December 25, 2008
When the Enemy Comes In Like a Flood
When we've been hit by the floods of the enemy, there's something that will cause the Spirit of the Lord to come against those floods in swift defeat. The Confession given by the remnant of Israel here in Isaiah 59 is all too appropriate for each one of us, esp. when we're overwhelmed by darkness. First off, there's a genuineness in their confession. You know they mean it. I wonder how often we try to fool God with a quality impersonation of true repentance. I know I'm guilty, anyway. Those times when I don't really want to deal with my sin and issues. Sometimes - thankfully not anytime recently - it's taken the Spirit of God to viciously remind me of how far I've fallen and just how desperate my condition really is. Once I'm serious about confession, though, everything changes. It's like the light illuminates every ounce of my darkened heart to reveal the weighty redemption of Christ. Redemption that so quickly soaks up, like a sponge, my deep regret and heart of error.
The beauty of true confession is that it always comes with two very distinct and supernatural works. The first is that it redeems us to our Father through the forgiveness of the Son. Confession prompts the heart of God to take pity on His kids and puts into practice the power of the cross. Secondly, it Heals us. It restores us to a place of worship, experience, understanding, and softness of spirit in such a way that we're once again set free in liberty. I'm such a proponent of true confession. I've seen it so powerfully at work in my own life but also in the lives of so many others.
I have no idea why this passage in Isaiah came to me again today, on Christmas Day, other than maybe the appropriate reminder it is to each of us that without the gift of Christ, none of us would even have an ounce of hope. Through confession and repentance, we have not only hope for our own lives but hope for a brilliantly bright future. Merry Christmas!
Isaiah 59: 9-21
Therefore justice is far from us,
Nor does righteousness overtake us;
We look for light, but there is darkness!
For brightness, but we walk in blackness!
We grope for the wall like the blind,
And we grope as if we had no eyes;
We stumble at noonday as at twilight;
We are as dead men in desolate places.
We all growl like bears,
And moan sadly like doves;
We look for justice, but there is none;
For salvation, but it is far from us.
For our transgressions are multiplied before You,
And our sins testify against us;
For our transgressions are with us,
And as for our iniquities, we know them:
In transgressing and lying against the LORD,
And departing from our God,
Speaking oppression and revolt,
Conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.
Justice is turned back,
And righteousness stands afar off;
For truth is fallen in the street,
And equity cannot enter.
So truth fails,
And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.
(Note: This is a frightful but great reminder that when you turn away from evil, and confess your sins, you should expect an attack. There's also a great promise in Isaiah 59:19 below).
The Redeemer of Zion
Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him
That there was no justice.
He saw that there was no man,
And wondered that there was no intercessor;
(God, would you raise us up to be both true man and intercessor?)
Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him;
And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.
For He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
And a helmet of salvation on His head;
He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing,
And was clad with zeal as a cloak.
According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay,
Fury to His adversaries, Recompense to His enemies;
The coast lands He will fully repay.
So shall they fear
The name of the LORD from the west,
And His glory from the rising of the sun;
When the enemy comes in like a flood,
The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.
(Note: This "lifting up of the standard" is also translated as "To put to flight" or "to drive out hastily". After doing a little research I found a commentary that suggested the idea here was the high rushing waters coming down a narrow river canyon, wiping out everything in it's path and rushing towards you. God, in His power, simply stands with you and breathes out towards the oncoming waters. They instantly are forced to retreat back up the mountain from which they came. Amazing)
“The Redeemer will come to Zion,
And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,”
Says the LORD.
“As for Me,” says the LORD, “this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,” says the LORD, “from this time and forevermore.”
So, two things that are with us always and forever. The SPIRIT of the Lord and the words (or Word) of God. My prayer lately has been: "Jesus, I request more of the Spirit and more from your Word, regardless of the cost". It's been a dangerous prayer but i wouldn't change it for the world. Come in your power, Almighty Spirit of God!