Sermon "Skill in Your Hand & God in Your Heart"

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Raise Up Your Flag!

Isaiah 59:19 "So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him."

Isaiah prophesied to Israel in a time when they had turned away from God, and were experiencing the trouble that comes from doing so. I want to point out that God's relationship with Isreal in the Bible, is a picture of His relationship with the collective Body of Christ today, not the world at large, but His chosen people, the Church. So when we read here in Isaiah His warnings to Israel, they are warnings that should be heeded by the Church today. You may be thinking, well my local church is not like that, we have not turned from God. Well maybe yours hasn't, but it should concern you just as much that others have, because we are all "one body". I put it like this, if the foot is infected with cancer, then worry should be on the head, cause sooner or later, and before you know it, the cancer is surely to spread."

Isaiah tells us that Israel's sins "have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear" (verse 2), and during that time their enemies in surrounding lands were able to come in against them during their weakened spiritual state. So the enemy was coming in like a flood. You ever feel like that? Feel like the enemy, temptation, worries, troubles, or sickness, is not just trickling into your life, its coming in like a flood. I remember noticing the Morton salt box when I was a kid and it had a picture of a girl on it with an umbrella with the tag line "When it rains, it pours". That's how it seems in my life sometimes. You ever feel like that?

Think about what a flood is. Each drop of rain by itself is small and harmless, but when the drops keep falling and falling and falling, then the ditches start to swell (or street gutters for you city folk), and then the creek, and then the river, until its more than what it can handle. However, water is good. We need it to live, and over 70% of our body is made of it. So really a flood is too much...of a good thing. Many of us have been flooded by too much of a good thing, like maybe money, influence, freedom, etc., and now the enemy is coming in like a flood and we feel like we are going to drown. Its too much to handle.

But hold on. Look at verse 19. Isaiah says that when the enemy comes in like a flood, and he will, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him. Do you know what a standard is? In military terms, its a flag that is raised to claim a conquered territory. Remember in those old war movies there was one on the front of the charging force, one who carried a flag, and if he fell, another would pick up that flag and march on with it. It would often be staked at the top of a hill to proclaim victory, that this is now our territory, and we are letting you know that we will fight to keep it.

Think about it. God is saying that no matter what enemies are coming at you all at once, satan, money, temptation, sex, power, sickness, death, no matter what...God is lifting up His flag, staking His claim in your life, and proclaiming this one is mine, I have fought for him or her, I have already defeated the enemy on the cross, and now I claim this territory as mine!

Oh my goodness, this gives me chills. I get so down sometimes when so many things are going wrong and coming against me. I have matured as a christian I think, and there are a lot of things I can handle through faith, prayer and obedience that I couldn't before. But when so many things come in at me at one time, when the enemy comes in like a flood, I feel overwhelmed and that I can't make it, and honestly I want to give up sometimes. I really believe that the Lord has me typing this on this early Saturday morning because there will be at least one who will read it who is going through a flood right now. I know how you feel. Be encouraged and have hope in knowing that God knows what you and I are going through, and even when we feel like giving up on the fight, He never ever will!

So, don't give up, keep on fighting, and RAISE UP YOUR FLAG!!

Try Jesus!

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