MARK 6 COMMENTARY

This is a commentary for you and me. It isn’t complicated, because Jesus wants you to understand it, so you can be healed physically and even more importantly, in your relationship with God, which was broken by sin.

Verses 1-6 — There are many listeners in the synagogue, but there is no mention of crowds in Mark’s account of Jesus teaching at Nazareth. Keep that in mind.

He is soundly rejected by His hometown synagogue. After all, He is simply a carpenter, the son of Mary. They are offended by Him. Who does He think He is, teaching us? Where does He get His wisdom? How did He get the power to do the miracles we’re hearing about? Humph!!!

When Verse 3 says “they took offense,” the word means they were tripped up. The Greek word is skandalizo, from which we get our word, “scandalous.” They disapproved of Him, which tripped them up. He became a stumbling stone, a rock of offense (Matthew 21:42, Romans 9:33, 1Peter 2:8).

So was it their unbelief that blocked Jesus from doing miracles in His hometown? No! As I said, there were no crowds. They did not believe He could heal, so most did not come to Him. But those few who DID come to Him were healed.

IMPORTANT POINT: Jesus is not stopped by unbelief; but if you do not come to Him for healing, you will not be healed by Him.

Verses 7-13 — The Twelve disciples are sent out in pairs. They are given authority over evil spirits. They also preach that men should repent (verse 12). They cast out many demons and anoint sick people with oil so they are healed (verse 13). Again, the “many” here indicates that if someone comes to them, they are set free from demons and healed of sicknesses.

We who belong to Jesus, who follow Him, love Him, and obey Him, also have this authority, and the ability to anoint for healing.

Note that as they are sent out, Jesus commands them to take only the clothes on their back and the sandals on their feet. Those to whom they minister are to provide for their needs. But if any reject them (verses 10-11), they are to shake the dust off the soles of their feet for a testimony against them.

The shaking off the dust from their feet (v.11) may be understood in the light of the Jewish custom of removing carefully the dust from both clothes and feet before reentering Jewish territory (cf. SBK, 1:571). For the Jews heathen dust was defiling. The significance of the act here is to declare the place to be heathen and to make it clear that those who rejected the message must now answer for themselves.

Don’t let their rejection cling to you, Jesus says. Amen!
Verses 14-29 — King Herod has been warned by John the Baptist that having sex with his brother’s wife is a sin against God (verse 18). So Herod imprisons him, but keeps him safe (though in a dungeon!). Then he makes a foolish vow to Herodias’ daughter. And John loses his head for Jesus. John’s disciples take his body away and lay it in a tomb.

Verses 30-32 — The disciples return from being sent out, report all that happened to Jesus, and He commands them to come away and rest. It is essential, when we are being used in such a way by God, that we rest afterwards, away from people who would like us to continue to minister. It is God’s power, not ours, by which we work, but intense ministry does tire our physical bodies.

Verses 33-44 — Our God is the God of more than enough. Jesus and the Twelve cannot keep the crowds away. They arrive ahead of them, and Jesus feels compassion for them. They are like sheep without a shepherd. He sees the same thing today. Many are misled, many are not offered anointing for healing, many remain possessed by evil spirits, many receive no teaching at all. So they wander around, directionless.

For everyone filled with Jesus, our inward parts are physically moved at such conditions. And the response of a Spirit-filled believer in Jesus Christ is to immediately begin teaching these sheep many things, because the Holy Spirit who has filled us is the Author of the Word of God, and He teaches us so we can teach others.

Jesus teaches for a long time, and the crowd is hungry. The disciples think Jesus should send them away so they can find food. But Jesus says, “YOU feed them!” With what? Five loaves and two fish. But there are 5,000, excluding women and children!!! How can this be?

He commands the crowd to sit down in groups, blesses the food as He looks heavenward, breaks the loaves continuously, and distributes the pieces of fish continuously — way beyond what He started with! He continues until every person is satisfied. Not just a taste. They are full.

This God of more than enough has more than enough of whatever you need. Have you heard Him teach? Seek Him out!

Verses 45-52 — This is the scene the Lord brought to mind the night I was healed of MS. His words here literally are, “Be comforted! I AM (I am the I AM of the burning bush in Exodus 3:14)! Do not fear!”

Are you in a storm of sickness or confusion or some other situation? Do not be afraid. He is coming. Invite Him into your boat. He will rescue you. He will calm the sea and the wind. Do not be astonished. He is God the Son! If you are astonished, it is because you do not yet see Him. Your heart is blind. Ask Him to soften your heart. He will do it, and you will see.

Verse 53-56 — Jesus is coming! Everyone runs to get sick ones. Everywhere Jesus goes, sick ones are laid in the market places, so they might touch the fringe of His garment. As many as touch the fringe of His cloak are being cured.

I repeat, as many as touch the fringe of His cloak are being cured.

They are desperate. They believe if they touch the fringe of His cloak, they will be healed. And they are. Are you desperate enough to ask Him to come by so you can touch His garment? Do you believe you will be healed, if you touch it?

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STRONG SUPPORT

[SW210] 11/27/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Strong Support”

God watches over you, to strongly support you, if your heart is completely His!

2Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.

— “The eyes of the Lord . . . His face, holy intimacy, His favor in view

— move to and fro . . . travel, run

— throughout the earth . . . over the whole earth

— that He may strongly support . . . fasten upon, strengthen, aid, encourage, help

— those whose heart is completely His . . . whose heart is perfect toward Him (KJV).”

My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus! (Philippians 4:19)
He goes before you and is your rear guard (Isaiah 52:12)!

He is your refuge and strength, an ever-present help in time of need (Psalm 46:1).

He takes you from strength to strength (Psalm 84:7)!

He is with you and will strengthen you (Isaiah 41:10)!

No weapon formed against you will prosper (Isaiah 54:7)!

You are kept by the power of God (1Peter 1:5)

I will be with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20)

These promises are for those whose heart is perfect toward Him, completely His . . .

But we have to look at the rest of the verse we began with . . . I cannot speak, “Peace, peace” when there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14, Ezekiel 13:10).

“. . . You (Asa, king of Judah) have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.”

In what did Asa (and in what does the church) act foolishly?

2 Chronicles 14:2  Asa did good and right, called on the Lord and not man, and Ethiopia’s army, which was nearly twice the size of Judah’s, was routed by the Lord.

After Asa’s victory, the prophet Azariah warns him . . .

2Chronicles 15:1   Now the Spirit of God came on Azariah the son of Oded,  2 and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: the Lord is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.

2Chronicles 15:7 “But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.”

2Chronicles 15:8   Now when Asa heard these words and the prophecy which Azariah the son of Oded the prophet spoke, he took courage and removed the abominable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities which he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim. He then restored the altar of the Lord which was in front of the porch of the Lord.

BUT WHEN ANOTHER ENEMY THREATENS . . .

2 Chronicles 16:1 The king of Israel comes to fight Judah. Asa does not call on the Lord, who gave him such a great victory over Ethiopia. Instead, he bribes Ben-hadad, the king of Aram. But the Arameans were Judah’s enemy, too, off and on, as was their custom.

2 Chronicles 16:7 So the prophet Hanani calls Asa out — he lied on his enemy to defeat his enemy! Don’t you remember Ethiopia, King Asa?

That was the foolish thing that Asa did. And he was enraged at Hanani and imprisoned him.

Asa’s heart was not completely the Lord’s.

Three years later, Asa died of a disease in his feet. He did not seek the Lord for healing, but the physicians.

Beloved . . .

—When you as a church leader seek man’s wisdom and man’s ways to make your church successful,

— or when you speak peace, peace when there is no peace, just to increase your numbers,

— or when you as a Christian seek natural means for provision, healing and deliverance instead of humbly asking the Lord for help,

. . . you sin as Asa sinned — he did not believe the Lord was able to rescue him; you do not seek the Lord’s wisdom, you do not believe He will increase your numbers, you do not believe He is your provision.

Asa did not repent before the Lord. He no longer sought the Lord, even for healing of the disease in his feet. But you can repent, right now!

The Lord wants His promises to be yours. But in order to do that, you must give your heart entirely to Him and no other.

How do you give your heart entirely to Him? Only the Father can do it, when you ask Him —

Ezekiel 36:26 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”

Romans 5:5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

1Timothy 1:5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

This purity of heart, this devotion to God, comes when you are filled with the Holy Spirit!

When you ask the Lord to fill you, He will make you steadfast, immovable always abounding in the work of the Lord (1Corinthians 15:58)!

And His eyes will move to and fro across the earth, to strongly support you, because your heart is completely His!q Turn to Him today! Amen!

STEADFAST AND IMMOVABLE

[SW181] 04/11/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Steadfast and Immovable”

Steadfast and immovable! Standing firm! Nothing and no one able to sway you or move you from your faith in Jesus Christ and God’s promises!

1Corinthians 15:58   Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

Superabounding, excelling in the work of the Lord, proclaiming Jesus Christ! His glorious, powerful, life-giving work!

Going and making disciples of all men, teaching them to obey Christ (Matthew 28:19-20)!

Healing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing the lepers, casting out demons (Matthew 10:8)!

When you yourself have been filled with the Holy Spirit, laying hands on your fellow believers, so they are filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:6).

If you are steadfast and immovable, you know without a doubt that this great labor in the Lord is not in vain. You won’t come to Him empty-handed, but bearing the fruit of His works in you and through you!

What rewards there are to those who remain steadfast and immovable?

Revelation 3:8-10 — You have a little power, you have kept His word, you have not denied His name. You are a faithful representative of Him, walking in this world like Him. You have kept the word of His steadfastness. You are steadfast, immovable, always superabounding in this work!

So Jesus Christ puts before you a door for you which no one can shut. It is a door that opens into great and effective work for Him. And false teachers will come and bow down at your feet. Jesus will make them know that He has loved you.

You say, “Jesus loves me, this I know! And you also say, “Jesus knows me, this I love!”

And you will not have to endure what those who reject Him and deny Him will endure. He will keep you, guard you, be a fortress around you! You will be protected from that hour!

And because you remain steadfast and immovable, even if your body dies before Jesus Christ returns, it will be resurrected when that trumpet sounds (1Corinthians 15:50-57)! Death has no victory! Death has no sting!

Therefore, be steadfast, Paul exhorts! Immovable! Against what? Is there something that could move you? What is the “therefore” there for?

Many winds of false teaching swirled around the Corinthians, and swirl around us today.

Great waves are stirred up by these winds, and if we are children and not mature in our faith, we will be tossed here and there, just as some of the Corinthians and Ephesians were (see Ephesians 4:14). But Jesus Christ will change us from children to adults, when we ask Him to make a 24/7 connection between us and the Father and the Son, by the Holy Spirit!

Back in 1Corinthians 15, deceitful teachers tried to convince the Corinthians that there is no resurrection of the dead (15:12).

So, they said, you don’t have to walk as Jesus walked when he was on the earth. Live the way you want to live. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you die (15:32).

I tell you, the devil is at work. His goal is to kill you, to steal what God has given you, to destroy you, so you perish with him eternally (see John 10:10). Don’t let him get you!

BECOME steadfast, immovable! How? Ask Him to do it in you!

Christ has come that you may have superabundant life — His life, His eternal life (John 10:10)! Superabundant life that overflows, that becomes a rushing, flood-stage river of living water!

Paul said it was the risen Christ and not human reasoning that motivated him to fight with the demons that were in Ephesus.

He knew without a doubt that when men are delivered and saved, THEY will know without a doubt that Jesus Christ is Lord and that their own resurrection is sure! His labor was not in vain!

But some of the Corinthians were yet children, just as with some Christians today. They continued to live wildly, for which Corinth was world-renowned. Eat, drink and be merry!

Paul warns them and you today, to stop listening to false teachers who say you can do what you want — God’s grace covers you! Hyper-grace! Cheap grace! 

Shall we continue to sin so grace may increase? May it never be (Romans 6:1-2)!

Get drunk, do just as you did before you said “I do” to the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul tells the Ephesians, “Don’t get drunk with wine! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!”

Ah! That’s the key! When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you won’t be a child any more, and the process of becoming more like Jesus will go into hyperdrive!

In Verse 34, Paul tells the Corinthians (and you), to become sober-minded (rouse yourself out of your stupor! Wake up! If some need to become, they are not yet!
They and you need to “become!” Stop sinning!

Those false teachers have no knowledge of God, no intimacy with Him, or they would never teach that you can sin and still be fine with God! Paul spoke it to the shame of those who listened to such ones. And the same goes for you, beloved!

Ask God the Father to fill you with His Holy Spirit, and He will give you discernment so you will run from the strangers, the hirelings the false teachers who are in it for personal gain. You will hear and heed the voice of the Good Shepherd (see John 10)!

And even when you are filled, continue to grow —

2Peter 3:17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness,  18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

You will ever increase in Christlikeness!

You will remain steadfast and immovable, knowing without a doubt that when you proclaim Jesus (which is your work in the Lord), your work will bear the fruit of deliverance for many!

And you will know without a doubt that you will be with the Lord forever! And ever! And ever! And ever! Amen!

ASK FOR RAIN!

[SW177] 03/20/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Ask for Rain”
Word:  The Lord is setting the stage for revival. It’s time to pray!

Text: Zechariah 10:1ff

Spoken to: The remnant that returned from Babylon to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple. Zechariah and Haggai prophesied to the rebuilders, encouraging them (Ezra 5:1, 6:4), for their natural AND spiritual restoration!

v. 1 Ask rain from the Lord at the time of the spring rain — it is spring, as of today!

— Ask rain not from man, but from the Lord! He is the only One who has what we need — His life, His heart, His love and His power in us!

— So if we ask the Lord, He will give us showers of rain

Joel 2:23 NIV    Be glad, O people of Zion,
rejoice in the LORD your God,
for he has given you
the autumn rains in righteousness.
He sends you abundant showers,
both autumn and spring rains, as before.

Showers of blessing (Ezekiel 34:26)!

— And we who are His people will be fruitful and have abundance once again. What abundance? The Holy Spirit. What fruit? His fruit. When His fruit is manifested, many souls will be saved.

Rain represents blessing and revival. The need to pray for it means something has been amiss between God and us. The next verse tells us what is amiss.

v.v. 2-3a False gods, false shepherds

— We have looked to dead, inanimate things that cannot answer us (Psalm 115:4-8), rather than to the living God. We have listened to ear ticklers, so we are wandering sheep without a shepherd. We have not heeded the voice of the Good Shepherd.

v. 3b But the Lord has visited his flock! He is our true Shepherd!

— Why does He use the past tense? Because in heaven, where He dwells, He sees the end, and He sees the beginning. He sits above time, so He says He has visited, even before we see that He has visited.

— Visit means He will go to see, avenge, care for, deliver to keep, and remember!

When we went astray, He left us to our own devices. But He has not forgotten us. At the appointed time, He returns to us — that’s what “remembered” means.

— He will make us like HIS majestic horse in battle.

— Horses were a superior instrument of warfare battle in those times.

— They were a symbol of swiftness, sure-footedness, power.

— No longer will we trust in men or natural horses. Instead, we will be like the Lord’s horses! Swift. sure-footed, powerful in His power! And He never loses a battle!

v. 4     His Cornerstone —  His Christ
His tent peg — His support
His bow of battle (He trains our fingers for battle, and makes us able to bend               a bow of bronze (Psalm 144:1, 18:34)
His rulers — no longer chosen by men, but by Him

v. 5     We will be as mighty warriors (2 Cor 10:5)
We will tread down the enemy (1John 4:4, James 4:7)
We will fight, for the Lord will be with us (2 Chronicles 20:15, 20)

v. 6    The Lord will strengthen us (make us firm so we prevail against the Enemy)
He will deliver us (save us out of the miry clay we’ve been in)
He will bring us back to Himself
He has racham toward us (tender mercy, like a mother toward her child)!

It will be as though He never rejected us (cast us off, moved us away from Him), though He did reject us when we followed false gods and false shepherds.

Why? Because HE is our God.

He will visited us, go to see  us, avenge us, care for us, deliver us to keep us, and remember us!

v. 9 Our exile from His presence caused us to remember Him, and now, He will remember us.

v. 10 He will bring us back from sin (Egypt).

v. 11 We will cross over and out of the sea of distress (trouble, anguish) and not drown in it.

He will strike the waves in the sea, as in the Exodus, so that even the mightiest waters dry up.

The scepter will depart Egypt — sin will no longer rule us.

Assyria’s (in this case, a typology or symbol of Satan as well as a real kingdom) pride will be cast down, it will fall down, Satan will fall down.

v. 12 Again, He says I will strengthen you in Me.

— Not in our own strength

— And He says, “They will walk in My name,” as representing Me, having My character and nature. He declares it!

We will, indeed, become partakers of the divine nature, and that will permanently repair the rift between us and our God. HALLELUJAH!

Beloved, a warning from the Lord — when He sends the rain, do not try to manage it or manipulate it. Just stand by and let Him work in hearts. Simply rejoice as you watch Him!

And remember, it will no longer be necessary to work real hard to be like Jesus — He will do the heavy lifting. All we have to do is agree with Him as we walk with Him!

Ask rain from the LORD at the time of the spring rain! He is coming to visit us once again, to free His people and bring them back to Himself!

Come back to Him even now, this very moment! Cast away your idols and false shepherds to the moles and the bats! Now is the time!

YES AND AMEN

[SW176] 03/13/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Yes and Amen”

All the promises of God are yes and amen, if you are in Christ Jesus. The question is, do you believe ALL of them?

2Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. (KJV)

We receive from God promises from the beginning to the end:

— From the head of the serpent (Satan) being crushed (Genesis 3:15)

— To Jesus Christ’s promise that, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” (Revelation 22:20)

In order to receive ALL of God’s promises, you must understand:

—  the PROBLEM that made His promises necessary,

— the PURPOSE of those promises,

— the PROMISES themselves,

— the PRAYER of Jesus Christ that activated those promises,

—- and the PROOF that those promises have been and are still being fulfilled to all who will believe His promises.

THE PROBLEM THAT MADE HIS PROMISES NECESSARY:

In one word, it is waywardness (backsliding, turning away). This is not a surprise to God. From before time began, He had already prepared the solution (Revelation 11:8).

Here’s what the people of God said (and still say), and the Lord’s response —

Deuteronomy 5:27 (Moses quotes the people) ’Go near and hear all that the LORD our God says; then speak to us all that the LORD our God speaks to you, and we will hear and do it.’

Deuteronomy 5:28   (Moses says) “The LORD heard the voice of your words when you spoke to me, and the LORD said to me, ‘I have heard the voice of the words of this people which they have spoken to you. They have done well in all that they have spoken.
Deuteronomy 5:29 ‘Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!”

Speaking the right words isn’t enough. There’s something wrong with our hearts. You and I need a new heart in us, so we will revere and honor and obey the Lord!

Jeremiah 29:11 was spoken to Jewish captives in Babylon who were captives because of their wayward hearts.

Go to Psalm 81:11-13. Just like Israel, you say you will obey, but then you don’t. If you say you never sinned, you do not tell the truth (1John 1:10). We were all born rebels, Adam’s kids who inherited his rebellious nature. So when you hear that oh-so-popular phrase, you may truly say, “I was born that way.” But God says you don’t have to stay that way!

It’s a sickness in your heart, for which only God has the cure — and He will gladly do it!

And you must be healed! Why? Waywardness is deadly, for the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

But God does not desire that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2Peter 3:9).

THE PURPOSE OF HIS PROMISES

The purpose of God’s promises — all of them — is redemption, here and now, AND on the day of judgment (Ephesians 1:14, 4:30).

He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the ransom for which you were held captive by Satan, because of your sin.

He offers His marvelous grace — forgiving your sin — through Jesus Christ. That’s a promise many of us celebrate! Your past sins are forgotten by God when you confess them, turn from them, believe in Jesus Christ, and ask the Lord to forgive you.

But beloved, there is more that He promises.

If you don’t believe the “more,” it is because of what you’ve thought, and what you’ve been taught, things that do not match up with the Word of God, beloved.

Many will teach you that your sin nature, your inborn rebellion, doesn’t die until you are on your deathbed.

But what is the good of that? How can you be the witness Jesus promises He will make you, if you wait to be clothed with power from on high (Acts 1:8, Luke 24:49)? Being a witness requires you to live and walk and talk!

And why, then, does Paul pray for the Thessalonians to be sanctified through and through (1Thessalonians 5:23), made completely holy on the inside by being filled with the Holy Spirit? If it was only for the deathbed, there would be no need for Paul to pray that way.

THE PROMISES HE MAKES TO YOU

What does the Lord promise He will do with our waywardness?

These promises are throughout the Bible, but go to Ezekiel 36:22-27!

Will you believe it today?

Will you say “Yes” and “Amen” to this promise of God?

Or would you rather pick and choose what you believe God can do?

It is a life and death choice, beloved.

THE PRAYER THAT ACTIVATED THE PROMISE

John 17! Jesus prayed there, and the pivotal heart-changing verse is —

John 17:26 and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

It is by way of the love of God filling our hearts to overflowing, and by way of Christ Himself in our hearts via the Holy Spirit, that the promise of Ezekiel 36 is fulfilled!

THEN you are His witnesses!

THEN you are set free, indeed —- no longer a slave to sin (John 8:31-36)!

THE PROOF OF GOD’S PROMISE

The Book of Acts! When the day of Pentecost came, the men and women in that upper room were transformed! They no longer argued among themselves about who was the greatest. They were no longer confused about nearly everything that Jesus taught them! They were set free from their selfishness, from their waywardness, once and for all!

Jesus spoke of the Jewish leaders in Matthew 13, quoting from Isaiah 6 —

Matthew 13:15      FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL,
WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR,
AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES,
OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES,
HEAR WITH THEIR EARS,
AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN,
AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.’

Is your heart dull, that is, calloused over? Have you stopped up your ears and screwed your eyes shut because you’ve always thought and been taught the promise of a new heart can’t possibly be true?

Then turn today and be healed of your waywardness! You were born that way, but you don’t have to stay that way!

God’s promises say that He will change your heart! Ask Him, and He will do it!

GOD’S PROTECTION

God promises to go before you as a warrior, and to defend you from your rear, where you cannot see! Find out how!

[SW168] 01/10/2015 message notes by Sister Susan J. Wynn ©2015
“God’s Protection”

Isaiah 52:12  But you will not go out in  haste,
Nor will you go as fugitives;
For the LORD will go before you,
And the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

God’s Almighty promise is that He will go before you —

Go before = halak to walk continually, be conversant, lead, march, run

As you go, He continually is with you, ahead of you!
— He is Almighty God, and nothing and no one can overcome Him or defeat          Him
— He leads you, and you walk in His way
— He converses with you, He talks with you as you follow Him
— He is on the march, a mighty warrior leading his troops
— He protects you from what lies ahead of you
— He moves obstacles out of your way
— He exposes and destroys enemy plots and traps

And He is your rear guard!

— No one will attack you from the rear, because of His presence. Enemy              defeat is assured!
— The Enemy’s most subtle attacks are from that position, but God is there!
— He defends you at your weakest point, because you cannot see behind              you as you walk forward
— He makes sure you stay focused as you march forward
— You will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it,” when you turn to the right or the left (Isaiah 30:21).

You can’t lose, with God before you and behind you!

Let’s look at a King who had these promises, so we might learn a truth:

2Chronicles 17:4 Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, sought God.
— He treaded God’s way,
— frequented God’s presence,
— followed God
— Worshiped God,
— diligently inquired of God.

He did not seek the Baals or golden calves, like Ahab, King of northern Israel, who was one of God’s chosen people, but in name only.

2Chronicles 18:1 But Jehoshaphat took his eyes of God and tried to manipulate his circumstances.

He made an alliance with wicked Ahab, arranging a marriage between Ahab’s daughter and Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram (2Chronicles 21:6), to secure peace with Northern Israel.

The prophet Jehu rebuked him (2Chronicles 19:2-3), saying, “ Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD and bring wrath on yourself from the LORD? But   there is good in you, for  you have removed the Asheroth from the land and you have set your heart to seek God.”

Then, in 2Chronicles 20 —
— A huge army came against Judah (20:1)
— Jehoshaphat prayed to God (20:6-12)
— A prophet gave him a word that the Lord will fight for Judah (20:17)
— Jehoshaphat sent forth worshipers before his army (20:21)
— The Lord sent an ambush, without the involvement of Judah’s army,
and his enemies ultimately killed each other off (20:22-23)

What a great victory! The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, going before him, and being his rear guard, just as God promises in Isaiah 52.

But then:

2Chronicles 20:35-37
— He again took his eyes off God and tried to manipulate his circumstances by making another alliance with King Ahaziah, Ahab’s son who now reigned in Northern Israel.
— So he built ships with the rebellious King of Israel

But a prophet came and said, “The Lord destroys your works,” and indeed, the Lord destroyed what Jehoshaphat and Ahaziah had built.

The Lord says to us that if we take our eyes off Him, and try to manipulate our circumstances by making alliances with the world, with backsliders, with compromisers, He will not go before us nor be our rear guard.

Why? Is God a liar? May it never be! He is not a man, that He should lie (Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:2).

Look at Isaiah 52 again:

Isaiah 52:11 Depart, depart, go out from there,
Touch nothing unclean;
Go out of the midst of her,  purify yourselves,
You who carry the vessels of the LORD.

AND THEN comes Isaiah 52:12, His promise to go before us and be our rear guard!

Jehoshaphat took his eyes off the Lord and made alliances with those who rebel against God in order to manipulate his circumstances. If you do the same, God will not go before you or be your rear guard. What you build will be destroyed by Him, O church, O Christian!

Paul quotes Isaiah 52:11 to the Corinthian church:

2Corinthians 6:14    Do not be  bound together with  unbelievers; for what  partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?  15 Or what  harmony has Christ with  Belial, or  what has a  believer in common with an  unbeliever?
16      Or  what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are  the temple of  the living God; just as God said,
“ I WILL  DWELL IN THEM AND  WALK AMONG THEM;
AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
17      “ Therefore,  COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord.
“AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN;
And I will welcome you.
18      “ And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be  sons and daughters to Me,”
Says the Lord Almighty.

How do we keep from straying, from being bound together, from making alliances that lift His protection off us, so He will not go before us and be our rear guard, be our Father, and make us His sons and daughters? We must read on!

2Corinthians 7:1   Therefore, having these promises,  beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of
God. (NOTE: “Let us” is not in the original Greek. So this is a command, not a suggestion.)

This is a word for us, the answer to our waywardness. King Jehoshaphat sought the Lord most of the time, and trusted Him most of the time. But he could not perfect (complete) holiness. He could not completely fulfill or accomplish or finish it. He kept taking his eyes off God and trying to manipulate his circumstances, making alliances with the wicked that made God lift His protection off him.

When God the Father sent Jesus Christ to die and be raised again, to ascend back to Him and be glorified at His right hand, Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit in a new way, so when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, we are able to walk in the promise of protection because our hearts no longer wander!

We have the promise that He will make us holy, set apart for Him, when His Holy Spirit indwells us, but also the promise that He will make us no longer slaves to sin, to wandering, to manipulating our circumstances, to taking our eyes off God. Holiness is completed in us, so that we hate sin and backsliding and compromise just as He commands, and will not make alliances with those who rebel against Him — the world, and those in the church who give God lip service but their hearts are far from Him.

If you have been as Jehoshaphat, come into the truth today. Ask the Lord to baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire, and He will come and cleanse your heart from waywardness. And surely, the Lord will go before you always, and always be your rear guard!

 

THE WORD OF THE LORD

[SW161] 11/14/2014 message notes by Sister Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“The Word of the Lord”

As I wrote in a recent blog, the Word of the Lord (the Bible) is like a diamond — turned in His light, rays of revelation shoot out! Today, I celebrate the Word of the Lord!

But you are bent down today, struggling, downtrodden, depressed, oppressed, or distressed, stuck in sin, which destroys you and those around you — or all of the above.

You are unsure, you hesitate, you doubt, and thus are like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind (James 1:6).

Meanwhile, your Bible — the Word of the Lord — sits on the shelf in your home, collecting dust (just as mine did for the first 45 years of my life)!

Let me tell you about this Word of the Lord!!!

Psalm 33:4            Right!

Psalm 33:6            The heavens made, by it

Psalm 107:20        Sent to heal you (also, Mt. 8:8)

Psalm 119:83        Settled (established and stands) in heaven, FOREVER

Psalm 119:105        A lamp for your feet, a light for your path

Psalm 119:40        Very pure

Psalm 130:5          A source of hope

Psalm 138:2            Magnified above His name

Psalm 147:15        Runs swiftly

Psalm 147:18    Melts cold things

Isaiah 30:21        You will hear it, “This is the way, walk in it.”

Isaiah 40:8        Stands forever

Isaiah 55:11        Will not return to Him void

Jeremiah 23:39    Shatters hard things like a hammer

Ezekiel 37:4        Even dry bones hear it!!!

Matthew 13:8    When sown on good soil, fruitfulness results

John 1:14        Became flesh, and dwelled among us .  .  . and you will see His                 glory!

John 5:24        When believed and heeded, makes you pass from death to life!

John 8:31-36     The way to the truth that sets you free from the power of sin.

John 8:51        If obeyed (kept), you will never die!

John 12:48        If rejected/disobeyed, it will judge you, in the last day.

John 15:7        If it abides in you, then you will ask whatever you wish and it                 will be  one for you

2Corinthians 4:4, 6        A mirror through which you see Christ  . . .
the more you look AT the Lord,
the more you look LIKE the Lord!

Acts 6:2        Must not be neglected in order to serve tables!

Acts 6:7, 12:24    Keeps on spreading, when it is boldly spoken (Acts 4:29)

Acts 8:17, 11:1    Must be received, taken in, accepted, and submitted to

Romans 10:17     When heard and heeded, faith springs up!

1Corinthians 1:18    Foolishness to those that are perishing, but to those who are                 being saved, it is the power of God.

Ephesians 6:17    Is the sword of the Spirit

Philippians 2:16    Is the word of life that you are to hold out in the darkness, so                 you are like a star in the universe.

Hebrews 4:12    Living and active . . . judging the thoughts and attitudes of your             heart.

Let the Word of the Lord have its way in you. Submit to it, let it convict you regarding sin and righteousness and judgment, and the Lord will change your heart, and you will see Him!

This is not a suggestion, but a command from the Lord today!!!

Lift up your heads, and the King of glory will come in, and dwell within you (Psalm 24:7, John 14:23)!

Seek (search out, strive after, beseech, beg) the face, the presence, of the Lord!

Then you will be prepared to ascend the hill of the Lord and stand in His holy place. (Psalm 24:3) Once you have truly seen Him, you will never look away again!