Archive for February, 2014

ARE YOU BEING PLUNDERED?(Pt. 3)

“Nineveh, you are under attack! The power that will shatter you has come. Prepare the defenses! Guard the road! Prepare for battle! ( The Lord is about to restore the glory of Israel, as it was before her enemies plundered her)” (Nahum 2:1-2 GNT).

The mere name ” Nineveh” would have made an Israelite shudder. Known for their godlessness, violence and cruelty they were a force with which to be reckoned. Recall, the prophet Jonah disobeyed God’s call to “Go to Nineveh” and warn them of certain judgment. It took a big fish and three nights in the deep to persuade him to fulfill God’s assignment. When given a second chance, Jonah obeyed and through his preaching, Ninevah was spared…for the time being. When they turned back to their godlessness, idolatry and cruel treatment of the Israelites. Finally The Lord God said,”Enough!”. Their cup of iniquity was full due their own sins and their repeated attacks on Israel, “the apple of God’s eye”.  Their day of reckoning had come. The day of destruction was upon them.

THE TIDE TURNS

The prophet Nahum announces the turning of the tide against Israel’s enemies. “I am your enemy!” says the Lord Almighty. “I will burn up your chariots. Your soldiers will be killed in war, and I will take away everything that you took from others. The demands of your envoys will no longer be heard.” (Nahum 2: 13 GNT) God foreshadows Nineveh’s defeat in graphic terms. “The gates by the river burst open; the palace is filled with terror. The queen is taken captive; her servants moan like doves and beat their breasts in sorrow. Like water from a broken dam the people rush from Nineveh! “Stop! Stop!” the cry rings out— but no one turns back. Plunder the silver! Plunder the gold! The city is full of treasure! “I am your enemy!” says the Lord Almighty. “I will burn up your chariots. Your soldiers will be killed in war, and I will take away everything that you took from others. The demands of your envoys will no longer be heard” (Nahum 2:6-9, 13 GNT). It’s one thing to know you have an human enemy but who would want to, as it were, dare get in the ring with the Almighty?

THE GREATEST THREAT

The greatest threat to any nation is not a foreign invasion(As horrible as that would be), rather it is to have God as an enemy! “God is an honest judge. He is angry with the wicked every day” (Psalms 7:11 NLT). God’s anger is always tempered with mercy. But His throne will eventually give way to judgment, knowing what is in the heart. ““I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve”(Jeremiah 17:10 NIV).

RESTORATION & PARTICIPATION

The prophet Nahum also announced good news ,”The Lord will restore the splendor of Jacob like the splendor of Israel, though destroyers have laid them waste and have ruined their vines”(Nahum 2:2 NIV; See also Jeremiah 30). But God does not lead His people without them playing their part. As we sited earlier the prophet Isaiah’s words, they were to do three primary things so as to recover from being victim’s of Nineveh’s cruelty and plunder. (1) Exalt His Word once again in their life. Isaiah 42:”The Lord was pleased, for his righteousness’ sake, to magnify his law and make it glorious”(Isaiah 42:21 ESV). The Word of God must be held with reverence and honor as the guiding star of their life. (2) Ask For Eyes of COMPASSION. “But this is a people plundered and looted; they are all of them trapped in holes and hidden in prisons; they have become plunder with none to rescue, spoil with none to say, “Restore!” (Isaiah 42: 22 ESV)

They must see and recognize the terrible plight of their brethren, in caves and hiding; bruised, battered and wounded. The greater tragedy was that no one cared. They had become desensitized to the plight of their people. (3) Cry out to The Lord for those who have become PLUNDERED.  What are they to cry? Psalm 79 gives some prayer-words for them (and those today) who have been plundered by the enemy. “Do not remember against us our former iniquities; let your compassion come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake! Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Let the avenging of the outpoured blood of your servants be known among the nations before our eyes! Let the groans of the prisoners come before you; according to your great power, preserve those doomed to die! …We your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise”(Psalm 79:8-11, 13 ESV).

(c) Copyright 2014, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not altered in anyway from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

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ARE YOU BEING PLUNDERED? (Pt.2)

“Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he divides the plunder”(Genesis 49:27 NIV).

If we don’t know who we are in Christ, we are subject to be “plundered by the enemy”. His strategic plan is our destruction…either through our ignorance or preying upon our innocence (immaturity). The Lord God declared through Hosea, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”(Hosea 4:6).

In Genesis 34, we read of the tragedy of Dinah’s rape (Jacob & Leah’s daughter). She apparently had gone out to meet the neighbors in the land of their sojourn (without apparent accompaniment). She, not realizing that they did not worship the true God and therefore did not share their moral codes and values was violated. In this sense, she was plundered of her identity as a daughter of Israel and robbed of her purity. Would that we (God’s people) understood this today as our moral values are being compromised.

In consequence of this tragic affair, her brothers, Simeon and Levi, took matters into their own hands and exacted vengeance upon the entire foreign tribe. But unfortunately, the Scripture records (See Genesis 34) that their anger went far beyond the immediate justice that was warranted. She had been plundered of her identity and they in turn killed and plundered out of anger and revenge. Their plundering was not an act of the spoils of war rather one of vengeance. They neither sought the Lord God for His counsel nor did they trust “The Lord of all the earth to do what is right”. Rather, taking matters into their own hands, they showed the cruelty in their own hearts and wiped out all the men of this village & “plundered” their camp. Jacob would later speak of their future in light of their cruelty (See Genesis 49:5-7). As a matter of fact, he spoke to each of his twelve sons an appropriate spiritual blessing (See Genesis 49). Take for example the prophetic blessing given to his last son, Benjamin.

A BENJAMIN COMPANY

Benjamin is the youngest of the sons of Jacob. He was given birth by Rachel as she was dying. She wanted to name him “Ben-Oni” meaning “Son of my sorrow” but Jacob stepped forward and named him, “Benjamin” meaning “Son of my right hand”; not allowing the memory of Rachel’s pain and sorrow to be projected onto Benjamin’s future potential and destiny. Nevertheless, Jacob would later hold on to him with a tight-fisted grip after his sons had deceived him, telling him that Joseph (Rachel’s older son and Benjamin’s brother) was no more. But thirteen years later, when it was revealed that Joseph was yet alive and ruler over all of Egypt, Jacob’s heart softened and his spirit revived. So, now that Jacob is old and dying he gathers his twelve sons and we read, “All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him”(Genesis 49:29) NIV). In particular, “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he divides the plunder.” (Genesis 49:27 NIV)

Benjamin as the youngest son receives the last spiritual blessing of Jacob. It is very striking and suggestive in its imagery. Let us make application for God’s last day Army. First, although he is the youngest of the tribe, his generation will not be the weakest! “The glory of young men is their strength…”(Proverbs 20:29a NKJV). I am not thinking of physical strength here but spiritual strength for battle against our enemy.

The apostle Paul wrote, “Be strong in The Lord and in the power of His might”(Ephesians 6:10). I believe the God’s Last Day  Army will be the greatest Army, not because of their human strength, but just the opposite…Because they recognize their human weakness. ““I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name” (Revelation 3:8 NKJV).  This is the “Year of Open Doors of Opportunity”. Expect the miraculous in your weakness. Allow God’s power to be displayed in your present circumstances. What is impossible with man is possible with God.

Again, Benjamin is described as “a ravenous wolf…he devours the prey”. Wolves by nature do not hunt alone. They travel in packs (As a family). There is the need for ” spiritual partnerships” if this generation is to fulfill their God-given assignments. No longer are we to have a “Lone Ranger”(Go it alone) attitude. We need others of like precious faith to help achieve our divine mission. The prey is taken more easily when the wolf hunts with the pack.

Finally, Benjamin is likened unto a wolf hunting in “the morning” but “in the evening he divides the plunder”(Genesis 49:27b). In other words, while the darkness is settling in this is the time to share with others what has been spiritually gained in the light of day. The apostle Peter declared, “We have the word of prophecy made more sure; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19 ASV).

This is the hour that Jesus, our Day-star, invites a “Benjamin Company” to “Arise!” and share in the plunder of His victory won on Calvary’s Cross.

(c) Copyright 2014, Walter Fletcher,Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied free of charge provided that it is not altered from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com.

ARE YOU BEING PLUNDERED? (Pt.1)

Our congregation was in the midst of a wonderful worship service. We were sensing His presence among us in a very unusual way.  Suddenly! I heard in my spirit one word…”Plundered”. I knew the Lord was speaking a very specific word. I began to wonder, Why didn’t He say, “Stolen”? Or “Robbed”? But no, I heard the word “plundered”.  In that moment, I did not know what the Lord was indicating (Other than the fact that I knew He was referring to His people). This stayed before me. So during that week I began to research the word “plunder” and made this discovery. Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary,”Plunder: To pillage; to spoil; to strip; to take the goods of an enemy…. That which is taken from an enemy by force; pillage; prey; spoil.” As I prayerful pondered the meaning, I sensed the Lord speaking to my heart again saying, “My people are being plundered by the enemy because they do not realize that they are at war!”

WE ARE AT WAR

If we the people of God do not understand the nature of our conflict we will live and operate entirely different. For example, during Wartime, a nation is both galvanized and mobilized to think and act differently than in Peacetime. You are called upon as a Nation or people to make the necessary disciplines and sacrifices for the sake of your country in order to defeat the enemy and maintain your freedom. Again, if you get robbed or have something stolen in a time of peace there are laws that apply to theft or robbery in Peacetime that may not be as stringent as when that which is of value is taken by an enemy during a time of war. Things taken from you are of equal value but under different circumstances require different measures during Wartime. You’ve been plundered!  In war, the reason the enemy plunders is not merely because “he won’t get caught” but because he knows he has DEFEATED his enemy.  He therefore strips, taking the spoils or prey AT WILL.

THE AGENDA

The strategy of the enemy is your utter defeat! All the better if he can do it without having to enter into conflict simply by lulling you into a sense of false spiritual security. Our Lord Jesus has made clear what is the “agenda” of our enemy. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy”(John 10:10a NIV). That agenda has not changed. From the dawn of creation and Man’s fall in the Garden to Satan’s ultimate doom and Judgment, we must recognize that we are in mortal combat with our enemy. He comes only to steal…kill…and ultimately to bring about our destruction. He knows he cannot do it himself alone. So he gets unsuspecting, ignorant, unbelieving, carnal believers to relinquish their position of victory over to him.

STEAL, KILL, DESTROY

In what way can the enemy be allowed to “steal, kill and destroy” a believer? On a basic level, he comes to steal our joy. He knows that “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10b). Joy is a spiritual weapon and is a means that lifts us when circumstances around us appear more real than our true spiritual condition. Joy builds our spiritual immune system against the spiritual viruses sent from the enemy. Joy is a manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit, springing from an obedient heart. Maintain your joy under all appearances. Again, the enemy comes on a basic level to kill our witness. Our witness and the public testimony of our faith and “the hope that lies within us”(See 1 Peter 3:15) demolishes the pretentiousness of an unbelieving world. Paul understood this and said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. (Romans 1:16 NIV). Our witness is our weaponry. John wrote, “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death”(Revelation 12:11 NIV). A speaking Christian sends fear (And confusion) into the Camp of the enemy. Is it any wonder that “The Bible”,” The Commandments”,” Prayer” are being systematically opposed or challenged” in our public arenas? The true follower of Jesus knows he must show up, stand up and speak up for the cause of Jesus Christ. If not…Our silence is in fact an agreement with the agenda of the enemy. Further still, the thief comes to “destroy”. Satan hates everything and everyone who represents God and His kingdom’s advance. He knows he has but a short time and his ultimate manifest defeat and judgment is at hand. He is working at an all time fever-pitch to bring destruction upon all that represents the image of the Creator Who has declared,” Behold I make all things new”(Revelation 21:5).

A NEW ARMY

A new army is arising! They are embracing the fact that the Lord Jesus, the Captain of God’s army has stated HIS agenda (In spite of our foe). “I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly”(John 10:10).  Following Jesus, His army will look and act like HIM; clothed with His armor of light and life they will stand victorious. The apostle John wrote, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:4, 5 NIV)

We are not to be plundered by the enemy. We are destined to plunder our enemy. “The spoils go to the victor”! 

(c) Copyright 2014, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied free of charge provided that it is not altered from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com.