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The Unbelieving Heart that Cancels God’s Covenant with Man

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      Men today teach that salvation is nothing more than a special prayer they pray without any responsibility or conflict or warfare for the believer.  As a result, many unprepared souls become shipwrecked when the storms of life come against them.  When the Lord Jesus walked on this earth, performing signs, wonders and miracles, speaking the Word of God with power and authority, the religious crowd never realized what He was all about.  Most of the body of Christ today, also, knows nothing of what true Christianity is all about. 

      Revelation 20:7-8And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.” Remember, Satan’s power over God’s people was broken when they were saved.  What power was that?  The power of deception.  When Jesus came and destroyed the works of the devil, he destroyed his power to deceive those who had ears to hear the Word of God.  Here, we see the power of hell being restored.  Now the Word here defines the four quarters of the earth as God and Magog not Germany and Russia , as so-called self proclaimed prophecy teacher’s today claim it means.  This is symbolic.  The purpose for which Satan is loosed is battle or war.  Salvation is warfare.  Who is this war against?

      (V.9a) “And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about.” The saints.  All the time God had a temple on the earth among His people, surrounding nations gathered again and again to destroy and tear it down.  There has always been struggles and warfare for the Jewish people, throughout history, from the time of Abraham.  Salvation is a place of hardships, tribulation and trials.  But thanks be to God, He has given us His victory and authority to vanquish all our foes.  But, just like in the Old Testament days, the hotter the battle rages, the more there are of God’s people who want to quit and turn back.  Remember most of those who came out of Egypt , wanted to go back, rather than have to fight to possess the land God has promised to them.  For most Christians, all it is, are church services and going through the motions of religion.  No faith, no life, no joy, it’s all been stolen by the enemy, because of the war.  The enemy encamps around the saints, as they besieged cities in olden days. 

      Revelation 20:9band the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” “The beloved city” has nothing to do with present Jerusalem.  Remember Hebrews 12:22?  When we came to Jesus the passage of Hebrews 12:18-24 tells us that we came to the Heavenly Jerusalem.  Not one in heaven, but a spiritual one.  It tells us this is all happening here on earth.  But we were raised up with Christ and seated with heavenly places in Him when we were born again (Ephesians 2:1-5).  So God called fire down from heaven, to help the saints.  The result was that God’s enemies were devoured.  Hallelujah.  The enemies may come against us, but if we will cry out to our God, He will send fire to devour them.  This is also spiritual and not a literal fire.  God is a mighty warrior who has never lost a battle, and 1Samuel 17:47 says; “the battle is the Lord’s.”  And it is obvious that the deliverance is spiritual, for it says “the LORD saveth not with sword and spear:”  It’s like Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood,”.  The problem is when we try to fight it in the strength of our flesh instead of being strong in “the Lord and the power of His might,” (Ephesians 6:10) we loose the battle.

      Revelation 12:9-10And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” God’s power and authority has been given to us. Jesus said, I appoint unto you a kingdom.  When you start confessing and believing the Word of God concerning your victory that has been won and purchased for you in Christ, you don’t have time to think about and get caught up in your past failures.  They don’t mean anything anymore, except an experience by which you learned something about God, yourself and the warfare.  Now you will begin to move forward into the battle with the Lord and will come out from the accusations and condemnations of the devil. 

      (V.11) “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Has God’s Word become your testimony?  Have you stopped loving you own life, the old self-life?  Did Paul say “I did daily” (1Corinthians 15:31)? 

      Let’s look at the holy war.  Salvation isn’t all peace and prosperity.  We were called to be good soldiers of the cross.  We were told to put on the armor of God.  Why all these things for warfare, if there is no war?  The Bible told us that when the children of Israel came out of Egypt , they were dressed in battle array.  But they seemed to think it was some game and had no real meaning.  They never seemed to understand what God was trying to teach them and prepare them for and that is why they refused to believe that God would give them the Promised Land.  When they saw the giants of the land their hearts sank with fear and they didn’t know the enemy in the land they were to go in and possess were in abject fear of them because of what God had done to the Egyptians.  It was an unusual situation where both sides were in fear of each other.  But Israel ’s fear was because of what they saw and disbelief in God’s promises to them.  The enemies fear was based on what the God of the Israelites had already done for them.  Israel finally learned this 40 years later when the spies went to Jerico. 

      Revelation 12:17And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” We know that the dragon is the devil.  Well who do you think the woman is?  It’s the remnant church.   Are you part of the church?  Then hell will come against you.  But if you’re a hypocrite or pretender then your nothing for the devil to fight against, because he has already conquered you and so you will not experience this conflict.  We are clearly told who the remnant is.  It isn’t the players and sayers, but the doers of God’s Word.  What is the purpose of the war?  It’s to get you to cease to keep God’s commandments and to cause you to give up holding to the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. What is His testimony? “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquity, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”  That is God’s testimony for believers.  Most never see the promises of God because they never truly believe them.

      Revelation 14:6-9And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,” Most today, even among new agers, fortune tellers, and all sorts of idolaters; believe that a literal beast will rise up and force mankind to receive a mark on their hand or forehead to be able to buy and sell.  But this is something spiritual for us.  Many are already receiving that mark and don’t know it.  How?  How do you show that you are a true worshipper of God?  By your obedience!  That’s how they worship the beast.  They serve and obey the devil.  The mark is like a branding.  They are branded in their thought life, in their metal attitudes and ways, habits and lifestyle.  This branding reflects ownership.  Either you have the mind of Christ, or the mind of hell.  Do your imaginations run amok, out of control?  Are you casting down all thoughts and imaginations contrary to the Word and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, or are you controlled by your thoughts and imaginations. 

      Branded!  Remember in Ezekiel 9; where God had all those that were to be spared his judgment marked on their forehead.  It’s the mindset and thought patterns and meditations.  They will determine our actions and attitudes.  We either are marked for Christ or marked for the devil.  It’s what is controlling our minds.  Your actions show your brand mark, you mind.  Remember Romans 8:5-8? “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”

      Revelation 14:9-10And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:” Notice that this angel spoke more than the other two combined.  This is an eternal torment with no hope of restoration, or as some claim annihilation for the wicked.  In contrast, the righteous will have an eternal peace and rest. 

      (V.11) “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” Even today, so many are so tormented in their minds and have no rest.  They have been taken over by the powers of hell, by spirits of lust, anger and hatred.  Branded.  That’s what Gal.5, Col.3 and Ephesians 4 and Ephesians 5 and James 1 and 2 are about.  The brand mark is the mark upon those who worship the beast and receive the mark of his name.  His name represents his nature and character.  They take on the nature and character of Lucifer. 

      (V.12) “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” They persevere and keep the commandments of God, and their faith in Christ.  First we saw that there is a war made against the people of God, no matter where they are located on the face of the earth, (the four corners thereof), and it is a holy war.  Then we saw that the war was against those who keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus.  Now, we see that while a branding is going on and people are being marked by the enemy for hell, the saints are keeping their faith in Christ and walking in His commandments.  So they don’t get marked as the devil’s property.  They are marked as belonging to Jesus.

      We begin our walk with God by receiving His kingdom.  Then we receive our dress or armor for the war.  God has always had a remnant people that He said He would defend and deliver and provide for, if only they would keep His commandments and hold to His testimony according to His covenant.  It’s our faith in God’s Word, the promises He has given to us that activates His covenant of faithfulness.  When we put our faith in what God has said, it does two things to our heart.  It purges and purifies the heart; and it establishes the heart.  If my faith is truly in God’s Word, then my heart is being transformed and purged from evil and purified from sin, and my heart is being established and fixed toward God.  I don’t care what your coming out of or what you did, we don’t have time to hear testimony’s of woe and failure. Don’t look back, but put your eyes on the testimony of God for you.

      Proverbs 12:19 “The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.” Your lips or speech is a reflection of your heart.  “A lying tongue.”  You might say, I’m no liar.  Well, when you believe the lie of the devil and say things like, “God doesn’t love me.  God is mad at me.  God never answers my prayers.  God never heals me.  God doesn’t seem to ever bless me.  God never opens doors for me.”  What is the problem.  The person is speaking out of faith, what their faith is in.  Their faith is talking, but it’s in the wrong thing.  The only way your faith can be in the Word of God is that you meditate upon it and hide it in your heart.  That’s what we were told in Joshua 1:8.  “The lip of truth shall be established.”  That is one who is speaking the truth.  What is the truth?  God’s Word alone is truth.  Jesus said, “Thy Word is truth.”  When you speak His Word from your heart, out of faith, then it will be established.  Can you say with faith; “God has delivered me from the powers of hell!  God has broken the power of ever demon that had power over my life.  Jesus has crushed the serpent’s head.  No lust, no pride, no greed, no hatred, no covetousness, has any more dominion over me.”  What is that doing?  You are speaking what God said He has done; you are allowing truth to flow from your lips.  Even if you don’t fully believe and have faith in the Word when you begin, faith comes by hearing.  As you speak the Word, you are also hearing the Word, and if you keep doing it, that will product faith in you, so you can speak it in faith and believe God will do it for you because He said He would.

      Colossians 1:23aIf ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel,” This ties into Revelation 14 and the perseverance of the saints.  They keep from being marked by the enemy.  It begins with a condition, “If”.  If you continue in “the faith”, not any faith or faith in anything, but faith in the Word of God, the gospel of Christ, you will be “grounded and settled.”  The faith of most is quite shaky because it is in man made doctrines or opinions or traditions. Their faith is deluded and watered down because it’s not based on the pure Word of God.  (V.23b) “which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;” “Which ye have heard.”  It began when you heard the gospel.

      Colossians 2:7Established in the faith.”  There are those two words again, faith and being established.  Again, it began with something you heard, that you were taught, that you put your faith in, and it resulted in something, an “abounding.”  When you receive God’s instruction and obey it, the result is an overflowing of His spirit in your life.  We were told in Hebrews 10:38the just shall live by faith.” Then it goes on to say; “but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him”. You walk by faith, not by your senses or your record of failure, or how God may be blessing someone else in a way that He is not blessing you.  The remnant of true believers can be in the trenches of warfare and they walk by faith and are established in that faith, unmovable and unshakable.

      Many people are so eaten up with guilt and condemnation that it doesn’t matter how much of the Word of God you give them.  Remember the Word of God comes as a hammer, a fire and sometimes as water, but it comes to break the rocks, the hardening of the heart, in pieces.  And many times it has no effect.  They are enduring all right, but not in the Word of God.  They’re enduring what the powers of hell are telling them.  One way you can tell this kind of life is that the things of God are always so boring to them that when you try to talk with them about the things of God they look like death warmed over.  If it’s prayer time, or time to do something for God, they are tired, busy, they don’t feel good, or any number of other things.  But if it’s something of this world, for pleasure, sports and fun, then they are taken over with an enthusiasm that they just can’t wait.  There is no stirring or warming in their hearts by the thought of serving God and loving Him.  They have no zeal for such things like fasting and prayer and those things become something they can’t stand, even something detestable to them. But the things of the world always cause enjoyment, excitement and  a liveliness in them.  What are these people going through?  They are receiving the mark of the beast.  They are beginning to be branded as the enemies of God.

      Act 10:43To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” “Remission” means forgiveness.  Do you believe your sins are forgiven.  Then confess it.  “My sins are forgiven.  The power of guilt and condemnation are broken.  I am been set free by the blood of Jesus.”  (V.15) “And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” Your sins have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus.  Do you believe it.  We are talking about a heart of faith that believes God’s word, not what they feel or what they devil is telling them.  Is God a respecter of person’s?

      Act 15:9And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” The moment your faith is put in the blood of Jesus, your heart is cleansed.  It’s for all men.

      If God has made covenant with you, then He will allow your heart to be tested by the powers of hell.  And that is where most walk out of their covenant with Christ, because they were never told that when they came to Jesus, that hell would declare war against them (Revelation 12:17).   Most come to Jesus with a false concept of what would happen after they gave their lives to Christ.  They thought that after coming to Jesus, everything would be peaches and cream and they would just tiptoe through the spiritual tulips.  This is not God’s way.  God has a very interesting way of dealing with you and I when we come to covenant.  If you have started to make covenant with God and then you failed the test, then God never ratified His covenant with you.  If you decide it doesn’t matter what you have to walk through, your going to walk in covenant with God, and do your part faithfully, then you don’t have to worry about Him doing His part faithfully.  If you doubt it, go back and read the 30th chapter of Deuteronomy.  But I have some news for you.  If you come back, to covenant, you are going to be tested by the powers of hell.  Is that clear?  Let’s see what Satan’s role is today, since he has been defeated.  The Bible tells us that we have a new covenant, and Paul and Peter told us that it includes all of the prophets of the Old Testament.  If you don’t think so, then read Acts 3:17-26; Romans15:4; 1Corinthians 10:1-11; 1Peter 1:1-9 and you will find out that you can’t say “I have the new covenant, without including the prophets.  They are all describing the terms of the covenant and the ways of the God of the covenant.  Jeremiah tells us Satan’s role for the body of Christ, as a conquered foe.  For he is like any other conquered foe and must serve the one who captured him.

      Jeremiah 6:27I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among my people, that thou mayest know and try their way.” His job is to try us and try to divide us with walls.  A “fortress” is a fortification, or a fenced fortress, a castle.  And Satan does His job well.  What about you?  Your job is to stand and take the land.  The one who doesn’t believe God, won’t obey God and won’t cry out to Him when all hell breaks loose against them, get branded.  The God of covenant expects us not only to believe Him and to stand against the devil and be faithful, but He expects us to fight him with all our strength.

      How do men receive this mark of the beast?  Just begin to walk in unbelief.  The mark of man is not to ever trust or believe God.  Let’s see a side of those who walk in God’s commandments and meditate upon His Word.  When all hell breaks loose against them, they take up their ground and stand against it without grumbling and complaining.

      Psalm 84:5-6Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.” Every time they go through a place of trouble and hardship, they make it into a spring.  How can they do that?  The ways or highways of God are in their heart.  David said “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11).  When we react in unbelief, we are sinning against God.  When we agree with the powers of hell, we call God a liar. 

      Revelation 22:1And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Jeremiah told us that God’s people had forsaken the fountain of living waters (Jeremiah 2:13).  They went another way.  But now we see the Lord telling us about the source of this river.  Is Jesus on the throne of God today?  Is He the one mediator between God and man? 

      Revelation 22:2In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” Now we know there is no need of healing in heaven, for nobody will be sick in heaven, so this has to do with those on the earth and not in heaven as many told us.   Jesus is the tree of life.  How does this work.  Well, when I had hepatitis and jaundice after coming back from India a few years ago, I stood by faith in Jesus, that He alone was my healer.  In time, when I passed the test of faith and obedience, the Lord allowed me to eat of the leaves of that tree, and I was healed.  It’s for you and me.  It’s His provision for us to be healed.  Why are the leaves of this tree for the healing of the nations?

      Revelation 22:3aAnd there shall be no more curse:” That there should no more be any curse in our lives.  Obviously there are no curses or anyone under a curse in heaven, right?  (V.3b) “but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:” Why are these people being healed and not under a curse?  Because they serve the Lord!   How do you serve God?  Simple - by obeying Him!  Do you know any other way?  What if I memorize the entire Bible, does that make me a servant of God? 

      (V.4) “And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.” Hebrews 12:2 told us we overcome by “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”  Are you looking at Him and keeping His face before you?  Are you spending time daily in His presence? “His name” that’s His nature and character “shall be in their foreheads.”  There’s that word forehead again.  This is something being described that is the opposite of the marking of the beast.  And it has something to do with our forehead, representing our mind, our thoughts and imaginations.  We are seeing in our mind how Jesus is, what He is like.  Our mind will react to whatever we give it to feed upon.  If you meditate on filthy thoughts, then your mind will react to it.  But if that filthy thought comes your way, and you cast it down as the Lord commanded you to do as His servant in 2Corinthians 10, and you quickly turn your face to Him; your mind will be changed and you will receive God’s grace, as if you were in His presence in the heavenlies. 

      (V.5) “And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” “No night,” meaning no darkness. 

      (V.6) “And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.” When did all this begin?  Let’s look where that river is first mentioned.  But know this, for that river to flow through you, you must have a heart of faith in His Word and the moment you receive any doubt in your heart, it stops the flow of that river, it blocks up the channel and God will not come near you.  But God has made provision for us. No matter how low you may sink, even to the lowest pit that hell can sink you into, having devils hanging all over you like bats; the moment you turn to God in faith, you open the channel for the flowing of that river.  And God said every thing shall live whither the river cometh, and it will bring you out of that pit of hell.  But if in that pit you grumble and complain, that river will not come anywhere near you, for God cannot bless a complainer with His spirit.  The river is the spirit of God flowing into your life.

      Ezekiel 47:8Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed.” The east represents that place far from God’s presence.  It doesn’t matter how far from Him you’ve gone, if you will turn back to Him with a pure heart, He will hear you and come to you.  “Down into the desert.”  Who is always in a desert place?  Isn’t it the rebellious according to Psalm 68:6?  So, even if you are in total rebellion against God, being far from His presence; when His Word comes to you, if you decide to act upon it in faith; and not upon the conditions you find yourself in, then He will send you that water and bring you back to life and out of that pit.  “The sea,” Is the sea of people.  God is always looking for the lost one whom He can rescue. 

      Ezekiel 47:9And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.” “Multitude of fish” represents the people in the world.  We were called to become fishers of men.  “And every thing shall live whither the river cometh.”  We need that river to keep coming to us and refreshing us with His life. 

      (V.10-11) “And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt.” What is God saying in all this.  My Word is going forth, and where it goes, the river of life goes, and there are those who will receive it and those who will remain in the place of the damned and not receive it.  “Given to salt” means given to judgment.  Remember Lot’s wife?  She wanted what she was leaving behind.  Paul, speaking of Abraham, in Hebrews 11:15, said if he had looked back, he would have had an occasion to return.  That’s what a lot of us do.  We talk about our past, not as a testimony of God’s grace in delivering us, but to glory in what we once did before we came to God.  Today they love to put sports figures, or performers and singers into the pulpit to attract crowds, but that isn’t God’s way.  God chooses the weak and the foolish to confound the wise and mighty.  God specializes in using nobody’s.  “Salt”.  Do you know how much life is in the Dead Sea.  Nothing.  It is totally devoid of all life.  Why?  There is too much salt for anything to live.  Here is a group of people who hear the word of God, who hear preaching on the radio, and read books, day after day, but nothing is touching and reviving their heart because their faith is dead.  Instead of coming to life, these are being branded for destruction by the beast.  They are unbelieving, doubting, argumentative, unforgiving, always blaming their mates or children.  They have minds of salt. 

      Ezekiel 47:12aAnd by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade,” “All trees.”  Guess who these trees are?  We are and we all have a part to play.  One brother may say, “brother I’m going through this thing.”  And the other will say, “I’ve been there, let me tell you how to overcome it.”  That is a tree giving food.   “The bank”!  What is this bank?  We are standing on the side of the river around the throne of God.  He is our source.  He is upon the throne and the water of life is flowing forth from it.  We are walking along the bank.  We are bearing fruit unto the Lord.  When others are going through a rough time, we offer the fruit of our lives to them, that they can overcome and come to deliverance.  But there are those who are more comfortable remaining in the swamps and marshes where the filth and darkness are.  “Whose leaf shall not fade.”  Remember Psalm 1:3, the man whose leaf does not wither,  and the trees of the field that clap their hands. 

      (V.12B) “neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.” “From the sanctuary”.  We bear fruit because of the river that flows from the throne of God that we read about in Revelation 22.  “Medicine” means remedy.  That’s what counseling is supposed to be about.

      So many tell you they know Jesus while they drink their beer and puff on their cigarette.  But you will never know God, except you learn of Him through hardship and trial.  You only get to know Him through the tribulations you are exposed too.  We are in a holy war, because the powers of hell have declared war against us, against all who keep the commandments of God.  My war might be different than yours, but we are all in this warfare, if we truly belong to Jesus.

      2Corinthians 11:24-26Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;” This is Paul’s testimony.  This harlot preacher out of Ft. Worth said the reason Paul went through all these persecutions and sufferings were because He didn’t have the “Word of Faith”.  Folks, that’s just plain blasphemous.  The people then cheered because they thought they had something that even Paul didn’t have.  Give me a break.  I’ll take Paul’s weakness.  He raised the dead and cast out devils.  He had the power of the anointing of the Holy Spirit, as much as a man can have.  (1Corinthians 2:4-5; 1Thess.1:5) Furthermore, Paul’s Gospel was one given by direct revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ.  (Gal.1:11-12) How can you have something better than this?  Wicked men today just like to promote themselves and their ministry, rather than Christ.  Such perverse statements that belittle the ministry and anointing of the early apostles to try and promote themselves as being more knowledgeable in the things of God, or that they have a greater anointing is but pure nonsense and proof of their wicked hearts.

      1Corinthians 11:27Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” But Paul wasn’t complaining.  I know He had the right spirit and frame of mind, just like Moses, when he told the children of Israel that God allowed them to hunger in the wilderness, that they might know that man doesn’t live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord (Deuteronomy 8:3), or when Jesus told the Devil that same thing when he had been fasting in the wilderness for 40 days.  Most people who think they are following God would swiftly turn their back on Him if they were told what it would cost them to follow the Lord.  To most, God is a God of convenience.  They serve God for their own personal gain and not to please Him and help further His kingdom.

      2Timothy 2:3Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” Soldier?  Yes, salvation is warfare, not tiptoeing through the spiritual tulips.  How about 1Timothy 6:12? “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” But the Church is saying, “But God, we don’t want to fight.”  Yet this is a part of our covenant walk with God. 

      Psalm 144:1Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:” All those who will not become a part of the fight, are not counted as God’s people.  Don’t forget the children of Israel that came out of Egypt that didn’t want to fight to take the land.  God rejected them and destroyed them in the wilderness.  God told them to go fight and take the land.  They refused and lost their salvation.  Everything that happened to them in the Old Testament in natural realm was a type and shadow of things in the spiritual realm for us today.  What do we fight with?  The weapons of God, spiritual weapons! 

      Ephesians 6:12-13For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Your enemies, the demonic hosts of hell, are always prepared and ready for battle.  Are you?  Their job is to test and try your faith and your faithfulness and they do a good job of it.  Your job is to resist the demons of hell and their temptations.  Yet while we talk about the battle and warfare, there are two things worth mentioning.  First, the battle is not between God or Jesus and the Devil.  They have no battle because Jesus is Lord and has all power of all the hosts of hell.  The battle is for your soul.  Now it’s your responsibility and mine to overcome and walk in victory.  The second thing is that most believers give more credit to the devil than he deserves.  Many times we just sin because of our flesh.  The devil has nothing to do with it.  No minion of hell even came to tempt you.  It was just the lusts of your flesh and eyes and fallen pride that led you astray and caused you to sin.  Many have a certain ‘bent’ to a particular sin.  They have a sin that does so easily beset them.  They need no help or outside force or pressure, they just do it all by themselves.  You do know what I mean, don’t you?

      Look at Paul’s testimony of what it is to be an overcomer.  Act 14:22Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Can you thank God for you times of trial and testing, acknowledging that they are for you good? (Do it). Romans 5:1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:” A holy and righteous God cannot have peace with one who is in present sin and therefore under the guilt and condemnation and effect of that sin.  But when we come to Christ by faith, we are justified, the sin is removed and with it all guilt and condemnation, and therefore God can be at peace with us.  We have peace with God because we have been reconciled to Him through the Lord Jesus Christ who became our peace-maker (Mediator) and who gives us His peace (Jn.14:27).  But that does not mean we have peace in this world, or peace with the world or with the devil who is your mortal enemy. 

      Romans 5:2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Once we have received the grace of God in salvation, then we have to stand in it. When we were justified by faith in Christ, we were brought into this grace, it isn’t something we were born into or that we could attain unto in or of ourselves.  This is something we are supposed to know.  “In which we stand” refers to God’s grace given unto us. Why does it say that?  Because of what is in verses 3 to 5.  It is through these things that we must stand and be faithful to God and our covenant with Him.  It denotes perseverance. 

      Romans 5:3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;” They are rejoicing in the midst of their trials.  Why?  How can they do it?  Because they know God.  What do they know about God?  “Tribulation worketh patience.”  Patience; from the Greek Hupomone (hoop-om-on-ay'); is translated as: ‘cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy:--enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting).’  It gives you the ability to persevere.  Now, tribulation does not in and of itself bring patience into our lives.  Think back to what it was like as a sinner to face tribulations.  Did a repeated trial make you happy or help you to overcome it easier with greater patience?  I don’t know about you, but without God’s help, my flesh just gets more and more frustrated and upset.  What brings the patience or perseverance is the working of the Spirit of God in our lives when we are in tribulation.  It’s God’s grace that is given to us when we are undergoing tribulation that helps us to patiently endure and be consistent in our stand and walk with God.  Remember what God’s grace I in broad terms?

      Revelation 14:12Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Patience here is the same Greek word used in Romans 5:3.  Endurance, perseverance against what?  Hell that has come against us.  Remember, Satan makes war with only the saints.  Revelation 12:17And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Don’t worry about it.  You won’t go through anything if God drops you like a hot potato for breaking covenant.  One of the worst possible judgments from God is the silent judgment.  God won’t say a thing to you or bother you.  He will let you go your merry way and you will think everything is wonderful.  You don’t seem to be under any curse, and the devil doesn’t seem to be bothering you and all will seem well in the natural.  But that’s the fast easy ticket to hell, like sliding down a water slide.  But remember, those He claims as His children, He chastises (Hebrews 12:6). 

      Hebrews 10:32But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;” First notice the word after.  It is only for those who are truly born again, truly children of God that the devil makes war against.  Only those who are truly His keep His commandments and testimonies. “Great fight of afflictions”, as in plural, more than one, not to mention the intensity in ‘great’.  Again Paul writes this as if we should know what he is saying.  This was something Paul knew because of knowing the ways of God in working and dealing with His people, and we too will know these things if we know God as he did.  But today most preachers don’t talk about such things and tell the people that coming to God will cost them something. Too many, salvation is so presented that you would think it is all peaches and cream, eating lemon pie and ice cream all your life.  It isn’t, “If you come to Jesus He will make you rich” or He will bless your socks off.  We are supposed to understand that in serving Christ, there will be tribulation and hardship, and things like rejection and ridicule. Suffering because we are Christians may tempt us to forsake our faith in Christ, as shown in the parable of the sower and the seed.  Memory of past experiences and victories can give us courage to face present persecution. 

      Paul gave us a good way to view our sufferings in this present life in Romans 8:18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” The key words are “not worthy”.  How can he say that?  In light of the glory that awaits the children of God in the resurrection.  Our present sufferings are but for a moment compared to eternity.  (V.19) “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” All of creation is groaning because of the fall of man and it’s result on the creation and waiting for the time of the manifestation of the sons of God and the end of the curse brought upon creation because of sin. 

      Hebrews 10:32-33But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.” Many believers then lost their jobs because they were Christians.  They suffered many things.  Jesus told us that if we followed Him, we would not be popular with the world, but rejected and hated.  Most professing Christians today aren’t unpopular, and rejected by the worldly crowd because they have no testimony for Christ.  They don’t live the life they profess and they are not different and peculiar to the world. Because they act and live like the world, they are accepted by them and even loved. Such are most of our present ‘Christian’ leaders.

      Let’s look at some men in the Old Testament and see how they responded to the trials of faith.  They knew what to do, but God’s people today don’t.  2Chronicles 17:3-4And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim; But sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel.” Most of Israel were in rebellion against God, but Jehoshaphat was different.

      (V.5-6, 10) “Therefore the LORD stablished the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honour in abundance. And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD: moreover he took away the high places and groves out of Judah … And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat.” This is a part of walking in covenant with God.  When you have been tried and God is pleased, He will tell the enemy to leave you alone and give you peace. 

      2Chronicles 19:4And Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem: and he went out again through the people from Beersheba to mount Ephraim, and brought them back unto the LORD God of their fathers.” Notice what Jehoshaphat was doing.  He was bringing people back to God. 

      (V.5-9) “And he set judges in the land throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city, And said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment. Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts. Moreover in Jerusalem did Jehoshaphat set of the Levites, and of the priests, and of the chief of the fathers of Israel , for the judgment of the LORD, and for controversies, when they returned to Jerusalem. And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do in the fear of the LORD, faithfully, and with a perfect heart.” That’s how we are to serve God; faithfully, with a perfect heart.  Now we can see that this man is walking in covenant with God.  Today, many teach that if you walk in covenant with God, you won’t go through any trials and the devil won’t come near you.  They have told people that got sick, “Either you don’t have faith, or your sinning, otherwise you wouldn’t get sick.”  But that is not reality.  This is David’s testimopny concerning afflictions (Psalm 34:19).   And this is Paul’s testimony (2TIMOTHY 3:11-12).  King Jehoshaphat experienced the same things as all those who will believe God and keep His commandments then as well as today.  The devil will make war with you at some point in time, even if you have been given peace from the war for a season, because of God’s grace when He tells the enemy to leave you alone, it is not something that is a lifelong experience.  We all get tested and tried.

      2Chronicles 20:1It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab , and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle.” Now Moab and Ammon were the sons of the incestuous relationship of Lot with his daughters after he came out of Sodom.  The children of Israel were told they could not make war with them, because they were their brothers.  But they were cursed brothers, who had no part or fellowship with them and no inheritance among Israel

      (V.2-3) “Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria ; and, behold, they be in Hazazontamar, which is Engedi. And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” Remember there are always more children of the flesh than of the spirit that trouble those who are true followers of the Lord.  That has been true since the time of Abraham’s first son Ishael who became a thorn in the side of Isaac.  So it has always been, as Paul told us about in Galatians 4:22-31.   The scripture said: “Jehoshaphat feared.”  Now there is nothing wrong with being afraid if when you are you will run to God.  When fear comes against you, run from it, to God.   That’s how you overcome it.  So Jehoshaphat ran to the God of covenant, to the one he was in covenant with.

      2Chronicles 20:4And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.” When you are going through hell, seek help from the Lord, and don’t try to do it yourself.  If you do you will fail, your victory is through your faith in Christ to deliver you (1Jn.5:4). 

      (V.5-6) “And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?” God is in charge of this world and is accomplishing His own purposes.  He is always in control and so even in desperate situations, we have no cause for despair.  Our God can easily win our victories against all human odds.  There is nothing too hard for Him to handle and do for us.  His sovereign intention is to bring peace and rest to His people and show them His salvation that we should walk before Him in faith and fear of sin. 

      (V.7-9) “Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever? And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying, If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.” This is wuoting from 2Chronicles 6:28 –30.  He is speaking his faith in the Word and promise of God.  Did God tell you if you came back to Him with a whole heart, that He would deliver and restore you and circumcise your hearts.  Then why do we grumble and complain when we have found that we are in bondage because we have sinned against God rather than just running back to God and crying out to Him until He does what He said He would do in our lives and sets us free. 

      (V.10-12) “And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not; Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit. O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.” Where are your eyes?  What are who are they upon?  Recently a bunch of people looked to and followed a man named Applewhite, who led a cult named ‘Heavens Gate’.  That man led his followers to suicide and eternal damnation.  Notice Jehoshaphat's prayer.  It contains five basic elements: (1) an invocation to the "Lord God of our fathers" (v.6); (2) an acknowledgment that the land now threatened was a divine gift from God (v.7); (3) an assertion that he was turning to God in his time of need (v.8-9); (4) an indictment of the enemy for their base ingratitude -- Israel had refrained from attacking the people of Ammon, Moab, and Edom at the time of their Exodus and wilderness wandering (vv.10-11) in Num. 20:17-21;

      (V.13-14) “And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation;” That’s what will happen when you put your eyes upon the Lord in your time of need, when you are tried in the fire.  He will come to your help. 

      2Kings 18:1-3Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did.” “According to all that David his father did.” Hezekiah was a true follower of God and true son of David, who followed in his footsteps.  God’s testimony of him in verse five says it all.  You can’t have a higher approval than that of God. 

      (V.4) “He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.” The brazen serpent Moses made 700 years before as a point of contact and faith in God for healing had become an idol that was worshipped.  What is so sad is that it’s very name showed contempt for God.  It was called ‘Nehushtan meaning "a mere piece of bronze"’.  But of course that is no different than men who worship trees, or statues of wood or stone.  Idolatry is idolatry.  Some worship people, money, possessions, or whatever else their heart is devoted to.  Hezekiah was trying to turn the people back to worshipping God.  Almost immediately after Ahaz's death, he began destroying all the high places where pagan religious ceremonies had been held, and disposed of all cultic objects which might have heathen significance, the brazen serpent being a notable one because it was a memorial of God’s mercy and grace of years past, but had been misused and so needed to be destroyed. 

      (V.5-7)He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses. And the LORD was with him; and he prospered whithersoever he went forth: and he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not.” What a testimony God gave of this man.  Now prosperity here is not as most think of prosperity.  It was not a physical thing of money and possession but of fulfilling the will and purposes of God.  That’s why he had God’s approval.  Israel had been serving Asyria and paying tribute to them, but not Hezekiah.  Remember that the kingdom is divided into two parts, into Judah and Israel .  Hezekiah was king over Judah Israel was rebellious against God and so God allowed the enemy to overcome them.  Why? 

      (V.11-12) “And the king of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria, and put them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes: Because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD their God, but transgressed his covenant, and all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded, and would not hear them, nor do them.” Because of their rebellion and disobedience against God, most of them died in captivity.  The promise of God’s covenant does not override the consequences when His people sin against Him.  When we violate God’s commandments, we choose a way that is not good and will bring ruin in our lives.  The only way out is repentance and returning to walking in covenant with Him will a whole heart.  At that time, the Asyrians had conquered some people who said they were God’s people, those who were part of the kingdom of Israel.  That gave them the courage to come against Judah, those who really were God’s people, meaning they who were walking in faith and obedience to God, and were keeping covenant with Him. 

      2King 18:17-20And the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rabshakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. And when they were come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is in the highway of the fuller's field. And when they had called to the king, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder. And Rabshakeh said unto them, Speak ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence is this wherein thou trustest? Thou sayest, (but they are but vain words), I have counsel and strength for the war. Now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me?” We are in a war.  But who is Hezekiah’s trust in?  The Lord.  He is rebelling against the powers of hell coming against him. Rabshakeh is trying to convince the Jews that there is no purpose or hope in their withstanding their army.  He said “What confidence is this wherein thou trustest?”  Oh if only sinner would submit to the force of this very argument in relationship to their withstanding God, and in their effort to seek peace with God.  These statements of this devil are true if applied toward the Lord.  It is truly vain to contend with the Lord and what confidence is that which they trust in who stand against Him?  As always, there is a time to speak and a time to remain silent and here the nobles of Judah remained silent while this devil ranted and raved in his pride and arrogance, not to mention his falsehood and outright blasphemy against the Lord.  What purpose would it have been for them to reply and cast pearls before this swine heathen?  Their silence made Rabshakeh yet more proud and secure in his boastings.  It is often best to leave such wicked people to rail and blaspheme; an expression of abhorrence is the best testimony against them.  We must leave such matters to the Lord, who has all men and hearts in his hands, committing ourselves unto him in humble submission, with believing faith, hope, and fervency of prayer.  Let us not forget that God is better able to defend Himself and to vindicate His honor than we are.  It does no good to argue faith or doctrine with a devil.

      (V.22-23) “But if ye say unto me, We trust in the LORD our God: is not that he, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and hath said to Judah and Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem? Now therefore, I pray thee, give pledges to my lord the king of Assyria, and I will deliver thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them.” What an offer.  Let’s make a deal. Yes, if you will sell out to serve him, Satan will reward you. That’s why many have made peace with Satan and serve him, because of what they think is a reward for doing so that they desire of him.  The first is no battle with him to fight. 

      (V.27-28) “But Rabshakeh said unto them, Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you? Then Rabshakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the Jews' language, and spake, saying, Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria:” This is how Satan speaks to your mind.  His words are full of insolence and lies against God and His Word. 

      (V.29-31a) “Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you out of his hand: Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria. Hearken not to Hezekiah:” Doesn’t the devil tell us to not listen to God’s Word?  He tells you that the only way to survive and prosper is to surrender to his demands and make agreement or covenant with him.  He promises a peaceful pleasurable captivity in a foreign country not our own.  What a liar!  Do you understand this?  Maybe no warfare, but you will be a captive in a foreign land.  You will be his servants. 

      2Kings 18:31Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me, and then eat ye every man of his own vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his cistern:” He is saying, come serve me and I will bless and prosper you financially.  But God says the cisterns that we make for ourselves are broken and can hold no water, no living water (Jeremiah 2:13).  Here’s more of his empty promise. 

      (V.32) “Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of oil olive and of honey, that ye may live, and not die: and hearken not unto Hezekiah, when he persuadeth you, saying, The LORD will deliver us.” Do you see this?  The devil says, I will bless you, in captivity.  He makes you his servant, puts you under the yoke of bondage, and tells you that it is for your own good and future.  The devil’s servants then tell God’s people to remember all the different gods who could not deliver their people from being taken over by the King of Assyria, who represents Satan, when he came against them. 

      (V.33) “Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered at all his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?” But Hezekiah had well trained his people. That is why you are here.  To be discipled in the Word of God and become rooted and grounded in it so that when you are tested you will be able to stand as they did. 

      (V.36) “But the people held their peace, and answered him not a word: for the king's commandment was, saying, Answer him not.” What did Hezekiah do after hearing the words of this enemy king?

      2King 19:1And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD.” He “rent his clothes”, he humbled himself before the Lord. Hezekiah had no faith or confidence in man or human alliances.  He only trusted God to deliver.

      (V.2-3) “And he sent Eliakim, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz. And they said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth.” But that isn’t the end of the story. 

      (V.6-7) “And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say to your master, Thus saith the LORD, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and shall return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.” Isaiah predicted that his enemy Sennacherib would return home and be killed.   Is that good news for the one who is trusting in God?  This is the blessing of those who walk in covenant with God.  But who does God make covenant with? 

      Nehemiah 9:8aAnd foundest his heart faithful before thee, and madest a covenant with him to give the land.” What does it mean that God made covenant with him because He found his heart faithful?  Romans 4:3, 6-8For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness… Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” What does that mean?  It means that once I come back to the Lord with a whole heart and repent of my sin, then God counts it as righteousness and does not take our sins and lawless deeds into account anymore, but instead He forgives them.

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