“Purged”

“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:” – Psalms 66:18

That’s a tough pill for us all to swallow. Everyone thinks that God hears us at any point and time, but the truth is if we harbor sin willingly in our heart, God turns a deaf ear.

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” – Isaiah 59:1-2

And here’s John’s account affirming this theological truth:

“Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, AND doeth his will, him he heareth.” – John 9:31

Sin is not only intended to be forgiven of but removed and abandoned or we can say purged. “To Purge” simply means, “to remove.”

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth AND forsaketh them, shall have mercy.” – Proverbs 28:13

“Forsaking” your sin is what it means to “repent.” Not just a “change of mind,” but also a change of heart or lifestyle. Pretty hard right? Well, that’s what being born again looks like. It’s more commonly referred to as us becoming a “new creation”

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

This is also what God’s grace is for. Its not just a fancy religious word or a hymn we sing, but it’s to help us walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;” – Titus 2:11-12

Simply said that when we choose to repent as a declaration of faith, God’s grace will come in to forgive, purge us of sin, and impart His divine influence (grace) to equip us for this “good fight of faith”

“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” – 2 Peter 1:3-4

Why is all of this important? Because there is a great number of people in the church today that are deceived into thinking they do not have to choose to turn away from their sinful lifestyle. “I’m only human.” you hear. Yes we are, but that’s why Jesus said we “must be born AGAIN” or we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Confession without repentance is dangerous theology to stand upon because it is abundantly clear in scripture that if you stay in willful sin, God not only does not forgive us, but he also does not hear us.

“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,” – Hebrews 10:26

In summary, if this day you find yourself living in willful sin, it’s time to repent! It’s time to (as I was told as a child), “recklessly abandon” your sin for His grace! Choosing God’s grace also means rejecting our sin.

“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” – James 4:8

Prayer:

“ Lord I realize that the only prayer you hear from a sinner is the prayer of confession of faith and repentance. I’m asking you now to forgive me of my sin and give me your grace that equips me to overcome it day to day! Give me a new heart, and a new mind that serves see you for the rest of my life! Lord, I realize that you are faithful, but help me to be as faithful to you as you are to me. In Jesus name, AMEN!”

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Not His Will

So often we hear the phrase “whatever is meant to be will be“, or “God’s will, will be done.” It gives us a great sense of ambiguity in not only the over all scheme of things but also in our own lives and convictions, or lack thereof. So where does this concept come from?

Well it surely doesn’t come from God. The bible is full of story’s where things didn’t work out the way they were suppose to. Death, murder, selfishness, immorality, wrath, judgment, all of which came solely as a result of people living in opposition to God’s will; for God told them not to do these things. 

“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” – ‭James‬ ‭4:17‬ ‭

In truth, sin is simply any form of rebellion against God’s will. If everything was God’s will then there would be no sin because there would be no rebellion, for the very nature of rebellion is to choose to act against the will of the authority over you. If your children are being rebellious, it means that they are not obeying your will for them.

Now hear me out on this, God is above all and in the end His promises will stand, God will do His part, it’s your part that is in question here. The Israelite’s that left Egypt are a great example of this. They left for the promised land, yet Paul tells us that because of the unbelief of God’s words that drove their constant rebellion to God’s will for them, they could not enter in. God still kept His promise to Abraham by sending their children into promise but they themselves lost their part in it because of a refusal to believe and obey God’s words, but it did not have to be; hence the warning to us not to make the same mistake.

“Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” – Hebrews‬ ‭3:7-12‬ ‭

Now, let’s take this concept of God’s will always being done straight to scripture and see what it plainly says:

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” – 2 Peter‬ ‭3:9‬ ‭

Peter, a disciple of Christ, clearly states that God is very patient in His wrath and judgments toward us because it is “not His will” that anyone would perish but it is His will that everyone should come to repentance. Yet we know that very few actually do come to repentance in the over all scope of things because Matthew 7:14 tells us that “narrow is the way that leads to life and few are they that find it.” 

So if it is God’s will that all come to repentance unto eternal life, then why do so few do so? The answer is given just a few more verses down when it says clearly that it is because most do not do the will of the Father. 

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew‬ ‭7:21

You do have a choice to make, everyone has a choice to make. Will you be counted among the many or among the few. God is patient because it is not His will that any should parish, therefor He waits for you to choose to repent of your rebellion against His will and realign yourself with it, but many simply choose not to. The choice is yours, God will not make it for you, so I implore you, choose ye this day whom you will serve while there is still yet time. 

Jesus stands at the door and knocks desiring to come in, sup, talk with you, and tell you His will for you, but you have to choose to open that door and once you have, you have to choose to listen to what He tells you there. It’s all about a choice. It’s always been about a choice. From the garden of Eden, to the garden of Gethsemane, to the garden of your heart, it’s always been about a choice between saying “my will be done“, or “thy will be done.” It’s about a choice, and the choice is yours to make, choose the narrow path, choose to do the will of the Father, choose life.

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” – Deuteronomy‬ ‭30:19‬

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” – Revelation‬ ‭3:20-22‬ ‭

“And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.” – Revelation‬ ‭2:21‬ ‭

“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” – 2 Thessalonians‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭

“Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, …” – ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭7:37

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” – Romans‬ ‭6:16‬ ‭

“…choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua‬ ‭24:15‬ ‭

The Gospel Truth

IMG_2253-1“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” – ‭‭2 Peter‬ ‭3:17-18‬ ‭

Many people have a misconstrued interpretation of Scripture, and therefore ERROR GREATLY!!!

SALVATION:
GOD’S Plan? YES!
For HIS OWN PURPOSE? YES!
BY HIS POWER AND FOR HIS GLORY? YES!
IS IT HIS WILL THAT ALL SHALL BE SAVED? YES!!

But, does that mean that all will be saved? NO!! Why? Because Salvation, though it is the work of GOD, is not done by force. HE MADE THE WAY FOR SALVATION, but it’s up to each individual to choose to take it , or not!

“ …choose you this day whom ye will serve; … – Joshua‬ ‭24:15‬

Example: Someone is drowning and the lifeguard throws out the lifesaver… unless the person puts it on, it cannot save them!!! They can look at it, talk about it, acknowledge that it is the only way to be saved, and even believe that it will… but unless they choose to grab hold of it and put it on, they WILL drown!!!

Does GOD want anyone to die in sin and go to HELL? NO!!! But nevertheless, as JESUS says in Matthew 7, MANY WILL! But why? Because they continued to work iniquity (sin): “…depart from me ye workers of iniquity, I (HE SAYS) never knew you!” 

When people choose to remain in sin, though JESUS CHRIST died to take it away, they are foolishly CHOOSING TO ETERNALLY DIE IN HELL, though they had been given the opportunity to be saved!

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” – ‭‭2 Peter‬ ‭3:9‬ ‭

That being said, CAN A PERSON LOOSE THEIR SALVATION?

Let examine it! Once the understanding of Scripture has been rightly divided, and the truth attained by searching the WHOLE COUNSIL OF GOD by the help of the HOLY SPIRIT OF TRUTH, then we can give a correct answer to this question. “Can a person loose their Salvation?”
Once you understand that SALVATION, though it is GOD’S WILL for all to be saved, but many WILL NOT BE BY CHOICE, then we can understand more clearly, how these Scriptures unfolded together! I don’t believe that a person JUST looses their salvation, one cannot accidentally loose the most precious gift ever given to mankind. No the power of GOD IS GREAT ENOUGH TO SECURE THIS PROMISE TO US. HOWEVER, to be most accurate with words and the understanding of them, ONE CAN, AND MANY DO, CHOOSE TO RELINQUISH (willfully give up) THEIR SALVATION!!! Scripture is VERY CLEAR! Those who ENDURE TO THE END SHALL BE SAVED!

“I (Paul) therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” – ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭9:26-27‬ ‭

The Apostle Paul compared his own Salvation to a race, saying “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have KEPT THE FAITH…”. Remember we are saved by GOD’S GRACE (POWER) THROUGH OUR FAITH! We have a part to play in our Salvation! That’s FAITH! And FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD. Right

So what exactly is FAITH? Many people get in constant disagreements over this simple little word: is it belief or works? The answer is, neither. It’s trust, being confidently fully persuaded that what GOD HAS PROMISED HE IS ABLE ALSO TO PERFORM! FAITH IS BEING IN FULL AGREEMENT WITH THE PRESENT LIVING SPOKEN WORD AND WILL OF GOD AND ACTING IN OBEDIENCE TO IT! Simply put, FAITH IS TRUSTING AND SURRENDERING TO THE AUTHORITY AND POWER OF JESUS CHRIST EVERDAY! Jesus said that no one can serve two masters, that he will hate one and cling to the other. SO NO ONE CAN BE A SERVANT OF SIN AND OF JESUS CHRIST AT THE SAME TIME.  NO, JESUS DIED TO TAKE AWAY OUR SINS, Not leave us in them. Sorry to burst your bubble, but being a willful continual sinner will destroy you in HELL!!! However, if by FAITH FULLY TRUSTING JESUS CHRIST, we obey HIS VOICE BY CHOOSING HIS WILL OVER OUR OWN, AND BY CONTINUING TO DO SO UNTIL THE END, WE SHALL BE SAVED!

So if you’re not saved (from your sins) CHOOSE TO BE!

If you are saved, then don’t relinquish (give up) your Salvation to serve yourself, for if you do, you will die in your sins and find yourself in HELL for all eternity without another single opportunity to REPENT and be saved!

“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” – Hebrews‬ ‭10:26-31‬

“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John‬ ‭1:5-9‬ ‭KJV‬‬

AND TO CLEANSE US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS!

The BLOOD OF CHRIST CANNOT CLEANSE WHAT IT HAS NOT BEEN APPLIED TO. It’s time to WALK in the TRUTH of HIS WORD AND HOLY SPIRIT AND ALLOW HIM TO WASH AWAY OUR SINS!

“Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward….And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it….Therefore saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies: And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin: And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city. Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the Lord shall be consumed.” – Isaiah‬ ‭1:4, 15-20, 24-28‬

Submitted by Heather Wright

Uprooting Iniquity

Having grown up on a small family farm there are many aspects of scripture that have daily come alive to me. Parables of sheep and goats, sowing seeds, pruning vineyards, equal yoking, dealing with wheat and tears, ridding the chaff, and so on. There is a lot to be said about my wilderness college, as I call it. There are deeper revelations and understandings to be had of the scriptures found in putting your hands in the dirt and to the plow and actually doing what the biblical writers did, then to sit in a classroom and be told what they said.

Having said that one seemingly endless battle that we fought in our fields was a weed called Johnson grass. It’s a nasty annoying tear (weed grass) that shoots up fast and stands tall among your garden with saw like leaves that slice you open when you try to pull them and if you do succeed in uprooting it you usually pull up several good plants with it that had grown too close to it. 

After having fought with this issue for years, I asked my grandfather (who had farmed the same land decades earlier in a simpler time) how they dealt with Johnson grass in his day before tractors and herbicides were readily available here. Much to my surprise he said, “oh that’s easy. If a field got to the point of being so infested with weeds that it became fruitless, we would just turn the pigs loose in the field and let them utterly destroy it. They would devour everything. The pigs would dig up the ground and eat even the very roots leaving behind a barren sterilized field. We would then run the pigs out, put the barriers around the garden back up and start over weed free.” 

What genius and yet what sorrow in this lass ditch effort to save a field. Taking the protective wall down around a field and allowing the enemy to rush in and wreak havoc in-order to up root the weeds that are rendering the field fruitless and useless. Yet even in what might seem from the outside looking in like the farmer was giving up on the field by taking the wall down and turning it over to the pigs was actually an act of love for this field. He was not willing to leave it to the tears, he was not willing to give up on the garden. Even if he had to start over, it was better then just walking away from it because he loved it.

Believe it or not, God does the same thing to people, churches, and even nations. When seeds of rebellion, pride, error, or wickedness begin to outnumber and choke out the fruits of righteousness God removes the wall a protection and allows the enemy to rush in and over take it in hopes of rooting out rebellion through the humbling. 

“For thus saith the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.” – Jeremiah‬ ‭4:3‬ ‭

“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men. Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled, as Shalman spoiled Beth–arbel in the day of battle:…” – Hosea‬ ‭10:12-14‬ ‭

We see this happening on a personal, congregational, and even a national scale in the story of the Israelites in the wilderness. Time and time again the weeds of sin through unbelief over took the people even though they had good leaders instructing them in truth so that in the end God removed His protection and allowed the enemy to clear the field as an entire generation (and congregation) fell in the wilderness. After which God started afresh with a new generation. Not willing to give up the field because He loved it, He did what He had to to clear the land and make it ready to be fruitful. 

God does not desire to take these harsh actions but never the less, sometimes He must, that the land (or territory) not be lost and become a wilderness. It is grieving to God’s heart to see the field trampled under foot for a season, yet because of His love for the field, He will do what He must to save it in the end and make it bare fruit again. It is surely better to avoid letting the weeds spring up, take root, and spread seed in the first place, nevertheless, when they do God will stop at no lengths to get them out. Even if He has to level the field to do it. He wants a fruitful vineyard and all that bare not good fruit or hender the fruitfulness of others He will cut down and cast out by whatever means nessisary that the whole field not be lost. So great is His love for His field and the potential of it’s fruitfulness.

“Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for (good) judgement, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.” – Isaiah‬ ‭5:1-7‬ ‭

“It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭5:1-8‬ ‭

A Revival In Waiting 

“So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.” – Jonah‬ ‭3:5‬ ‭

Jonah finally makes it to Nineveh, walks in, and proclaims the word of God. Here is what would seem to be a very strange looking crazy little man walking through the streets crying that in forty days this city will be overthrown. Who would believe that? This was a great city, it took three days to walk across it (about 60 miles wide), with a population of about 120,000 and that is likely only the men.

Nineveh was founded by Nimrod, one of the most wicked characters in the bible being the first antichrist archetype that appears in scripture. Nineveh was a center for Ishtar (Asherah) worship, who was the female counterpart of Baal. This was always greatly condemned by God throughout scripture. This city, from its founding was evil. Everything about it was evil. Everything it had ever been or done was evil. It was immoral, it was violent, it was vial. Who would want to save this people? No man, not even Jonah (that’s why he ran) wanted this wicked people who covered their walls with human skins and lit their streets with blazing human heads, to be saved. Surely they were too evil, surely they were a lost cause, surely they deserved annihilation. Yet in this we see God’s great love and justice shine forth. That even though all that would count themselves good saw no good in this people (including Jonah), yet God who is just still made a way for them to choose.

These people were wicked from birth, they were founded in wickedness, they knew no truth, so God sent them a preacher. God made a way where there was no way to get the truth to them that they would be without excuse. For how can judgment justly come less a warning first be given and the choice to reject it be made? Yet we see here what no one expected, they did what no one thought they would! They made the right choice! They repented! Their sin was pointed out and the judgment for it was made clear and they truly and sincerely repented. This was probably the largest revival recorded in scripture and Jonah (this assuming preacher) had run from it!

How many times have we given up on someone, or a group of someone’s and deemed them too evil to be saved? Immoral people, politically wicked people, violent people, people that worship false and evil gods, people just like the Ninavite’s or maybe not even as bad as they. Yet God sent a preacher to the Ninavite’s, to offer salvation, and they were saved. Is God calling you to do the same yet you are turning and going the other way like Jonah did? Are you making yourself their judge before they have even been given the justice of the truth? God is a just God and he will bring judgment on the unjust, however for that judgment to be just He must first provide a warning and a way of escape that they might choose whom they will serve.

Too often we decide that someone is hopeless or useless to God when they are the very people that God is calling us to minister to. We think they deserve judgment, we think they are too far gone, but God knows the truth. Often times the people and places that we see as a waste of time, God sees as a revival in the waiting. After all, what is your purpose but to reach to and preach to the lost? Then were is your mission field but among the hopeless, for who needs hope more then they?

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority…” – Titus‬ ‭2:11-15‬ ‭

The Revelation Of Lamentation

“The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning. The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned!” – Lamentations‬ ‭5:15-16‬

The book of Lamentations is a very grim and dark book among the literary works of the bible. Therefore, most people tend to avoid it for it’s woeful broken words. However, we are warnded in the word not to remove any part of the word and to teach the full council of God. Therefor, this book cannot be excluded nor should it be! 

You see, the book of Lamentations is a very important book, as is its purpose. Alone it is a bitter ingredient but as a piece of the whole it is invaluable and necessary to the proving that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. “All things” includes both the good and the bad, the pleasant and the woeful, the bitter and the sweet, the wilderness and the promise. It takes more then sugar to make a cake. Flour, baking soda, oil, or coco in and of themselves are not pleasant ingredients but they are necessary that the whole of the ingredients might work together to make something good in the end.

Lamentations is a bitter ingredient, but a critical one. In this neglected book we see the consequences of sin. That it separates us from God, that it removed His protection (though not His love), that it brings wrath and judgement upon the sinful. It teaches us divine justice, that God is obligated by His own rules that He cannot break because He is not a man that He can lie, to pay out the wages of sin whether He wants to or not, for He is no respecter of persons. If we will not obey, there will be hell to pay and there’s no exceptions to that, not even among the chosen. It also teaches us humility and reverence in the way the Israelite’s in this book begin to recognize their need for God once His protection, favor, and grace had been lifted from them. 

The whole of the book of Lamentations is a record and example of what the proper response to the recognition of disobedience in our own hearts and lives and to the sin in the lives of those around us should be. The greatest revelation of lamentation is that we should literally lament over sin, which means “to grieve, as over the lost of a loved one.” Does your own disobedience or the sin of the people, church, or nation around you grieve you like the loss of a loved one does? It should, because it grieves the Holy Spirit of God that way and if you have His Holy Spirit within you, you should feel it grieving through you at every wickedness set before it.

Lastly, it shows us that even in the worse situations we should never blame God, but rather recognize our failures, repent of them, acknowledge and proclaim His majesty. God is the only one who can deliver you from the oppression of the enemy, so never attack the deliverer out of prideful spite that He is not serving you. Humble yourself before the only one who can save you and seek to serve him even in the midst of the trial. Exalt God, declare His greatness, give Him glory, give Him honor, He hears the cry of the righteous so position yourself in your rightful place before Him that He might hear your prayers and deliver you! That place is one of humility, selflessness, and faith. 

It all comes down to this. When men determine that they either don’t need God or don’t need to listen to God, He withdraws Himself to show them how wrong they are. When the Lord withdraws, the enemy rushes in like a flood for where the light retreats darkness fills the absence. It is in this state that men must lament, and grieve, and cry out as for the loss of a loved one, because they have lost their first love. Those that do not lament the absence of a loved one only serves to prove that they never really loved that one at all. For man tend not to truly appreciate the light until it is dark. Yet God offers few a way back, and that way is through lamentation. Which is true broken humble heartfelt genuine repentance. In this we see that the book of lamination is a revelation of the direness of sinfulness, the appreciation of the presence of God, a commitment toward application of His grace to empower us into obedience to His words and will, and a picture of repentance for so arrogantly not previously doing so.

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” – Isaiah‬ ‭59:1-2‬ 

“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” – Luke‬ ‭13:3‬ ‭

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” – John‬ ‭14:15‬ ‭

“The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning. The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned!” – Lamentations‬ ‭5:15-16‬

“The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” – Psalms‬ ‭34:15-19‬ ‭

Beginning to End, The Sum of All Things

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” – Genesis‬ ‭1:1‬ ‭

Jesus, the early apostles, and the disciples all warned through out the New Testament that there will be an end to all things and that we should be vigilant to be prepared for it at all time, for no man knows the day or the hour of it, but God alone. 

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” – 2 Peter‬ ‭3:10-14‬

However it is hard to grasp the inevitability of an end without first taking hold to the reality of a beginning, and that both are by the hand and prerogative of God, the creator of all. All things were made by God and for God, and without Him was not one thing made, it is He that gives and He that will one day take away that which was given. All things are for His glory and what little time we have on this mission field of an ark we call Earth to give Him the glory that He deserves before judgment befalls us all should be used to the fullest. You see, we are given but a short time here to try and to test our faithfulness for greater things beyond this proving ground. God has bigger plans then we do, bigger then our house, our career, our hobbies, our meager intellect or education. God has grander things in store that are so far beyond our comprehension in this current life that it fails us to fathom the breath of it. Yet God, desiring a people that willingly love, serve, trust, and obey His greatness, must first acquire this people through a testing. By this are the rebellious, selfish, and self willed, weeded out that a second rebellion not arise in the heavens. 

To this ends the earth is but a proving ground. A place where faith and trust is tested, where submission and obedience is tried, where lessons can be learned and wisdoms gained, where loyalties and allegiances can be made clear, where hearts can be revealed and choices made. The span of time that this earth will exist is very short, for its purpose is a quick one. It’s a temporary proving ground for and eternal home. A temporary interview for an eternal job. A temporary trial for an eternal reward. It had a beginning and it will have an end, and the sum of it all is very short in the scope of things. The God that made all will be the same God that ends it all and the same God that judges all. According to your actions here, will your eternal faith be determined there. Make sure that you were on God’s side. Don’t expect Him to be on yours, you choose to be on His, He is the creator, He is the judge, He is the boss. 

“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to (makes a way for) repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds:” – Romans‬ ‭2:4-6‬ ‭

“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” – Acts‬ ‭17:30-31‬ ‭

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” – Colossians‬ ‭3:2‬

“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”‭‭Revelation‬ ‭20:12-15‬ ‭

In the end it will all have been about sifting out the obedient from the rebellious, the humble from the prideful, the righteous from the wicked, the faithful from the unbelieving. This is why when asked about the end, Jesus said that it would be like a shepherd separating the sheep from the goats. The sheep to follow the shepherd to His pasture and the goats to be cast into the fire (Matthew 25:31). He also said that it would be as a farmer separating the wheat from the tears (weeds). The wheat unto the masters barn and the weeds unto the fire, being of no use to Him (Matthew 13:24). It’s all about sifting out this chaff and this world is but the threshing floor. So don’t hold so dearly to it. See it in perspective. This world is not our home. Labor as you might you will never make it to be. Set your eyes on Jesus and on the things eternal and remember that from it’s beginning to it’s end, this world is only a proving ground, so what is it proving about you?

“He (Jesus) answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” – Matthew‬ ‭13:37-43‬ ‭

A Picture Of True Revival 

“Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah‬ ‭8:10‬ ‭

For something to be revived it must first die. Many times pride, sin, and rebellion grew to live in the hearts of the people of Israel so that they would not obey the Lord their God. So God would turn them over to their enemies for a season of humbling as they began to see what it is really like to be separated from the love and grace of the God they were willingly choosing to ignore. In this their stubborn selfishness was put to death that the tender humbled heart of a servant and Child of God might be raised up in its place to fulfill the first and greatest commandment. To love and serve the Lord their God with all their hearts, all their minds, and all their strength.Many Old Testament books record the tragic moment of exile and wrath but the book of Nehemiah records one of the greatest accounts of their humble return in which we see a true picture of revival. The people had a long time been in captivity in Babylon. Many generations had been born in captivity to the enemy with not reading, living, or understanding the laws of God. Here enter Ezra and Nehemiah who led the people back to Israel to rebuild the Temple and the walls.

At this point everything is in ruins and decay, most of the people don’t even know what the word of God really says nor how badly they have been in violation of it. So Nehemiah does what all true revival is birthed from. He builds an old fashioned wooden pulpit, they take out the Holy Scripture, and preach the simple unaltered uncompromised truth of God’s word. They preached and when the people began to understand the scripture they realized that they had not been obeying the word of God which led to bitter broken hearted grief and weeping. In that moment did they finally know the heart of God over their sin and they repented! 

Once repentance had broken out then came joy unto the leaders in realizing this sure truth. That as much as God’s heart breaks over sin, equally as much does the Lord joy over repentance and the joy of the Lord is our strength because His favor, protection, prevision, grace, and mercy returns into a repented and revived people. So you see the joy of the Lord is not God’s joy in us, but rather it is God’s joy over us. It is quite literally “the Joy of the Lord” our God at seeing His children repent and return to Him which in turn becomes our strength as He begins to fight for us once more turning back our captivity and bondage. In this is His joy transferred back to us. 

In the selfishness of sin we find pleasure in that which grieves God and hurts others. In the humility and grief of repentance is God’s joy returned and then transferred back to us and to others through His favor which brings life, peace, love, power, and joy to all. As long as the repentance last, the reviving last, and as long as the reviving last, God’s joy last, and as long as God’s joy last, His favor and strength toward us last. For the joy of the Lord is our strength, but it all starts with the preaching of the truth of God’s Holy Word. Because this favor, power, strength, and joy is (in all its forms), the grace of God which comes only by faith, and faith comes by hearing. For how can we believe what He said unto submission, repentance, obedience, and resurrection of new life unless we have first heard His words and commandments that we might come to realize that we have broken them and need to cry out in repentance. Only those who come to realize that they need saving will ever cry out for a savior. The word shows us our need, therefor does faith come by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, and revival comes by faith, for men are revived only when their faith is revived and faith is revived only when self dies, and self only dies when it is pierced by the sword of the Word. 

“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” – Psalms‬ ‭19:7-14‬ ‭

“And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchijah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law. Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved. And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.” – Nehemiah‬ ‭8:4-12‬ ‭