Today’s selected passage continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah, and more specifically, begins with the seventeenth verse of the thirty-eighth chapter and continues through to the tenth verse of the thirty-ninth chapter. When the thirty-eighth chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah opens, it opens with the prophet Jeremiah’s words being rehearsed and heard by a specific group of men. The word which the prophet Jeremiah had spoken unto them was very simple—“he that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live.” Jeremiah would also go on to declare that “this city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, which shall take it.” Within the first three verses of this chapter we find a very specific word proclaimed and declared by the prophet Jeremiah—a word that presented those which remained in the city with a choice. Did you know that much of what you experience within your life may come down to perhaps one of the single greatest abilities you have been given—the ability to choose? Did you know that even as far back as the Garden of Eden, and the days of Adam and Eve, man’s greatest gift is one that we rarely even take the time to explore? If you journey throughout your Bible, you will quickly discover that one of the single greatest gifts you have been given is the ability to choose. When the Lord planted the Garden of Eden, He also planted two specific trees within the garden—the tree of life and the three of the knowledge of good and evil. The Lord took the man whom He had formed from the dust of the ground and placed him in the midst of the garden. The Lord had taken the man whom He had formed from the dust of the ground, and in whose nostrils he breathed in to, and not only placed him within the garden, but also there within the garden the Lord took from man and fashioned for him a helpmate—one who would come alongside and help him. PLACED IN THE GARDEN, PROVIDED A HELPMATE, PERMITTED TO FREELY EAT OF EVERY TREE BUT ONE! The Lord placed man in the garden to steward over all He had created, and to exercise dominion upon the face of the earth, and the Lord provided for Adam a helper who would come alongside and help him accomplish all that had been required. As much as the Lord placed Adam in the garden and provided for him one who would come alongside and help, the Lord also prohibited the partaking of fruit from one specific tree there within the garden. As far back and as early as the Garden of Eden we discover that from the creation of the very first man and women upon the face of the earth, the Lord granted unto them the power and the ability to choose. Did you know, and do you recognize that there is tremendous power in being able to choose? Do you truly recognize and understand that you have not only been given a great gift, but also a great ability and power to be able to choose. When the Lord took and placed man in the garden, He gave him the ability to choose whatever name he saw fit for all the animals which existed upon the face of the earth. Above and beyond the ability to choose the name of each species that was brought before him, Adam was given the ability to choose what tree he would partake of, and what fruit he would partake of. In all reality, Adam was given the ability to choose between permission and the prohibition. Adam was given the ability to choose between that which was permitted by the Lord, and that which was prohibited by the Lord. I would dare say that one of the single greatest displays and manifestations of choice within our lives is the ability to choose between that which has been permitted by the Lord, and that which has been prohibited by the Lord. As far back as the Garden of Eden we learn that there is much the Lord has granted us permission to partake of, and much the Lord has granted us permission to enjoy, yet there are those things the Lord has strictly prohibited us from partaking of. One of the single greatest realities surrounding our lives here on the earth is our ability to choose between that which is permitted by the Lord, and that which is prohibited by the Lord. When looking back over the garden of Eden, it’s worth noting that that which had been permitted to Adam far exceeded and far outweighed that which he had been prohibited from. The Lord declared unto Adam that he could freely each from any tree in the garden, and eat as much as he wanted from every tree in the garden, except one—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. CHOOSING BETWEEN THE MANY AND THE ONE! It’s worth noting that Adam’s ability and freedom to choose was in all reality the ability to choose of and from the many versus the ability to choose the one. I would even say that when it comes to our lives, we are given the freedom and ability to choose between the many which have freely been permitted and provided for us, and that one, or perhaps even those few which has been prohibited unto us.
I can’t help but be reminded of two specific Old Testament passages and references which perfectly illustrate and reveal the incredible responsibility of choice within our lives. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand that while it is true that the ability to choose is perhaps one of the greatest gifts within our lives, there is also a tremendous responsibility that is associated and connected with it. There is and there has been much talk about the freedom of choice, yet there isn’t as much talk about the responsibility of choice. We spend a lot of time in this country focusing on the freedom of speech, yet we don’t pay nearly as much attention on the responsibility of speech. Yes it is true that we have been given the freedom of speech, but freedom without responsibility can have grave consequences. We know and understand that we have been given the freedom and the right to bear arms, yet what we don’t understand and fail to readily acknowledge is the responsibility that is connected and associated with bearing arms. Countless men and women would rather focus their time, their attention, their focus and their energy on the freedom to bear arms, yet very few focus on the responsibility that is directly associated with that freedom. Imagine what could and what would happen if we spent more time focusing on the responsibility to bear arms rather than the freedom to bear arms. I am utterly and completely convinced that we spend a great deal of time focusing our attention on the freedom(s) we have been afforded and provided, yet we spend very little time focusing on the responsibility that is tied to that freedom. It is true the Lord provided freedom for the children of Israel from their Egyptian slavery, bondage and oppression, yet they would quickly learn that freedom carries with it responsibility. There are countless men and women who desire freedom within their lives, yet they are unwilling to accept the responsibility that is associated with that freedom. The children of Israel had been set free from their slavery, bondage and oppression, yet with that freedom would come responsibility—responsibility to worship the Lord (the Tabernacle), and responsibility to obey the voice and commands of the Lord (the Law). FREEDOM ABSENT RESPONSIBILITY OFTEN CARRIES WITH IT GRAVE CONSEQUENCES! Look back at the Garden of Eden and understand that they were given the freedom to eat of any tree and any fruit in the garden, yet tied and connected to that freedom was the responsibility to refrain and abstain from eating the fruit of that one tree.
Consider again the words which the Lord spoke unto Adam—“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest FREELY (FREEDOM) eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it (RESPONSIBILITY): for in the day that thou eatest thereof (CHOICE) thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17). The Lord’s declaration unto Adam that he might freely eat of every tree in the garden brings us face to face with the the very first thing the Lord presented Adam with—even before choice. If you read this passage carefully, you will notice that before we encounter choice, we encounter freedom—freedom to eat of every tree of the garden of Eden. When we read this passage of Scripture we don’t encounter choice first, but rather freedom—the freedom to eat and enjoy of every tree in the garden with the exception of one. One cannot properly understand the reality of choice without first understanding the concept and reality of freedom, for freedom is indeed the single greatest gift the Lord has given us. Before the Lord presented Adam with the ability and the opportunity to choose, the Lord first presented unto him the freedom to eat of every tree. I am convinced that choice is indeed and is in fact a two-sided coin—with the one side of the coin being freedom, while on the other side we see responsibility. One cannot properly understand choice without recognizing that freedom precedes choice, and responsibility accompanies choice. Adam was given the freedom to eat of every tree in the Garden of Eden, yet with that freedom came the responsibility to refrain from eating of the fruit of one tree. When reading this passage of Scripture, we notice that the ability to freely eat of every tree in the garden—which coincidentally included the tree of life—was the choice to, the choice for, and the choice of life. With that being said, when considering the single and lone tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we see the option and opportunity to forsake the freedom that was beneficial, and to pursue a freedom that was never intended nor designed by the Lord. It’s worth noting that while the Lord did give Adam the ability and freedom to not only choose, but to also eat of every tree in the garden of Eden, the Lord also gave Adam the ability to choose that which was not made available unto him. When I consider the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, I can’t help but see this tree not only as an attempt to pursue knowledge without and apart from God, but also as an attempt to pursue a freedom that was never intended by the Lord of hosts. Mark these words and mark them well—it is possible to choose and even pursue a freedom that was never intended by the Lord, and to even pursue a knowledge that comes without and apart from the Lord of hosts.
When I read this passage of Scripture in the Old Testament book of knowledge, I can’t help but see a certain freedom that was granted unto and provided for Adam—a freedom to eat the fruit of that tree which was prohibited by the Lord. It’s necessary that we recognize and understand this, for while there was a freedom that was granted to partake of that which was provided and permissible by the Lord of hosts, there was also a freedom to partake of that which was prohibited. When we read this passage of Scripture, we notice first the freedom—the freedom of eat of every tree in the garden—and then the responsibility. What was the responsibility that was presented unto Adam there in the garden of Eden? It was the responsibility not only to eat of that which had been provided and permitted by the Lord, but also to abstain and refrain from eating of that which was prohibited by the Lord. Freedom does indeed and does in fact have two sides to it—a freedom which is necessary and beneficial for us, and a freedom that is not beneficial for us. This passage of Scripture presents us with freedom, with responsibility, with choice, and with consequences. There was the freedom to eat of every tree in the garden, but there was also the responsibility not to eat of one single tree within the garden. THE FREEDOM TO EAT & THE RESPONSIBILITY NOT TO EAT! The Lord first presented Adam with the freedom to partake of that which was permissible, and then presented him with the responsibility not to partake of that which was prohibited by the Lord. With this being said, we must recognize and understand that there is a freedom that is unholy and evil before the Lord, as well as a knowledge that can be pursued without, apart, and absent from the Lord of hosts. To partake of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was more than just partaking of fruit with was prohibited by the Lord, but about pursuing a knowledge that was apart from the Lord. One of the only things that would cause them to partake of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a desire to pursue a knowledge that was outside of and apart from the Lord. To partake of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil suggested a desire to know and understand good and evil outside of and apart from the Lord of hosts. Oh, we play a very dangerous game when we attempt to pursue knowledge of good and evil without and apart from the Lord of hosts. We are no different than Adam and Eve who partook of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil when we seek to understand good and evil outside of and apart from the Lord of hosts. When we seek to define good and evil according to our own standards, we are just like Adam and Eve who partook of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
To illustrate this tremendous power of choice, it’s worth journeying to the thirtieth chapter of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy. It’s in this chapter where we encounter what is perhaps one of the most potent and powerful examples of choice in all of Scripture. “For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very night unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. SEE, I HAVE SET BEFORE THEE THIS DAY LIFE AND GOOD, AND DEATH AND EVIL; in that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, THAT I HAVE SET BEFORE YOU LIFE AND DEATH, BLESSING AND CURSING: THEREFORE CHOOSE LIFE, that both thou and thy seed may life” (Deuteronomy 30:11-19). LIFE AND GOOD! DEATH AND EVIL! BLESSING AND CURSING! LIFE AND DEATH! It’s worth noting and pointing out that Moses declared unto the children of Israel that the Lord had set before them both life and death, but encouraged them to choose life. It’s worth mentioning that while it is true that both life and death were set before the children of Israel, they were encouraged to choose life. Blessing and cursing were both set before the children of Israel, yet they were encouraged to choose blessing rather than cursing. This passage is one of the most noted passages in all of Scripture concerning the power of choice, for the Lord gave the children of Israel the ability to choose life versus death and blessing versus cursing. The Lord gave the children of Israel the ability to choose which course they wanted—whether it be the course which led to life, or the course which led to death. There in the wilderness—before and as they prepared to enter into the Promised Land, the Lord made them aware of the need to choose between life and death. Pause for a moment and consider this reality—the reality that before they could enter into the place of their inheritance, they needed to settle in their hearts whether they would choose life or death. How absolutely incredible it is to think that the Lord didn’t wait until and didn’t wait for the children of Israel to enter into the land of their inheritance before calling them to choose life. The Lord of hosts wanted the children of Israel to enter into the inheritance having already firmly settled in their hearts and minds that they would choose life.
There is another passage in the Old Testament which also brings us face to face with the power and ability to choose—and not only to choose, but who to choose. In the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy we encounter the reality of what we will choose, while in the Old Testament book of Joshua we encounter the reality of who we will choose. “Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve Him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, CHOOSE YOU THIS DAY WHOM YE WILL SERVE; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods; for the Lord our God, He it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed: and the Lord drive out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the Lord; for He is our God. And Joshua said unto the people, YE cannot serve the Lord: for He is an holy God; He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then He will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that He hath done you good. And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:14-21). On the other side of the inheritance the people of God were presented with the ability to choose between life and death, yet on this side of the inheritance—after battles have been fought, conflicts have been engaged in, and enemies and adversaries have been defeated—the people of God were brought to the place where they would choose whom they would serve. In other words—“You have crossed over the Jordan River, you have conquered thirty-one kings and subdued nations and peoples mightier and more than you, and you have received your portion within the inheritance. Now that you’ve crossed over, conquered enemies and adversaries, and have received your portion within the inheritance, you must determine whom you will serve. You now have complete possession of the land which I promised unto your ancestors, and it is from that place of rest and security that you must choose whom you will serve. CHOOSING FROM THE PLACE OF SECURITY! CHOOSING FROM THE PLACE OF VICTORY! CHOOSING FROM THE PLACE OF POSSESSION! CHOOSING FROM THE PLACE OF REST!
When you are preparing to enter into the inheritance prepared for you, you are confronted with the choice between life and death, between blessing and cursing. Once you have crossed over and entered into the inheritance, you will be confronted with the choice concerning whom you will serve. If you journey to the book immediately after the book of Joshua, you will discover that the children of Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and even all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord, that He did for Israel. After Joshua and the elders which outlived him had perished within the land, there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor the works which He had done for Israel. It was this generation that would do evil in the sight of the Lord, and would serve Baalim. It would be this generation that would forsake the Lord God of their fathers, and followed other gods, of of the gods of the people that were round about them. It would be this generation that would forsake the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtoreth. It’s worth noting that the inheritance is not simply about conquering our enemies and adversaries, but about choosing whom we will serve. We tend to focus on the inheritance merely as engaging in conflict with our enemies and adversaries, and conquering those enemies and adversaries which are before us. The Old Testament book of Joshua reveals that the inheritance is about more than just conquering and subduing our enemies, but about choosing whom we will serve. There are countless men and women who want and desire the conquering without the choosing. There are men who want victory and triumph over their enemies without having to choose whom they will serve. Tell me—what good is conquering all your enemies and adversaries which are before you if you haven’t settled in your heart and mind whom you will serve? Can we truly have the conquering of our enemies and adversaries without and apart from the choosing whom we will serve? I am convinced that we cannot have the conquering of our enemies and adversaries without simultaneously, and perhaps even first choosing whom we will serve. Lest you think this is merely a farce and is incorrect, I would turn your attention to the text in the second chapter of the book of Judges—“And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger. And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and He delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and He sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed” (Judges 2:12-15).
This set of verses perfectly reveals that we cannot, we dare not, we must not expect the conquering without and apart from the choosing, for it is the choosing that qualifies the conquering. IT’S THE CHOOSING THAT QUALIFIES THE CONQUERING! IT’S THE CHOOSING THAT POSITIONS US FOR CONQUERING! Perhaps one of the most profound and powerful truths in Scripture is that more often than not our conquering is directly determined and affected by our choosing—and not just our choosing, but who and what we choose. I am convinced there are a number of men and women who expect to have the conquering without and apart from the choosing—without having to settle within their hearts and minds who they are going to serve. Tell me—if you are unwilling to make the decision whom you are going to serve, why would the Lord permit and allow you to conquer your enemies and adversaries? Is it safe to say that we should not expect to experienced the conquering without the choosing, for it is the choosing that properly positions us before the Lord in battle. How many men and women attempt to go out into battle without properly choosing within their hearts and lives? In preparing to enter the land of their inheritance, the children of Israel were called to choose between life and death, and during the final days of Joshua, the children of Israel were called to choose whom they would serve. Tell me dear brother, dear sister—have you properly positioned yourself to conquer your adversaries, foes and enemies based on whom you have chosen to serve? Have you firmly settled and established within your heart and soul whom you are going to serve? We dare not expect the Lord to be with us and even go before us in battle to help us conquer our enemies if we have not made the decision and choice to serve and follow Him. Joshua called the children of Israel to choose whom they would serve, and in the very next book of the Old Testament, we find them choosing to serve and worship Baal and Ashtaroth. I would dare say that unless you are willing to willingly, deliberately and intentionally choose to serve the Lord, you dare not expect the Lord to permit you to conquer your adversaries and foes. The children of Israel forsook the Lord, and served other gods, and as a result, the Lord delivered them up into the hands of their enemies, allowed them to be spoiled, and sol them into the hands of their enemies. Let us get this deep within our hearts and spirits, for it is our choosing that either properly positions us to conquer, or promptly prevents us from overcoming our enemies, foes and adversaries.
When we read the passage found within the prophetic book of Jeremiah, we again find the word of the Lord bringing His people into the place of choice. Through the prophet Jeremiah the Lord brought His people into the place where they would choose between submitting themselves before the king of Babylon, and therefore saving and sparing them. One of the most profound and incredible truths contained within the prophetic book of Jeremiah is that the people of God were given the ability to be saved and spared through submission and surrender. If they were willing to submit and surrender themselves to the work which was ordained by the Lord, they would be spared by the Lord and brought into salvation. SAVED THROUGH SUBMISSION! SAVED THROUGH SURRENDER! SAVED THROUGH CAPTIVITY! SAVED THROUGH EXILE! If the people of God would willingly and voluntarily submit themselves before the king of Babylon, the Lord would preserve them in the midst of their captivity and exile. I can’t help but wonder how many men and women perceived submitting themselves to the king of Babylon and agreeing to serve him as completely and totally insane. What possible sense could it make for them to go out unto the king of Babylon and agree to serve them? What possible sense would it make to come out from the city of Jericho and serve the king of Babylon, for after al, behind the walls was security and safety. SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO COME OUT FROM BEHIND THE WALLS YOU HAVE LIVED BEHIND IN ORDER TO EXPERIENCE SALVATION! SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO MOVE BEYOND THE GATES WHICH HAVE SURROUNDED YOU IN ORDER TO EXPERIENCE THE SALVATION OF THE LORD! It’s interesting to note that sometimes it is more dangerous to continue dwelling behind the walls that have provided us with security than it is to come out from behind those walls. How many times do we think that we can and that we will be safer remaining behind the walls than coming out from behind and within those walls into a place of submission and surrender? It’s worth noting and pointing out that there are times within our lives when the only way to truly submit ourselves to the work of God within our lives is to come out from behind those walls we have spent so much time living behind. There are times in our lives when in order to truly surrender fully and completely to the Lord, we must move beyond the gates which we have used to prevent others from entering in and gaining access.
I am convinced the Spirit of the Lord is calling a number of men and women to come out from behind the walls they have spent so much time living and dwelling behind. I am convinced the Spirit of the Lord is calling countless men and women to open up the gates they have shut and secured so as to prevent others from gaining access and entering, and to come forth into the place of submission and surrender. This particular passage reveals that it is impossible to submit to the work of God while choosing to remain behind walls and surrounded by gates. Those who lived and dwelt within the city of Jerusalem dwelt securely behind walls and were surrounded by gates, yet the Lord was calling them to come out from behind those walls and to move beyond those gates. COMING OUT FROM BEHIND WALLS & MOVING BEYOND THE GATES! Oh tell me dear brother, dear sister—are you ready and willing to come out from behind the walls and gates you have allowed yourself to be secure behind and within? The prophet Jeremiah brought the inhabitants of Judah to a place of choice—the choice between remaining behind the walls and refusing to come out and serve the king of Babylon, and coming out from behind those walls and gates and agreeing to serve the king. Jeremiah emphatically warned and declared unto them that if they choose to remain behind the walls and within those gates, the only course of action left for them was famine, pestilence and the sword. Oh, I can’t help but wonder how many casualties have taken place in the pews of our churches—and perhaps even outside the pews of our churches—as men and women have chosen to remain behind walls and gates, and have either fallen by the sword, or experienced famine and/or pestilence. I am convinced that there are times when it is more detrimental and dangerous for us to remain behind the walls and gates than it is to come forth and come out from behind them. Sometimes that which we perceive as providing shelter, safety and security can actually hold us back and prevent us from experiencing the salvation of the Lord. Sometimes it is safer outside the walls and beyond the gates than it is to remain within and behind them. I believe with everything inside me that there are men and women who are making and have made a conscious decision to remain behind walls and behind gates instead of coming out into an open place where they submit to the work of God. Those who made the decision to come out from behind the walls and gates were doing more than agreeing to serve the king of Babylon, but surrendering to the work of the Lord and serving the Lord.
Sometimes serving the Lord requires us to move beyond the comfort and seeming security of the walls and gates we have been living behind. Sometimes the only way and only place to serve the Lord is to serve Him in the open field. Sometimes it is absolutely impossible to serve the Lord and surrender to His work behind the walls and gates which may at one point have provided us shelter, safety and security. The prophet Jeremiah issued a strong warning to those who would choose to remain behind the walls and gates—including the king himself—that doing so would result in and bring about their demise and destruction. The prophet Jeremiah warned against remaining behind the walls and gates of the city, declaring unto those who dared remain in such a place that the only reality that awaited them was sword, famine and pestilence. Sometimes, the walls and gates which we have chosen to live behind—walls and gates which did perhaps at one point provide safety and security for us—can actually destroy us. What’s more, is that Jerusalem was destroyed from within before it was ever destroyed from without, as before the enemy and adversary gained access into the city, famine and pestilence had already wreaked havoc in the midst of it. WHEN WALLS BECOME A PRISON THAT SUBJECTS US TO FAMINE AND PESTILENCE! As I read these words I am becoming increasingly convinced that the Lord is setting before a number of men and women a choice—a choice between life and death. The Lord is setting before men and women the choice between life and death, and that choice may not make sense to them now, yet it’s in the coming out from behind the walls and entering into that place of vulnerability that they can truly experience the salvation and preservation of the Lord. Only as men and women are willing to come out from behind the walls can they enter into that place where they can and will be preserved and protected by the Lord. Oh that men and women in this generation would be willing to move beyond and come out from behind the walls and gates they have dwelt behind, and would enter into that place where they surrender to the work of God—even when that work seems to make absolutely no sense in the natural. It was in their coming out from behind the walls and moving beyond the gates that they would find true refuge, true shelter, true salvation, and true rest, for the chains which may bind them would actually bring about their preservation, and ultimately their release and return to the place of inheritance.
Oh that we would this day come out from behind the walls and move beyond the gates we have chosen to remain behind, and enter into that place of vulnerability—perhaps even into that place of vulnerability before our enemies, our foes, our adversaries, or maybe even those we don’t trust. The Lord was calling those within the city of Jerusalem to come out from behind the walls and to move beyond the gates into a wide open place of vulnerability—vulnerability before a foreign king who had invaded the inheritance, laid siege to the city, and had already taken a number of men and women captive. There are those right now whom the Lord is speaking to and calling into a place of vulnerability before those who they may not trust, and perhaps may not even respect. There are those right now whom the Lord is speaking to and calling into a place of vulnerability beyond the gates and out from behind the walls before those who may have mistreated and even wounded them. Sometimes, the Lord calls us into a place of vulnerability where we are asked to serve our enemies rather than attempting to take a stand against them behind our walls and beyond our gates. It is often times much easier to take a stand against our enemies from behind our walls and gates rather than competing out from behind the walls and moving beyond the gates and agreeing to serve them. SERVING THOSE WHO MAY MISTREAT US! SERVING THOSE WHO MAY WOUND US! SERVING THOSE WHO MAY BRUISE US! SERVING THOSE WHO MAY BREAK US! Consider that even Jesus served that one who would betray Him, that one who would deny Him, and all those who would abandon and forsake Him. There are times when serving our enemies and serving our foes is actually the perfect place for us to be in, for it’s in that place where we find ourselves serving the Lord of hosts Himself. Did you ever stop to think that in serving your enemies you may actually be serving the Lord your God? Until and unless you are willing to come out from behind your walls and beyond your gates into that place of vulnerability, you will not know that which the Lord has purposed for your life. Oh that men and women in this generation would come out from behind the walls and would move beyond the gates, and would enter into that place of vulnerability where it seems to make absolutely no sense. It’s in that place where we are actually submitting to the work of the Lord, and are actually agreeing to serve the Lord of hosts Himself.