Father Open our Eyes..."Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, 'Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you.' Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped." Isaiah 35:3-5
As times intensify, what is the cry of our hearts? What is our focus..our own hearts, the condition of those around us, the spiritual climate of our churches, cities, nations? Do we really see what concerns God? And if we do, what is our reaction?
Recently, we had the most unusual "eye-opening" encounter with a group of friends. We have met and prayed diligently weekly driving our streets, praying and seeking the Lord on what concerns Him. One of these mornings recently, we took a turn. We went a different route by the leading of the Lord. As we did so, we ran right into a line of police cars racing down one of our streets. We decided to follow them. As they were racing fast, we quickly lost them but decided to proceed in the direction. It took us close to a church where we are planning a gathering coinciding with the launch of the 777 initiative. The church is in the center of our city in a drug and gang infested area. We decided to go and pray over the church in preparation for tonight's gathering.
As we turned the corner, I must admit, fear gripped a bit of my heart as we saw in the middle of the street a car with several people around it right in the middle of an intersection. The atmosphere was very dark and fearful. We all sensed we were in the middle of a gang-drug related exchange. Tough eyes gazed right into ours as we quietly slipped by. A few blocks down, we pulled over sensing the Lord's leading only to see multiple police cars at numerous corners. Dogs were everywhere. It was a divine encounter! God wanted us to see what concerns Him. We stood the ground with the police praying and worshiping as we watched a major bust unfold before our eyes.
A parallel scripture to what transpired today for us is in 2 Kings 18-19. Have had a recent download on this story that has gripped my heart. I shared it with the team today before we went out sensing God wanted us to go a different route. Similarly, this is where we are in this time of seeking the Lord for our lives, churches and nation. There is a lot to share, but briefly in the days of Hezekiah, even after his reforms, Israel turned away from the Lord. They did not follow God's ways, 2 Kings 18:12 "because they did not obey the voice of the Lord their God, but transgressed His covenant and all that Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded; and they would neither hear nor do them." Israel represents the church today. As a result, God allowed Sennacherib (sin multiplied brothers) to taunt them. Sennacherib reflects our culture enticing and taunting believers. Sennacherib sent His messengers enticing Israel to go back to their own vineyards, eat from your own trees, everyone of you go back to what you are familiar and comfortable with(2 Kings 18:30-32). Hezekiah sent a remnant to listen to the messenger of Sennacherib, Rabshekah. They came back with their clothes torn and told Hezekiah the words of Rabshekah. Hezekiah then went into the house of the Lord, tore his clothes, and prayed before the Lord. This is where we are in the 777 initiative. As Hezekiah not only obeyed but passionately tore his clothes while praying, the Lord heard, and delivered.
What was the message? They could not give in to the enemy taunts by going back to old familiar ways. They had to go a different route. As a result, God not only delivered them but healed Hezekiah's illness to give him fifteen more years of life. That is what happened to us. By going a different route, we saw what God wanted us to see.
Take home message from the incident.
- God wants us to see and hear what concerns Him.
- The enemy does not want us to hear or see what concerns God. It helps him stay alive in the world. The enemy taunts us to continue in familiar patterns, even patterns that have given us food in the past to keep us from advancing in new paths that will lead to life and deliverance.
- By seeking His face first, rending our hearts before the Father, He will be faithful to deliver us, but we must be willing to change patterns and lifestyles that may have caused complacency, dullness, and a subtle veiling of our eyes and hearts.
As we engage with God in these difficult times, may the rending of our hearts reveal the subtle influence our routines and comfortable patterns of life have imposed on us, but see in a greater level your path of life and purpose for us all. The path may look different than what we are used to. May we have strength and humility enough to follow and go a different way, as His Spirit leads us, to see His promises fulfilled.