Does anyone else think it odd that Christians area always reacting to the attacks of the enemy, often not prepared for the storms and circumstances they are going through? So often, I find people asking for prayer after an attack has begun. I have a question for us: where are our intercessors? In other words, is anyone close enough to God to hear His warnings? Are we so selfishly focused on our own situations and issues that we don’t ever listen to what God is saying about others?
Today, I was reminded of how God speaks to people in the Bible. Now, I’m not saying He only talks to us one way. In fact, God speaks to us constantly, one way or another. He may speak to us by counseling us, or consoling us, or He may be speaking to us in correction or Fathering/shepherding us. But there are quite a few times where God speaks in a way of warning to prepare.
Gideon was someone God gave warnings about the near future. God wasn’t there to pick up the pieces, because He was there before anything happened. He warned Gideon and gave Him instructions on how to prepare for the battles ahead, how to successfully navigate the problems ahead.
Joshua was given the same instructions of preparation. Now, people made some mistakes and that required Joshua to gather information from God to find out what was wrong. But before that, God had given them direction and warnings about what not to do. God gave similar warnings to all of Israel through Moses in Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Exodus, and Numbers. The Israelites knew they were supposed to be close to God, and throughout scripture we see God always warned His people about what was coming. Just consider Isaiah or Ezekiel, Jonah or Jeremiah.
The scripture that spoke the most to me today was in Luke 22:31-32:
(Jesus said) “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
My goodness, did that speak to me! Does this mean Satan came to Jesus and asked Him for permission to attack Peter? Jesus didn’t specify that, but He did say Satan asked. I personally assume Satan asked God for permission. If you know the context then you Jesus was referring to Peter denying Jesus 3 times. I don’t see that Satan came to Jesus to ask permission, but I do think Jesus saw Peter would struggle with Jesus’ capture and trial, and He knew the temptations were coming, that Peter would struggle. But Jesus didn’t just stop there, He gave a warning. He told Peter what was coming. I find this to be a true challenge to us. Does Jesus still warn His friends? If I consider myself to be His friend and a co-heir, am I close enough to Him that I am warned about what is coming, or am I often caught off guard by circumstances. It’s fascinating.
Jesus told Peter that he was about to be tested by Satan, but just as fascinating is He didn’t stop it! Jesus told Peter he was going to get through it because Jesus prayed for him. Are you kidding me? It seems that so much of today’s Christianity is people gathering together to pray for the circumstances we are facing to cease, crying out to God with questions like, “Why?” But Jesus didn’t rescue Peter from the trial and temptations, and instead interceded for Peter to make it through. That’s pretty different. Just reading it, I felt like I was trying to swallow this huge stone, and that was truly a reality check.
So often, we don’t realize the value of the trials and temptations. God wants us to conquer them! He wants us to find the joy in the midst of the problems, and to also realize we are there because of our own choices. Satan doesn’t tempt us by any other way than to look at our own evil desires and he just brings them to us. But it’s in this same temptation that we work through that the voice loses its appeal.
Romans 8:34 says Jesus is our intercessor right now, this very moment. What is He intercessing for? Hasn’t He already set us free? Hasn’t He defeated the enemy? Yes. Then what is He praying for? He is praying for us to get close enough to Him so that we would realize the trials and temptations are for our good because they have purpose. But just as important is that we need to realize Jesus warned Peter before the test! He doesn’t want us walking blindly into a trap. He warns us, if only we would listen. Today, I feel the challenge to get my soul still enough to listen to God… not for a blessing or comfort, but for warnings. I want to be equipped like God equipped Israel and Judah, like He equipped David, Joshua, and Gideon.
Now the key question at this point is, “How do we prepare once we have the warning?” Peter didn’t prepare very well, and faltered. Israel didn’t heed the warning, Judah didn’t either. So what good is it to know or have the warning? Honestly, because it would change how we handle the circumstances. We wouldn’t lose our faith, our hope, or our trust. We wouldn’t blame God for the test. We wouldn’t get bitter or struggle. We would, instead, be filled with faith, hope, trust, and praise by understanding it has purpose. What is the purpose? Just read Luke 22:32 again, and focus on the ending- “… when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
I’m tired of being caught off guard, and I’m challenged today to hear the warnings so I can be prepared, not necessarily for myself… but for you. And I hope you are too. Bless you…
March 2023 February 2023 January 2023 December 2022 November 2022 October 2022 September 2022 July 2022 June 2022 May 2022 April 2022 March 2022 February 2022 January 2022 December 2021 November 2021 October 2021 September 2021 August 2021 July 2021 June 2021 May 2021 April 2021 March 2021 February 2021 January 2021