I see you where you are at, in this place of despair. I am calling you out; calling you to follow Me. I am not willing to leave you behind. Follow Me out of your darkness, the shadowlands where you’ve camped, and step forward into the reality of My light, radiating with life. Follow Me out of the desert to the place of green pastures, where I’ve prepared a banqueting table before you. It is a place of joyful rest and abundant provision. Let Me be the resounding exclamation to the questions of your heart, and allow Me to refresh the parched places of your spirit. What I desire for you is so much more than you’ve allowed. I have called you out. Refuse to dwell among the tombs, surrounded by despair. Walk, yes, come dance with Me in the light. Song of Songs 2:4, “He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love.” NKJV Ps. 23, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His Names’ sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” NKJV
In 2 Kings, chapter 18 verses 19-21, we see the Assyrians surround Judah’s King Hezekiah and Jerusalem, and the Rabshakeh [in Hebrew a “field commander,” but the Assyrian title could have meant “chief cupbearer or spokesman”] has been taunting them regarding their trust in Pharaoh’s staff, calling it a “splintered reed,” that will eventually pierce them. Interestingly, the word for stalk/staff is the same mentioned by David in Psalm 23, when he says that God’s staff is the one that brings comfort. Hezekiah has already invested his resources to pay off Sennacherib with the gold of the temple’s doors and pillars [2 Kings 18:16] and had sought an alliance with Egypt. Hezekiah was a righteous king and did what was right, but even the ungodly noticed that his trust was in help from Egypt even while saying they trusted in the Lord God. The prophet Isaiah also rebukes this in Isaiah 30.
Isaiah warns that this alliance with Egypt is ungodly and against God’s will [Is. 30:1], and that taking refuge in Egypt’s shadow would be Judah’s disgrace [vs. 3]. This is in direct contrast to David’s declaration in Psalm 91 that dwelling in the secret place of the Most High abides under God’s shadow, hidden from enemies. God had previously warned His people that they were not to turn back to Egypt for any reason. He warned their kings should not even buy horses from them [Deut. 17:16]. Isaiah warns them against thinking that they are going to flee this danger on horses [Is. 30:16], explaining they would be overtaken despite their best efforts. Why? Because even Egypt’s best would only enslave them, even if to another master.
The Rabshakeh would continue to mock any trust they would place in the Lord [2 Kings 18:22]. The taunts of the Rabshakeh were words of compromise. “So now make a bargain with my master” [18:23]. He spends an entire chapter scoffing anyone who would listen to godly leadership to trust God, insisting that they “Make peace with me and surrender to me” [18:31]. And that is always the goal of any siege, to force surrender to the enemy’s plans, so God’s purpose is not fulfilled in you.
In these uncertain times, when we feel besieged by this plague, our fleshly response is to take comfort in the place of our bondage, where we take control by creating alliances with ungodliness, trusting in what we should not. Perhaps it is in our abilities, our savings accounts, looking to our addictions for comfort. This is the danger of trusting in Egypt. It cannot and will not ever deliver us, but only enslave us further spiritually. When we look to any other source besides the Lord God, we have dethroned Him in our lives and made ourselves god, trusting in our own resources. That’s not to say God doesn’t use science, government, and our resources for our good, but we don’t trust in them, we trust in the Name of the Lord our God.
The people in 2 Kings 18, were given an edict not to even respond to the mocker. Even as we hear the report of the enemy, so does the Lord. He hears every word of blaspheme, and as we are silent, He moves on our behalf. Even as the Rabshakeh scoffed, saying that God’s people were being deceived [2 Kings 19:10], the leadership were in prayer, seeking God’s council [19:14-19], spreading out the need before the Lord. God responds, Sennacherib fleas, and Judah is delivered. Praise the Lord! Though besieged, there is hope for us in the Lord!
Isaiah states, “For the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel has said, ‘You will be delivered by returning and resting; your strength will lie in quiet confidence'” [Is. 30:15]. If we return in repentance, if we will rest in God, if we will quietly wait upon the Lord, trusting in Him, we will be delivered! Isaiah explains that even when we attempt to do things our way, the Lord “is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the LORD is a just God. Happy are all who wait patiently for Him” [30:16-18].
Oh – Egypt never showed up. Not once. Self is so unreliable. Our former crutches will never uphold us. Only God. This is the danger of trusting in Egypt. It is a mirage that drives us further into the desert, provoking us to surrender our trust in the Lord, and our faith has become nothing more than lip-service. The Word of the Lord is to return and wait quietly. He is waiting to bestow upon us His mercy, for He is the God who “bandages His people’s injuries and heals the wounds He inflicted” [Is. 30:26b].
One word has been reverberating in my spirit – “Prepare.” As I’ve been meditating on this word, its rhythm and beat grow, and I believe it is a word for the entire Body of Christ. Throughout Scripture there are calls for God’s people to prepare. There are preparations for offerings, provisions, war, and movement, and at no time has anyone in history accidentally prepared. Preparation is purposeful and deliberate, and there are priorities within preparedness. This is the case with the church.
Preparedness must first be inward. Without purification and consecration of our spirits to the LORD, any outward prepping is motivated by the flesh. Preceding the move of God in Joel chapter 2, verse 16, the bride must first emerge from her dressing room; and how is the bride clothed? Without spot or wrinkle [Eph. 5:27]. We must first remove ourselves from where we’ve lived for so long. We must be purified, both personally and corporately. We cannot continue on our path, filled with such pronouns as “I,” “me,” or “mine.” No, we must empty all that is of self, until all that is left is “Him.” We cannot expect to benefit from all of the “re’s” – revival, renewal, rejuvenation until we are filled with a repentance that we have been consumed with “me,” and have allowed our hearts to be filled with “He,” and in being filled with Him, consecrate ourselves to His plans over our own.
Consecration. It is what we are called to in Joel 2, verse 16. We must humbly submit to God’s purposes. While there are many voices, one must resonate above all others, and that is the voice of God. It alone must lead and guide us. The Word of God is what we must be able to rightly divide, which means that we must handle it accurately in truth, and that comes with an ear attuned to the Holy Spirit [2 Tim. 2:15, John 16:13]. It is not subjective to our will, but objective, based on the authority of God. To His truth alone, we must consecrate ourselves.
In all of our preparedness, if we will dedicate ourselves to these two, purification and consecration, we will find that our minds have sobered to the reality of the times in which we live, and we have become holy, even as He is holy [I Pt. 1:13-16]. We stand not in our strength, but in the completed work of Christ, able to move from inward to outward preparedness. A people, who unlike the five foolish virgins, are ready and waiting, prepared for the return of their LORD [Matt. 25:1-13].
I have called you to this race; I have appointed you for this purpose. Do not fear or be dismayed, for My presence goes before you. Yes, I have already secured your victory. Now is not the time to look down, but to boldly and confidently proclaim My Kingdom and do its work. Many are being challenged by the new roles to which I’ve called them and the methods I am giving them. Don’t allow intimidation to rule your heart; know that I am God, and My enabling power dwells within you to accomplish everything required during this time. Choose to be flexible, moving with My Spirit. Reject the temptation to hide in the familiar, for I am doing a new thing in the earth, unleashing a wave of glory upon My people. It is a wave that will surpass those of the past. Yes, many have prayed for encounters like what I did on Azusa, but I say, do not limit Me, for Azusa received what was needed in their time. What I do now is an outpouring for this age, in this time, for this harvest – yes, for you. Watch with diligence, and understand the direction My Spirit is moving, that you may move accordingly and not miss out for lack of discernment. Walk circumspectly and redeem the time I’ve given you, for surely, the hour is late, and the fulfillment of all things is at hand. Heb. 10:35-39, “Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, ‘Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but My righteous one will live by faith, and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.’ But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” ESV
My children, rejoice, for following brokenness comes restoration to wholeness. I break that I may set in order and set right that which was fractured and misaligned, resulting in malunion. That which I sever, I make whole, for I return not for a broken church, but a whole and holy bride, unified, joyfully expectant, and set apart unto Me. Yes, I return for a bride wholly consecrated to Myself. Rejoice, you who are Mine! For those who have allowed My refining fire to purify, there will be joy for mourning and beauty for ashes. Put on garments of praise! I have made whole your brokenness, and in your wholeness, I have called you forth to holiness and power for such a time as this!
Joel 2:16-17, “Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and nursing babes; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber and the bride from her dressing room. Let the priests who minister to the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar; let them say, ‘Spare Your people, O LORD, and do not give your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”
I Thes. 5:23-24, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” NKJV