When something is broken, our natural tendency is to fix the problem. Today with advice and knowledge and all the how to we can handle at our fingertips, we can attempt to fix some things on our own and even things you probably should let well enough alone. Sure it looks easy when someone else does it but it isn’t always. You can even attempt to build something from a bookshelf to an addition. Google, YouTube has unlimited resources that can teach you how to build something or fix a problem. It can be a tool to help your skill level increase but it also gives you the sense that the everyday person can do things beyond their skill level and tools that they have. If it weren’t for a video I watched while cutting a piece of crown molding, with all the wrong cuts I would have ended up with no crown molding left. Recently I fixed my squeaky (squawked for a long time) disk brakes on my bike and replaced the pads. Thanks to DIY videos, it was not hard at all and no more squeak. The DIY (do-it-yourself) industry has been exploding even during this pandemic. One report said, “The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has made a positive impact on the growth of the global DIY home improvement retailing market. Growing people’s desire to refurbish their homes with DIY projects, rising interest in gardening practices to enhance living spaces, and rising activities by key DIY home improvement retailers to boost their sales are fueling the market growth. For instance, Home Depot, the largest home improvement retailer in the United States, supplying tools, construction products, and services, has reported a 24% spike from 2019 as people spruced up their homes during the COVID-19 lockdown condition.” I do admit it is nice to feel the accomplishment of the DIY project especially when it turns out.
Last week we looked at rebuilding the church. Just a reminder that we are working off the premise that the church is broken. Now I know I just told you we have unlimited resources at our fingertips and many in the church use them but those how to videos are not the resources I want to focus on. Unfortunately over the years, many have looked for man-made resources to help them with running the church, evangelism and even gifts of the spirit tests. That one is odd as I am pretty sure you will know when you heal or work miracles! When churches struggle, they often look to those who appear not to be struggling just as millions looked to Willow Creek for years trying to duplicate what they did only to find out their leader was not who he appeared to be. This was just manmade church, which in the end has created more problems instead of fixing them. Man-made resources only lead to man-made solutions. Most will look to the successful and try to copy what they did to make themselves successful which is not always cloneable as there are many factors involved that may not be duplicated. So much time and energy has been given to man and very little to God. There is no fear of God even though as Jeremiah says God tears down and builds. Jeremiah 31:28 “Just as I watched over them to uproot and tear down, and to overthrow, destroy and bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant,” declares the Lord.” The unlimited resources I referred to are nothing compared to the blessing of God and His power. Those unlimited resources do nothing against the evil in this world. The church today has been built with human hands and then others copied what they did and so on and so on and in the end you end up with just more things built with human hands. The church looks nothing like the church Jesus is the head of, yet most will continue to build with their own hands. Even though there were two temples, the temple, which is now the church, is not built by human hands. Ephesians 2:19 “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” Acts 17:24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.” Jesus said Matthew 6:9 “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” and Jesus said to Peter, Matthew 16:15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
You will notice from these two passages that the kingdom coming is about God’s will being done, not ours and Jesus said He would build His church, not us. When we do as Jesus said to do, then the church is filled with His immeasurable power. We then do as He did and our enemies are defeated as we go to the ends of the earth. Last week we saw that the only way David’s fallen tent will be rebuilt and restored is if we abide by the word of God wholeheartedly. Again you have to come to the realization that the church has fallen to its enemies but we have hope. Acts 15:16 “After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it.” The problem is that most do not understand that David’s tent has fallen. They are not aware that the church is not what it was meant to be nor are they aware of the available power the church was to be given. The church just continues to do what they have always done for generations; continue to make things with their own hands. So if the church is not performing as well as they think it should, they go seek advice from other builders, using their own hands and never once thinking they should stop and repent and turn from their wicked ways. The churches that are being copied, that is the gurus who are selling their wares are fallen and broken down even though by the world’s standards they appear to be successful. The deception is that based on appearance they seem to be blessed by God yet they look nothing like the gospels and there is no power. Those who follow have been deceived by the wide gate and are not even looking for the narrow door. They then we will hear just as Jesus described. Luke 13:23 “Someone asked him (Jesus), “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!” Why would you want to follow them?
When we talk about rebuilding, there is only one way and that way is based on repentance and then following God’s word wholeheartedly. When we do obey we will be clothed with power from on High. Rebuilding the church has nothing to do with DIY even though most will try. There is a big difference between following man’s words about God’s word and following God’s word. Following man’s word leads to all the divisions we see in the church today and the power we don’t see. What we end up with is exactly what we see today; men and women copying each other, only to have more manmade churches, meanwhile our enemies are not defeated and millions are deceived. If we actually opened our eyes and saw what was really going on, we would fall on our knees and ask for mercy. Instead of seeing these beautiful buildings and slick organizations running with a Fortune 500 mentality, they should be seen as Nehemiah saw Jerusalem. 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.” The only way to rebuild is not to turn to man for knowledge but to seek God and follow His commands and yes God will then use us in ways beyond comprehension.
As you may be aware there is a global pandemic taking place. What we used to call normal is no longer and the world has drastically changed. Most are desperate to get back to the way it was. We want to do as we have always done but this pandemic is far from over as variants of this virus keep wreaking havoc around the world. We also see a rise in evil taking place as we see in the news people being shot almost on a daily basis. Just last week we saw here in my own province of Ontario a horrific act of terror. Not only did this murder take place in Ontario, Canada, the young man who murdered this family was from Strathroy where I live. Three generations of a family were murdered in the city of London just a half hour from our home. This should be a reminder that the evil we are up against is not something that can be defeated with human hands so why does the church continue to think they have a better way than the way, truth and life offered to us by Jesus Christ?
Even though the pandemic is still very present, attempts are made at reopening so that we can continue with our lives as they were before. Churches are part of this reopening plan. The plan in Ontario states, Religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services (does not apply to receptions) Before Step 1 - Maximum 10 people indoors, Maximum 10 people outdoors Step 1 - 15% capacity indoors of the room, Outdoor permitted with capacity limited to permit physical distancing of 2 metres. Step 2 - Indoor permitted at 25% capacity of the room, Outdoor permitted with capacity limited to permit physical distancing of 2 metres Step 3 - Larger indoor religious services, rites and ceremonies, Outdoor permitted with capacity limited to permit physical distancing of 2 metres.” For the most part churches have adhered to the guidelines, though some like Aylmer Church of God and a few others have rebelled against the health guidelines.
Yes churches want to get back to doing what they have always done and that is to gather in a group on Sundays. The one that seems to be able to gather the most people has others look to what their hands have made, so they can do the same. When most think about church, they think Sunday morning worship. There are structures called churches all around the country that will have cars in their parking lot on Sunday morning. There may be fifty or there may be thousands gather at a time. (pre-pandemic) After Sunday morning, these structures are then relatively empty for the rest of the week other than the programs that they run. Most of the budget goes to running the church from building costs to salaries. Much time, energy and resources are put into how they can grow and how to keep people satisfied so they don’t go somewhere else. This is called transfer growth, which makes up most of church growth. People become unsatisfied for one reason or another and then go somewhere else. One person described it this way. “Much of transfer growth has been the result of the consumer mentality creeping into churches. Many Christians have become church hoppers and shoppers to find the right church that meets their needs and preferences. They view a local congregation as a country club with perks for the members.” Paul says it this way, 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” This shuffling of church hoppers from one church to the next does nothing to combat the evil in the world, as most don’t even know what they should really be looking for. Even for those who don’t shuffle, most churches have not adhered to the gospel of Jesus Christ but have gone their own ways. Going our own way means manmade. You also have to include doctrines of demons that have infiltrated the church. So what we have ended up with are those who put on the best show attract the biggest crowds. Crowds are not what we are looking for. Instead we want people who have been radically changed by the Holy Spirit, not just those who attend a church somewhere. The church is not a building, but the people of God who go out in the power and authority of Jesus name. Yes the building keeps the rain out but that is about it. People are the church.
As time has gone by during this pandemic, those who once attended church and those who led those churches really want to get back to the way they were and the sooner the better. This really has been a good time to stop and return to the gospel of Jesus Christ but instead most churches just figured out a way they could continue without changing too much. Good thing for the Internet. Do we really want to keep going in the direction the church has been heading for so long? The answer is absolutely not as this pandemic has really exposed the powerless church. Instead of returning back to the beginning and waiting to be clothed with power from on High, most will attempt to continue to do as they have always done, still heading in the wrong direction and powerless and refusing to repent. We are told if we turn from our wicked ways, God will dwell with us. Because we have not turned back, God has turned His face from us and our protection is gone as is the power to defeat our enemies. The only way to defeat our enemies is with the power of God, not a fancy program or building.
As churches attempt to start up again, most will be aiming to keep doing what they did before the pandemic. The DIY mentality will kick in and most will not even pause for a moment to return to God so that He will return to us. Most would say why return if we haven’t left. The following of other gospels and the lack of power shows most have left. King Hezekiah 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.” 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. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?” People will not return if they think they never left in the first place. 8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.” This just isn’t about money but our total commitment to God’s word. Luke 14:25 “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” If we are to return, we must do as Jesus said so that we can do as He did.
Today’s church has adapted to the lack of power and the fading light. We saw in Samuel 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.” Not only are there very few visions, healings and casting out demons are few and far between even though we see in Joel 2:28 “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” Peter said at Pentecost, Acts 2:14 “Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel.” This was supposed to continue. So even though the church does not see the power of God dwelling, we still have the same group of people Stephen preached to when he said, 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!” In the church there is a stubborn refusal to repent and turn from our wicked ways. The church today looks nothing like the church Jesus started but now the church we see is considered normal and anyone who looks back to the gospels is abnormal. Hosea 9:7 “The days of punishment are coming, the days of reckoning are at hand. Let Israel know this. Because your sins are so many and your hostility so great, the prophet is considered a fool, the inspired person a maniac. 8 The prophet, along with my God, is the watchman over Ephraim, yet snares await him on all his paths, and hostility in the house of his God.”
So even though the church does not see the available power, the church continues and wants to continue down the same path that only leads to death and destruction instead of life and prosperity. Jeremiah gives us a picture of the stubborn church. He was told Jeremiah 5:1 “Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider, search through her squares. If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city. 2 Although they say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ still they are swearing falsely.” 3 Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent. 4 I thought, “These are only the poor; they are foolish, for they do not know the way of the Lord, the requirements of their God. 5 So I will go to the leaders and speak to them; surely they know the way of the Lord, the requirements of their God.” But with one accord they too had broken off the yoke and torn off the bonds. 6 Therefore a lion from the forest will attack them, a wolf from the desert will ravage them, a leopard will lie in wait near their towns to tear to pieces any who venture out, for their rebellion is great and their backslidings many. 7 “Why should I forgive you? Your children have forsaken me and sworn by gods that are not gods. I supplied all their needs, yet they committed adultery and thronged to the houses of prostitutes. 8 They are well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for another man’s wife. 9 Should I not punish them for this?” declares the Lord. “Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this? 10 “Go through her vineyards and ravage them, but do not destroy them completely. Strip off her branches, for these people do not belong to the Lord. 11 The people of Israel and the people of Judah have been utterly unfaithful to me,” declares the Lord. 12 They have lied about the Lord; they said, “He will do nothing! No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine. 13 The prophets are but wind and the word is not in them; so let what they say be done to them.” By following other gospels, the above is an accurate description of the church, as most do not believe they will see God’s wrath. Why would they as most do not believe they have done anything wrong? 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. 7 Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the Lord. 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? From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. 11 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace. 12 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when they are punished, says the Lord. 19 Listen to the cry of my people from a land far away: “Is the Lord not in Zion? Is her King no longer there?” “Why have they aroused my anger with their images, with their worthless foreign idols?” 20 “The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved.” 21 Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me. 22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?”
Jesus came to heal yet we don’t see healing. Mathew 8:16 “When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.” Since Jesus rose from the dead, that means He is still alive; therefore the demon-possessed and the sick should still be healed from their infirmities. Obviously the church has rebelled and even after being struck and crushed as Jeremiah described, still refuses to repent. It is not because there is no power available, it is because the church has rebelled against God and refuses to follow His ways. What we read in the gospels should still be happening today, so again I ask, do you really want to continue playing church? This is not a game as the end result either means eternal life or eternal damnation. Finding out that you have been deceived after you die is too late. You do not want to have gone to church your whole life only to hear, depart from me I don’t know you. Search for truth now and don’t wait!
So the temptation is to DIY (do-it-yourself) and just keep going as it is and was but I don’t believe anyone can honestly read the bible and then say the church is doing as Jesus did. Most will ignore the lack of power in the church because they stubbornly refuse to change. They do not want to have to admit their whole church life was a sham. Is it really worth it to continue on with this charade? When Jesus said Matthew 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels,” He meant it. Hell is real whether you choose to believe it or not. Matthew 10:28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” To risk spending eternity there because of a stubborn refusal to repent is pure lunacy yet many are willing to make that gamble because they do not believe God at His word. The bet their eternal lives on the faulty belief that God will not do as He says.
Malachi gives us a picture of the fallen church. As you read this keep in mind also what Jeremiah said about being struck and crushed. Malachi 1:4 “Though we have been crushed, we will rebuild the ruins.” But this is what the Lord Almighty says: “They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called the Wicked Land, a people always under the wrath of the Lord. 5 You will see it with your own eyes and say, ‘Great is the Lord—even beyond the borders of Israel!” As churches start opening, unless we have a fourth wave of Covid, churches around the country will look to what they know; building with their own hands instead of trusting God and repenting so that His will will be done and Jesus will build His church with authority and power. If the church starts up and continues on the same way as we have been for generations, we will continue to feel the wrath of God.
Another example is found after Israel rebelled against the command of God. After the men explored the Promised Land they gave a bad report. Numbers 13:31 “But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” Numbers 14:23 “Not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. 24 But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. 36 So the men Moses had sent to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble against him by spreading a bad report about it— 37 these men who were responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the Lord. 38 Of the men who went to explore the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.” So after disobeying God’s command to take the land they decided to go in their own strength and disobeyed again. Numbers 14:41 “But Moses said, “Why are you disobeying the Lord’s command? This will not succeed! 42 Do not go up, because the Lord is not with you. You will be defeated by your enemies, 43 for the Amalekites and the Canaanites will face you there. Because you have turned away from the Lord, he will not be with you and you will fall by the sword.” 44 Nevertheless, in their presumption they went up toward the highest point in the hill country, though neither Moses nor the ark of the Lord’s covenant moved from the camp. 45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and attacked them and beat them down all the way to Hormah.
There is a lot of presumption in the church today. The presumption is that believes God is going with them and is blessing but the church looks nothing like the gospels. The church assumes that if they go out, God will defeat our enemies but He is not listening. Isaiah 1:2 “Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth! For the Lord has spoken: “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. 3 The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” 4 Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him. 5 Why should you be beaten anymore? Why do you persist in rebellion? Your whole head is injured, your whole heart afflicted. 6 From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness— only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with olive oil. 7 Your country is desolate, your cities burned with fire; your fields are being stripped by foreigners right before you, laid waste as when overthrown by strangers. 8 Daughter Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, like a hut in a cucumber field, like a city under siege. 9 Unless the Lord Almighty had left us some survivors, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah. 10 Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the instruction of our God, you people of Gomorrah! 11 “The multitude of your sacrifices— what are they to me?” says the Lord. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. 12 When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? 13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. 14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood!”
Our only hope is not in our hands but on our hands with our faces bowed before God. If we repent and turn from our wicked ways, the kingdom of heaven would come near and once again the church would do as Jesus did. Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” As if we do not need to be healed from our infirmities today! There used to be a slogan in church growth called “Doing Church” which really identified the building of the church with human hands. Then you have those saying we need to move from doing church to being church (missional) but it is still just another slogan that depends on human hands. If you are writing how to manuals about your plan, it probably is just that; your plan.
God’s plan always includes power. They could have taken the Promised Land right away the first time if they had not rejected God’s words. They were told Deuteronomy 11:22 “If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him and to hold fast to him— 23 then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you. 24 Every place where you set your foot will be yours: Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean Sea. 25 No one will be able to stand against you. The Lord your God, as he promised you, will put the terror and fear of you on the whole land, wherever you go. 26 See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse— 27 the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; 28 the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.” The second time they were to take the land Joshua was told Joshua 1:2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. 7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
The same applies to the church. If we would just obey God’s word and stop trying to do everything ourselves, we will see God do amazing things once again. This requires complete trust in God. We don’t want to be like Israel who did not trust God. 2 Kings 17:14 “But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the Lord their God. 15 They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them, “Do not do as they do.” Instead we want to be like Hagrites who trusted God. 1 Chronicles 5:20 “They were helped in fighting them, and God delivered the Hagrites and all their allies into their hands, because they cried out to him during the battle. He answered their prayers, because they trusted in him.” Psalm 20:6 “Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand. 7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Psalm 91:2 “I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Isaiah 12:2 “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.”
Do you trust God enough to let Him work or will you try to do it yourself and be defeated? Waiting on God requires trusting God. You will not wait if you do not trust Him. Saul was given an incredible kingdom and all he had to do was obey God’s word. Instead he tried to take care of things DIY. When Saul was selected to be king, Samuel said, 1 Samuel 10:6 “The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. 7 Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you. 8 “Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.” Instead of waiting the full seven days, Saul decided to take of things himself. This is what happens when you don’t trust God, especially when the enemy is advancing against you. 1 Samuel 13:5 “The Philistines assembled to fight Israel, with three thousand chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Mikmash, east of Beth Aven. 6 When the Israelites saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns. 7 Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. 8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. 9 So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him. 11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel. Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering. 13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”
Saul took it upon himself to adjust God’s timeline. He did in fact wait the seven days but did not wait the full seven days because the enemy was closing in on them. He then offered up the burnt offering and Samuel arrived. If the church would once again keep the command God gives us, once again He would turn His face to shine upon us and our enemies would be defeated. The temptation is always to do it yourself. satan is very deceptive and will deceive you into believing God cannot be trusted at His word. He continues to say did God really say just as he said to Eve and the church continues to listen to him. The church continues to ignore the commands of God.
When we follow God’s plan and wait for Him, we will be clothed with power once again instead of being naked and ashamed (we should be) and our enemies prevailing against us. There is power for all who would believe so don’t be satisfied with what man’s hands can make. Hunger and thirst after righteousness. Persevere until God once again turns His face to shine on us. Hebrews 10:19 “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. 26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” 38 And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” 39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.”
This all comes down to trusting God. Will you try to do it yourself or will you trust God? Proverbs 3:1 “Do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” Psalm 127:1 “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.”
Do not be afraid to trust God, as He is faithful to His promises. Don’t be afraid to stand firm and trust God’s word no matter what is happening around you. Matthew 24:12 “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”