So Samuel said: "Has the LORD [as great] delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, [And] to heed than the fat of rams.
"But this is what I commanded them, saying, 'Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.'
I'm sure the majority of Christians view 'The Response' (the prayer meeting in Texas on 2011/08/06) as a good thing. And I don't necessarily disagree with that. It's definitely a step in the right direction. But I'd like to challenge some notions about this meeting. And I'd like to hold it up to what the Bible says about our generation of believers in America. Specifically, I'd like to make the case that it just plain isn't enough to move Jehovah to action on our behalf. Why? It all comes down to obedience. Do you see what I'm saying here? The reason we're now under the judgments of God is because of disobedience. Our sins have increased to the point where our Great and Holy Jehovah can no longer tolerate them:
14 All your lovers have forgotten you; They do not seek you; For I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy, With the chastisement of a cruel one, For the multitude of your iniquities, [Because] your sins have increased
15 Why do you cry about your affliction? Your sorrow [is] incurable. Because of the multitude of your iniquities, [Because] your sins have increased, I have done these things to you.
"The more they increased, The more they sinned against Me; I will change their glory into shame.
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:
And the reason the tribulation is coming is for the same reason. We're told the tribulation is coming because his people have been overrun with sin and have refused to turn from our wicked ways:
ALL THIS IS FOR the transgressions of Jacob and for the sins of the house of Israel...
OK, it seems like every time I write something I have to point this out. I was talking with someone just the other day and he said "but I thought Israel is the Jews". Folks, I used to think the same thing. Until I started reading my Bible. The house of Jacob is represented by two daughters: the house of Israel and the house of Judah. These two sisters went in two very different directions. Israel left God and God divorced Israel. Israel, the 10 northern tribes, was the lump of clay in Jeremiah 18 that became marred in the Potter's hand and God had to remake them into a different vessel. They are referred to as the "lost sheep" of the house of Israel. Now, who did Yeshua say he was sent to recover? That's right, the lost sheep. The house of Judah is the Jews today. The house of Israel is the Church today. (Galatians 6:16)
Can I tell you something? People today don't read their Bibles.(Jeremiah 6:10) Our pastors teach and preach but they don't study their Bibles either. They throw out one-liners, based on their incomplete understanding, and people believe them. Then people carry around these notions in their heads. Let's take a look:
"We've not sought the Lord with all our heart," Ulrey said. "It's not about us. It's about believers coming together in unity. When two agree according to his word, he hears."OK, is this really true today? Is Father listening to our prayers today? Certainly we have these promises:
19 "Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.
20 "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them."
But is this promise valid today for believers in America? Is it valid to take a couple of verses by themselves and say "OK, these verses stand by themselves. This is always true 100% of the time." You know, it might be possible to do that with some verses. But if we aren't careful, we are only fooling ourselves. And I'm here to tell you that the church today is playing the fool. "HERESY! I'm just trusting God's promises to us!!! I will now click away from this website and never return! Good bye and good riddance!" Before you go, hear me out. How do you reconcile the above promise with this promise?:
1 Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear.
2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.
"Oh, well, um... That's not talking about us!" OK, let's go back to Matthew 18. Go up a few verses, what's he talking about? Let's see...
"If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast [it] from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire.
Wow, that's pretty serious. Cut off your hand and pluck out your eye if they cause you to sin. "Oh, he didn't really mean it." You can believe that if you want. People today think they can continue to live any kind of life they want as long as they profess Jesus (Yeshua). Sorry folks, God is not schizophrenic. We were given the WHOLE Bible to study and apply to our lives. Passages like Matthew 18:19-20 and Isaiah 59:1-2 have to be taken TOGETHER and reconciled. And yes, Isaiah 59 is definitely talking about us...his people in America today.
So did Father hear the cries of the people in Texas?
"Judah mourns, And her gates languish; They mourn for the land, And the cry of Jerusalem has gone up.
Well, the cry of Jerusalem (God's chosen people) has gone up. So what's the answer, God? Will you hear your people and send rain? This woman is hoping rain is on the way:
"I am looking for a sign to show that God has heard our cry," Ruby said. "I am praying rain will come as a sign of God healing our nation in many other areas in response to our prayers today."It's been about 10 days since this meeting. I believe rain will return to the south some day...but not any time soon. Why? Because of the very next verse:
Their nobles have sent their lads for water;
Could it be that God isn't listening to us because we're not listening to him?
3 ..."Should I weep in the fifth month [August*] and fast as I have done for so many years?"
7 '[Should you] not [have obeyed] the words which the LORD proclaimed through the former prophets when Jerusalem and the cities around it were inhabited and prosperous, and the South and the Lowland were inhabited?' "
In other words, "you should have just obeyed Me when things were going well."
11 "But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear.
12 "Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the LORD of hosts.
13 "Therefore it happened, [that] just as He proclaimed and they would not hear, so they called out and I would not listen," says the LORD of hosts.
Then what happened? As it was, so it will be. The pattern is the same. Finally, America is destroyed. A perpetual desolation. Babylon is fallen, is fallen:
14 "But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations which they had not known. Thus the land became desolate after them, so that no one passed through or returned; for they made the pleasant land desolate."
So what does Jehovah require from us? What would it take on our part for Jehovah to listen to our cries? In a word: obedience.
Do you know what I'd like to have seen as a result of The Response?
- Homeless shelters and soup kitchens overrun with donations and volunteers.
- Church buildings turned into community service centers. (C'mon, do you really need to hear Ephesians taught yet again?)
- DCFS overrun with foster parent applications.
- Not a widow or single mom forgotten or neglected.
- Businesses shutting down from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown because so many Christians decided to start observing the Sabbath that it was pointless for them to remain open between those hours.
- Divorce rates among Christians plummeting.
- Broken homes restored.
- Broken marriages healed.
- An uncountable number of TV's sitting on the curb to be collected just like the garbage they bring into christian homes.
- Internet filters being installed by the millions because the men decided to turn their eyes from looking at evil; protecting themselves and their children from porn and every other evil flooding their homes via the internet.
- The word of God being studied like the Bereans, daily searching out the scriptures for truth.
- And God's people applying that truth to their daily lives.
- The people of God learning to do good (Isaiah 1:17) and worshipping him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24)....in truth and righteousness. (Zechariah 8:8)
He has shown you, O man, what [is] good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
1 "If you will return, O Israel," says the LORD, "Return to Me; And if you will put away your abominations out of My sight, Then you shall not be moved.
2 And you shall swear, 'The LORD lives,' In truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; The nations shall bless themselves in Him, And in Him they shall glory."
3 For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: "Break up your fallow ground, And do not sow among thorns.
4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, And take away the foreskins of your hearts, You men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Lest My fury come forth like fire, And burn so that no one can quench [it], Because of the evil of your doings."
2 Chronicles 7:13
"When I shut up heaven and there is no rain...
14 "if My people who are called by My name will
- humble themselves, ...check
- and pray ...check
- and seek My face, ...check
- and turn from their wicked ways, ...uh, oh
then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
* Coincidentally, the fifth month would equate to our August.