Saturday, October 20, 2012

TBA---The Battle Awaits

Peace, Love and Happiness!!!  I was in junior high in the 60’s (yes, I am old!!!) and remember seeing the flower children and listened to the cries for peace…it seemed innocent enough and who wouldn’t want peace???  But these years later I realize how blind we were to the craftiness of satan.  Yes, our world is in terrible shape today because in part, to my generation.  The 60’s generation grasped the teachings of Nietzsche who decided that God had died so live anyway you want.  What we called “free love” was really “free lust” only to discover that it wasn’t free.  Humanism became the new religion…rational thought rather than faith.  IF God was alive, then He was distant and didn’t care about us.  Even the sign we most associate with this era, calling it a peace sign, was a reproduction of an Roman sign after Christ’s death…a broken, upside down cross which meant there was no power in Christ after-all.  None of us knew that then but that is the way satan works, ladies…he is crafty and slips in lies among even those of us who call His name.

There is nothing that I would rather share than, “Things are going to be ok so go about your lives as usual.”   Really, I would but the message God gave me is poles apart and  to write things are going to get better would mean I wasn’t being obedient to God.   Things are never going to be like they were but the good news is this is not a surprise to God and He has a plan for His children... one that offers hope.  Yes, this is a serious message but it is His message to the church…will we listen and respond?  Lest we think it has never been like this before, listen to this.

Habakkuk 1:2-4   

How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? 
Why do you make me look at injustice? 
 Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. 
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.

(Sound familiar?)  Yes, our country is in trouble.  There is violence, immorality, selfishness, greed and lawlessness.  I expect this from the world…but these are also found within the church and it grieves my heart.   The books of Jeremiah and Habakkuk contain some scarily similar situations and while these prophets were sent to warn the people of Judah (God’s people) of God’s impending judgment, the people scoffed and continued living in sin.  They were wealthy, selfish and followed pagan idol worship…yet they thought it was all, “ok”... (Sound familiar?)  Warnings had been given but ignored. When tragedy comes, we ask, “Why?”  We thought we were good and we thought God was love!!  Listen to this:

Jeremiah 9: 17-18; 20 
This is what the Lord Almighty says:
“Consider now! Call for the wailing women to come; send for the most skillful of them. 
Let them come quickly and wail over us till our eyes overflow with tears and water streams from our eyelids.

Now, you women, hear the word of the Lord; open your ears to the words of his mouth. Teach your daughters how to wail; teach one another a lament. 

 Jeremiah is saying do more than cry out; wake up and grieve over the circumstances surrounding us.   Wail…Weep.  Things are bad…teach your daughter’s to grieve.  But, what can grieving accomplish??  It will accomplish God's protection for His children.

It was amid all the disobedience and wailing that there rose up a young king of Judah who did some pretty incredible things.  II Chronicles 34-35 is where we find his story. This young king had come from an evil family line. II Chron. 33:10 “The LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people but they paid no attention. Manasseh, Josiah’s grandfather, was a extremely wicked king of Judah…he so disregarded the ways of God, he put pagan gods into Solomon’s temple for worship instead of God.  It says, “Manasseh led Judah and the people of Jerusalem astray, so that they did more evil than the nations of LORD had destroyed before the Israelites” II Chronicles 33:9.  Manasseh died and his son Amon, Josiah’s father, became king.  We read in vs22, He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, as his father Manasseh had done.”   Like father like son…Judah was in a bad way.  They were pompous, arrogant, loved their idols and their lifestyle…when God spoke, they did NOT listen. (Sound familiar?) Amon was assassinated after only 2 years of reigning but God’s everlasting love was shown in the next verses:

II Chron. 34:1-2 “Now, Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem 31 years.  He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.”

What???  Here was a young boy, whose father and grandfather were evil idol worshipers, and yet he decides to follow the LORD (YAHWEH.)  Yes, God had heard the prayers of His prophets and the wails of the women and answered by providing a young king who followed the ways of David.  

Wait though, before you think Jerusalem was saved, history shows it did not escape the destruction predicted by Jeremiah and Habakkuk…things for Jerusalem did NOT get better so you might wonder, “Why Josiah?” God had pronounced judgment on Judah. Jerusalem WAS destroyed because the people had strayed too far from the ways of God. BUT those who turned back because of what Josiah did, were protected….we call them “the remnant”…those who individually followed and kept the statutes of the LORD… God provides a “way out” in every generation in order to provide for a remnant of believers…and He is calling His church to revival today! I don’t know where we are going as a nation but I believe we as a church need to begin to stand on God’s principles and return to Him. We all are in a battle but this is not a battle of nations, political parties, or religions…it is an internal battle. We must quit blaming others for our situation…WE are responsible for where we stand with God…Are you ready to face your battle? How can Josiah’s life help us? In my next post I will give you the steps Josiah took to bring the "remnant" back!!