WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU CAN EXPERIENCE THE WORK APART FROM THE WALK













Today’s selected passage continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah, and more specifically, is found in verses one through twenty-six of the thirty-first chapter. SET THEE UP WAYMARKS! MAKE THEE HIGH HEAPS! SET THINE HEART TOWARD THE HIGHWAY! EVEN THE WAY WHICH THOU WENTEST! TURN AGAIN! TURN AGAIN TO THESE THY CITIES! If you take the time to read this particular passage of Scripture, you will undoubtedly uncover and discover that the entire passage deals with a people which will—a people which are destined to—return. The more I read the latter chapters of the prophetic book of Jeremiah, the more I am utterly and completely consumed with the thought that even before they entered into their captivity, they were destined to return from that captivity. A PEOPLE DESTINED TO RETURN! As surely and as certainly as this people was ordained and appointed to enter into captivity, that same people were also destined to return from that captivity. In other words—even before they entered into captivity in a strange and foreign land, the Lord had already provided a way for them to return. Even before the children of Israel had been carried away captive and carried into the land of the Chaldeans, the Lord had already ordained and orchestrated their release and return. As early as the days of the prophet Isaiah, the Lord had ordained and appointed their return from the place of their captivity. Through the prophet Jeremiah were uncover the appointed time for their captivity, while through the prophet Isaiah we discover the instrument which would be used to bring about that release. UNDERSTANDING THE INSTRUMENT OF YOUR RELEASE! UNDERSTANDING THE TIMEFRAME OF YOUR RELEASE! As surely as I’m sitting here right now, I can’t help but be utterly and completely consumed with the thought that the Lord had not only ordained and orchestrated the instrument which would bring about their release, but the Lord had also ordained and orchestrated the actual time of their release. Despite the fact that the Lord had appointed His people to be carried away as captives into a strange and foreign land, the Lord did not allow them to go into without also having their escape route already mapped out and prepared. How absolutely wonderful and incredible it is to consider the reality that even before the children of Israel were carried away captive from their own land, the Lord already had the exact route by which they would return. When you read this particular passage of Scripture, you will notice a very specific set of instructions given to those to whom the prophet Jeremiah was prophesying. Through the prophet Jeremiah the Lord instructed the house of Judah to set up for themselves waymarks and to make them high heaps—two distinct realities which would be used to help them return the way by which they had been brought. I WILL BRING YOU BACK BY THE SAME WAY YOU WERE BROUGHT IN! YOUR GOING FORTH WILL BE SIMILAR TO YOUR COMING IN! When it came to their release and return from their captivity in the land of the Chaldeans, the Lord did not lead them according to a different path, but actually led them the same way they came. Even when the children of Israel were living as slaves in the land of Egypt, the Lord had already gone ahead to their release and had ordained the route of their deliverance. THE LORD HAS ORDAINED THE ROUTE OF YOUR DELIVERANCE! THE LORD HAS ORDAINED THE ROUTE OF YOUR REDEMPTION! THE LORD HAS ORDAINED THE ROUTE OF YOUR SALVATION! One thing to consider is that the Lord could have led the children of Israel a completely different way when He brought them forth out of their slavery, bondage and oppression within the land of Egypt, yet the path which He had prepared for them was one that led straight to the Red Sea. I have written before that the Lord of hosts is indeed a God of the path beneath the waters, for there are and there have been multiple times when we see the waters of the Red Sea before us, yet the Lord doesn’t see the waters before us, but the path beneath the waters. I am convinced there are and there have been numerous times when the only thing we can seem to see is that which is on the surface level—i.e. The waters of the Red Sea. When the children of Israel came to the edge of the Red Sea, what they saw before them were the waters of the Red Sea, and the advance of the adversary and his army behind them. When the children of Israel came to the Red Sea there in the wilderness, the only thing they could see were the waters before them and the army behind them. I am convinced there are a number of men and women who have found themselves in this very place—the place where the only thing they could see before them were the waters, and the only thing they could see behind them was the army of the adversary. While the children of Israel only saw the waters of the Red Sea before them, the Lord looked beneath the waters to the path that had been prepared for them beneath those waters. There beneath the waters of the Red Sea the Lord had already ordained and prepared a way and a path whereby they might experience the salvation of the Lord.

 I have written before concerning the work that takes place beneath the waters, as well as the path beneath the waters, and it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand both. We dare not, we cannot, we should not, we must not look at the waters of the Red Sea that is before us without being aware of both the path that has been prepared beneath the waters, as well as the work that also takes place beneath those very same waters. What’s more, is that the work which takes place beneath the waters cannot take place until and unless we are willing to walk along the path that has been prepared beneath those waters. In other words, there are countless men and women who may very well be aware of the work that must take place beneath the waters, yet they believe they can somehow have the work without the path. I must boldly and emphatically declare unto you that while it is true that both the work and the path are intrinsically connected to each other, it is absolutely impossible to separate the two. What’s more, is that we cannot presume to think that we can have and experience the work beneath the waters without first walking along the path that has been prepared for us beneath those very same waters. The ground beneath the waters of the Red Sea was the path of salvation for the children of israel, yet that very same ground beneath the waters was a graveyard for their enemies and adversaries. I am convinced there are men and women who right now have been led to the waters of the Red Sea—led to the place where the path and the work collide and meet with each other. What’s even more interesting is when you consider the fact that the path beneath the waters of the Red Sea was prepared and ordained for the people of God, and when the adversary attempted to follow them along that very same path, the Lord quickly disposed of and destroyed them. How absolutely wonderful and amazing it is to consider that the same path which was afforded to the people of God for salvation was also the path ordained for the destruction of their enemies. Considering the public act of baptism in water, it is necessary that we understand that beneath those waters the Lord has orchestrated and prepared a path for us—a path whereby we experience His salvation, deliverance and redemption. Until and unless we are willing to walk along the path that has been prepared for us beneath the waters, we can never and will never experience the work that takes place beneath those very same waters. Notice that the children of Israel had to walk along the path beneath the waters before the work of the Lord beneath those very same waters could take place.

WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU CAN EXPERIENCE THE WORK APART FROM THE WALK! The children of Israel had come to the waters of the Red Sea, and they were completely and totally oblivious to the reality that there had been ordained and appointed a path beneath those waters. The Lord had gone before them and had already prepared a path that led straight through that which undoubtedly seemed impossible for the children of Israel. The Lord did not lead the children of Israel along the path that would have brought them to their inheritance much sooner, but brought them straight to the Red Sea. In fact, I would dare say that before you are able to pass through and cross over the river Jordan, you must first come to and pass through the waters of the Red Sea. When the children of Israel came to the river Jordan, there were no enemies that were drowned by those waters, for the enemy and adversary was before them on the other side of the waters. When they came to the waters of the Red Sea, the enemy and adversary was pursuing them from behind, and had come upon them before the waters of the Red Sea. I am convinced that unless the children of Israel had passed through the waters of the Red Sea, they could and would not pass through the waters of the Jordan River. It was there at the Red Sea where the Lord had not only prepared a path for them beneath the waters, but He had also ordained and appointed a work beneath the waters. In all reality, I am convinced that this is one of the single greatest reasons why baptism is so utterly and completely necessary. I recognize there may be those who somehow think and believe that baptism is no longer necessary for those who profess faith and belief in the Son of the living God, yet the truth of the matter is that that simply isn’t the case. When we come to the waters of baptism, there is not only beneath those waters a path whereby we follow the Lord, but there is also a work which takes place beneath those waters. It was John the Baptist who first spoke of the act of baptism, for it was he who declared “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire” (Matthew 3:11). In the first chapter of the gospel of Mark, we read of John the Baptist declaring “I indeed have baptized you with water: but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost” (Mark 1:8). When writing to the Colossians congregation, the apostle Paul emphatically declared and spoke of our being buried in baptism with Jesus who is the Christ and Lord. “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead” (Colossians 2:11-12).

 I have written before concerning the work that takes place beneath the waters, and wrote how both the flood waters during the days of Noah, and the waters of the Red Sea during the days of Moses each carried with them a very specific and unique work. It was beneath the waters of the Red Sea during the days of Moses that the Lord destroyed the enemies and adversaries which had pursued the children of Israel through the wilderness to overtake them. It was beneath the waters of the flood during Noah’s day that the Lord destroyed the wickedness that had become so pervasive upon the face of the earth. I am convinced that there is a tremendous work that takes place beneath the waters—a work which we must understand and recognize. The work of destroying the wickedness during Noah’s day could not be completed until the ark had been built, Noah and his family had safely boarded the ark, and two of every living animal was safe upon the ark. It wasn’t until the Lord shut Noah and his family in the ark that the waters of the flood could be released upon the earth, and the work of destroying the wickedness upon the face of the earth. It wasn’t until the children of Israel had walked the path that had been prepared for them beneath the waters that the Lord could then begin the work of destroying that which would pursue and seek to overtake them. Oh that we would recognize and understand that there is a work that needs to take place beneath the waters, but as surely and as certainly as there is a work, there is also a path that must be walked, and a path that must be followed before that work can take place. The children of Israel came to the waters of the Red Sea and weren’t aware of the path that lie beneath the waters, nor yet the work that was going to take place beneath the waters. When it comes to our own baptism, we must understand and recognize that our being baptized in water is an outward manifestation and outward expression of an inward reality. When we agree to place ourselves beneath the waters of baptism, we are not only agreeing to the path that lies beneath the waters, but also to the work that takes place beneath those waters. I fully recognize that the entire act of baptism lasts but a few short seconds as one or more individual plunges you backwards beneath the waters and then as quickly as you plunge beneath the waters, you are quickly brought back up. While the act and expression of baptism lasts only a few short seconds, it is nonetheless symbolic of both the path that lies beneath the waters, as well as the work that takes place beneath the waters. It is through the act of baptism that we not only demonstrate our willingness to walk along the path that lies beneath the waters, but we also demonstrate our willingness to undergo and experience the work that takes place beneath those waters. It is through our undergoing and experiencing the act of baptism that we agree to the work of being buried with Christ in order that we might rise with Him through the faith of the operation of God.

 Through the prophet Jeremiah we find the Lord instructing the children of Israel to set up for them way markers, to make unto themselves high heaps, and to set thine heart toward the highway. It is this final phrase—“set thine heart toward the highway”—that I can’t escape within my heart and mind.I am convinced with everything that is inside of me that this phrase is a prophetic declaration that is being issued to countless within this generation. Through the prophet Jeremiah the Spirit of the Lord of hosts was calling for the people to set thine heart toward the highway—to set thine heart toward the way by which they came. For the children of israel to “set thine heart toward the highway” meant that they would set their heart toward the path that would lead to their release and return. It is absolutely unmistakable in this passage of Scripture that the Lord of hosts is calling the people of God to set their heart toward the highway, and even goes on to speak of that highway as “the way which thou wentest.” When the people of God were instructed to set their heart toward the highway, they were instructed to set their heart toward the way and path which they went forth from the place of their inheritance. In fact, I would even dare say that as they were journeying along the path from the place of their inheritance to the place of their captivity, they would mark well the path by which they came. It’s almost as if the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord was telling them to mark well in their minds, and mark well before them the path which they had traveled, for that path which led to their captivity would be the very same path that would lead to their release and return. Even before they were forced to walk the path that would lead to their captivity, the Lord instructed them to set their heart toward the highway—to set their heart toward the way of their escape and the way of their release. How absolutely wonderful and amazing it is to think that even while they were walking on the highway that would lead to their captivity, that same highway would lead to their return. I find it to be absolutely wonderful that the Lord of hosts called the children of Israel to set their heart toward the highway, for while it is true that their captivity was permitted by the Lord, the Lord never wanted them to grow comfortable or complacent in that captivity. Despite the fact the Lord instructed them to build for them houses, despite the fact that the Lord instructed them to multiply within the land, and even despite the fact the Lord instructed them to plant vineyards for themselves in the land of their captivity, the Lord did not want them to be grow comfortable or complacent in the midst of that captivity. The Lord wanted them to always set their heart toward the highway—to set their heart toward the way and path by which they had come. The Lord wanted them to mark well the path they walked on as they were heading to the place of their captivity, for they would return the very same way they had come. When it came to their release and return, the people of God would not be led a different way, but would be led the very same way which they had previously traveled and journeyed.

 In the eighth verse of this particular chapter, the Lord declared through the prophet Jeremiah that He was going to bring His people forth from the north country, and would gather them from the coasts of the earth. The Lord would lead those from the north country with them that are blind and those which are lame, as well as the woman with child, and her that travailed with child. Consider how the final portion of the eighth verse concludes within this chapter—“A great company shall return thither.” Please don’t miss the tremendous significance of those words, for when the Lord brought forth His people forth from the land of their captivity, He didn’t want to bring back a small and diminishing people. While the Lord caused a remnant of His people to be brought into the land of their captivity, the Lord never desired, nor did He ever intend for them to return the same way they had entered. What I mean by that is that the Lord desired that the people which would return from the land of their captivity would be a united people—and not just a united people, but a multiplied people. When the children of Israel would return from the land of their captivity, they would return as a united people, for the Lord would unite them in the place of their captivity. What’s more, is that when the Lord led His children forth from their captivity, the Lord would led them forth as a people which had multiplied in the midst of that land. Through the captivity of the people of God in the land of the Chaldeans we learn an incredibly powerful truth—the truth that the Lord never intended for them to diminish or decrease in the midst of it. Through their captivity in the land of the Chaldeans, we learn that the Lord desired to preserve and protect them in the midst of that land, but we also learn that there in the midst of the land the Lord would cause them to increase. This is an incredibly wonderful truth to consider, for there are those who right now are themselves in that place of captivity, yet the Lord does not desire that they decrease in that place, but increase. Despite the fact that the Lord permits captivity, He never intends, nor does He ever desire for captivity to be an end of an individual. It would be through captivity the Lord preserved and protected His people, and even in the midst of their captivity they were to increase and multiply. How interesting it is that the more Pharaoh and the Egyptians taskmasters persecuted and oppressed the children of Israel, the more they multiplied and grew. INCREASING AND MULTIPLYING IN THE LAND OF OPPRESSION! INCREASING AND MULTIPLYING IN THE LAND OF BONDAGE AND SLAVERY! INCREASING AND MULTIPLYING IN THE LAND OF CAPTIVITY! INCREASE AND MULTIPLYING IN THE LAND OF EXILE!.

 In the ninth verse of this chapter we find the Lord declaring that they would come with weeping, and that with supplications would they be led of the Lord. Moreover, the Lord would cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they would not stumble. Perhaps the rivers of waters they were caused to walk by were the very same rivers they had sat down beside and wept. Wouldn’t it be just like the Lord to lead you out of your captivity beside the very same waters you once sat before and wept? Wouldn’t it be just like the Lord to lead you out of your place of exile beside the very same waters where you hung up those instruments which you one used in service and ministry before the Lord, yet hung upon the willows of Babylon? In the eleventh verse the Lord declared that He redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. How many of us bear that same testimony within our own lives? How many of us bear the testimony that the Lord has redeemed us—and has not only redeemed us, but has also ransomed us from the hand of him that was stronger than we are? I believe with everything inside of me that this is one of the greatest testimonies the people of God have within their lives—the testimony that the Lord has ransomed them from the hand of him that was stronger than they were. Remember when David declared of the Lord that He drew him out of waters that were too deep for him? The Lord our God whom we serve, and in whom we trust is the sovereign Lord who not only draws us out of waters that are too deep for us, but also ransoms us from the hand of those which are stronger than us. It may be true that you are drowning in waters that are too deep for you, yet the ultimate reality is that the Lord can, and the Lord will draw you out of those waters which are too deep for you. It may be true that you find yourself being oppressed by one whose hand is stronger than you are, yet the Lord is perfectly able to ransom you from the hand of him whose hand is stronger than yours. It doesn’t matter how deep the waters are in which you find yourself, nor does it matter how strong the hand of your adversary and oppressor is, for the Lord is perfectly able to deliver and ransom you from each one. The Lord can take and draw you out of waters that are too deep for you—waters which you felt have begun to overtake you. The Lord is perfectly able to deliver and ransom you from the hand of him that is stronger than you, for while the adversary might be stronger than you, there is none that is stronger, nor is there one who is mightier than the Lord.

 As you continue reading this passage of Scripture, you will come to the fifteenth verse, which is actually a Messianic reference which is found in the New Testament concerning Herod’s murderous attempt to cut off the Messiah. “Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not” (Jeremiah 31:15). In the fifteenth verse of this chapter we find a voice being heard in Ramah—a voice of lamentation and bitter weeping, as Rachel wept for her children. Despite Rachel’s weeping, and her refusal to be comforted for her children, the Lord had decreed, ordained and appointed something truly remarkable in the midst of her. “Thus saith the Lord; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord;p and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border” (Jeremiah 31:16-17). Not only did the Lord call them to refrain their voice from weeping, and their eyes from tears, but the Lord also declared unto them that their work shall be rewarded, and they will come again from the land of their enemy. Do you know that it was never the Lord’s intention for you to perish in the land of the enemy? Do you know and understand that the Lord has always desired that you would come forth from the land of the enemy, and has always decreed hope in your end? The Lord emphatically declared through Jeremiah that they would come again from the land of the enemy, which means that although they were permitted to remain in the land of the enemy, they would not remain that land. The Lord would release them from the land of the enemy, and would return them to their own land—the land of inheritance, the land of promise, and the land of blessing. There are many who right now are just like Rachel—those who are giving themselves to weeping, and who are refusing to be comforted. There are countless men and women who are living as strangers in the land of the enemy, yet who the Lord has decreed that He would bring them forth from that land. The Lord never intended on destroying the children of Israel in the land of their slavery, nor did the Lord ever intend on destroying the children of Israel in the land of their captivity. SLAVERY IS NOT THE END! BONDAGE IS NOT THE END! CAPTIVITY IS NOT THE END! EXILE IS NOT THE END! The Lord has instructed you to set way markers, for it’s in, it’s through and it’s by those way markers that you will find your way back to the place of inheritance, promise and blessing.

 THE LORD WHO HAS SET UP AND ESTABLISHED WAY MARKERS BEFORE YOU! This passage is absolutely wonderful and incredible, for through and by it we discover the powerful reality that the Lord has deliberately and intentionally set up a specific path whereby you would return from the place of your captivity and exile. It is true that it was incredibly difficult to make your way along that path as you prepared to enter into the place of your captivity and exile, yet the Lord has already ordained that you would return the same way from which you came. When the children of Israel emerged from their slavery, bondage and oppression, they had journeyed and traveled along a path they had never known before, yet when it came to their emerging from their captivity, they would journey along the same path they had already traveled. I believe there is tremendous significance in this passage of Scripture, for when it comes to our being brought from captivity, we return the same way in which we came. In other words, we revisit those things which we once did—those things which once honored and glorified the Lord. When it comes to our emerging and returning from captivity, we return to the place of relationship and fellowship with the Lord. When it comes to our returning from captivity, we return to the place of worship and sacrifice. When we emerged from our slavery and bondage, we did not yet know the Lord, nor did we know or understand how to obey or worship Him. When it comes to our emergence from captivity, we return to that place of worship, and that place of obedience we once enjoyed and experienced. We return from the land and place of our captivity to rebuild that which was torn down and destroyed, and we return to rebuild that which was destroyed and consumed with fire. Returning from captivity is a return to the place of inheritance, a return to the place of relationship, a return to the place of fellowship. REMEMBER! RETURN! REBUILD! While in the place of captivity, we remember the goodness of the Lord—we remember the songs of Zion, we remember the Temple of the Lord, we remember the altar, we remember His promises and blessing. When the appointed time comes, we return to that place of inheritance, promise and blessing from which we had been removed. It is in that process of returning that we engage in the necessary act of rebuilding, for returning without rebuilding is of little use or value before the Lord. The children of Israel were released from their captivity to not only return to the land, but also to return to the Lord. Their return wasn’t simply a return as it pertains to a geographical location, but a return to a place of proximity to and before the Lord. Let us read this passage with ears to hear that which the Spirit of the Lord desires to speak to us, and let us set our hearts toward the highway which the Lord has prepared for us—whether it be the highway beneath the waters of the Red Sea, or whether it be the highway that brings us into the place of our inheritance once more.

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