Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Discerning Seasons (7) - Remnant Rising

When the tipping point is passed, the forces of evil are impressed by their numbers and assume they are winning. They do get to work more evil on earth, but they are still losing. They can never win the larger battle, because Jesus won a complete victory on the cross, and the Holy Spirit is at work to make it a reality in history. Nothing that happens on earth, now or in the future, can nullify the victory of the cross. Getting the numbers on earth enables the power of darkness work more evil in the world, but it does not prevent God from accomplishing his purposes.

God has infinite power and wisdom, so he does not depend on numbers to accomplish his purposes. He will often choose to work with a small, overwhelmed group of people, so that his glory can be revealed through them. All he needs is a few people:

  • seeking his Kingdom first;
  • listening to the Holy Spirit;
  • bound together by love;
  • willing to take up the cross;
  • and follow Jesus.
A small of committed remnant, working with the Holy Spirit, can defeat a large array of opposing power.

When the tipping point is passed and the world is flooded with evil, God raises a remnant. They will be in the world, so they will not escape the pain, but by standing together, they will rise above it to do God’s work. He can accomplish more through a small committed than the forces of evil can accomplish with a free hand.
  • Moses stood alone on the shore with his hand stretched over the sea, and God destroyed chariots and horses of the mighty Egyptian Pharaoh (Ex 14:27-28).

  • Gideon defeated a Midianite multitude with 300 dedicated men (Judges 7:7).

  • David achieved great victories with 30 might men (1 Sam 23).

  • Elijah and the Holy Spirit defeated an army Arameans (2 Kings 6:18-20).

  • When the loyal followers of Jesus had been hiding behind locked doors, Peter preached in the power of the Holy Spirit and three thousand people came to faith in Jesus (Acts 2:41).

  • Peter and John were thrown into jail by the temple authorities, but the Holy Spirit brought another two thousand into the Kingdom of God.

Each of these victories came at a time when God’s people seemed to be overwhelmed. The remnant often suffered greatly, but because they stood together, and walked with the Holy Spirit, God was able to accomplish his purposes through them.

On several occasions, God got things underway with a woman serving or praying alone.
  • God used a young girl called Miriam hiding in a swamp (Ex 2:7) to save Moses who rose to deliver all the children of Israel and bring then under God’s covenant.

  • Hannah cried out of her bitterness for a son whom she dedicated to the Lord (1 Sam 1:1-11). God used her to raise up Samuel, who released David, who defeated the enemies of Israel.

  • The prayers of the prophetess called Anna opened the way for God to send redemption through Jesus (Luke 2:36-38).

The remnant is often starts off invisible, hidden on the edges of society and away from the corridors of power.
  • David started his ministry in a cave called Adullum, surrounded by the distressed and the discontented (1 Sam 22:1-2).

  • Jesus began his ministry in Galilee away from the distractions and power plays of Jerusalem.

The remnant does not confront evil head on, but works quietly in hidden places. By remaining out of sight for a time, it gains time to develop and grow. The forces of evil are obsessed with hierarchy and power, so they concentrate their attention on the places of power and privilege where their authority is growing. They will not notice the move of God that is gathering strength in the shadows until it is too late. By the time that they notice the remnant that the Holy Spirit has equipped, it will have multiplied out to become an unstoppable force.
The LORD Almighty has sworn,
Surely, as I have planned, so it will be,
and as I have purposed, so it will happen.
This is the plan determined for the whole world;
this is the hand stretched out over all nations.
For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him?
His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back (Is 14:24, 26,27)?
The Lord’s hand is stretched over the nations. He will accomplish his purposes and nothing can thwart him. A season when he appears to be pushed out of the world often comes just before the Holy Spirit move in power to reveal his glory.

5 comments:

mcdadius said...

Hi Ron,
You gave me a link to your article on Prayer and Authority. I have been discussing it with a couple of friends. In the article you make the statement "God will not act on earth unless a human gives him permission to act." I am sure you realize that that is a pretty radical way of thinking or at least expressing that God works only in answer to prayer. As we discussed this one of my friends was not convinced that just because God had delegated authority to man that he relinquished all his authority in such a way that he now needed permission from man to act.
As I have pondered this I thought about the story of the tower of Babel. Who gave God permission to step in and confuse their languages at that time?
Blessings,
Jeff

Anonymous said...

Hi Ron,

I found your http://getrad2.blogspot.com/ on the topic of Halal meat, which vexes me, as I like lamb but do not wish to support the Koran and all which that evil book connotes.

Then I went on to read you excellent article "Political Strategy and Tactics". There is a lot of wisdom in what you say, and it made me think from a different perspective about firstly the issue of Halal meat, and secondly boosting the church and Christian values.

Firstly Halal meat, rather than attack or condemn it, a new brand of meat needs to be offered instead. One that appeals both to Christians and the liberals (whom profess to be against cruelty to animals). Christians can lead the charge in demanding this new brand of meat, but reality dictates that it cannot be exclusively for Christians. "Moral Meat"

Secondly, as most of the people whom are not in Church are not Christians, the church must become a place for Atheists and non believers as well.

I say this because I would class my self as an atheist Christian. That is I believe in the morals and manner of Christian living through Jesus's teachings, but my scientific understanding does not admit me to believe in the literal reality of the existence of God.

Atheist need God too, but it it necessarily needs to be a virtual god, such that an atheist frame work of reality does not need to be readjusted, and then he can comfortably join the fellowship which he painfully lacks and the church plaintively needs.

A third strategic point, is that a general also needs to recognise traitors within his own camp. And there seems to be some amongst the top echelons of the church right now, slowly killing it, deliberately subverting it, and leaving their congregation weak and easy prey from any outside attack.

God bless you.

Chris the Atheist Christian.

chris.ashley@fast-email.com

Blessed Economist said...

Jeff, your question is a good one.

The best answer that I can give is that their was someone calling out to God at the time, who was not mentioned in the Old Testament. I realise that is an argument from silence, which is a bit weak.

At most other pivotal times in OT history, there were people praying and giving God the authority to act, eg Noah, Abraham, Hannah, Anna.

The suggestion that God did not relinquish all his authority but held back the right to intervene in certain circumstances is also an argument from silence, as there is not record of this in the scriptures. There is no indication of what authority he held back, or the conditions under which he can intervene. The word dominion used in Genesis 1:28 is a very strong word. This is a funny word to use for partial authority.

The other problem with this argument is that it allows us to shift blame for what happens on earth back to God. He could have intervened to stop evil, so it is his fault. This could be an appealing idea, but the motivation is wrong.

Isca said...

I feel that the silence in the scriptures regarding your concept of the Tower of Babel maybe more powerful and weighty in evidence than is  probably given credit especially when the concept (someone unrecorded in the bible praying) is teamed up with a saying of Jesus in Matthew 6:6 
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

If it is done in secret then it is rather unlikely for it to be recorded :-)

Anonymous said...

Jeff,
Our desire for God is for His presence in our lives. In His presence is Joy and Peace. If His presence is removed there is only one alternative - confusion. I don't think a prayer is needed for Him to remove Himself. He has that authority but if we want Him operating in this earth realm we must pray.