Refined by God

Isaiah 48:1-6a NIV

“Listen to this, you descendants of Jacob,
you who are called by the name of Israel
and come from the line of Judah,
you who take oaths in the name of the Lord
and invoke the God of Israel—
but not in truth or righteousness—
you who call yourselves citizens of the holy city
and claim to rely on the God of Israel—
the Lord Almighty is his name:
I foretold the former things long ago,
my mouth announced them and I made them known;
then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.
For I knew how stubborn you were;
your neck muscles were iron,
your forehead was bronze.
Therefore I told you these things long ago;
before they happened I announced them to you
so that you could not say,
‘My images brought them about;
my wooden image and metal god ordained them.’
You have heard these things; look at them all.
Will you not admit them?

Stubborn Hearts

We who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives are now Israel, God’s chosen people. Those who have rejected Jesus Christ as the Savior of their lives are of Hagar, the slave woman, but we are of the free woman. We are spiritual Jerusalem, God’s holy city, which is now a spiritual city. We are the temple of the living God. We are the children of promise (See: Rom. 9:6b-8; Gal. 3:10, 16, 26-29; Gal. 4:22-31).

But, not everyone who claims to believe in Jesus Christ is really of Christ. For, not all have genuine faith. “Christian” is not a name for a religion, but it is a name for one who literally follows Jesus Christ with his or her life. And, belief in Jesus Christ is not some intellectual assent to who he was and is and to what he did for us in dying on a cross for our sins. Even if you grew up attending gatherings of the church, it does not make you a Christian.

For, there are many people in this world who give lip service to God, to Jesus Christ, but their hearts are far from him. They go through the motions of religious practice, or they make appearances that they are living the Christian life. But, by their lifestyles they say the opposite of what they profess with their lips. For, what their lips profess are lies, because their actions do not bear witness to what they proclaim with their mouths.

And, the reason for this is that they have not yielded to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. They are still trying to run their own lives. They are not walking in righteousness, but in unrighteousness; not in fidelity, but in infidelity; not in purity, but in impurity, because the one they truly worship is themselves.

Isaiah 48:6b-11 NIV

“From now on I will tell you of new things,
of hidden things unknown to you.
They are created now, and not long ago;
you have not heard of them before today.
So you cannot say,
‘Yes, I knew of them.’
You have neither heard nor understood;
from of old your ears have not been open.
Well do I know how treacherous you are;
you were called a rebel from birth.
For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath;
for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you,
so as not to destroy you completely.
See, I have refined you, though not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this.
How can I let myself be defamed?
I will not yield my glory to another.

A Jealous God

God has a day of judgment planned for those who rebel against him and who refuse to bow down to him and to make him Lord of their lives. There is both the judgment at the end of time when God will decide who gets into his heaven and who does not, and there is a time of judgment on this earth, too, when God pours out his wrath on humankind. But, God has consistently judged his rebellious people all throughout history, and we even read in the New Testament of such judgments, as well (See: Rev. 2-3).

But, God is patient. He often withheld judgments for long periods of time, in which he usually warned those he intended to judge of the consequences of their continued rebellion and of their refusal to repent.

My belief is that God is pouring out some of his judgments on the earth and on the people of the earth in our present day and time, and it is at the hands of the beast and the prostitute (Babylon) who rides the beast that these judgments are being executed. And, I believe that the USA is this Babylon (prostitute), and that she will be judged by God at some future time period, but that it could be in my lifetime.

Yet, I believe the judgments on our nation (church + state) are already in the works, but that God is judging at this time, not to destroy, but to refine his church here, that she might be revived and be delivered out of her captivity to worldliness, because God’s name is being defamed here by the church which gives him lip service but is living in idolatry and spiritual adultery against her Lord.

Isaiah 48:17-22 NIV

This is what the Lord says—
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
who teaches you what is best for you,
who directs you in the way you should go.
If only you had paid attention to my commands,
your peace would have been like a river,
your well-being like the waves of the sea.
Your descendants would have been like the sand,
your children like its numberless grains;
their name would never be blotted out
nor destroyed from before me.”

Leave Babylon,
flee from the Babylonians!
Announce this with shouts of joy
and proclaim it.
Send it out to the ends of the earth;
say, “The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob.”
They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts;
he made water flow for them from the rock;
he split the rock
and water gushed out.

“There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.”

Submission to God

God always has our best in mind. He is always looking out for us for what is for our good, which is “good” as defined by God. It is what is His best for us. And, sometimes that necessitates that we go through hard times, experience troubles and afflictions, and even that we are persecuted or oppressed by the enemy.

For, when we go through hardships, trial and tribulations, it tests our faith, and God uses these situations to refine, purify and prune us, for his glory, and for our spiritual maturity and walks of faith. Through these difficulties, our Lord teaches us and he directs us in the way in which he would have us go. Yet, only will this be accomplished if we will listen, and if we will yield to him, learn from him, and follow in his ways in doing what he says.

So, because God loves us so very much, and he wants what is best for us, which is for us to love, worship, honor and obey him, he sends us warnings, and he encourages us in the right way, and he calls us to repentance, and he chastises us when we need it. And, right now he is saying that we need to flee this “Babylon,” which can be merely the world’s system, but in this case is speaking of the church in partnership (in bed) with the world.

God is saying for his church, his bride, to come out from among the ungodly and the worldly and the wicked and immoral and to make him our only Lord, and to let him be our Rock to which we go, instead of us following after the flesh or the idols of this world. And, there we will find peace. We may still have hardships, persecutions, and enemies breathing down our necks, etc., but we can be at peace because we are living in obedience to our Lord.

I Take Refuge
An Original Work / September 1, 2018

Based off Psalm 71

O, Lord, I take refuge in You,
For You are my God.
Turn Your ear now to me.

Be my Rock and Fortress
To which I do go.
Deliver me, God. You’re my hope.

My lips now give praise to You, God.
I always have hope,
Since You saved me from sin.

My enemies speak evil
‘gainst me, O God.
Oh, help me, O Lord, rescue me.

The path of my life has been hard.
For, I have had troubles
Too many to bear.

But, You will increase honor,
Restore again.
Your faithfulness, Lord, comforts me.

Monday, September 3, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus, for these encouraging words. May we take Your Word to heart and apply its truths to our hearts.

 

3 thoughts on “Refined by God

  1. “And, belief in Jesus Christ is not some intellectual assent to who he was and is and to what he did for us in dying on a cross for our sins.”

    Amen! I often illustrate the concept you wrote of here (at least among ladies) by talking about two kinds of belief. Intellectual belief such as, “I believe George Washington was the first US president,” vs. the kind of belief that alters how I live. This would be something like, “I believe nursing babies is best for their health,” and as a result, I made dramatic lifestyle changes to accommodate this belief and make it a working part of my life. Great stuff here!

    Liked by 1 person

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