak, God provided a way just as he did at the Red Sea and just as he would do at the Jordon.
               So even though we are surrounded by desolation, we have great hope that we are about to cross the Jordon into the Promised Land. We saw this when Israel was almost ready to cross. They paid a heavy price in the desert for their disobedience. But now they were on the banks of the Jordon looking at the Promised Land. Joshua 3:15 “Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.” So here we see both the last and the first month. Joshua 4:19 “On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. 20 And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. 21 He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.” In the Promised Land they observed the Passover. Joshua 5:10 “On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover. 11 The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. 12 The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate the produce of Canaan.”
                As Easter approaches, know that God loves us and wants to save us from destruction and certain death. God wants to free us from our captors. Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” We were not meant to stay in captivity and be slaves to our captors. We were meant to be free. Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil. “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He will reign for ever and ever.” Yet here we are again living in desolation. We have been taken captive just like we were told would happen when we disobey. Israel was told Deuteronomy 4:25 “After you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time—if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of the Lord your God and arousing his anger, 26 I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you this day that you will quickly perish from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You will not live there long but will certainly be destroyed. 27 The Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the Lord will drive you. 28 There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell. 29 But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey him. 31 For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.”
                The church has done this exact thing by following other gospels and not obeying the commands of our king. But like Israel, we too have great hope of freedom. We too can have joy restored once again. Here are some verses of hope that talk about the joy of being rescued. Psalm 30:4 “Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. 5 For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Morning is coming! Isaiah 43:5 “Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. 6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth— 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Isaiah 35:8 “And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. the unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. 9 No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, 10 and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” Jeremiah 31:10 “Hear the word of the Lord, you nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: ‘He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.” Jeremiah 32:37 “I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety.” Jeremiah 23:3 “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number.” Ezekiel 28:25 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When I gather the people of Israel from the nations where they have been scattered, I will be proved holy through them in the sight of the nations. Then they will live in their own land, which I gave to my servant Jacob.”
                We have this amazing hope because God is a gracious God. Exodus 34:6 “And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.” 2 Chronicles 30:9 “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.” 2 Chronicles 7:13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. 17 “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, 18 I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to rule over Israel.’ 19 “But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 21 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 22 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.”
                So here we are in captivity because we turned away but the good news is that we are at the end of it. We are in the last month but Passover / Easter is coming. So even though the enemy fights even harder against us because of it, we will prevail. But know the enemy does not want you to finish the race. He doesn’t want you to cross the Jordon and he doesn't want you to leave Egypt. Moses went to Pharaoh and said let my people go. Exodus 5:6 “That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and overseers in charge of the people: 7 “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. 8 But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ 9 Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.” The Israelite leaders then said to Moses. “May the Lord look on you and judge you! You have made us obnoxious to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.” I believe it was the Lord who sent Moses. God then says Exodus 6:5 “I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant. 6 “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.’” 9 Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.” We need to listen to the word of God because joy is coming. Exodus 14:13 “Moses answered the people, “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.” Jesus said, Matthew 10:22 “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” So stand firm, morning is coming.
                In the book of Esther, they were still in captivity but like Joseph God did amazing things to provide for His people while in captivity. Genesis 41:40 “You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.”43 He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and people shouted before him, “Make way!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” Esther 10:3 “Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Xerxes, preeminent among the Jews, and held in high esteem by his many fellow Jews, because he worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews.” He took care of his people but the promise was to bring them to the land of promise and then it happened. Nehemiah was told Nehemiah 1:3 “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” He then prays Nehemiah 1:5 “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. 7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses. 8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’ 10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.”
                God wants to rescue his people. Peter said save yourselves from this corrupt generation which is exactly what we are doing. All we have to do is turn from our wicked ways and God will do the rest. Exodus 18:10 “He said, “Praise be to the Lord, who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh, and who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that the Lord is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly.” We read earlier Psalm 18:16 “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. 17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. 18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. 19 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” Nehemiah 9:27 “So you delivered them into the hands of their enemies, who oppressed them. But when they were oppressed they cried out to you. From heaven you heard them, and in your great compassion you gave them deliverers, who rescued them from the hand of their enemies.” Jeremiah 16:14 “However, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ 15 but it will be said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ For I will restore them to the land I gave their ancestors.
                We have this great account of men, while in captivity who stood for God no matter what. Daniel 3:28 “Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.” Daniel 6:27 “He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” Acts 7:9 “Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10 and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.” Esther 9:1 “On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them.” Paul describes it this way. Colossians 1:9 “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
                The amazing part of this is that God has given us the choice to be rescued or not. All we have to do is believe his word. The opposite of being rescued from disaster is disaster coming upon us. Unfortunately the church chose wrong. Deuteronomy 31:21 “And when many disasters and calamities come on them, this song will testify against them, because it will not be forgotten by their descendants. I know what they are disposed to do, even before I bring them into the land I promised them on oath.” Deuteronomy 28:58 “If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name—the Lord your God—59 the Lord will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses. 61 The Lord will also bring on you every kind of sickness and disaster not recorded in this Book of the Law, until you are destroyed.” Joshua 24:20 “If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.” 1 Kings 9:9 “People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why the Lord brought all this disaster on them.’” 2 Kings 21:11 “Manasseh king of Judah has committed these detestable sins. He has done more evil than the Amorites who preceded him and has led Judah into sin with his idols. 12 Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I am going to bring such disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle.” Daniel 9:14 “The Lord did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.
                I think it is obvious that we want to be rescued from our enemies. All we had to do was turn from our wicked ways and wait for God to move. I have read enough verses today to show you that Revelation 7:10 “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” As we talked about last week, we need to be wide awake and prepared. Yes we are still in captivity and desolation but there is good news as God is about to turn the tables on our enemies and we will shout for joy once again. Morning is coming. Matthew 28:6 “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.” Psalm 95:1 “Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.” We are about to be saved. So while the enemy wants to destroy us, God will intervene and restore us once again. He will reach down and save the remnant just as he did in Esther. He will take us back to the Promised Land. He will go before us in power and strength. And the name of the Lord will be made known and then the end will come.
                As we prepare for God to shine on us once again, be hopeful but be thankful because we do not deserve it. The church is desolate and we must adhere to the word of God and take action. So like King Hezekiah after he purified the temple and then he celebrated the Passover. He said 2 Chronicles 29:5 “Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary. 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. 7 They also shut the doors of the portico and put out the lamps. They did not burn incense or present any burnt offerings at the sanctuary to the God of Israel. 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. 10 Now I intend to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger will turn away from us.” He then said 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.” They then celebrated the Passover and 26 There was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the days of Solomon son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. 27 The priests and the Levites stood to bless the people, and God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, his holy dwelling place. So like the temple the church has been defiled. We must tear down, demolish and destroy everything that is not of God. It was said about Josiah 2 Kings 23:25 “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.” He had found the book, did what it said and then celebrated the Passover like no one before him.
                We are called to follow God’s word, not our own. Because the church chose wrong we are paying the price but I leave you with the message given to the shepherds. Luke 2:10 “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Isaiah said Isaiah 9:2 “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. 3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest.” Luke 1:69 “He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, 71 salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. 77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.”
                So we have great hope to be once again rescued from the disaster we find ourselves in. We will be rescued. Paul said, Romans 7:24 “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” I leave you with this Psalm. Psalm 30:1 “I will exalt you, LORD, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. 2 LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. 3 You, LORD, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit. 4 Sing the praises of the LORD, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. 5 For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. 6 When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.” 7 LORD, when you favored me, you made my royal mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed. 8 To you, LORD, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy: 9 “What is gained if I am silenced, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness? 10 Hear, LORD, and be merciful to me; LORD, be my help.” 11 You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, 12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever.”