Sermon: "Take Care"

         Last week’s food for thought was a warning from Habakkuk 1:5 “Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed.For I am going to do something in your daysthat you would not believe,even if you were told,” but there was more to this verse. If you were to just read this part of the chapter, you might think this was a good thing. Earlier this year, Asbury College had another of its so-called revivals. This so-called revival was student led and here was part of the problem. At the time when I was researching, I saw Tucker Carlson (very dangerous) interview the student body president of Asbury College. In the interview she was asked what was happening and her response was that she and others were claiming and sharing this verse.Habakkuk 1:5 “Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed.For I am going to do something in your daysthat you would not believe,even if you were told.” She felt this is what God was doing and was overjoyed. As I am writing this, I took a quick peek to see what others had said. One said that “When my husband and I were in the chapel, a student stood up and read Habakkuk 1:5 to the whole room.God is doing something in our day. And we get to be alive in a time where He brings revival in a sweet, authentic way. It’s not hype. It’s not an event. It’s Jesus.” Another website from a radio station used this same verse to advertise what God was doing. I did see one comment on the interview that said she had taken the verse out of context, which is absolutely true. This is something we all have to be very careful with and if we make this kind of mistake we correct it. Hopefully someone set her straight but at the time Carlson had millions of viewers, so the distortion of God’s word went out. I don’t know if she or if when they read the verse from Habakkuk in chapel, they were corrected. I hope so! 

         When this is read in context it should cause us to fear God and drop us to our knees. Here is the rest of the verse. Habakkuk 1:5 “Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed.For I am going to do something in your daysthat you would not believe,even if you were told.6 I am raising up the Babylonians,that ruthless and impetuous people,who sweep across the whole earthto seize dwellings not their own.7 They are a feared and dreaded people;they are a law to themselvesand promote their own honor.8 Their horses are swifter than leopards,fiercer than wolves at dusk.Their cavalry gallops headlong;their horsemen come from afar.They fly like an eagle swooping to devour;9 they all come intent on violence.Their hordes advance like a desert windand gather prisoners like sand.10 They mock kingsand scoff at rulers.They laugh at all fortified cities;by building earthen ramps they capture them.11 Then they sweep past like the wind and go on—guilty people, whose own strength is their god.”This should lead to repentance since we know the outcome of this message from Habakkuk. If we continue to read Habakkuk, we are also given hope that God would eventually destroy this enemy.Habakkuk 3:16“Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamityto come on the nation invading us.” Here is the result of that invasion. 2 Chronicles 36:15“The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. 16 But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. 17 He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and did not spare young men or young women, the elderly or the infirm. God gave them all into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. 18 He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the Lord’s temple and the treasures of the king and his officials. 19 They set fire to God’s temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there.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.” This verse from Habakkuk is not about blessing but destruction for disobedience. As we just read, the people were warnedagain and again but again and again they refused to listen and God allowed their enemies to destroy them.Jeremiah 5:11 “The people of Israel and the people of Judahhave 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 windand the word is not in them;so let what they say be done to them.”20 Announce this to the descendants of Jacoband proclaim it in Judah:21 Hear this, you foolish and senseless people,who have eyes but do not see,who have ears but do not hear:22 Should you not fear me?” declares the Lord.“Should you not tremble in my presence?23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts;they have turned aside and gone away.24 They do not say to themselves,‘Let us fear the Lord our God.”Jeremiah 6:10“To whom can I speak and give warning?Who will listen to me?Their ears are closedso they cannot hear.The word of the Lord is offensive to them;they find no pleasure in it.13 “From the least to the greatest,all are greedy for gain;prophets and priests alike,all practice deceit.14 They dress the wound of my peopleas though it were not serious.‘Peace, peace,’ they say,when there is no peace.15 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 I punish them,”says the Lord.16 This is what the Lord says:“Stand at the crossroads and look;ask for the ancient paths,ask where the good way is, and walk in it,and you will find rest for your souls.But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’17 I appointed watchmen over you and said,‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’But you said, ‘We will not listen.’18 Therefore hear, you nations;you who are witnesses,observe what will happen to them.19 Hear, you earth:I am bringing disaster on this people,the fruit of their schemes,because they have not listened to my wordsand have rejected my law.22 This is what the Lord says:“Look, an army is comingfrom the land of the north;a great nation is being stirred upfrom the ends of the earth.23 They are armed with bow and spear;they are cruel and show no mercy.They sound like the roaring seaas they ride on their horses;they come like men in battle formationto attack you, Daughter Zion.”Jeremiah 7:23“I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. 24 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward. 25 From the time your ancestors left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent you my servants the prophets. 26 But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their ancestors.” Later Stephen would say the same to the Jews. 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! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”Jeremiah continues. Jeremiah 8:4 “Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says:“‘When people fall down, do they not get up?When someone turns away, do they not return?5 Why then have these people turned away?Why does Jerusalem always turn away?They cling to deceit;they refuse to return.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 courselike a horse charging into battle.7 Even the stork in the skyknows her appointed seasons,and the dove, the swift and the thrushobserve the time of their migration.But my people do not knowthe requirements of the Lord.”Jeremiah also describes the destruction that Babylon would cause.Jeremiah 32:23“They came in and took possession of it, but they did not obey you or follow your law; they did not do what you commanded them to do. So you brought all this disaster on them.24 “See how the siege ramps are built up to take the city. Because of the sword, famine and plague, the city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians who are attacking it. Jeremiah told the last king of Judah, King Zedekiah, Jeremiah 38:20“Jeremiah replied. “Obey the Lord by doing what I tell you. Then it will go well with you, and your life will be spared.” He didn’t listen.Jeremiah 37:2 “Neither he nor his attendants nor the people of the land paid any attention to the words the Lord had spoken through Jeremiah the prophet.”Jeremiah 39:6“There at Riblah the king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes and also killed all the nobles of Judah. 7 Then he put out Zedekiah’s eyes and bound him with bronze shackles to take him to Babylon.  8 The Babylonians set fire to the royal palace and the houses of the people and broke down the walls of Jerusalem.”  

         All this applies to the church. Just as the people then refused to listen, today’s church has done the same. God is not blessing but has allowed the abomination that causes desolation to decimate the church, just as Babylon and Assyria destroyed Israel and Judah. We were warned when Daniel said,Daniel 9:27“He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. 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.” God has allowed this to happen because of rebellion. 2 Thessalonians 2:9“The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”When Jesus warned us about the deception of the last days (we are in those days), He said Matthew 24:15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.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.” Daniel 12:11 “From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. 12 Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.” 

         You may think as many do, this is the Old Testament but even the Old Testament is warning us. Daniel 8:26“The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.” Paul gives the same warning from Habakkuk when he warned the Jews to take care. Telling someone to take care canbe used as a good-bye or as a warning. Paul used the same verse from Habakkuk as a warning. This tells us that something similar could happen to the Jews as happened to Israel and Judah. In Acts we see Paul preaching to the Jews. Paul is set apart and sent out to preach the good news. Acts 13:2“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” While preaching in Pisidian Antioch, he summarizes the journey of God’s people. He said Acts 13:26 “Fellow children of Abraham and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. 27 The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. 28 Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed.38 “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.”  

      Paul then gives them this warning. Acts 13:40“Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:41 “‘Look, you scoffers,wonder and perish,for I am going to do something in your daysthat you would never believe,even if someone told you.” Again, this is not a blessing but a warning of destruction like when the Babylonians came and destroyed Jerusalem. Then Acts 13:44“on the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him.46 Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. 47 For this is what the Lord has commanded us:“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” Jesus also gives a double warning in the same chapter when he warned us not to be deceived, Matthew 24:1“Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”Not only was He talking about the temple being destroyed but the church also being decimated by the abomination that causes desolation as Jesus would talk about in the same chapter. The Jews did not listen and rejected Jesus and something they would not believe happened again. Just like the first temple, the second temple was destroyed, and hundreds of thousands were killed and thousands enslaved. One Jewish writer quotedJosephus on the destruction of the Temple. “While the holy house (The Temple) was on fire, everything was plundered that came to hand, and ten thousand of those that were caught were slain; nor was there a commiseration of any age...but children and old men...and priests, were all slain in the same manner... The flame was also carried a long way, and made an echo, together with the groans of those who were slain... one would have thought the whole city would have been on fire. Nor can one imagine anything greater and more terrible than this noise.” This writer then said, “States the Talmud (Yoma 9b): "Why was the Second Temple destroyed? Because of sinatchinam, senseless hatred of one Jew for another."What is the antidote to this problem which is so rampant in the Jewish world today? The answer is ahavatchinam, the Jews have to learn to love their fellow Jews.There's no hope for the Jewish people until all learn how to communicate with each other, and respect each other, regardless of differences.God has no patience for Jews fighting each other. It's extremely important to study this period of time carefully because there are many valuable lessons that we can learn about the pitfalls that need to be avoided.” This is not the antidote. The Jews must learn to believe that Jesus is their Messiah, but they did not take care and ignored all the warnings. The Jews to this day continue to reject their Messiah and Savior Jesus. 

        Now today the Gentiles have not taken care to listen. The church like Israel and Judah have failed to listen to the warnings that scripture has given us and satan’s deceptions and God’s delusions have ravaged the church. The word of God has been ignored for the words of man. Like the so-called revivalat Asbury, man said this was a revival but in reality, looked nothing like scripture. This so-called revival is just another example of the deception and delusion happening in the church. Jesus warned us not to be deceived, yet people called a warning about destruction a blessing. As many said, surely the presence of the Lord was in this place, but feelings are not the way to tell if God is present, God’s word is. We must stand on God’s word and if His word is not present, there will be deception. We must also remember that satan also uses scripture. This verse used at Asbury is an example of that. Not only do we have the Old Testament,but we also have the New Testament, so we have both warnings and the church has ignored both.Jesus warned us not to be deceived for a reason as He knew what was coming. Paul said,1 Corinthians 10:6“Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”  

        God is a God of love, but we must also understand He is also a God of wrath. As we saw with the disobedience of Israel and Judah, they felt God’s wrath. God had told them what would happen if they disobeyed. 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.”Jeremiah prophesied and said Jeremiah 29:10“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.”God used Assyria and Babylon to carry out His wrath against them. This is where the church has failed. To understand God, we must understand God’s love and wrath. The verse that almost everyone has seen or heard explains that, but most leave out the wrath part. 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. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” Most people would much rather be part of the God of love so they can live for themselves. If you just believe God is a God of love, then you really don’t have to worry about the wrath part so you can ignore serving Him wholeheartedly or having to worry about your final destination. Many falsely believe that God would never send someone to hell. John goes on to say, John 3:36“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” Then inMatthew 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.” You do not want to ignore that just because you have been taught God is only a God of love. We are told Hosea 4:6 “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.”Isaiah 5:13 “my people will go into exile for lack of understanding.” This happened because God’s people refused to serve Him and obey His words. Most people who call themselves Christians are more worried about living their lives to the fullest and because they only believe God is a God of love, do not prepare themselves for eternity because they have been deceived into thinking all is well with their soul.  

         In this passage Job talks about the wicked, but this also applies to those who refuse to turn from their wicked ways as we are told to do in 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.” Most in the church today are following other gospels which are wicked ways. Job says Job 21:7“Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power?8 They see their children established around them,their offspring before their eyes.9 Their homes are safe and free from fear;the rod of God is not on them.10 Their bulls never fail to breed;their cows calve and do not miscarry.11 They send forth their children as a flock;their little ones dance about.12 They sing to the music of timbrel and lyre;they make merry to the sound of the pipe.13 They spend their years in prosperityand go down to the grave in peace.14 Yet they say to God, ‘Leave us alone!We have no desire to know your ways.15 Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him?What would we gain by praying to him?’16 But their prosperity is not in their own hands,so I stand aloof from the plans of the wicked.”Isaiah 30:9“For these are rebellious people, deceitful children,children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction.10 They say to the seers,“See no more visions!”and to the prophets,“Give us no more visions of what is right!Tell us pleasant things,prophesy illusions.11 Leave this way,     get off this path,and stop confronting uswith the Holy One of Israel!”Scripture makes it clear what God’s ways are and we must take care to follow them and if we don’t, we will feel His wrath, either presently or for all eternity. 

        Today the church is worshipping in vain because the church has not adhered to the true gospel.Paul said 1 Corinthians 15:2 “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.”Jesus said Matthew 15:7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:8 “‘These people honor me with their lips,but their hearts are far from me.9 They worship me in vain;their teachings are merely human rules.” If Jesus was as present as the church says His is, then this would be happening.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.”Matthew 15:30“Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. 31 The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.” But instead, the church continues to gather and leave week after week with basically nothing happening, all the while God Isaiah 1:13“cannot bear your worthless assemblies.14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivalsI 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!”Amos 5:21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals;your assemblies are a stench to me.22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,I will not accept them.Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,I will have no regard for them.23 Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.” Amos also said Amos 8:9 “In that day,” declares the Sovereign Lord,“I will make the sun go down at noonand darken the earth in broad daylight.10 I will turn your religious festivals into mourningand all your singing into weeping.I will make all of you wear sackclothand shave your heads.I will make that time like mourning for an only son and the end of it like a bitter day.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.12 People will stagger from sea to seaand wander from north to east,searching for the word of the Lord,but they will not find it.” Those days are already upon us and the church sits in desolation because of it. Like the first two temples, the church which is supposed to be the body of Christ and not a building has also been destroyedbut not completely as there will always be a remnant. Jesus said, 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.” 

        But there is good news as there will always be a remnant just as God promised to David, but if you think about that, there is sorrow as that means millions have perished because of rebellion, disobedience and unbelief. What makes this even worse is that many who have perished had no idea that they will not spend eternity with God. They were taught other gospels and believed the words of man and doctrines of demons over God’s own words. They did not test the spirits (1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.) to see what was true and false, but there will be a remnant saved who stoodfirm on God’s word. God promised David that there will always be survivors from the destruction that comes with rebellion. Disobedience always leads to death and destruction.Jeremiah 50:17 “Israel is a scattered flockthat lions have chased away.The first to devour them was the king of Assyria;the last to crush their boneswas Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.” We would be fools to ignore what happened to Israel and Judah and think that God would allow the church to ignore His word and in rebellion go their own way without any reaction from God. But just as God promised,there will be retribution against His enemies and God will save His church. Isaiah 34:8 “For the Lord has a day of vengeance, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion’s cause.”Isaiah 35:4“Say to those with fearful hearts,“Be strong, do not fear;your God will come,he will come with vengeance;with divine retributionhe will come to save you.”5 Then will the eyes of the blind be openedand the ears of the deaf unstopped.6 Then will the lame leap like a deer,and the mute tongue shout for joy.Water will gush forth in the wildernessand streams in the desert.7 The burning sand will become a pool,the thirsty ground bubbling springs.In the haunts where jackals once lay,grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.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.” We are told that God would destroy the Assyrians and the Babylonians.Isaiah 10:5 “Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger, in whose hand is the club of my wrath! 12 When the Lord has finished all his work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he will say, “I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes.”Jeremiah 51:24“Before your eyes I will repay Babylon and all who live in Babylonia for all the wrong they have done in Zion,” declares the Lord.”Jeremiah 51:56 “A destroyer will come against Babylon; her warriors will be captured, and their bows will be broken. For the Lord is a God of retribution; he will repay in full.” 

        Even though the church has been decimated, the abomination that causes desolation will come to an end.Daniel 7:21“As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.26 “‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyedforever. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’”Daniel 8:23 “In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a fierce-looking king, a master of intrigue, will arise. 24 He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy those who are mighty, the holy people. 25 He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.” 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.”  

        God will save the remnant and the church once more will do as Jesus did. Isaiah 30:15“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:“In repentance and rest is your salvation,in quietness and trust is your strength,but you would have none of it.16 You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’Therefore you will flee!You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift!17 A thousand will fleeat the threat of one;at the threat of fiveyou will all flee away,till you are leftlike a flagstaff on a mountaintop,like a banner on a hill.”18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;therefore he will rise up to show youcompassion.For the Lord is a God of justice.Blessed are all who wait for him!”19 People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. 20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” 

       Just as Daniel called out to God to free them, the church needs to pray the same prayer. The enemy this time is not the Assyrians or Babylonians but the abomination that causes desolation. Read this prayer not as the people of Israel and Judah in captivity but from the perspective of the church in captivity.Daniel 9:4“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.”  

        Today the church lies desolate but there is still hope as God is also a compassionate God, even though we do not deserve His compassion.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.”Jeremiah 33:11“Give thanks to the Lord Almighty,for the Lord is good;his love endures forever.”For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the Lord.”Acts 15:16 “‘After this I will returnand rebuild David’s fallen tent.Its ruins I will rebuild,and I will restore it,17 that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,even all the Gentiles who bear my name,says the Lord, who does these things’ - 18 things known from long ago.” 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.” Jeremiah 30:10 “‘So do not be afraid, Jacob my servant;do not be dismayed, Israel,’declares the Lord.‘I will surely save you out of a distant place,your descendants from the land of their exile.”