Beloved, In What Are We Seeking Refuge?

One of the ringing prophetic words from 2020 has been and continues to be: “Do not bind yourself to this idol in this storm.”

The word came from a dream the Lord gave me in May, where He showed me numerous evangelical leaders lashing themselves to the Washington Monument in the middle of a thunderstorm, just before the obelisk was struck by lightening. The vision was a terrible picture of God’s discipline upon our evangelical family’s inordinate attachment to carnal, political nationalism.

Weeks later the Washington Monument was actually struck by lightening. After eight additional warnings about a decapitation that was to come in August, on August 7th, exactly 12 weeks from the date of the dream, Jerry Falwell Jr. (the first, and perhaps the chief evangelical champion for Donald Trump’s election in 2016) was abruptly removed from his positions as head of the Falkirk Center (an evangelical political think-tank), and President of Liberty University (the largest evangelical university in the nation). The Lord had struck the very issue on the very hour He had promised.

In November I sent this word to thousands of evangelical leaders, pastors, and intercessors. And over the last four weeks I have received numerous invitations to dialogue further; and even more confirmations that the word accurately reflects the warning that they were hearing in this election season.

Now, in the second week of December, as we see so many prophets, leaders and family members running to rescue the President’s allegations of a “rigged election”, feverishly praying for the Lord to expose the claims of mass corruption, all so the Church may thrive under the shadow of American democracy – this word stands as a significant alarm to our American Church family:

“Do not bind yourself to this idol in this storm.”

The strength in this word is its simplicity. There is One Safe Place to put our trust in the storm that rages all around us. And among the many false and unsafe places that the Church dare not put our trust, is the towering, proud promise of American nationalism.

The word also speaks to how deeply and personally the Lord is looking for each individual to heed Psalm 2:12 and Psalm 27:14, two of the most significant and most often quoted Psalms over this past year.

PSALM 2
After describing the storm of the Lord’s judgments upon the nations, David concludes by exhorting the faithful: “Blessed are all WHO TAKE REFUGE IN HIM!” (Psalm 2:12) It’s vital that in these minutes before He judges all the nations, the faithful of God learn how to “take refuge in Him in all aspects of our lives: health, finance, ministry, family, social relationships, heart attitudes…

He Himself wants to be our security; face to face. He has not promised He will keep our jobs, our reputations, our churches, our communities, our nation or even our families from shaking and even falling apart.

JESUS’ WARNING ABOUT THE PSALM 2 HOUR
He told His disciples, “Be ready for the hour when your close family members (Matthew 10:36) turn on you and exert pressure upon the way you run your life so that you draw back from following me with all your heart. Those days are coming. And the enemy of your eternal security will be living inside the same four walls of your house. Prepare yourself for this heart-rending reality today. I want you to be so close to Me that by comparison, those you love are like enemies to you (Luke 14:26). That’s how deeply I’m calling you to cultivate loyal love for Me.”

He told the disciples their nation would be decimated; one stone not left upon another (Mark 13:2). Imagine Jesus saying the same thing about the Washington Mall. In the year 2050, I’ll be 90. My children will be in their 50s and 60s. My grandchildren in their 40s. And America is no more. The Smithsonian gone. The White House leveled. The towering monument to national self-indpendence, crumbled to dust. If this horrible picture were to take place in the timespan that it took place in the lives of the disciples, what would we need in order to keep our families, our lives, and our hearts and souls secure? What kind of lifestyle would we need to cultivate now, so that in that hour we could say, “In the midst of this time of trouble, the judgements of the Lord are true and altogether righteous, and it is well with my soul?”

That’s the proclamation He’s issuing to each individual. “I am your personal security. Learn to make Me your refuge, today. I will supply you with what your heart and your family and your life needs in ways that your church, your job, your social network and your nation cannot in the days ahead.”

THE PERSONAL CHALLENGE
Here’s my point – with questions for each of us to consider:
What if, through all the billions of prayers that have been prayed for revival in our land, the Lord, in His perfect understanding and wisdom knows the only way He can release a great harvest of souls to the Church in America is for “America” to become the Church’s enemy? Would our hearts be OK with the Lord orchestrating this scandalous scenario?
It happened in China in the 70’s.
It’s the current reality in Iran.
It was the Church’s context in Israel in the first Century.

What if God knows something about our “rich, young, ruler hearts” that we don’t know!? In the calamitous event that this could happen; that the great American system could become the enemy of Jesus’ Kingdom, when push came to shove, and we had to make “Sophies Choice”, where would we “American Christians” put our life investment? Which would we see as offering us the greater potential for security?

What would we begin to say about those who were putting what we eventually valued most at risk? What accusations and murders would line our hearts against these “enemies”?

Dare it be that Jesus knows more about the true nature of our hearts than we know ourselves?
Dare it be that He has greater insight on how to advance His Kingdom than we do?
Dare it be that He’s shaking our lives right now to help us align our unstable hearts with the unshakeable nature of His Kingdom?
Dare it be that this choice, between allegiance to God and allegiance to a nation that is not as much of a friend to His Kingdom as we think it is, is in fact, already upon us?

WHAT JESUS IS LOOKING FOR
In Luke 18 we hear our King wondering about what His earthly Kingdom will look like in the hour of His return. At the very center of the core of what He longs to find is redeemed human beings who, through all of the tempest of the pressures of this world are looking to Him for security, provision and vitality. “When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8) It’s a question that has real daily practical application. He’s not just talking about whether we’ve marked the right theological boxes. Good theology is good, but it’s meant to lead to good living under the perfect leadership of our good God.

Because there is a great temptation for white evangelical Americans to lean on the laws of government for our security; protecting our right to assemble; providing us with the right to freely worship the God Who promises that if you look to the world for friendship you will actually make yourself an enemy to Me (James 4:4). The Lord is taking direct aim at these issues and saying, “Don’t bind yourself to the promise of a free government or the constitution of a nation of fallen people. And certainly don’t bind yourself to someone who promises (but at the end of the day has no true and lasting power) to grant these liberties to you. Bind yourself to Me, directly. Heart to heart. Weak people to strong God. Trust me for your food; for your shelter; for your health; for your family’s salvation; for the whole well-being of the household of God.”

This is a much much different offer than trusting a person or a law or a constitution to guarantee our rights and liberties and comforts and safety.

WE STUMBLE OVER WHAT WE DON’T SEE
As we approach the minute of His return, we must begin to hear the unBiblical nature of this type of thinking. As the time of increased judgements comes to our world, it is a tragic comedy that we would grab our idols, run to the Lord and say, “Here. Hold these and keep these safe. We need these to stay safe in order for us to be safe.” As ludicrous as this scene is, it is the real-life picture of what Jesus, the apostles and the prophets tell us many will stumble over in the hour of His return.

“Many will stumble over the stone and the rock, and will fall and be seriously injured, and will be ensnared and captured.” (Isaiah 8:15)

“I will make many stumble. They will fall over one another in their hurry to flee. They will say, ‘Get up! Let’s go back to our own people. Let’s go back to our homelands because the enemy is coming to destroy us.” (Jeremiah 46:16)

“And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering. When they stumble, they will be granted some help. But many will unite with them deceitfully.” (Daniel 11:33-34)

“Therefore you shall stumble in the day; the prophet also shall stumble with you in the night.” (Hosea 4:5)

“A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. they stumble, being faithless to the word, to which they also were appointed.” (1 Peter 2:8)

“And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.” (Matthew 24:10-11)

The Lord is calling to American evangelicalism with great love and great longing to sort out the issues of false trust and false loyalty; much in the same way that He looked at the rich, young ruler (Mark 10:21) and said: “Give Me your wealth. Trust Me with your well-being and vitality. Look to Me for all the authority you need. Take up your cross and follow Me. (Mark 10:21) Do you really believe that I am going to be good to you, and will provide everything you need in this life and also know how to create the optimal environment for My Kingdom, and the eternal welfare of the most number of souls?”

PSALM 27
Psalm 27 is David’s discourse on how to remain strong through the time of great trouble. He concludes his observations by exhorting his readers: “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14) The Lord is saying in these words: “Wait on Me! Let Me fill your heart with courage to trust Me. I will strengthen your heart. Wait on Me!

The Hebrew word for “wait” is the word “Qavah”. It’s literal meaning is “to bind” or “to twist” one thing to another thing. It’s the picture of an intertwining rope – the three-folded cord of (Ecclesiastes 4:12) that is not easily broken. God knows, we, ourselves; our quickly offended, easily bamboozled, here-today-gone-tomorrow souls are but a thin, frail thread in this storming, tumultuous world. He says, “Don’t bind yourself to another thin, frail thread – not in this storm. In the grand scheme of things it’s just a thin frail thread like you. Come to Me, and let the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit bind and twist Ourselves to you.

This, our God Himself, is the great tower of our refuge in this hour beloved. Let us bind ourselves to Him, and refuse all others.

____________________
JSB • December, 2020

PSALM 52
“Why do you boast about your evil plans, O powerful man? God’s loyal love protects me all day long. Your tongue carries out your destructive plans; it is as effective as a sharp razor, O deceiver. You love evil more than good; lies more than speaking the truth. (Selah) You love to use all the words that destroy, and the tongue that deceives. Yet God will make you a permanent heap of ruins. He will scoop you up and remove you from your home; He will uproot you from the land of the living. (Selah)… Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others! But I am like a flourishing olive tree in the house of God; I continually trust in God’s loyal love. I will continually thank You when You execute judgment; I will rely on You, for Your loyal followers know You are good.”

Thoughts?

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