Isaiah 29:13-14 ESV
And the Lord said:
“Because this people draw near with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me,
and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,
therefore, behold, I will again
do wonderful things with this people,
with wonder upon wonder;
and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”
So, for many years now it has become apparent that the church at large, at least here in America, has gone the way of the world. They have joined forces with the world in order to attract the world to their gatherings. They have turned worship services into stage productions, and many of their pastors have become comedians and entertainers instead of preachers (ministers) of the Word, of the whole counsel of God, the gospel of Christ.
Thus, the gospel of our salvation has also been diluted and misrepresented in order to give people a “quick fix” which guarantees them forgiveness of all sins, and which guarantees them heaven as their eternal destiny, but which makes no demands on their lives for death to sin, obedience to Christ, and submission to Christ as Lord of their lives (See Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
The Holy Spirit has been shoved out of most of these churches, and he has been replaced with marketing books on how to build or to grow your churches, i.e. your businesses. Bible studies have largely been replaced with studies of books written by mere mortals, some of which teach a false gospel of grace and/or which are manipulative, deceptive, and which mingle Christianity in with other religions and their practices.
Church fellowships are more about eating and talking and playing games or watching movies or sports on TV, and Jesus may not even be mentioned. Conversations in these fellowships are often no different that conversations among those who make no profession of faith in Jesus Christ. For, these fellowships are merely for social purposes, and not for the glory of God.
So, the church gatherings, when they were happening, turned more into Christianized versions of what the world was offering, and that is why the world enjoyed the gatherings, too. But, Jesus was no longer the head of most of these gatherings, and most of them were not being led by the Holy Spirit, for now they were being led by men and their marketing schemes.
Where We Are Now
So, a good picture of where the church, at large, is right now, is mainly a bunch of empty buildings across the country which are whitewashed on the outside to give the appearance of righteousness, but they are empty inside, void of the Holy Spirit, and void of the power of God, because they are drawing their strength from the world and humans, and not from God.
And, since this has been apparent for a very long time, the Lord has sent many messengers to his people to point this out to them, and to call them to repentance and obedience to Christ. And, this was and is a call for revival of God’s church here in America, and many of us have been praying for this for a very long time.
Well, historically speaking, the way the Lord often brought his wayward people to revival, especially after he had sent his messengers to the people and they would not listen, was to bring judgment upon them in order to get them to wake up spiritually and to call on God in repentance and faith.
And, I believe the Lord is saying now that this is what he is doing with this global pandemic. He has allowed this to take place to get the attention of his adulterous and idolatrous people in order to bring them to repentance so that he can revive their hearts. He has been warning about this for many years through his messengers, and now it has come into being.
But, how it is to all be played out is in God’s hands, and in his timing. For, this could be the final play, or this could be just another step or phase in the process of the final act. But, what I am certain of is that God is allowing this in our lives right now because he wants us to call on him in truth. He wants us to seek his face, to humble ourselves, to pray and to turn from our wicked ways so that he can heal us and so we can be revived.
Isaiah 29:15-16 ESV
Ah, you who hide deep from the Lord your counsel,
whose deeds are in the dark,
and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?”
You turn things upside down!
Shall the potter be regarded as the clay,
that the thing made should say of its maker,
“He did not make me”;
or the thing formed say of him who formed it,
“He has no understanding”?
There are a whole lot of people who call themselves Christians who do not take God and his Word seriously. So, they continue to play with fire believing that they will not get burned, because someone has convinced them that their sins no longer matter to God, or that God can’t even see when they sin, and that God will do nothing about their continued sinful practices, either.
They think that because God is a God of love, and he is gracious, merciful and forgiving, that he will not discipline or judge them for their many adulteries and their idolatry. But, they forget that he is also a God of justice and righteousness, and he is a God of his Word. And, he warned the worldly, adulterous and idolatrous church in Revelation 2-3 to repent of their sins or else he would bring judgment upon them. And, the rest of Revelation is about those judgments.
So, if you are claiming faith in Jesus Christ, but you are still living in sin, according to your flesh, doing what your evil heart desires without regard for God and, in fact, right in his face, then don’t be surprised when judgment comes upon you. If you are putting on a show of righteousness on the outside while you secretly sin against God and others, thinking that no one sees, not even God, then your thinking with regard to God is way off.
Isaiah 29:17-21 ESV
Is it not yet a very little while
until Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field,
and the fruitful field shall be regarded as a forest?
In that day the deaf shall hear
the words of a book,
and out of their gloom and darkness
the eyes of the blind shall see.
The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord,
and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.
For the ruthless shall come to nothing
and the scoffer cease,
and all who watch to do evil shall be cut off,
who by a word make a man out to be an offender,
and lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate,
and with an empty plea turn aside him who is in the right.
I find much hope in these words. This encourages my heart that good is going to come out of our world crisis, at present. Satan means it for evil in our lives, but God means it for our good, for the salvation of human lives, and for the revival of his wayward people.
Again, I don’t know the timing of all of this, for I am not God. I just believe that, biblically speaking, God uses times such as these in our lives to correct, to rebuke, to chastise, to discipline, and to encourage, to train in righteousness, to make us holy, to prune us, and to get us ready to meet him in the air. And, so I believe this is what is happening now.
Isaiah 29:22-24 ESV
Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob:
“Jacob shall no more be ashamed,
no more shall his face grow pale.
For when he sees his children,
the work of my hands, in his midst,
they will sanctify my name;
they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob
and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
And those who go astray in spirit will come to understanding,
and those who murmur will accept instruction.”
Again, I see revival of the church in these words. I believe this is an encouragement from the Lord that what appears now to be devastating and tragic will bear fruit for God’s eternal kingdom. Hard times are used of God in our lives to prune us and to make us holy. So, this is for our good.
I know that what we are going through presently is not pleasant. And, I know that it could get much worse, depending on how far this is taken at this time. But, I hope and I pray that each of us will take this opportunity to call out to God in our suffering, to seek his face, to repent of any known sin in our lives, and to walk now with our Lord in full surrender to his will.
Seek the Lord
An Original Work / July 20, 2012
Based off Isaiah 55
“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”
Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.
“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy, and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”