Lesson no 3
God chooses us whilst still in the fire of affliction.
“Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” (Isaiah 48:10).
And not everything can pass through the fire and remain the same. Most things would change or be mangled, yet this is where we are chosen.
As in the case of Hezekiah when God pulled back to watch his reaction:
“Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.” (2 Chronicles 32:31).
God watches His children as they pass through the fire to see their reaction.
Would you change as you go through the fire? Would you be deformed or mangled when you come out at the other side of the fire?
This tells if you are matured or not for promotion.
God watched to see if we would allow the enemy take away our joy, our confession, the thought in our hearts.
Would we engage in character assassination, fight tooth for tooth and eye for an eye?
Or would we keep standing holding firmly to His word and praying for those who persecute us and despitefully use us?
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; ” (Matthew 5:44)
Would we change? That is why it is a trial!
Walking with God can be demanding sometimes, especially when it has to do with relating to others; and most especially if they have hurt you so deeply you decide to “avoid” them; not necessarily malice but holding them at arms length, not to be hurt again by them.
After publishing post four of this serial, God spoke to me at five-thirty (5:30) am.
I do morning cry from 4:30am to 5:30am. This day, Thursday 16th of November I spoke from the gospel of Matthew,chapter 25, the Groom and the ten Virgins. I spoke particularly on the trimming of the lamp and the significance of the wick. Rounding up with a prayer at 5:30 the Lord broke forth with a command to go to Judith and pray for her and her house hold!
Ah! Why Lord? With all that she did? Not that I haven’t forgiven but to go there?
My wife and I have learnt over the years to forgive even in advance but not give room to be offended a second time.
But God rules in the affairs of men!
“But God”, I argued, “I have been there twice before and no good came out of it.”
“Go and pray with her.”
“Lord is this really you or is it my mind?”
God will not go into an argument..
Many Christians cast aspersion on the Prophet Jonah for running away to Joppa.
Honestly I felt like running away! What would people in that little community think of me? The flesh was speaking. Especially knowing Judith would announce I came to beg her!
Unknown to me, I was to put in motion that age -old principle that says the way of victory is the way of the cross; the way of shame!
The hurdle is always the flesh!
I told my wife and left to Judith’s. To the glory of God her husband was home but she was not.
He was shocked seeing me. Nevertheless I told him my purpose of coming. I thought he would not accept my prayer. But he did.
As I left their house and started for home, I saw Judith coming so I waited. After praying for her, we had a little discussion. She had gone to call a nurse for her most Junior daughter who was ill.
Asking if they would permit me pray for her, they ushered me into the room where she laid.
Afterwards I said goodbye to them and left.
Back home my joy knew no bounds. I sensed in the spirit that God was up to something!
It is in the darkest hour of the day, that light shines the brightest! God within this season, opened up a door of ministry that we never saw. Details will be given but not now; at the maturity of the testimony.
May we not change but keep doing good. For whatsoever we sow we shall reap.
Coming out of Egypt, Israel encountered peoples and situations that were hostile; like Balak who hired Balaam to curse them.
Unknown to the Israelites, these men and the officials of Moab, were on the hill overlooking the great hoard in the valley and pronouncing curses at them. At seven different locations they raised altars, made sacrifices and Balaam made the curse.
But whom God has blessed, no man can curse!! Every opening of the mouth to curse turned into blessings to the chagrin of the Moabit King!
Indeed God makes diviners mad and frustrates the token of liars!!!
All these were unknown to the Israelites!!!
I wish Christians will focus on following God with undivided heart and stop prying into who is cursing or making enchantments against them! God knows HOW to deliver the righteous.
The bible says God did not allow any man to hurt them. Instead He rebuked Kings for their sake!
“He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;” (Psalm 105:14).
Evil people, like their master, do not rest. Seeing they couldn’t curse Israel, Balaam advised Balak to introduce strange women into their camp as this would make God angry, remove the protection and turn against them.
And truly, God turned against them! A plague was released; 24,000 men, outside women and children died.
To stop the plague God asked Moses to hang publicly, facing the Sun all the ring leaders who frolicked with the women of Moab and joined in the worship of Baal-peor, that it may be a deterrent to others.
While that was being carried out, Moses, Aaron and the leaders sat mourning in repentance, at the entry of the Tabernacle, and behold an Israeli prince, Zimri, came into the camp with a Midianitish princess named Cozby.
Also seated with them was a young man called Phinehas the son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron the Priest.
Like others he saw the abomination brought into the camp but couldn’t keep still. Though his father was there, his grandfather was there, even his uncle, Moses was there! They knew this was the cause of the calamity yet they sat still crying, nobody moved!!
When he couldn’t contain it any more, he rose, picked a spear and traced the couple to the man’s tent where he killed both.
Instantly the plague stopped and God reacted: He made a covenant of peace with him, and pronounced that he and his descendants would be priests forever.
God had found a servant of honour. How did he become one?
(1) He was in the camp.
Young men are always adventurous, seeking to conquer their environment. Unlike Zimri, Phinehas stayed in the camp, not venturing away and consequently, remained in the will of God. He did not join himself to strangers.
What has Christ with Beliel or the temple of God with idols. What has light with darkness.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
Every sheep that leaves the flock and wanders off, breaks the rule and makes itself an easy target for the wolves. Christians who wander off the fold disobey God!!!
“Be separate, come out from their midst”, He says!
(2) He saw.
There is nothing as hindering as spiritual blindness!!!
Having killed the ringleaders as instructed by God, the plague did not stop! While they all sat crying, it took one young man, possibly not yet of Levitical age (30), to discern why the plague was not stopped!
Obedience to the Word of God should bring good (Isaiah 1: 19). Where and when obedience didn’t bring good, the obedience is not complete.
Phinehas saw what others could not see.
Just as in Exodus 32, when the entire camp of Israel did not see the consequence of making the molten calf and worshipping it, the tribe of Levi saw and abstained. That was how God chose them to be His vessels and representatives in place of the first born, making them a special people of God, an Old covenant “Church of the first born sons”.
Oh that our eyes may be opened that we might see through the eyes of heaven!!! What peace shall be ours!!!
No wonder Paul prayed our eyes be opened!
“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” (Ephesians 1:18).
(3) He picked the spear.
The spear was a weapon of war, a rod that kills – the Word of God. Paul tells us to pick up the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6) which is the Word of God, Phinehas armed himself with the spear and with it quenched the abomination.
The work of God can only be done right and well when done according to the Word of God. Doing God’s work without His word is not only demonic, it is devilish and deathly.
Some works may be awesomely big and we allude it to the glory of God. But no. The sons of Levi were only a remnant compared to the multitude. Whereas they had the glory, the multitude were “naked to their shame”, stripped of the glory of God. Why? They did not follow God’s will and Way. They did theirs; there is a way that seemeth right unto a man….
“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 16:25).
God has specifications, even where a tiny nail should be, was instructed Noah in the building of the Ark.
Let’s not just do things, let’s do them according to His specification, and we shall be SERVANTS OF HONOUR.
Belshazzar threw a party and invited his nobles. They ate, drank and were merry. When they used their own vessels at the feast, God did not trouble them. They could eat their own flesh and drink their own blood; so long as it was theirs and not God’s own.
However, when he stretched his hands to the vessels of God, God reacted.
“Belshazzar, while he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink in them. Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone. In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.” – Daniel 5:2-5
And because he did not humble himself and repent, that night, he was killed.
“In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.” – Daniel 5:30.
God would always protect His own, provide for His own and build for His own.
Why would God kill a man because of ordinary cups?
These were not ordinary cups! They belonged to God; they were His!
God had put so much treasure into the cups; they had been sanctified, dedicated to God and separated for His use only. The cups were no more ordinary; they had been transformed by the purity of the Divine God into extraordinary vessels.
God invests so much into His vessels, that is why He would always rise to defend what belongs to Him.
If God so invested into inanimate objects and could kill for them, of more worth are you that fear His Name and carry His presence!
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God, and not from us.” – 2 Corinthians 4:7.
You are of greater worth than those cups. If God could kill a man because of cups, think what He would do to anyone that tries to harm you!
“He suffered no man to do them wrong: yes, he reproved kings for their sakes; Saying, Touch not my anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” (Psalms 105:14-15).
The cups had no power or say against the king; they could not resist his servants who picked them with ease. Many may think you are helplessly powerless and that they can pick on you, oppress you and get away with it. They are mistaken!! Oh how wrong they are!!! God is the same, yesterday, today and forever! He will fight for you!!!
Peter was so confident about this he said:
“And who is he that will harm you, if ye are followers of that which is good?” – 1 Peter 3:13
Its a question “who is he?” In “pidgin” English we will say “who be dat? Them never born am!” Meaning such a person does not exist and can never be born!
God will fight for you!!!
But… the cups belonged to Him. Do you really belong to Him? No, no, I’m not talking about going to Church for this is beyond that. I mean really belonging to Him. Dipped in the blood of Jesus Christ and living His life?
Those cups had no life of their own; God and His glory were their life. Do you own your life? Live for yourself? Fight to preserve your ego and self-worth? Or do you live humbly, for the One Who gave Himself for your sake?
The vessels, having no ambition, thought or desire of their own were wholly yielded to God and consequently enveloped in His glory.
It is the measure of your surrender and yieldedness that determines the measure of His presence or power in your life; which in turn determines how much attention you get from Him.
“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” – James 4:8a.
Imagine putting a cheque of fifty thousand Naira you would cash the next day, in a 1970 newspaper and the sum of five hundred Naira in a current edition of your favourite magazine. Coming home you find your children playing with the magazine and the newspaper. Which would you rescue first? The current edition of your favourite magazine holding the sum of five hundred Naira or the old 1970 newspaper holding fifty thousand Naira cheque you would cash the following day? I believe your deposit in the papers will determine which one you rescue first.
God loved all the Children of Israel carried to Babylon in the days of Daniel, but He was closer to Daniel, showed him more favour, gave him greater grace than others and granted for him to be called “a man greatly beloved” (Daniel 10:11), because Daniel “understood by books” (Daniel 9:2), he chose to retain God more than anything and was not ashamed to show it!
God will not leave you in the hand of the enemy if you retain Him in you.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;” (Romans 1:28).
Your worth to God and heaven CAN be increased.
(1) Receive His Word.
(2) Obey His word
(3) Build yourself on His Word.
Friday stirred painfully one more time. His face disfigured and distorted with the new attack of pain in his stomach, which felt like a rumbling- boiling cauldron.
Bisi stood helplessly confused. Tears of hopelessness were clearly flowing down her cheeks. Her mind was a whirl of fear and discouragement as she watched her husband, curled up on the floor, writhing in agony.
They had seen a Doctor, who gave a prescription and assured them that the pain would subside and eventually stop, even before the full dose of the medication. Though the content of the bottle was almost exhausted, the pain instead of easing up had become more intense. Diligently, he had followed the doctor’s instructions, not skipping any, she thought, having monitored him. Why wasn’t the efficacy of the drug manifest? Could it have been an expired drug that they bought? Was it a wrong prescription due to a wrong diagnosis? She had concluded that the drug was not having any positive effect on him.
She stared at the bottle with its remaining content. The frustration and helplessness built up to anger for the doctor and his prescription. She took hold of the bottle, walked outside and dashed it against a stone.
Now, was it truly the Doctor’s fault? Or was it the drug that had no healing property? When the prescription was made, the doctor gave them instructions which included shaking the bottle and content before use.
But Friday neglected shaking the bottle, only taking the medication at the times appointed. The healing property of the drug remained thickly settled at the bottom of the bottle, while he ended up drinking the watery top with little or no healing property! The thick dreg that had the healing property was the one that Bisi threw away in anger!
The fault was not the Doctor’s nor was the drug expired. Friday did not fully adhere to the instruction so he did not get the benefit of using the drug!
God desires those that will “fully” or “wholly” follow him. After He gave the instruction that the children of Israel should go and possess Jericho, they did not wholly comply with the instruction and God swore that no one of that generation shall see that good land.
“Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon, and to his children, because he hath wholly followed the LORD.”- Deut 1:36 (KJV)
“But Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.”- Deut 1:38 (KJV)
Many want to operate in the power of the Holy Spirit; to be spiritually mature and articulate, but like Friday, they are not fully complying with the instruction given by Doctor Jesus. The doctor had done his part by having diagnosed the sickness and given instruction for cure. It is now up to the patient to do his own part before health can be fully attained.
It is a covenant based on obedience to the Word.
Culled from “Divine Apostleship”
Author: Jonathan Ike
BISAC: Philosophy / Religious
We have been given a mandate: THE GREAT COMISSION. Divine Apostleship looks at how well we have done this and gives a deeper insight on how to do it the Master’s way.
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