Seeking Jesus First - Nov. 7, 2022

Seeking Jesus First - Nov. 7, 2022

God surrounds those who are His with Himself as a shield of favor and blessing. Our original position in Christ Jesus is a place of salvation - forgiveness, deliverance, peace and provision and protection. We did not just get a second chance; we received a brand new life - completely free spiritually from the one we lived before knowing Him. As sons of God with the power to bind and loose on earth, God stops what we stop, and God allows what we allow.  

The King James Version of the Bible was translated by Calvinists with a strong emphasis on God as the manipulator and controller of all things - even evil things. However, we do not see God as the tempter, or the worker of evil, or the One who afflicts us with devils. We look at Jesus as the perfect expression of Who The Father really is. We look back at the Old Testament portion of scripture through the prism of Jesus Christ and it makes us question the way God has been represented to us. We love the Bible and accept it as truth so we “faith it” through those scriptures trusting that God is good and Jesus Christ has given us a true “knowing God for ourselves” covenant.

But recently, I was introduced to the “permissive sense” of Scripture. This comes from interpreting Scripture from the oriental Hebrew style of writing. You can learn more about this from the book, Edwards, Troy. The Permissive Sense: Hints and Helps to Bible Interpretation that Vindicates God’s Character of Love from Vindicating God Ministries. The following is a few excerpts from Chapter Four:

But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels. Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. (Psalm 81:11-14)

Psalm 81:12: And in this permissive sense the word [Hebrew used here], he gave them up, is used almost an hundred times in the Old Testament, when God is said to give them up to the sword …. And so God gave his people up to their own hearts lusts, i.e. he let them follow their own inventions, Psalm 81:12.3

Patrick Simon, in his Bible commentary, also confirms this usage when he writes: And in this permissive sense the word [Hebrew used here], he gave them up, is used almost a hundred times in the Old Testament; when God is said to give men up into the hands of their enemies, to give them up to the sword.

As we read the rest of the psalm, we find that when God finally gives someone up to their own sin He also removes any protection and provision that He once gave. God no longer “subdues their enemies” (v. 14) nor does He feed them “with the finest of the wheat” or satisfy them “with honey out of the rock” (v. 16). It is important to understand the permissive sense of the Hebrew verb 'shalach' because it is often translated in a causative sense in most portions of the King James Bible. For example, in Jeremiah 49:37b we read, “I will bring evil upon them, even my fierce anger, saith the LORD; and I will send the sword after them, till I have consumed them” (Emphasis added). The word “send” in this passage is the Hebrew word “shalach”—the same word used in Psalm 81:12 in reference to God allowing His people to follow their own counsel without His interference. As a result, God no longer subdues their enemies, or rather; He no longer prevents the sword from coming after them.

~Edwards, Troy. The Permissive Sense: Hints and Helps to Bible Interpretation that Vindicates God’s Character of Love . Vindicating God Ministries. Kindle Edition.

Compare that with this Romans 1:17-32
The righteousness of God is revealed in the good news from faith to faith. God has clearly revealed his invisible attributes in nature for all men to see. But for this who refused to seek God; but rather pursued their own vile passions and lusts, God GAVE THEM UP to those things allowing them to reap the reward of their own sins.

God has always made Himself to be a shield around His own.

Prov. 2:7 "He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,"
Gen. 15:1 "After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
1 Sam. 22:36 “You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, And Your help makes me great."
Psalm 5:12 "For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield."

Isa. 54:17 17 "No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord."

Look at how God deals with us in The New Covenant through Christ Jesus. We are placed into Christ Jesus. We are raised up and seated with Him at the right hand of The Father. The New Testament is a better covenant with better promises. So God does not deal with us worse than He dealt with Israel under The Law. He deals with us in a much better way according to grace through faith. His promises are not worse; they are better. Prior covenant promises are a baseline of goodness for better covenant promises. And they are not according to the law but according to faith. In Isa. 54:17, God is saying that He is shielding us because His righteousness is now our righteousness, so it has to be a new covenant promise.

If God is removing His protection from us, it is only because we are not believing His Word enough to stay in obedience to it. I realize that the enemy also comes to steal, to kill and to destroy, but he only has permission to do that when we believe his lies over God’s word. The enemy is restrained by God’s shield of favor. The LORD rebukes the devourer on our behalf when we align ourselves with his words. Does that sound like the law? It is not. The law was never something that could grant righteousness or salvation. Only faith in Jesus can. But obedience to God is the fruit of faith, hope and love.

I acknowledge that this is a lopsided message. The balance can be found in the totality of Scripture, as well as, hopefully, the totality of the Seeking Jesus First compilation.

God allows what we allow. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

As leaders, If we allow jezebel spirit to operate in our churches, God will allow it until it divides the church and the candlestick has to be removed. But God will try over and over to get us to deal with it. If we resist the Spirit and Word that comes to correct us, He would begin decreasing His presence and glory in our midst, removing His shield from our church.

This is exactly what happened to Israel in Matthew 23:36-38 “Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. 37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”

40 years later, in accordance with Jesus’s prophesy here and in Matthew 24, Jerusalem, the temple, and most of the people were utterly destroyed by Rome; only those who believed and obeyed Jesus were delivered. God had restrained Rome for a generation - 40 years - after Jesus's ascension, giving them ample time to repent.

Jesus tries over and over to gather us in under his wings (Psa. 91). If we hear and believe Him and continue in His word, we dwell in Him and with Him and remain under His care, protection, peace and provision. In this place, God gives you anything you ask for. At least He does if the words of Jesus are true. The words of Jesus are definitely true. When things seem out of whack in your life, go sit down with Jesus and let Him straighten things (and you) out. When things are going great in your life, go and sit down with Jesus and love and thank Him for being your shield and great reward.