intertwined-hands.jpgIn my previous article on Isaiah 58 – Looking Forward to an Exciting 2008 – we discovered that approaching God with a humble heart (vv. 1-5), being set free from wickedness and spiritual burdens (v. 6), and sacrificially serving others (v. 7) would lead to joyful, Spirit-filled ministry of supernatural proportions (vv. 8-9a).  In this edition, we will look at the additional requirements and promises of the normal Christian life. 

Please take out your Bible and follow along:

Isaiah 58:9b-10a  

The church in America is yoked (i.e., cursed) by spirits and strongholds of division, gossip, backbiting and false witness.  There is more attention paid to securing man-made doctrinal differences than feeding and healing the Lord’s children – our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Our Heavenly Father is eager to answer His Son’s prayer for unity.  Read John 17:23 and notice that we are to be one as Jesus and the Father are one.  This is not a “sweet-by-and-by” request.  It is required of those that would be His Bride.

The Lord has been interceding for unity for over 2000 years.  He is desperate for His Bride.    The results in the American church indicate that someone is working hard against the Son’s prayer.  I wish I could blame it all on the Devil, but I must confess that I have played my part in the church’s resistance to the Son’s request (and you can’t blame it all on me).  It is time we laid down our lives for our Friend, stopped “pointing fingers and speaking wickedness”, and loved one another so that the world would know that the Father loves them and sent His Son for them. 

Isaiah 58:10b-12

Each individual person, family and fellowship that embrace the Son’s prayer, will walk in the supernatural favor of the Father.  There will be no darkness!  He will guide, satisfy and strengthen!  We will be like a garden, with spring waters that never fail – the water of Life flowing out to a lost and hurting people.  We will build a foundation for the next generation – an inheritance and a heritage.  We will know the Lord’s good pleasure!  And we will be prepared for the next step in our journey out to Him.

Isaiah 58:13-14

The steps in our “Outside the Camp Guidebook” are progressive – each one building on the other – as we move deeper into our relationship with God.  The last step in our journey comes from a supernatural intimacy that empowers us to stand firmly against the World’s economic system – returning to the day of the Lord’s rest.  Is anyone thinking Chick-fil-A?  I pray that every employee of that wonderful company is taking advantage of its owner’s convictions about the Sabbath.  My guess is that they still struggle (like the rest of us) to find an hour, much less a day, of rest with the Lord:  A day where it’s a pleasure to honor Him, and only speak His words; a day where my desires for pleasure, and my desire to be heard, are drowned out by my delight in Him.  Perhaps we should start with an hour, and this prayer:

“Father God, as You continue to free me from the captivity of wickedness and spiritual burdens, to sacrificially serve my brethren, search my heart and reveal any strongholds that operate against Your Son’s prayer for unity.  My heart longs for the rest You offer.  By the power of Your Holy Spirit, do what must be done to get me outside the camp with You.  Give me the faith for all that You have promised.  I confess that it all must be done in Your power and for Your glory.  Reign, Lord Jesus Christ, reign!”

Dying to see His glory,

Rob