(Part 2 – continued from same day)
Overcoming a “Mute” Spirit
Part of the course correction He brought us through the Jonah-storm seeking was again the message that if we (and the church) do not continue to speak the truth to people about their sin and the necessity of repentance that we will be held guilty as well.
Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, and he went out again among the people from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim and turned them back to the LORD, the God of their fathers. He appointed judges in the land, in each of the fortified cities of Judah. He told them, “Consider carefully what you do, because you are not judging for man but for the LORD, who is with you whenever you give a verdict. Now let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Judge carefully, for with the LORD our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery.” In Jerusalem also, Jehoshaphat appointed some of the Levites, priests and heads of Israelite families to administer the law of the LORD and to settle disputes. And they lived in Jerusalem. He gave them these orders: “You must serve faithfully and wholeheartedly in the fear of the LORD. In every case that comes before you from your fellow countrymen who live in the cities–whether bloodshed or other concerns of the law, commands, decrees or ordinances–you are to warn them not to sin against the LORD; otherwise his wrath will come on you and your brothers. Do this, and you will not sin (or “be guilty”). “Amariah the chief priest will be over you in any matter concerning the LORD, and Zebadiah son of Ishmael, the leader of the tribe of Judah, will be over you in any matter concerning the king, and the Levites will serve as officials before you. Act with courage, and may the LORD be with those who do well.“ II Chronicles 19:4-11
This is yet another confirmation of the consistent message He has given for several years in speaking to us about a “mute spirit” ~ warning us that the blood of the people is on our hands if we do not continue to boldly speak the truth in love, regardless of the response or consequence. I know some may have objected to these kinds of statements in the past, believing that the concept of blood being on the silent watchman’s hands is only an Old Covenant truth (Ezekiel 33). Please understand this is not the case. When we asked the Lord about this, He showed us that this is still true under the New Covenant.
Therefore I testify and protest to you on this [our parting] day that I am clean and innocent and not responsible for the blood of any of you. For I never shrank or kept back or fell short from declaring to you the whole purpose and plan and counsel of God. Take care and be on guard for yourselves and the whole flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you bishops and guardians, to shepherd (tend and feed and guide) the church of the Lord or of God which He obtained for Himself [buying it and saving it for Himself] with His own blood. I know that after I am gone, ferocious wolves will get in among you, not sparing the flock; Even from among your own selves men will come to the front who, by saying perverse (distorted and corrupt) things, will endeavor to draw away the disciples after them [to their own party]. Therefore be always alert and on your guard, being mindful that for three years I never stopped night or day seriously to admonish and advise and exhort you one by one with tears. Acts 20:26-31
He has continued to repeatedly emphasize that His kind of love is willing to sacrifice itself, laying down its own life for the sake of others, and that He’s asking His people to demonstrate this self-sacrificial love, in part, by continuing to speak the truth in love, no matter how hostile people become to it, so that as many as will hear and believe can be spared. Right now for many, this hostility may only mean verbal persecution, misunderstanding, false accusation, gossip and slander, loss of reputation, relationships, or possibly even business. But for many before us, and in other parts of the world, it has meant physical persecution, imprisonment, and even death. He has continued to stress that this kind of pressure reveals the true level of each one’s faith in Him and commitment to Him. Are we willing to pay any price and endure any persecution or hardship to follow Him, stay true to His Word, and do His will? Will we remain faithful to Him no matter how unpopular that becomes or will we shrink back and run in hard times when our faith comes with a high personal cost? He has repeatedly told us we must not shrink back (Heb 10:32-39). (No matter what the enemy brings against us to stop us, God is able to use all in our own refining and crucifixion process – exposing the things that still need to die and be purged from our own lives.)
He also brought the 2012 posts about Pilate back to our attention to re-emphasize this theme, reminding us that Pilate was only willing to stand by Jesus when it was convenient for him. But when it was going to cost him something, he gave the people the lawless one they were demanding and handed Jesus over to be killed. Though we were still willing to speak, He revealed we were once again yielding to the “mute spirit” He’d identified to us in the past. This was due to paralyzing confusion from the spiritual warfare surrounding the circumcision process as we continued to try to discern His true correction from the false accusation of the enemy. I know the enemy has tried to put a muzzle over the mouths of many others as well.
to be continued…