“All of us, like sheep, have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the wrongdoing of us all To fall on Him” (Is. 53:6).
Time after time the people of Israel would stray away from God’s righteous standards into error, confusion, undesirable actions or thoughts contrary to the will and ways of God. They were led astray from the truth by their own lust and desire. God’s anger was kindled towards them, yet His love and mercy never failed. Psalm 95:10 says, God was disgusted with that generation for 40 years, saying “they are a people who err in their heart, And they do not know My ways.” God led them out of Egypt, performed many signs and wonders in the land at the Red Sea for years in the wilderness (Acts 17:36;13:18). He was patient with them for many years, admonishing them through His prophets. Yet they would not listen, so He gave them into the hands of the neighboring peoples (Neh. 9:30). God led them all the way in the desert forty years, to humble and test them in order to know what was in their heart, whether or not they would keep His commands (Deut. 8:1). The number 40 in the Bible is mentioned 146 (or 149) times in scripture, depending on the translation. The symbolism of 40 generally symbolizes a period of testing, trial and then, finally, triumph. Through hardships lasting 40 days or years, we endure to become more spiritually aware of our need for God.
As people, we are prone to wander when our hearts are torn between the flesh and the spirit, using our bodies as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness (Rom. 6:19). We are prone to leave the God we love for the things of the world ( Ps. 119:9-16). The desires of the flesh is in opposition to the Spirit, and the Spirit contrary to the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, in order to keep you from doing whatever you want (Gal. 5:17). Because of His great love we are not consumed. Even in our worse state His compassion never fails (Lam. 3:22).
Is it possible that the church is experiencing a wilderness season? In many ways, the people of God err in their hearts today because they only know God’s acts and not His ways nor His Word. In 2020, the Lord said to me “My people do not know My ways, nor do they know my Word!” What sprang up in my spirit then was that Christians, specifically the western church, is limited in their knowledge and understanding of God and His ways. I believe this is due to the often neglected dimension of Holy Spirit’s power, a lack of sound teaching or doctrine and the cultivation of our western mindset. Although we are not to neglect the knowledge, education, and information that is available, this does not negate our need for divine wisdom, revelation and knowledge of God’ power made available to every believer. With all our getting we must get understanding of who God is in or pursuit of Him.
Apostle Paul prayed for the church of Ephesus, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the boundless greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and made Him head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:18-21).
This should be our prayer today amidst the chaos and upheaval throughout the world. If the church expects to impact the world for Christ and take part in building God’s Kingdom here on earth we must set aside our earthly desires, seek first the kingdom of God and trust that every thing we need will be added to us (Matt. 6:33). To much is given, much will be required (Luke 12:48). Knowing that we are held responsible for the gifts, talents, knowledge, time and wealth we have been blessed with making disciples of every nation (Matt. 28:19-20) should be our primary focus as Christ church. We have been given this authority as ambassadors on earth to make an appeal on behalf of Christ, proclaiming and speaking boldly “be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20; Eph. 6:20). We have been commissioned to go out into the highways and along the hedges compelling them to come in, so that God’s house may be filled (Luke 14:23).
The Christian life is not automatic. It is a life of discipline, self-denial and sacrifice. To fulfill the “great commission” the church must truly examine our hearts and stop playing at religion so that we can experience every thing that God promised. We need to search the Scriptures to see what God has promised to those who love Him (Rom. 8:28).
Unbelief is our greatest enemy. My hope is that through these messages your faith will be challenged to come up higher. Christ is Lord over the church (Acts 3:26). He is the absolute authority within church (Eph. 4:4-13). Nothing within our culture nor anyone can enable us to be all that Christ called us to be. No legislation, Supreme Court decisions can fulfill Christ’s intentions to reconcile man unto himself. The church cannot fulfill it’s role as ministers of reconciliation without love and grace being poured out of our hearts (2 Cor. 5:16-21).
In His service,
Min. Dr. A. Francine Green
Notes: All Scripture references are taken from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise noted.