Most believers I know have a desire to be useful & effective & achieve things in God.
In this presentation, we shall look at zeal, those open doorways and of the times when God actually shuts the door on us. In Revelation 3, we see-
We shall see that there are times when God actually removes us, or places us in exile for a purpose.
He did that to Joseph! He did that to John the Baptist. He did that to Jesus and He could be doing that to you.
What you are about to read can liberate you and be a real blessing.
In my opening statement, I touched on the desires to be useful to God. We rightly want to get out there and do something, but often step out prematurely, or presumptuously.
A legitimate vision has no expiry date.
Therefore when God calls us to a task of some kind, it behooves us to find out where, when and how, just as much what it is. If it is a “God vision” there is an appointed time for its fulfillment and trying to force it to happen is foolhardy and just as dangerous as lagging behind and missing the day of our visitation.
Personally, I have problems with that, because I hate waiting. We all do. I jokingly say that my name is Robert Waiting Carter. I have been waiting for a specific promise, with numerous confirmations, of a ministry vision since the mid to late 1970’s! It is as fresh today as it was when the Lord first spoke.
The Lord spoke several thousand years ago about the birth, death and ministry of Jesus.
What I will now share could enlighten you and give some answers why zeal is not what we once thought.
One aspect is Exile.
If you think that you have been overlooked or stuck somewhere out of sight and out of mind, seeming to be doing nothing, God could have you there for a specific reason. We do not have to be doing something to be in the middle of the will of God. Thinking that we are supposed to be getting results, can sometimes be counter productive to His plan.
Jesus was always doing what pleased God. He did not do this automatically, but as the son of man who learned obedience according to Hebrews 5:6. We also need to learn real obedience. The bible is full of prophecies about Him but not one took place as far as His ministry went—until the time was right. He never stepped out prematurely, only starting to go about His Father’s business, as and when the Father authorized Him to do so.
When He was a baby, God sent Him into exile to save His life.
Many times in His ministry, the enemy tried to take Him out prematurely and on some occasions, it was by religious people.
They, like Saul, were zealous, but their zeal was misplaced. Although God had given them The Law and the Torah, their zeal became misplaced and when He challenged the status quo, they unsuccessfully plotted to kill Him.
Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come. John 7:30
Back in Genesis, God made a prophetic statement that the seed of the women would crush the head of the seed of the serpent and the devil heard it. He knows the implications of that prophecy and tried to prevent its fulfillment.
You can be hidden in plain sight to achieve what God wants.
When the devil tried to stop Jesus in His tracks just before He started His ministry, he misquoted scripture. He can read the bible you know, so “knowing” or “quoting” scriptures does not necessarily mean a thing. He lacked revelation, so we need to have real revelation of what God has said, not intellectual assimilation of information.
I keep telling everyone to find out what God has said on any matter and apply that as a principle—and you have to do it for yourself. There is a special word, tailor made just for you, so you have to find it. I cannot “use it”—you have to “use it.”
If the devil is as powerful and intelligent as people say, he would never have arranged for Jesus’ execution. I’d like to share a lengthy portion of scripture now and do so for a reason. Please note the emphasis.
When people say things like, “Well...you don’t now what God is going to do you know” or “The ways of God are mysterious and beyond finding out”, they are telling Paul and the Holy Spirit who inspired scripture that they are liars! Whilst God reserves the right to be silent on certain matters, we can and should know everything there is to know.
When I was studying for my doctorate, the theological emphasis majoring on hermeneutics, apologetics, exegesis, homiletics, philosophy and so on was taking me away from the truth of which I speak. If you doubt this, visit the web sites of most seminaries and bible colleges and check out their curriculum. Most bible colleges in Australia, function in accord with governmental legislation and must meet their criteria. There are some valid reasons of course.
The devil operates in the level of the natural mind and has no revelation knowledge to the same degree as we can have.
All that the Israelites knew for 430 years was making mud bricks. They were slaves and knew nothing about such craftsmanship. God supernaturally equipped the men He wanted to do the job He wanted. If He is a God who does not change and a God whose word never falters, why, oh why, do men refuse to allow Him to provide for and equip them to do the work He ordains? The same Holy Spirit can also help you and equip you for the tasks God has for you.
I said all that to say this
Right from the time of the garden, the devil tried to take Jesus out, starting immediately.
There were scores of prophecies about Him and His birth, such as Deuteronomy 18:15; Psalm 110; Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 9:6-9; 11; 52:13-15; 53; 61:1-3; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Micah 5:2 and many more.
God sent Jesus into exile! He sent Jesus away to save His life and the lives of His family! Once the risk had gone, they could all return home and this also happened according to prophecy.
“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and I called my son out of Egypt. Hosea 11:1
When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt.
You may be wondering what this has to do with you. That’s a good point.
You and I are part of the plan of God.
That is reason enough. It matters not what your role and function may be to a certain extent. What matters is that you’re in it if you name the name of Jesus. The day you were born again, the devil started hating you more than before. He is going down and knows it, but his plan it to take as many of us as he can down in the process and is very angry about it, because he knows that his days are numbered. I’m not saying that to alarm you, but to alert you to his plans.
Paul told us to ensure that we are wearing the armor of God, that is full and complete in every detail in Ephesians chapter six. I again urge you to read about this armor on my web site. Click here. Let us see some of this now.
Paul did not say “If the battle is won.” The outcome is certain, but in the process the devil plots and plans to get rid of us. Never fear. God has a plan and His plan is the best and if necessary, He will place you in exile!
There are times perhaps when someone we know could be operating against us, even if unwittingly. If they do not see the things you see, they just do not understand why you are behaving the way you are. Do not think that all believers will be with you. They might be at a different stage of growth in the Lord perhaps and when you share your dream or vision as Joseph did, all kinds of problems can and do emerge. There is such a thing as spiritual jealousy, even amongst preachers. The bible reveals that our own family members can become an enemy (see Micah 7:6 and Matthew 10:36) and this is getting into a major topic in itself now, so I will leave it at that.
That was done to preserve His life and prevent a premature fulfillment of part of His prophetic ministry.
There is another aspect to consider and that is more for those of us in the ministry and it is in the areas of spiritual jealousy. I touched on this before. Never think that everyone will be happy for your success, for your ministry vision or for the anointing you have. Rather than being happy for you, they seem to want you to fail. It’s what we call “the tall poppy syndrome” in Australia.
Some pastors I know are afraid of the anointing! Others are envious and jealous. Some of my friends who will read this can attest to that!
This is what I am talking about. He has since mellowed and we are in a good relationship, but the Lord told us to say nothing and make no effort at justifying ourselves and for a couple of years, He “placed us in exile”. Sometimes any attempt on our own part to justify or prove yourself has the reverse affect. It can widen the gap between brethren, so allow the Lord to handle the situation.
Let Him reveal to you what to do about it.
I remember having a pity party once over two issues.
He had learned that his source was not in the well, but in the God who put the water in the well. This lesson is powerful, yet it is not readily understood.
I keep telling people not to rely on man for help, but learn to tap into the source as he did.
The whole matter fizzled out and that group of believers disbanded. The ringleader’s marriage broke down and the last time I saw him, he was the saddest, most dejected man I had ever seen. The Lord told me to visit him and when Marjorie and I did, his once beautiful home was empty, looked forlorn and the joy had gone. There was a heavy atmosphere in the place and what was once a beautiful garden had fallen into a poor condition. The lawns were not mowed, weeds were springing up all over the place and the flowers had disappeared.
We do not have to agree with everyone or even like them, but we do have to love them.
I’ve got to get serious now and close.
Be wise in what you say and to whom you say it and remember, that you could still be a work in progress, not knowing the full picture. When we talk too much or share prematurely, it is difficult to retract certain things. Preachers can’t recall DVD’s you know and people have the ability to keep remembering those days when we sometimes acted like babies (which we all did). It’s harder to put the cat back into the bag after you have let it out. It is wise to wait while we plan and see what develops and nothing is always “so important” or “urgent” that you’ve got to have things happening immediately and try to force them to happen.
Sometimes the Lord will send you into exile for a while to get things sorted out and then, when we allow Him to do what is best, we can come out the other side smelling sweet as roses and enjoy the ride. Sometimes we need to loosen up and be able to laugh at ourselves. Cheer up! It may never happen.
So my friends, when you think that things are not going the way you would like or you feel that you are not being treated properly, pause for a while and look at the situation—you could be a work in progress and about ready to come out the other side.
One day perhaps, you could come out of obscurity and tell someone, “Hey! I’m your brother Joseph” and you know what he did.