♣ Our Deliverance for His Glory
“I believe the choice in America will come down to this: either we concentrate in prayer or we’ll end up praying in concentration camps. You say it can’t happen. It will!” – Leonard Ravenhill
THE CHALLENGE COMES by not praying to be delivered from evil and persecution with the motive of ensuring a lifestyle of ease, comfort and prosperity, but rather, the incitation to pray for the kingdom of God to be advanced here on earth; we are to be driven with a sense of His glory – “That God would rend the heavens and come down…” – not for our sakes (our comforts and safety), but for His names sake, that the honour of His name be exalted among the nations.
The Apostle Paul had the right spirit when in Acts 20:22-24 he stated, “And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and affliction awaits me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” That was Paul’s passion, to make Christ known among the nations; it was Paul’s motive in being delivered from persecution and death – for furthering the cause of Christ, the extension of God’s kingdom here on earth.
I was discussing with someone the other day who had served in the military – the ‘old school’, significantly different to today’s setting. He was conspicuously patriotic and gave the impression of being a Christian. However, one particular comment he made (repeated numerously throughout our political conversation) took me by surprise: “I have my copy of the American Constitution, I have my gun, I have my Bible and I’m ready for whatever *#!*@#!* bad comes my way.” The Bible came last; God took the last place in that list and his expletives revealed a great deal more! Discussing with many professing Christians, it is no longer a case of “Trust God and keep your gunpowder dry”, but rather, keep your gunpowder dry and then trust God. Isn’t that the issue today, that God is utilised to bless us and keep us safe, while many lack the willingness to lose all (save our relationship to God) for the sake of His kingdom? Do we not find this gulf of difference between our era and what drove the early church? Their security was not in their homes, the welfare system or their careers and finances; they lost all of that; their homes and possessions were plundered; they held loosely to their status in the world and were counted as refuse by society, a system originated and ruled by Rome. The kingdom of God was the Church’s one abiding and all-consuming blazing Reality. As with every human being born, such people (destined to be Christians) came into this world and went out of it with nothing saving their living and eternal relationship with God.
Let’s not forget that Rome was a very sophisticated empire and much of Western civilisation is based heavily on such governing and commerce; our political and justice system owes its allegiance to such powers. In comparison, our only marked difference is a leap in technology. Nevertheless, Rome was extremely close to the groundbreaking Industrial Revolution of our eighteenth century and had they continued to reign, today’s era would have far surpassed our current inventiveness; we would have been fifteen centuries ahead of our time.
Christians of the first and second century were subject to Rome’s cruel and barbaric treatment. Education does not necessarily preserve a nation from depravity. Oftentimes it disguises it. History alone has proven that. One particular example is that of the Victorian era; humanity, supposedly, was well on the way to ‘reaching’ the pinnacle of human civilisation, but then there was the outbreak of the 1st World War. No-one would have dreamed that such savagery was possible, especially after having advanced and having ‘mastered’ the human life. Twenty-one years later, the world’s second war erupted, yet again revealing some of the most depraved acts ever against humanity.
Nations have been brought low; have been humbled to their knees. Many have been disillusioned through such atrocities of war – man in all his pomp and pride and self-sufficiency that declares, ‘We don’t need God’. How easy to forget God after great deliverances, after great revivals that led on to a nation’s prosperity – how quickly God is then forgotten, but who would have dreamed that society would turn its back on God?! Has it not been the case in America and Britain? Were we not the leading nations of Christendom? That’s the travesty of it. We have lived just fine without God for the last thirty or forty years; we have our constitution, we have our guns and…we have our Bibles; we have God as an emergency exit! God has become (in our minds) a matter of interest when it conveniences us, but that’s not Christianity. Falling to our knees for twenty-four hours of ‘intense’ prayer, after a national crises, is not seeking God; America should have long continued seeking God after 9/11 until this nation knew spiritual life again, regardless as to whether or not it would gain national financial stability and security. Seeking God comes with no conditions attached but that His name be glorified among the nations! Do we understand that? To pursue God does not exempt from us trouble. Christ said, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33), but the great news is that we more than conquerors through such tribulation because Christ has overcome the world.
It is becoming more apparent that God’s method of reviving His church in America and Britain may well be through persecution; we have been asleep for too long. Where nations should have had the gospel taken to them, we have relished in our prosperity. We have ‘prospered’ so long, having need of ‘nothing’; yet not realising we are “wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked.”
Oh, we can pray and we must pray, but rather than beseech God to deliver us from the many things we fear that could quite possibly come upon this nation, let us be consumed with a longing for God’s glory and honour to be displayed where His name has been banished far too long. It is by God’s sheer mercy that the once leading nations in Christianity have not been wiped off the face of the earth. In wrath, God has remembered mercy and that should break us and mould us to pray in such a fashion that moves all of heaven and moves the arm of God to make known unto all the nations that He indeed is sovereign, that He indeed is King of kings and Lord of lords and to Him alone belongs all the glory.
Posted on July 5, 2013, in ♣ Devotional and tagged 1st World War, Acts 20:22-24, careers, CHALLENGE, crises, deliverance, depravity, devotional, disillusioned, education, finances, for His names sake, furthering the cause of Christ, God’s glory, John 16:33, kingdom of God, Leonard Ravenhill, Mark Anthony Williams, motive, Our Deliverance for His Glory, persecution, prayer, relationship with God, reviving the church, Rome, security, seeking God, stability, the arm of God, tribulation, trouble, Victorian era, welfare system. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.