In order to develop a biblical worldview, speak against false teaching, transform mindsets by repenting of idols in your heart, use your fame to help the poor and needy, refuse trusting in human strategies, repent and get a new heart and spirit, serve and obey God so the world can see Him, and be broken over a community's sin since God exalts the lowly.
Speak Against False Teaching
God told Ezekiel to prophesy against Israel's prophets who spoke out of their imaginations with false visions. They did not repair the breaks in Israel's wall so it would stand firm in battle. God was against their false words and lying visions that led people astray. They said peace when there was no peace. It was like covering a flimsy, whitewashed wall that God tore down. Ezekiel set his face against the daughters of Israel who ensnared peoples' lives but preserved their own. Their lies killed those who should not have died and spared those who should not live. God saved Israel from the lies that disheartened the righteous and encouraged the wicked not to turn from their evil ways to save their lives. Then they would know He was God (Ezek. 13:1-23). Speak against false teaching that ensnare the righteous and encourage the wicked.
Transform Mindsets By Repenting of Idols in Your Heart
God told Ezekiel that Israel's elders set up idols in their hearts with wicked stumbling blocks. The Lord answered those with idols in their hearts who inquired of God. He recaptured the hearts of Israel who deserted God. They repented, turned from idols and renounced evil practices. God destroyed the prophets who bore their guilt. Israel no longer strayed from Him. A righteous person only could save himself and not his country or other family members. Each person was responsible for their sin. God had cause for judging by sword, famine, wild beasts and plague to kill men and animals. He made Jerusalem an useless vine like wood burned in a fire (Ezek. 14:1-15:8). Transform mindsets by repenting of idolatry in your heart.
Use Your Fame to Help the Poor and Needy
God told Ezekiel to confront Jerusalem's evil practices. He made a covenant and dressed them in fine linen. Their fame spread among the nations because of their beauty. They trusted in beauty and used their fame to become a prostitute. They lavished favors on those who passed by, made male idols for prostitution to Egypt, Assyria and Babylonia, and sacrificed children to idols. They copied Sodom's evil practices and became more depraved than they. Sodom was arrogant, overfed, unconcerned and did not help the poor and needy. God made atonement and they were ashamed for what they did. They never opened their mouth because of their humiliation (Ezek. 16:1-63). Use your fame and beauty for humility, concern and helping the poor and needy.
Refuse Trusting in Human Strategies
God told Ezekiel that a great eagle broke off a branch. He planted it and seed in fertile soil within a city of traders. It produced branches, fruit and a large vine by abundant water to represent Israel taken captive in Babylon. The king rebelled against Babylon by sending envoys to Egypt to get horses and a large army. It was no help in war to know that God was Lord (Ezek. 17:1-24). Refuse trusting in human strategies that fail in spiritual warfare.
Repent and Get a New Heart and Spirit
God told Ezekiel that people no longer quoted the proverb saying fathers ate sour grapes and the children's teeth were set on edge. Both father and son belonged to God. The soul who sinned died, but the righteous lived. Sons died for their own sin and fathers for theirs. They did not share the guilt of the other. The righteousness of the righteous man was credited to him and wickedness of the wicked charged against him. God took no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but pleased when they turn from their ways and lived. Israel's ways were unjust when they said God's ways were unjust. They must repent and turn from their offenses so sin would not be their downfall. They must rid themselves from all offenses and get a new heart and a new spirit (Ezek. 18:1-32). Repent, turn from sin, and get a new heart and spirit.
Serve and Obey God So World Can See Him
Nations came against Israel and they were brought to Babylon. The branch was stripped of its fruit and planted in the desert. Fire consumed the fruit of the branch. Some elders of Israel inquired of the Lord. He told them to eliminate vile images so they would not be defiled by Egypt's idols. God led them out of Egypt into the desert where He gave laws to obey. Israel disobeyed Him for their eyes lusted after their fathers' idols. They wanted to be like the nations who served wood and stone. On the holy mountain, Israel served God who gathered them from the nations where they were scattered. He showed Himself through Israel before the nations (Ezek. 19:1-20:49). Serve and obey God so the world can see Him.
Be Broken Over Community's Sin Since God Exalts the Lowly
Ezekiel set his face against Israel to cut off the righteous and the wicked. God told him to groan with broken heart and bitter grief. Israel despised His discipline and all advice. The sword struck three times for great slaughter and captivity to melt hearts. God exalted the lowly and brought low the exalted (Ezek. 21:1-32). Be broken over a community's sin since God exalts the lowly and humbles the exalted.
In order to develop a biblical worldview, do the following:
1. Speak against false teaching
2. Transform mindsets by repenting of idols in your heart
3. Use your fame to help the poor and needy
4. Refuse trusting in human strategies
5. Repent and get a new heart and spirit
6. Serve and obey God so the world can see Him
7. Be broken over a community's sin since God exalts the lowly
Brian Walsh and J. Richard Middleton in their book, The Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian World View, wrote that “we must abandon our idols, recognize the multi-dimensionality of life, respond in obedience to God's norms for his creatures and begin to live in community with one another in a renewed way."
When you do justice, defend the needy, equip shepherds, communicate God's word, plant His word in receptive disciples, stop following false gods and warn people of God's judgment, you turn from evil ways to stop God's judgment and wrath along with ruin in cultural spheres. In contrast, you prove personal knowledge of God by living securely and bearing spiritual fruit (Jer. 21-25).
Do Justice By Rescuing the Oppressed
King Zedekiah asked Jeremiah to inquire of the Lord because Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon attacked Judah. God said He would fight against Judah by killing men and animals with a great plague and take Zedekiah captive. People who stayed in Jerusalem would die by the sword, famine or plague but those who surrendered to the Babylonians would live. God determined to harm Jerusalem by having Babylon destroy it with fire because of their evil. The Lord said to administer justice and rescue the robbed victim from his oppressor to stop His wrath (Jer. 21:1-14). Do justice by rescuing the oppressed to stop God's wrath.
Defend the Poor and Needy
God told Judah's king to not wrong or do violence to the alien, fatherless or widow nor shed innocent blood. Otherwise, God would make them like a desert and destroy the palace. Many nations asked why the Lord did such a thing to Jerusalem. The answer was they forsook God's covenant by worshiping and serving other gods. Woe to him who built his extravagant palace by unrighteousness and injustice without paying the workers. Everything went well for Josiah because he did what was right. Those who knew God experienced well-being because they defended the cause of the poor and needy. In contrast, focusing on dishonest gain, shedding innocent blood, oppression and extortion caused an untimely death for Josiah's son, Jehoiakim. Security and disobedience triggered exile for their shepherds and allies, disgrace, no prosperity and no offspring ruling on the throne of David (Jer. 22:1-30). Defend the cause of the poor and needy to prove you know God.
Equip Shepherds to Care and Teach God's Word
Woe to shepherds who destroyed and scattered the sheep of God's pasture by not caring for them. God gathered the remnant out of all countries so they could be fruitful and multiply. He placed shepherds to tend them so none would fear or be missing. In the future, God raised up a righteous Branch and King called the Lord Our Righteousness from David's line to do the right thing in the land, which saved Judah and caused Israel to live in safety. Unfortunately, adultery caused parched land and withered pastures. Godless prophets and priests followed an evil course and used their power unjustly. The Samaria's prophet prophesied by Baal and led God's people astray. Jerusalem's prophets committed adultery, lived a lie and strengthened evildoers like Sodom and Gomorrah so no one turned from his wickedness (Jer. 23:1-14). Equip shepherds to care and teach God's word so His people live securely.
Communicate Power of God's Word
Jerusalem's prophets spread ungodliness in the land by offering false hope. They spoke visions from their own minds, taught peace to those who despised God and said no harm would come to those with stubborn hearts. Not one of them stood in the council of the Lord to see or hear His word. God never sent or spoke to these prophets. Those standing in His council proclaimed His word to turn His people from their evil ways. God filled heaven and earth so no one could hide from Him. The one with His word should speak it faithfully. His word was like fire and hammer to break a rock in pieces. God was against prophets who stole words from one another that were supposedly from Him. They led His people astray with reckless lies. They received no benefit from these words. Do not mention 'the oracle of the Lord' again because every man's own word became his oracle that distorted the words of the living and Almighty God. Therefore, He cast Jerusalem out of His presence bringing eternal disgrace and unforgettable shame (Jer. 23:15-40). Communicate the fire and hammer of God's word to turn people from their evil ways.
Plant His Word in Receptive Disciples
After Judah's leaders were carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, Jeremiah placed one basket of early-ripened figs that and a basket of spoiled figs in front of the temple. The good figs represented the exiles sent to Babylon. God brought them back to Judah to build up and not tear down, to plant and not uproot. He gave them a heart to know Him as His people. The poor figs represented Zedekiah king of Judah, his officials and survivors from Jerusalem who remained in the land or lived in Egypt, They were an an offense, reproach and object of ridicule to every earthly kingdom. God sent sword, famine and plague to destroy them from the land (Jer. 24:1-10). Plant His word in those pursuing a heart relationship to God so they can bear spiritual fruit.
Stop Following False Gods
Jeremiah spoke God's word to Judah for 23 years but they did not pay attention. The Lord sent His prophets repeatedly but they followed other gods and provoked God in what they made. Judah and the surrounding nations became a desolate wasteland and served the king of Babylon. After 70 years, God punished Babylon for their guilt to make it desolate forever as written and prophesied by Jeremiah against all the nations. Babylon was enslaved by many nations and great kings. God repaid them according to their deeds and the work of their hands (Jer. 25:1-14). Stop following false gods that cause ruin in various cultural spheres.
Warn People of God's Judgment
God told Jeremiah to make all nations drink the cup filled with the wine of God's wrath. After drinking it, Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, its kings and officials became ruined and an object of horror and scorn as they were today. Every kingdom on earth, including Babylon, drank the cup of God's wrath. The Lord Almighty called down a sword upon every person on earth and even brought disaster upon Jerusalem that bore His Name. God told Jeremiah to say these words: The Lord shouted against all who lived on the earth. He brought charges against the nations, judged all mankind and put the wicked to the sword. The disaster of those slain by the Lord spread from nation to nation. He called shepherds as leaders of the flock to weep and wail since they would be shattered like fine pottery with no place to escape. The Lord destroyed their pasture and laid waste their peaceful meadows because of the oppressor's sword and the Lord's fierce anger (Jer. 25:15-38). Warn people of God's judgment beginning with the church and spreading to all nations.
Confess your sin, help someone in need, study and communicate God's word to a friend.
How does the church deal with spiritual, emotional, mental, social and physical devastation in every nation?
Jeremiah taught in Jer. 1-6 that you must drink from rivers of living water to empower prayer and fasting for shepherds after God's heart to disciple biblical illiterate people in every city and nation.
Jer. 7-13 explained how to equip shepherds after God's heart to disciple nations. Deal justly with poor, repent of sin, appreciate God's word and ways, call upon a wise and powerful God, trust Him for protection from persecution, care for nations in complex situations and be humble to praise and honor Him.
Deal Justly with the Poor and Embrace Truth
Jeremiah told Judah to reform their ways and actions to not trust in deceptive words. He asked them to deal justly with the alien, fatherless, widow; not shed innocent blood; not to follow other gods; not allow God's name become a den of robbers and not trust in the temple. By serving the Queen of Heaven, they harmed themselves to their own shame. By following the inclinations of their evil hearts, they went backward and refused correction. When truth perished and vanished from their lips, God rejected and abandoned this generation. Joy and gladness left and the land became desolate (Jer. 7:1-34). Deal justly with the poor and embrace truth to see progress in your city.
Repent of Sin and Know God's Word
Jerusalem relied on deceit, refused to repent of their wickedness and pursued their own course like a horse charging into battle. God's people did not know the requirements of the Lord. The scribes handled God's word falsely. All were greedy for gain. Prophets and priests practiced deceit and dressed peoples' wounds superficially. They called for peace and healing but only terror came. God mourned when enemies crushed His people. No healing was available for the wound of His people (Jer. 8:1-22). Repent of sin and know God's word as the first step to heal wounds.
Appreciate God's Ways
Instead of triumph in God's truth, His people sinned and trusted deception. No one was instructed by God to know what ruined the land. People forsook the Law and followed the stubbornness of their hearts to worship Baal. Let not the wise, strong and rich boast of their wisdom, strength and riches. Instead, let him boast that he understood and knew God since He delighted in kindness, justice and righteousness on earth (Jer. 9:1-26). Appreciate God's ways instead of trusting the deception of man's wisdom, strength and riches.
Call Upon a Wise and Powerful God
Do not learn or fear a nations' worthless ways, customs and idols. No nation or kingdom could endure the wrath of a wise, powerful, eternal God and King. False gods perished as they did not create the heavens and earth. God made the earth, founded the world by wisdom and stretched out the heavens by understanding. He sent lightning and brought wind from His storehouses. Peoples' idols were worthless and they had no knowledge. They felt hopeless to cure their wounds and sickness in their homes and families. Senseless shepherds who did not talk with God caused His flock to scatter. A man did not own his life and could not direct his steps. Jeremiah prayed for God's wrath to be poured on nations that did not call on Him since they destroyed His people (Jer. 10:1-25). Call upon a wise and powerful God to heal your wounds and discover His purpose.
Trust God for Protection from Persecution
God told Judah through Jeremiah to obey His covenant given to those He brought out of Egypt as His people. Throughout history, God warned them to obey Him. Instead, they followed their stubborn, evil hearts and experienced the curses of disobedience and disaster. When evil people plotted to destroy Jeremiah if he continued prophesying against them, he committed his cause to God. God promised to kill his enemies (Jer. 11:1-23). Trust God for protection from persecution while discipling nations in His word.
Care for Nations in Complex Situations
Jeremiah asked why the wicked bore fruit when God was far from their hearts. Even though their grass withered, people thought God would not see it. If someone stumbled in safe country, how could they manage in the thickets by the Jordan? Their brothers betrayed them pretending to speak well. God allowed them to be devoured by their enemies like a speckled bird of prey. Many shepherds ruined His vineyard and turned His pleasant field into a desolate wasteland. The whole land laid waste because no one cared. People wore themselves out and gained nothing. God showed compassion to His people and brought them back to their land. Any nation that learned about God was established among His people. He destroyed those who did not listen to Him (Jer. 12:1-17). Care for nations (niches) living in complex situations so they can fellowship with God's people.
Be Humble and Glorify God
God told Jeremiah to wear and hide a belt so it would be useless. It represented how He ruined Judah's pride in serving other gods. God planned to bound the house of Israel and Judah as His people for renown, praise and honor. Instead of their wineskins being filled with wine, He filled kings, priests, prophets and everyone with drunkenness so they would not be reconciled with one another. Their pride and not giving glory to God brought darkness, captivity and exile. Trusting false gods scattered and prevented them from doing good (Jer. 13:1-27). Be humble and glorify God so you can praise and honor Him.
Consider the following checklist in equipping shepherds to disciple the nations:
1. Deal justly with the poor to see progress in your city
2. Repent of sin and know God's word as the first step to heal wounds
3. Appreciate God's ways instead of trusting the deception of man's wisdom, strength and riches
4. Call upon a wise and powerful God to heal your wounds and discover His purpose
5. Trust God for protection from persecution while discipling nations in His word
6. Care for nations in complex situations so they can fellowship with God's people
7. Be humble and glorify God so you can praise and honor Him
Which one will you begin to apply now?
To experience blessings in your city, first seek God's thoughts and ways, pray for all nations with other believers, be humble to experience His promises, meet needs of the poor, practice biblical truth through Spirit-led intercession and confession of sin, receive back children, material riches and favor to possess the land forever.
Seek God’s Thoughts and Ways to Bear Spiritual Fruit
Isaiah asked the thirsty with no money to come to the waters so they could buy wine and milk without cost. Why spend money on what was not bread and labor on what did not satisfy? If they ate what was good, their soul would live by delighting in the richest of fare through God's loving covenant promised to David. They attracted nations as a witness and leader because of His splendor. They turned to the Lord for pardon while the evil forsook his way and thoughts. Like the heavens above the earth, God's thoughts and ways were higher than theirs. His word yielded seed for the sower and bread for the eater to accomplish God's will and purpose. They went out in joy and peace bearing fruit for His renown (Is. 55:1-13). Seek God's thoughts and ways to bear spiritual fruit.
Pray for All Nations with Other Believers
God's salvation and righteousness was revealed to anyone, including the foreigner, if they kept the Sabbath and His covenant by serving, loving and worshiping Him. They received a memorial and an eternal name better than sons and daughters. God brought them to His holy mountain and gave them joy in His house of prayer. He accepted their burnt offerings and sacrifices on His altars since it was called a house of prayer for all nations. Israel's watchmen were blind, lacked knowledge and loved to sleep with unsatisfied appetites. Shepherds lacked understanding, turned to their own way and sought their own gain (Is. 56:1-12). Pray for all nations with other believers.
Be Humble to Experience His Promises, Revival and Peace
The righteous died to be spared from evil and enter into peace. God's people as offspring of adulterers and liars burned with lust and sacrificed their children to idolatry. Their strength was renewed even as they forgot God because of His silence. Their idols could not benefit or save them. But a man who made God His refuge inherited the land and possessed His holy mountain. Even though God lived in a high and holy place, He identified with the humble and lowly in spirit to revive their heart and remove obstacles. God would heal and comfort those with sinful greed and willful ways so they could experience peace. It was impossible for the wicked to have peace (Is. 57:1-21). Be humble to experience His promises, revival and peace.
Meet Need of Poor by Raising Up Foundations, Repairing Broken Walls and Restoring Dwellings
Tell Israel about their sins even though it appeared they did what was right. God did not see their humility and fasting because they exploited their workers and quarreled with one another. God heard their prayers when they loosed the chains of injustice, untied the cords of the yoke, set the oppressed free and broke every yoke. If they shared food with the hungry, provided shelter to the poor wanderer, clothed the naked and supported others, their light broke forth like the dawn, healing quickly appeared, righteousness went before them and God's glory was their rear guard. The Lord answered prayer immediately. By putting away the yoke of oppression, malicious talk, spending themselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfying the needs of the oppressed, their light rose in the darkness and their night became like noonday. The Lord guided them always, satisfied their needs and strengthened their frame to be a well-watered garden and spring whose waters never failed. They were called the Repairer of Broken Walls and Restorer of Streets with Dwellings when they rebuild the ancient ruins and raised up the age-old foundations (Is. 58:1-14).Meet needs of the poor by raising up foundations, repairing broken walls and restoring dwellings.
Practice Biblical Truth Through Spirit-Led Intercession and Confession of Sin
Sin separated and hid Israel from God so He would not hear. Blood stained their hands, lips spoke lies and their tongue muttered wickedness. Instead of calling for justice or pleading their case with integrity, they relied on empty arguments and spoke lies that birthed ruin and destruction without peace. Justice, righteousness, light and deliverance were far away because truth was nowhere to be found. It displeased the Lord there was no justice. He was appalled there was no one to intercede. God put on righteousness as His breastplate, the helmet of salvation on His head and the garments of vengeance to repay wrath to His enemies so men everywhere would fear His name and revere His glory. When the enemy came in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord put him to flight. The Redeemer came to Zion when Jacob repented of their sins. God's Spirit put His words in their mouths, their children and descendants from this time on and forever (Is. 59:1-21). Practice biblical truth through Spirit-led intercession and confession of sin.
Receive Back Children, Riches and Favor from Former Enemies
God's glory rose upon them so nations came to their light and kings to the brightness of their dawn. When their sons and daughters came from afar, their heart swelled with joy. Gold and incense came from Sheba proclaiming God's praise. Islands looked to Him as they brought Israel's sons from afar with silver and gold for the honor of God. Foreigners rebuild their walls and kings served them. Their gates always stood open so men could bring the wealth of the nations. Former despisers bowed down and called them The City of the Lord, Zion of the Holy One of Israel (Is. 60:1-14). Receive back children, material riches and favor from former enemies.
Experience Joy and Prosperity from the Lord to Possess the Land Forever In His Time
From forsaken and hated to eternal pride and joy among all generations so they would know that the Lord was their Savior, Redeemer and Mighty One of Jacob. Instead of bronze, He brought gold, silver in place of iron, bronze instead of wood and iron instead of stones. He made peace their governor and righteousness their ruler. Instead of violence, ruin or destruction, they called their walls Salvation and gates Praise. The Lord was their eternal light and God their glory that ended their sorrow. All their people would be righteous to possess the land forever. The least would become a thousand and the smallest a mighty nation. In its time the Lord would do this swiftly (Is. 60:15-22). Experience pride, joy, prosperity, salvation and praise from the Lord to possess the land forever in His time.
Humble yourself to pray for all nations and confess sin with other believers while meeting needs of the poor so you can experience pride, joy, prosperity, salvation and praise from the Lord in His time to possess the land.
"I have an unquenchable desire to slow down and find my life going deeper in my walk with Christ. I want to meet him in the depths of my soul, away from the stress and press of everything on top. A relationship with Christ is the key to fulfilling our deepest longings. All of life is about filling the void that sin and separation from him have created within. Filling the emptiness with piles of things, earthly friendships, satisfying experiences, and sensual encounters ultimately proves to achieve less than what we had hoped for. Christ is the only one who fits" (Joseph M. Stowell).
Job found that God outshines anything else. In Job 28-31, he wrote that the fear of the Lord outshines earthly riches, pleasant circumstances, opinions of other people, lusting after women, injustice against the poor, ungenerosity and merciless.
Job said that man searched the deep for metal ore far away from people. He tunneled through the rock to sell all its treasures and bring hidden things to light. Man did not comprehend the worth of wisdom and understanding. It was not found in the deep and cannot be bought with gold or precious stones. The price of wisdom was beyond rubies. Only God knew where it dwelt because He saw everything under the heavens, established the force of the wind and measured out the waters. He appraised, confirmed and tested wisdom. The fear of the Lord is wisdom and to shun evil is understanding (Job 28:1-28). The fear of the Lord outshines earthly riches.
Job longed for the days when the blessings of intimate fellowship blessed him and his children. His path was drenched with cream and the rock poured streams of olive oil. Leaders and young men respected his counsel and spoke well of him because he rescued the poor and was a father to the needy. Job thought he would die in his own house and glory would remain fresh on him (Job 29:1-25). The fear of Lord outshines pleasant circumstances.
Opinions of Other People
Men younger than Job mocked him even though he disdained their fathers who little strength and influence. Their sons spat in Job's face, laid snares for his feet and destroyed him. Job's dignity was driven away as by the wind and his safety vanished like a cloud. God reduced him to dust and did not answer his prayers. Job wept for those in trouble and grieved for the poor. When Job hoped for good, evil came. The suffering, churning inside and loneliness never stopped (Job 30:1-31). The fear of the Lord outshines opinions of other people.
Lusting After Women
Job made a covenant with his eyes not to look lustfully at a girl since God saw his ways. God weighed him with honest scales to determine if he walked in falsehood and deceit. If his eyes led his heart or his hands were defiled, then others could eat what he sown. If his heart was enticed by a woman, then his wife could sleep with other men. Sin must be judged by fire that burned to Destruction to uproot his harvest (Job 31:1-12). The fear of the Lord outshines lusting
Injustice Against the Poor
God made Job accountable for injustice toward his menservants and maidservants if they had a grievance against him. If he denied the desires of the poor, kept bread or clothing to himself and failed to use his influence in court for the benefit of the fatherless, then he deserved having his arm broken off at the joint. The fear of the Lord prevented Job from acting unjustly (Job 31:13-23). The fear of the Lord outshines injustice against the poor.
Ungenerosity and Merciless
If Job put his security in gold, rejoiced over great wealth and worshiped the sun or moon, then God would judge his sin as being unfaithful to Him. If he rejoiced over his enemy's misfortune, not offered hospitality to strangers and concealed guilt in his heart because of fearing the crowd, then God would judge his sin. Job wished an accuser would put his indictment in writing before God to make him accountable. If he withheld payment to tenants in the fields, then briers and weeds instead of wheat and barley should grow (Job 31:24-40). The fear of the Lord outshines ungenerosity and merciless.
How can you apply Augustine's statement, "To fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances; To seek Him, the greatest adventure; To find him, the greatest human achievement" regarding how the fear of God outshines things listed in this passage?
Cindy Jacobs in her book, "Possessing the Gates of the Enemy," quoted Ed Silvoso's definition of a stronghold: "a mindset impregnated with hopelessness that causes the believer to accept as unchangeable something that he/she knows is contrary to the will of God."
Rights we have to give up in order to tear down strongholds:
Isaiah 10-12 explains how to possess and regain territory lost to the evil one. We judge idolatry, injustice, pride, self-confidence and independent spirit. We return to God and rely on the Mighty One to remove burdens. We receive godly wisdom to decide correctly about the poor. We raise the Lord’s banner and fight spiritually to fill the earth with His knowledge to transform and possess every cultural sphere for His glory. We praise and trust God for salvation to share His deeds with the world.
Judge Idolatry and Injustice
Woe to those who make unjust laws and decisions to deprive the poor of their rights and rob the oppressed of justice. At judgment day, your riches are worthless and God's anger remains. God sent and commissioned Assyria to trample a godless nation like mud in the streets and destroy many nations whose idols and graven images were greater than those of Jerusalem and Samaria. God judged both Jerusalem and Samaria (Is. 10:1-11). God judges idolatry and injustice against the poor.
Judge Pride, Self-Confidence and Independent Spirit
When God finished His work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, He punished the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and haughty look in his eyes. Assyria trusted his strength, wisdom and understanding to defeat nations and gather their riches. A tool cannot exalt itself over the one who wields it. Therefore the Lord Almighty sent a wasting disease upon their sturdy warriors. The Holy One burned thorns in a single day and destroyed soul and body like a sick man wasting away (Is. 10:12-19). God judges pride, self-confidence and an independent spirit destroying a person's soul.
Return to God and Rely on Mighty One to Remove Burdens
The remnant of Israel would rely on the Holy One instead of Assyria. They returned to the Mighty God but He planned complete destruction according to righteousness for others. Do not fear the Assyrians since God would eventually destroy them like Egypt at the Red Sea. He would remove your burden and break their yoke (Is. 10:20-34). People return to God and rely on the Mighty One to have their burdens removed.
Receive Godly Wisdom to Decide Correctly About the Poor
A shoot will bear fruit from the stem of Jesse with the Spirit of the Lord resting on Him consisting of wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge and the fear of the Lord. He will delight in the fear of the Lord and not judge by what His eyes see nor make a decision by what His ears hear but judge and give decisions for the poor according to righteousness and justice. He will slay the wicked with the breadth of His lips. Righteousness will be the belt around his loins and faithfulness the belt around His waist (Is. 11:1-5). The Holy Spirit provides godly wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge and the fear of the Lord to make righteous and just decisions concerning the poor.
Raise Lord’s Banner to Fill Earth with His Knowledge in Transforming Every Sphere
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the kid and the calf and lion will be together with a little boy leading them. The cow will feed with the bear and their young will lie down together. The lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra without being hurt. For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. In that day, the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples. The nations will rally to Him and His place of rest will be glorious (Is. 11:6-10). God's people raise the Lord's banner to fill the earth with His knowledge in transforming every cultural sphere.
Fight Spiritually for His People to Possess Land in God’s Glory and Peace
In that day, the Lord will reach out His hand a second time to reclaim the remnant from various nations. He will raise a banner for the nations, gather the exiles of Israel and assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth. Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim. Judah's enemies would be cut off and they will possess Edom and Moab with Ammon subject to them. The Lord will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea and break up the Euphrates River so men could cross over it with sandals. A highway for the remnant will be left from Assyria like Israel when they came up from Egypt (Is. 11:11-16). God fights for His people so they can possess the land for His glory resulting in true peace.
Praise and Trust Lord for Salvation to Share His Deeds with the World
On that day you will praise the Lord for His comfort and salvation. You will trust and not be afraid since the Lord is your strength and song. He has become your salvation to joyously draw water from the springs of salvation. You will thank the Lord, call on His name and make known His deeds among the peoples so they can remember His name is exalted. Praise the Lord in song for He has done excellent things. Let it be known to all the world. God's people shout for joy because the Holy One of Israel is great among you (Is. 12:1-6). God's people praise and trust the Lord for salvation in order to share His deeds with the world.
Sylvia Gunter in "Prayer Portions" says the first step in victory is to recognize the war that we are fighting. The next step is to know how to fight the enemy. Finally, the last step is to actually take a firm stand and intentionally go after the enemy. Lift High the Lord Your Banner helps aggressively fight the enemy and push him out of our territory. We stand on higher ground and have an advantage over him.
Choose a few of the enemy banners that you see in your life today. Use one of God's names to wage war against the enemy. Pray the prayer using the format below:
Lord, I renounce_____________________
You, Lord, are greater. I praise you that you are_________________
Lord, I renounce my bitterness, keeping accounts, hard-feelings, and ill will towards others.
You, Lord, are greater. I praise you that you are God of all grace (1 Pet. 5:10), Jehovah-Rapha (Healer) Exo 15:26 and Father of Mercies (2 Cor. 1:3-4). In Jesus' name. Amen!
Too many women have too much leisure time for their own good. They have time for criticism, gossip, faultfinding, and complaining. They have time for idle games and lay too much attention to things of the flesh. There are other women who have too little time for the enduring things of life. They are too busy flitting about doing this and that. They have great activity and much doing, but they lack time for building Christian characters. Both kinds of women -- the too-idle and the too-busy need to take time for meditation and quiet repose in prayer to God. They need time to cultivate their souls that in turn they may cultivate their children's lives" (Billy Graham).
Proverbs 31 explains the characteristics of a godly wife in the home and community.
My son, do not spend your strength and vigor on women who ruin kings. If rulers drink wine and crave beer, they forget what the law says and deprive the oppressed of their rights. Speak up for those who are destitute, judge fairly and defend the rights of the poor and needy (Prov. 31:1-9). God-fearing leaders speak up and defend the rights of the poor and needy.
A wife of noble character is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her, lacking nothing of value. She brings him good everyday. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like merchant ships bringing her food from a distance. She gets up early and provides food for her family and servants (Prov. 31:10-15). Wives' good character save money on food and clothing as they prepare meals for their families.
She considers a field and buys it. She plants a vineyard out of her earnings. She works diligently on her tasks. She works late making sure her trading is profitable. She is generous and helps the needy. She clothes her household in scarlet so they are prepared in every season. She makes coverings for her bed and is clothed in fine linen and purple (Prov. 31:16-22). Wives' business sense and poise supply extra income for their families while helping the needy.
Her husband is respected in a city leadership position. She makes and sells linen garments while supplying sashes for merchants. She clothes herself with strength and dignity and can laugh about the future. She speaks with wisdom and provides faithful instruction. She watches and is never idle over the affairs of her household. Her children and husband praise and call her blessed (Prov. 31:23-28). Wives' creativity, strength, dignity, wisdom, instruction and diligence enhance their husbands' capabilities.
She surpasses all other women who do noble things. Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised. Give her the reward she has earned and let her works bring praise among city leadership (Prov. 31:29-31). Wives who fear God and do not rely on charm and beauty will be praised by others.
As a wife or someone who will be married in the future, evaluate yourself on the following checklist:
1. Save money on food and clothing as you prepare meals for your family
2. Business sense and poise supply extra income for your family while helping the needy
3. Creativity, strength, dignity, wisdom, instruction and diligence enhance your husband's capabilities
4. Fear God and do not rely on charm and beauty to be praised by others
Someone wrote, "Plant a word in the mind, and you will reap an act. Plant the act and you will reap a habit. Plant a habit and you will reap a character. Plant a character and you will reap a nature. Plant a nature and you will reap a destiny." Proverbs 29-30 explain how to pursue the multi-dimensional aspects of discipleship.
Bring Stability and Concern for the Poor
Someone who hardens his neck after many rebukes will be destroyed beyond remedy. People rejoice when the righteous thrive but groan when the wicked rule. A man loving wisdom brings joy to his father but a companion of prostitutes wastes his wealth. A king gives stability to the land through justice but one taking bribes overthrows it. Flattering a neighbor spreads a net for one's feet. An evil man ensnared by his own sin has no concern for the poor but the righteous sing and care about justice for the poor (Prov. 29:1-7). Bring stability, joy, and concern for the poor, not a hardened heart, wasted wealth, flattery and sin.
Seek Souls and Judge Poor with Discernment
Mockers stir up a city but the wise turn away anger. The wise has controversy with fools who rage and scoff. Men of bloodshed hate a man of integrity, but the righteous seek his soul. A fool always loses his temper but the wise keeps himself under control. All his officials become wicked when a ruler listens to lies. The Lord gives sight to both the poor man and oppressor. A king's throne is always secure if he judges the poor with truth (Prov. 29:8-14). Hold your temper, seek the souls of others and judge the poor with truth and discernment.
Teach His Word and Nurture Others to Obey God
A child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother but the rod of correction imparts wisdom. The righteous see the downfall of the wicked and their sin. Correct your son and he will give you comfort and delight to your soul. Without revelation, the people are unrestrained but happy is he who keeps the law. A servant cannot be instructed and respond by words alone even though he understands. A man who speaks hastily has less hope than a fool. He who pampers his servant from childhood will find him to be a son long-term (Prov. 29:15-21). Correct, present negative examples, teach His word and nurture others so people can obey God.
Trust Lord in Humility
An angry man stirs up strife and a hot-tempered one commits many sins. A man's pride brings him low but a humble spirit gains honor. A partner with a thief hates his own life but dare not testify under oath. The fear of man brings a snare and whoever trusts in the Lord will be exalted. Many seek the ruler's favor but the Lord gives justice. The righteous detest the dishonest and the wicked detest the upright (Prov. 29:22-27). Be humble, trust the Lord and detest the dishonest resulting in honor and exaltation.
Seek Accountability in God's Word
Who has gone up to heaven, gathered up the wind, wrapped up the waters and established all the ends of the earth? What is his name or his son's name? Every word of God is flawless and He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar (Prov. 30:1-6). Seek accountability and protection from an all-powerful God whose word is flawless and true.
Pursue Truth and Ask for Daily Provision
Keep falsehood and lies from me. Give me neither poverty nor riches, but only my daily bread lest I be too rich and deny you and say, "Who is the Lord?" or become poor and steal so I dishonor the name of my God. Do not slander a servant to his master or he will curse you. Some curse their fathers, do not bless their mothers, pure in their own eyes but not cleansed from their filth, others have haughty eyes and arrogant glances, teeth like swords and devour the poor and needy (Prov. 30:7-14). Pursue truth and ask for daily provision.
Learn Mystery from Creation
The leech has two daughters that cry, "Give! Give!" Three things are never satisfied: Hell, barren womb and land that is never satisfied with water. Four that never say, "Enough!": Fire, eye that mocks a father and scorns obedience to a mother, food pecked out by ravens and eaten by vultures. Three things too amazing for me and four I do not understand: way of an eagle in the sky, way of a snake on a rock, way of a ship on the high sea and way of a man with a maiden. An adulteress eats and wipes her mouth and says she has done nothing wrong. Under three things the earth trembles and and under four it cannot bear up: a servant who becomes a king, a fool full of food, an unloved woman who is married and a maidservant who displaces her mistress (Prov. 30:15-23). Learn mystery from creation that some things are too amazing or powerful to be understood.
Learn Wisdom and Influence from Creation
Four things on earth are small and extremely wise: ants have little strength but store up their food in the summer, badgers have little power but make their homes in the rocks, locusts have no king but go out in ranks and a lizard can be caught with the hand but is found in kings' palaces. Three things are stately in their stride and four move with stately bearing: lion, mighty among beasts, does not retreat before any; strutting rooster; male goat and a king with his army around him. If you have been foolish in exalting yourself or planned evil, put you hand on your mouth. Stirring up anger produces strife like churning the milk produces butter and pressing the nose produces blood (Prov. 30:24-33). Learn wisdom, influence, humility and self-control from creation.
Ask God to help you pursue the following multi-dimensional aspects of discipleship:
1. Bring stability, joy, and concern for the poor, not a hardened heart, wasted wealth, flattery and sin.
2. Hold your temper, seek the souls of others and judge the poor with truth and discernment.
3. Correct, present negative examples, teach His word and nurture others so people can obey God.
4. Be humble, trust the Lord and detest the dishonest resulting in honor and exaltation.
5. Seek accountability and protection from an all-powerful God whose word is flawless and true.
6. Pursue truth and ask for daily provision.
7. Learn mystery from creation that some things are too amazing or powerful to be understood.
8. Learn wisdom, influence, humility and self-control from creation.
"Not until we have become humble and teachable, standing in awe of God's holiness and sovereignty... acknowledging our own littleness, distrusting our own thoughts, and willing to have our minds turned upside down, can divine wisdom become ours" (J. I. Packer).
The wise nourish others with their speech and seek genuine relationships with the poor. To do this, we need God's perspective.
The words of a person with sound wisdom and understanding speech bring nourishment like deep waters and a bubbling brook. Dishonor and reproach lead a person to separate himself, reveal his own mind, being partial to the wicked and rejecting righteous judgments. In contrast to nourishing words, his words bring strife, blows, ruin and ensnare others through gossip (Prov. 18:1-8). The wise nourish others through their words, but the wicked ruins others through gossip and revealing their own mind.
The lazy or prideful person reaps destruction, thinking that his wealth is security. The righteous or humble person reaps honor and runs to safety in God. He listens before he answers and acquires knowledge by considering both sides of an argument. He opens doors to great men through gifts. Knowing that death and life are in the power of the tongue, he speaks carefully without offense (Prov. 18:9-21). The wise speak carefully and find their security in God instead of wealth.
The righteous or humble person finds favor from the Lord through his wife. He prays fervently because His closest friend is the Lord (Prov. 18:22-24). The humble develops strong relationships with God and his or her spouse.
A person with integrity refuses perverse speech. Their insight and wisdom prevent sin. A fool rages against the Lord and his wealth only brings superficial friendships. Lies lead to certain punishment. A generous man has many friends, but people avoid and hate the poor (Prov. 19:1-7). A generous man with integrity seeks genuine relationships with the poor.
A wise person loves his soul and finds good. False witnesses and liars receive punishment and perish as a result. Luxury and ruling over princes are not fitting for fools. Discretion makes people slow to anger as they overlook a transgression (Prov. 19:8-11). A wise person loves his soul by finding good, being slow to anger and overlooking a transgression.
The king's wrath is like the roaring of a lion but favor like dew on the grass. A foolish son is destruction to his father, but house and wealth are inheritance from fathers. Contentions of a wife are a constant dripping, but a prudent wife is from the Lord (Prov. 19:12-14). Blessings from God include a prudent wife, inheritance from fathers and favor of a king.
Idleness creates deep sleep, hunger and even death because of carelessness. He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul. By being gracious to the poor, you lend to the Lord who repays any good deed. Discipline your son and don't desire his death. You have to rescue an angry man repeatedly. Wisdom comes as you listen to counsel and accept discipline. Man plans his way, but God's counsel stands. Kindness is desirable and the fear of the Lord leads to life so you are untouched by evil (Prov. 19:15-23). Listen to counsel, keep the commandment and be kind so you can live without evil.
The sluggard buries his hand in the dish without bringing it back to his mouth. Strike a scoffer and the naive become shrewd. Reprove someone with understanding and he will discern knowledge. You stray from knowledge by not listening to discipline. Rods are prepared for scoffers and blows for backs of fools (Prov. 19:24-29). Reprove those with understanding so they can discern knowledge, but strike scoffers.
Have you rejected the world's perspectives on wealth?
Are you seeking to nourish others through your words?
Are you seeking genuine relationships with the poor to increase their opportunities for advancement?
Do you listen to counsel to gain more understanding?
Do you reprove others so they can gain discernment?
My goal is to ignite the hearts of people by explaining God's word in the Law, Prophets, Psalms and New Testament consecutively, much like the experience of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:32,44). I have been a missionary in Lincoln, NE, for 13 years with Christ For the City Int. and Sync with God.
Sync with God is a highly versatile web app that hosts on-demand, virtual small groups. Sync is designed to connect young seekers in the faith and scripturally-trained mentors, even globally. It offers a safe, engaging interface for Millennials/Gen. Z and is readily adaptable to technical advances well into the future.
Sync pilot lesson 1