217. Suddenly…quickly…now

Something we all had to learn over the last two “virus”-years, is patience.  I am sure that everybody thought that by the start of 2022 we would be putting everyday statistics of new infections, hospitalizations and deaths behind us.  Things are dragging on, although there is much hope to finally rid our world of this unprecedented contamination.  Things are looking up and it seems we do not have to fear another variant and more regulations.  It seems the dragon’s tail, that slapped us when we thought we had survived the gush of fire from the dragon’s mouth, has run out of spikes.

One of the principal themes of the past two years was fear.  Fear is sudden and unexpected,  uninvited and unwelcome – always.  Lurking behind  the fear-mongering of information-overload was and is a good dose of pride.  Who was going to triumph in the murky waters of unknown political and economic circumstances?  Fear and pride – the strong men of the inner life – arrive with great suddenness and depart with exaggerated reluctance.   

To fight fear and pride demands a profound change in our mindset and a renewed reliance on the power of the Word of God.  Our liberty is at stake.  It is all-out war – take up arms!

In first verse of Malachi the third chapter the word suddenly leaps off the page.  We need to heed warnings to be patient.  We live in a generation that expects things to happen fast – instantly is best.  I am also impatient with slow internet and slow service.  I am not naturally patient.  I have to talk myself into it, consciously decide to practise patience where it is necessary, especially with regards to other people.  Getting rid of our sinful nature is a process.  Impatience has an ugly anger-face that pops up unexpectedly right out of my own heart.

I am not a victim, of course.  I live in the power-realm of forgiveness and Holy Spirit-gifting.

“Behold, I send My messenger,
And he will prepare the way before Me.
And the Lord, whom you seek,
Will suddenly come to His temple,
Even the Messenger of the covenant,
In whom you delight.
Behold, He is coming,”
Says the Lord of hosts
.  (Malachi 3:1)

We know this Scripture refers to Jesus.  We know it is the encouragement of the prophet that God will send the messenger of the Covenant, the Light of the World, whom Abraham saw when he was sleeping while God conducted the Covenant-ritual on his behalf.  We as humans cannot stand in covenant relationship with an almighty God.  God cut covenant with himself so that He could uphold both sides of the liaison.  Jesus symbolically took our place even in the time of Abraham.  It is God-in-action for time and eternity; his Plan and Purpose that always prevail from the earliest time to the fullness of the future.  Jesus is the fulfillment of all of God’s plan for mankind.

Where are we now?   We are at the place of sudden solution to the mystery.  When we seekthe Lord and delight in him, the Messenger of  the Covenant comes into his temple  – his presence in us the Church of Jesus.  The time has come.  The Promise is given and fulfilled.  The Cross is the proof of God’s faithful promise for all mankind throughout history.  His Holy Spirit breathes his life-giving breath in our lives daily.

So why do we not feel it?  There can only be one guilty of keeping us from the full blessing – satan, the old snake of the Garden. His ghosts of Fear and Pride haunt us and block the conduit of blessing.

In David’s psalms there is often an urgency for speedy action from God.  We know that David spent ten years in the wilderness fleeing for his life from Saul who hunted him constantly.  In his greatest need and obviously fearful moments the foundations of his faith were established.  Was the young David very taken with his anointing as king?  He was convinced that his summons to the palace to calm the king with his music was the beginning of his palace-life in training from a man who knew how to be king.  Not so – everything  went south.  Saul tried to kill him and became his greatest enemy. He is humiliated and haunted.  He fled into the wilderness and begged God for protection and provision.  In deep-rooted dependence on God, his art and reign are forged.

Fear is a subject that the Bible speaks of frequently.  God will never leave nor forsake us.  There is a promise for every day and a testimony of miraculous intervention to back it up in numerous stories of the Bible.

Pride is a shady and devious thief who slips into our thinking with cunning strategies to trap us into self-satisfaction and an unhealthy awareness of our own achievement.   It is a blessing-blocker.

Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall
. (Proverbs 16:18)

But Hezekiah did not repay according to the favor shown him, for his heart was lifted up; therefore wrath was looming over him and over Judah and Jerusalem. 26 Then Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah.  (2 Chronicles 32:25,26)

Are you satisfied with yourself, proud of what you have accomplished, proud of who you know and the network you have built?  You might even think you have worked hard and deserved the favour you enjoy.  Do you discern the wrath looming over your life?

Repentance will open the channel of blessing.

Hezekiah showed the visiting officials his riches when he was supposed to testify of his miraculous healing by God. (Isaiah 39)  He was proud of the blessing of the Lord and did not give God the glory.  David in the wilderness had to learn that it is only blessing from God that sustains him. (Proverbs 10:22)

Nebuchadnezzar had to eat grass like a cow in deep humiliation before he bent his knee to submit to the Almighty God of heaven and earth (Daniel 4:29-37).  Then he declared:

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down. (Daniel 4:37)

Get rid of pride and fear – blessing will be poured out on you…suddenly!

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