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Thursday, 06 November 2008 19:45

Time to blossom and bud

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“In that day the Lord with His severe sword, great and strong, will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan that twisted serpent, and He will slay the reptile that is in the sea.

“In that day sing to her, ‘A vineyard of red wine!
“’I, the Lord, keep it, I water it every moment, lest any hurt it, I keep it night and day.
“’Fury is not in Me. Who would set briers and thorns against Me in battle?
“’I would go through them, I would burn them together.
“’Or let him take hold of My strength, That he may make peace with Me;
And he shall make peace with Me.’
“Those who come He shall cause to take root in Jacob; Israel shall blossom and bud, And fill the face of the world with fruit (Isaiah 27:1-6).”

 


THIS passage is one which the Lord recently focused me on, as, I believe, it is a timely prophetic word for the Church. Yes, I know these Scriptures have a direct application to the Jewish nation and Israel, but I have come to understand that Gentile disciples of Jesus Christ are also a part of God’s vineyard (John 15:1-8) and together with the Jews (grafted in as wild olive branches, see Romans 11), they form the Israel of God. The word above is, as I said, a timely reflection of what God is doing in the Israel of God (the Church) and where she is headed.

Let us unpack and discuss this passage:

The first verse deals with God’s destruction of Leviathan, “the fleeing serpent.” The good news is that God is destroying the evil one’s hold upon His people, and Leviathan is fleeing. Leviathan symbolises satan and/or demonic forces.

Those people who know all about demonology can tell us more about Leviathan, but for most “regular” disciples, Paul’s words in Romans 16:19 are wise and sound words to embrace: “… but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.” It is the truth of the wisdom that exhorts us really to get to know the true God, then we will be able to discern the counterfeit; rather than being obsessed with the counterfeit. So let us understand simply that Leviathan symbolises the evil one and/or his cohorts.

Over the years, through my own experience and battles, the Lord has taught me much about the enemy, but most of what He has shown is not to be shared with just anyone or everyone in the Church. Immature disciples can so easily become obsessed with the devil and lose their focus on Jesus Christ; they can become fearful of those things they do not fully comprehend, and take on spiritual battles they are not equipped to handle.

I am sad to say that the enemy (Leviathan) has been having a field time within the Church. We have put out the red carpet for him… by believing he doesn’t exist, by thinking you don’t find him in the Church, by us preaching and teaching a compromised Gospel so that the people sitting in Church never get delivered of bondage to sin and demonic strongholds… and then, charismatics especially have further fuelled the enemy’s plans by being overly obsessed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the indiscriminate laying on of hands.

Of significance concerning Leviathan is that he is referred to, in the passage above, as a “twisted” serpent. Yes, that refers to his physical form, but also to the truth that he is the one who twists or perverts. He twists the written Word of God, as well as the words and actions of God’s anointed ones.

But, praise God, He is arising and doing something. He will thoroughly purge Leviathan’s hold upon His true Church. That Church is scattered and distributed within the midst of every gathering in the name of Jesus Christ (see Jesus’ parable about the dragnet in Matthew 13:47-50).

Then, moving on to the rest of the passage… the dear and Good Shepherd or the True Vine is revealed. (I believe, incidentally, God’s wine will always be red, because of the blood of Jesus.)

Verses 2, 3 and 4 of this passage reveal the Lord’s nurturing, of those who are His, those who are part of His vineyard: “’I, the Lord, keep it, I water it every moment, lest any hurt it. I keep it night and day. Fury is not in Me. Who would set briers and thorns against Me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together.’”

These are the branches who fully abide in Him and His love, and keep His commandments (John 15); the sheep who know Him and His voice, and follow the Lamb wherever He goes. And who “will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him (John 10:5).”

Such “little ones” or disciples truly are in His hand, and no-one will snatch them out of His hand (John 10:28). These are those who can rest in all the promises of Psalm 91 because they have set their love on Him (Psalm 91:14). God’s beloved Bride of Christ cannot be overcome by the enemy. And the enemy is being totally banished, and harm “shall not come near you (Psalm 91:7).”

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help?

“My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.

“He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.

“Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

“The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand.

“The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.

“The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.

The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore (Psalm 121).”

Getting back to Isaiah 27, verse 5 exhorts us to take hold of the Lord’s strength, and we know our strength comes through abiding in the vine. Thankfully, we are called just to be the subsidiary branches, and not the roots and the main trunk.

The Father’s work as vinedresser ensures the whole vine is watered and that there is pruning to make us stronger and more fruitful. Through Jesus Christ we are reconciled to God the Father, and are no longer His enemies, but are at peace with and subdued unto Him.

Verse 6 speaks about the need to take root in Jacob. While we know that as New Testament believers we are called to take root in Jesus Christ, we need nevertheless to have the character of perseverance and the desire for God’s best -- such as Jacob had.

God tells us in Malachi 1:2&3, “Jacob I have loved; but Esau I have hated.” Esau, for me, typifies apathy and lukewarmness. Revelation 3:16 tells us of Jesus’ extremely severe dealings with the unrepentant lukewarm.

So we need the zeal of Jacob. Most of us, too, like Jacob, have to have our unredeemed human nature thoroughly transformed by God’s breaking processes before we can truly bear a new name and become the Israel of God that can “blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.”

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you (John 15:16).”

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples (John 15:7&8).”

It is time for the Bride of Christ to bear Her fruit and to be poured out as new wine. The new wine is only in Jesus, and in His commandments and His words and teachings. The best wine has been kept for the last times – well-refined red wines. These wines are to be made with the water of the Word and the Holy Spirit, and the mature grapes of our lives, crushed (in our brokenness) and ground (by our yieldedness)… poured out, as a love offering to the coming King. All of this before the coming grapes of wrath.

Meanwhile…

It’s Spring in the Kingdom

The Season of new birth

A time for the Israel of God

To bud and blossom

And then to go forth

And fill the face of the world with fruit

Good fruit, God fruit, much fruit

That which endures forever

For the glory of the Father

And the Kingdom of His Christ

 

Spring up, oh wells, from the deep

Rain down, latter rain from the Spirit

All creation waits…

With groans of expectation

For the revealing of the sons of God

In this generation

 

Even so, come forth Lord Jesus

Come forth quickly

That the world may know

You are God

The Way, the Truth and the Life

Worthy…

To be worshipped and adored

 

We purify ourselves

So You may find in us

A resting place forever

Our Saviour and our Lord

 

The Spirit says, “Come”

And we say, “Come”

Now is the time

For You to be made known

In all Your fullness

In and through

Your Bride.

 

“Sing, O Heavens, for the Lord has done it! Shout you lower parts of the earth; Break forth into singing you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and glorified Himself in Israel (Isaiah 44:23).”

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and Of the Holy Spirit, Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:18-20).”

Read 1961 times Last modified on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 08:23
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