Yesterday we talked about the difference between how we see life around us and how God sees it and the difference between God’s plans and ours and what happens when we look at God’s plans with our own eyes. When we go our own way based on what we can see, we have decided that we know better than God. Disobedience is the end result. When we do that, God turns his face from us and closes His eyes. The problem for the church is because God has turned His face from shining on us, He has allowed the enemy to infiltrate the church. You would think it would be obvious that this has happened but satan is devious thus the deception and because of our disobedience God brought a delusion on the church so that it continues as if this is how God intended it to be. This is how people preach. They tell you all is well even though there is no power but only a form of godliness. It looks like the church but it really isn’t. The words sounds like Jesus but they are not His. The church has adapted to the lack of power and is quite content sitting in desolation because they actually think the church as they see it, is the way it is supposed to be. But if you hold the light of scripture up to the church and I don’t mean doctrines and theology up to it, it is not the church Jesus is the head of. Matthew 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” John 3:19 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” John 12:46 “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” So yes man takes a look around and says you believe your way, we believe our way and we all agree to disagree but lets move on in darkness.
Yesterday we saw that by looking through God’s eyes we can be victorious over our enemies and take the land. We will have nothing to fear as everything is viewed differently when we live by faith and not by sight. By looking through our eyes and not adhering to God’s word we have angered God. Deuteronomy 32:15 “They abandoned the God who made them and rejected the Rock their Savior. 16 They made him jealous with their foreign gods and angered him with their detestable idols. 17 They sacrificed to false gods, which are not God— gods they had not known, gods that recently appeared, gods your ancestors did not fear. 18 You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth. 19 The Lord saw this and rejected them because he was angered by his sons and daughters. 20 “I will hide my face from them,” he said, “and see what their end will be; for they are a perverse generation, children who are unfaithful. 21 They made me jealous by what is no god and angered me with their worthless idols. I will make them envious by those who are not a people; I will make them angry by a nation that has no understanding.” This is what the church has done why as Peter said we must save ourselves from this corrupt generation.
God then carried out His anger as He said He would; only Jerusalem was left standing as Assyria attacked the land. Isaiah 37:1 “In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. Have the gods of any nations ever delivered their lands from the hand of the king of Assyria?” Israel had already fallen. 2 Kings 17:6 “In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. 7 All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God.” Jerusalem was the only one left but as God had promised David there would always be a remnant. They then went to Isaiah and said, Isaiah 37:3 “This is what Hezekiah says: This day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the moment of birth and there is no strength to deliver them. 4 It may be that the Lord your God will hear the words of the field commander, whom his master, the king of Assyria, has sent to ridicule the living God, and that he will rebuke him for the words the Lord your God has heard. Therefore pray for the remnant that still survives.” King Hezekiah had prayed. Isaiah 37:15 “And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: 16 “Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 17 Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God. 18 “It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands. 19 They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. 20 Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Lord, are the only God.” Psalm 74:18 “Remember how the enemy has mocked you, Lord, how foolish people have reviled your name. 22 Rise up, O God, and defend your cause; remember how fools mock you all day long. 23 Do not ignore the clamor of your adversaries, the uproar of your enemies, which rises continually.”
Isaiah then answers Hezekiah. Isaiah 37:21 “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria, 22 this is the word the Lord has spoken against him: “Virgin Daughter Zion despises and mocks you. Daughter Jerusalem tosses her head as you flee. 23 Who is it you have ridiculed and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes in pride? Against the Holy One of Israel! 24 By your messengers you have ridiculed the Lord. 31 Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above. 32 For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. 33 “Therefore this is what the Lord says concerning the king of Assyria: “He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow here. He will not come before it with shield or build a siege ramp against it. 34 By the way that he came he will return; he will not enter this city,” declares the Lord. 35 “I will defend this city and save it, for my sake and for the sake of David my servant!” 36 Then the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp.”
God promised David and so Jerusalem was saved from Sennacherib who was later killed by his sons. Later even Judah turned away and even the remnant was taken into exile. 2 Kings 21:14 “I will forsake the remnant of my inheritance and give them into the hands of enemies. They will be looted and plundered by all their enemies; 15 they have done evil in my eyes and have aroused my anger from the day their ancestors came out of Egypt until this day.” 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.” The church has turned away and followed other gospels. They have abandoned the word of God and by their teaching have caused many to stumble. Yes they still use the bible but their doctrines and theology have become other gospels of which they hold in high esteem above God’s word. Millions have died not knowing the truth and because of the rebellion of the church, satan has taken over the church. The good news is God promised there would always be a remnant even if it has been taken captive. We saw in Esther how God saved His people while in captivity and then we saw Jeremiah’s prophecy to return the Promised Land fulfilled after seventy years.
Just as God saved the remnant from Assyria, He will save the remnant of the church. Hezekiah pleaded with God to open His eyes and see what was happening. We too are asking God to hear our cry and open His eyes to the devastation of His church. Psalm 14:2 “The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. 3 All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Lamentations 3:46 “All our enemies have opened their mouths wide against us. 47 We have suffered terror and pitfalls, ruin and destruction.” 48 Streams of tears flow from my eyes because my people are destroyed. 49 My eyes will flow unceasingly, without relief, 50 until the Lord looks down from heaven and sees.” Psalm 80:14 “Return to us, God Almighty! Look down from heaven and see! Watch over this vine, 15 the root your right hand has planted, the son you have raised up for yourself.”
Solomon prayed in 1 Kings 8:14 “Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on earth—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. 15 You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it—as it is today. 16 “Now, Lord, the God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your descendants are careful in all they do to walk before me according to my law, as you have done.’ 17 And now, Lord, the God of Israel, let your word that you promised your servant David come true. 18 “But will God really dwell on earth with humans? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! 19 Yet, Lord my God, give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence. 20 May your eyes be open toward this temple day and night, this place of which you said you would put your Name there. May you hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. 21 Hear the supplications of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive.” Nehemiah prayed 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.” Daniel prayed Daniel 9:18 “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.”
So we continue to pray that God will be merciful to His church, you and I who do not deserve God’s compassion. As we see throughout scripture whenever God’s people turned away and they confessed their sin before him, He would save them. There is so much deception in the church; the church does not even realize they need to be saved. So like the Jews our minds have been made dull. Isaiah 29:10 “The Lord has brought over you a deep sleep: He has sealed your eyes (the prophets); he has covered your heads (the seers).” Deuteronomy 29:4 “But to this day the Lord has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear.” Romans 11:8 “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that could not see and ears that could not hear, to this very day.” Amos 8:11 “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” Because of this the church has not been able to see the amazing things God has for us. Isaiah 64:4 “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. 5 You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways. But when we continued to sin against them, you were angry. How then can we be saved? Isaiah 40:28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
The good news is as God told His people, 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.” Because of God’s promise to David, 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.” David found courage to pray and said 1 Chronicles 17:25 “You, my God, have revealed to your servant that you will build a house for him. So your servant has found courage to pray to you. 26 You, Lord, are God! You have promised these good things to your servant. 27 Now you have been pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, Lord, have blessed it, and it will be blessed forever.” We continue to wait for the promise of God to be fulfilled. 1 Chronicles 17:23 “And now, Lord, let the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house be established forever. Do as you promised, 24 so that it will be established and that your name will be great forever. Then people will say, ‘The Lord Almighty, the God over Israel, is Israel’s God!’ And the house of your servant David will be established before you.” 2 Corinthians 3:7 “Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
We have followed in the footsteps of Israel and have turned from God’s word and a veil covers our hearts also. So return to the Lord so the veil will be removed and then keep your eyes fixed on Jesus so that Lord Almighty will open His eyes and rescue us from our enemies and Malachi 3:10 “throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”