Today I want to continue looking at the amazing hope we have in God if we would just trust Him. Psalm 146:5 “Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God. 6 He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— He remains faithful forever.” Yes we sing about God’s faithfulness but that is not the issue here; our faithfulness to His words as a church is the problem. As you are well aware, that is if you are willing to even look, the church looks nothing like the church found in scripture that Jesus is the head of. Ephesians 1:22 “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” That's why we can pray that God will once again empower the church to do as Jesus did. John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” This is not a fable or a made up story but what the church in submission is actually offered with Jesus as the head. The made up part where there is no power is the opposite of this verse. Luke 9:1 “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” The church should look like Luke 9 and Matthew 11:5 “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
The problem is this is not happening as the church has turned away from the truth of God’s word. Jeremiah 9:6 “You live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,” declares the Lord. 13 The Lord said, “It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law. 14 Instead, they have followed the stubbornness of their hearts; they have followed the Baals, as their ancestors taught them.” The doctrines and theology handed down from our ancestors have negated the word of God. We saw in one day the church shut down around the world and the world saw that the church is powerless. This is because Jesus is not the head of a man-made body. It is not the body of Christ because the church has rejected His words therefore we are in captivity and desolation and absolutely powerless against our enemies. Jeremiah 8:8 “How can you say, “We are wise, for we have the law of the Lord,” when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely? 9 The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the Lord, what kind of wisdom do they have? 22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?”
All you have to do is take a look at your church and see what they believe. Yes everyone will tell you they believe in Jesus but they have changed His words to suit themselves, so really the answer is no they are not following the gospel of Jesus Christ, but worship in vain. The beliefs of most churches do not line up with scripture so there is no power. Many churches think they are headed in the right direction but Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” This has been going on for generations. As it stands now, the church remains in captivity and desolation. The light has faded and the church sits in darkness. These were the conditions when Samuel was born. 1 Samuel 3:1 The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out.” Hezekiah said 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. 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.” God was still the God of power when Hannah prayed. God answered her and His plan unfolded. 1 Samuel 2:35 “I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his priestly house, and they will minister before my anointed one always.”
So even though the church has fallen to the enemy, we have great hope in God’s plan for the church. His plan will unfold if we wait for Him. The remnant as promised David will rise up once again. Ezra 8:22 “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.” Jesus is still King of kings and Lord of lords and the promise to David will prevail. This isn’t about the weakness of Jesus but the disobedience of His church. We too can pray for this to happen. Acts 15:16 “After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it.” Nehemiah said 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 58:11 “The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. 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.” Isaiah 61:4 “They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. 7 Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.” 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.”
If we look around at the church today, we see the handiwork of satan. This verse is in full force and should drive us to our knees. 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.” But most will continue charging in the wrong direction saying what have I done? Jeremiah 8:6 “I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle.” We see doctrines of demons, false teaching, false preaching, other gospels and Jeremiah 5:31 “the prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” So as you look at what the church has become, you could feel hopelessness set in or you could feel hopefulness and joy because you know God will always keep his promise to David. Because you trust God, you know in your heart that the remnant will rise up and be the true church once again as God promised David. 2 Chronicles 15:1 “The Spirit of God came on Azariah son of Oded. 2 He went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. 3 For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law. 4 But in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them.” It’s been a long time. Men and woman have led the church astray but their time is coming to an end. But remember Hannah’s prayer.
Here is the good news! God will keep His promise. Isaiah 54:7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you, says the Lord your Redeemer.” The days of our desolation are coming to an end. Yes God hid His face from us and yes the enemy was triumphant over the church and yes the church has been powerless to defeat our enemies but not for long. God is about to rise up. So we continue to plead Psalm 44:26 “Rise up and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love.” Psalm 74:22 “Rise up, O God, and defend your cause; remember how fools mock you all day long.” Psalm 94:2 “Rise up, Judge of the earth; pay back to the proud what they deserve.” Tomorrow I will be talking about “the Rise and Fall of the Arrogant” Yes God has allowed the enemy to come against His church and Matthew 24:22 “if those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” This is very important to understand. We don’t deserve another chance but God is giving it to those who seek Him wholeheartedly. Yes even the remnant has been punished but taken care of. 2 Chronicles 36:20 “He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his successors until the kingdom of Persia came to power. 21 The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.”
Like Israel we too have been in desolation but that is coming to an end. We join with Daniel and pray 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. 7 “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. 8 We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against you. 9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. 12 You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing on us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. 13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. 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. 15 “Now, Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. 16 Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us. 17 “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”
We too pray this prayer because we are desolate for the same reason and like Daniel, we too confess. If we return, we have hope. Jeremiah 3:12 “Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will frown on you no longer, for I am faithful,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will not be angry forever. 13 Only acknowledge your guilt— you have rebelled against the Lord your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,’” declares the Lord. 14 “Return, faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am your husband.” Because our hope is in the Lord, we know that God has heard our cries. Isaiah 49:8 “This is what the LORD says: “In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances, 9 to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’ 13 Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. 19 “Though you were ruined and made desolate and your land laid waste, now you will be too small for your people, and those who devoured you will be far away.” Psalm 62:1 “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. 2 Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”