One of the great errors of the Church is to base its faith and standards by yesterday's achievements. Many promises must be fulfilled before Jesus returns. The Bible tells us that the Church will experience not only "perilous times" in the last days (see 2 Timothy 3:1, KJV), but seasons of renewal and restoration (see Acts 3:21).
Consequently, in the midst of worldwide conflicts, the Kingdom of God on earth will continually be restored and renewed until it is conformed to the Kingdom of God in Heaven! Plan on seeing new harvests and expressions of God's glory and power. We should expect to see wonders that our fathers did not see (see Acts 2:19–21). Yes, and let us also trust that the promises we fail to possess, our children will walk in.
Don't Be Conditioned By the Past!
We can find encouragement and guidance once again in the life of King David. He was born into a time similar to ours. The Hebrews were in the Promised Land, but they shared the land with unconquered enemies. When David became king, he knew that God had promised more for Israel than the Jews had attained. In particular was the fact that the Jebusites still occupied the area now known as Jerusalem. Now if David measured himself by the success of his predecessors, he never would have contemplated an attack against the Jebusites. The Jebusites were a fierce mountain people and, in spite of being on the list of nations to be dispossessed by Israel, they had never been conquered.
Think of it: Israel's greatest heroes from Joshua to the Judges had tried and failed to conquer the Jebusites. Thus, the Jebusites were contemptuous when they heard of David's plan to possess their chief city, Jebus (Jerusalem). They mocked Israel's young king, saying, "You shall not come in here, but the blind and lame will turn you away" (2 Samuel 5:6).
There are two lessons here. First, for everyone who desires to see the awesome promises of God fulfilled, the Lord is saying to us all, Don't be conditioned by the past! Just because you have not seen the manifest power of God over your church or city or nation – God can change everything overnight.
The second lesson is this: It probably will not be the devil himself who comes out to defeat us; rather, we must guard against the misguided advice of unbelieving Christians. Remember, the taunt of the Jebusites was that the "blind and lame shall turn you away." We may stand firm in faith against the spiritual hosts of wickedness only to be defeated by the spiritually "blind and lame" sitting next to us in church.
Who are the "blind?" Put simply, they are the ones who do not see the vision you see. They are blind to the faith-future God has put in your heart. We cannot let people who do not see our visions become our counselors. Beware of becoming sympathetic toward the spiritually blind. A little leaven of their unbelief can undermine your faith in a time of battle.
Along with the spiritually blind are the emotionally "lame." These are people who have stumbled over something (or someone) in the past. They no longer walk stride for stride with Christ. Beware of sharing your dreams with cynics. If we heed the warnings of the "lame," it will only be a matter of time before their excuses will deplete our strength; we, too, will become overly cautious and suspicious.
Although we need counsel from other Christians, and we must remain forgiving and kind toward those in opposition, we cannot allow the words of the spiritually blind and the emotionally lame to guide us.
The Word is God
In our world, our real enemies are not people, but the spiritual forces of evil influencing our communities. And let us remember: If we are suffering from being lame or blind, Jesus can heal us. But the fact is, like those Jebusites, satan has watched the failures of many Christians before us. One can sense the devil's scorn as pastors and intercessors pray for citywide or national revival. The devil's taunts are not without substance for – generally speaking – our spiritual forebears did not succeed in dislodging the strongholds of wickedness from their cities. History is indeed on the adversary's side.
But God has given us His unalterable, immutable Word. He promises:
For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay. Behold, as for the proud one, his soul is not right within him; but the righteous will live by his faith. Habakkuk 2:3-4
To "live by faith" is to believe God until the vision He gave comes to pass. David believed God, and in spite of history being on the side of the Jebusites, we read: "Nevertheless, David captured the stronghold of Zion" (2 Samuel 5:7).
There was something in David from his early years that urged him toward the goal of victory over the Jebusites. In fact, Scripture tells us that when David was still just a youth, after he killed Goliath, he took the "Philistine's head and brought it to Jerusalem" (1 Samuel 17:54). Remember, at that time Jerusalem was called Jebus and was occupied by the Jebusites. It was as though he were saying, "Okay, I'm just a young buck, but I've conquered this Philistine giant. Remember me, I will be back." Fewer than twenty years later David returned, now as king of Israel. As he had conquered Goliath, so he conquered the stronghold of the Jebusites and it was renamed the "City of David," though it soon became known as Jerusalem.
You see, this is not about the fulfillment of our lives but the fulfillment of God's Word. God's Word cannot return to Him void without fulfilling the purpose for which He spoke it. When King David heard the taunts of the Jebusites, he did not draw back in unbelief; neither was his faith crushed because of his ancestors' failures. Instead – and this is important – David interpreted the battle in light of the promises of God. At stake was the integrity of the Lord's personal promise to Abraham and to his seed: "Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies" (Genesis 22:17). While the enemy may have had history on its side, David had the unalterable Word of God on his side!
The Influence of God in Our Communities
It is the heritage of Abraham's spiritual offspring to bring the prevailing influence of God into their communities and, through Christ, possess cities. That is not my word or yours, but the promise of God Almighty! He said it and He will fulfill it. His people shall possess the gates of their enemies. It is a reproach to us that the devil wants our cities more than the Church does!David's desire for Jerusalem was a godly desire that came to him from Christ, for what outwardly was to become David's city was soon to become the city of God.
As David simply believed God's promises, so also must we. The Lord has sworn that "nations will come to [our] light" (Isaiah 60:3). Whom shall we believe? Shall we take counsel from the blind if they cannot see the potential we see? Let us take God at His Word. Let me state this again: Jesus Himself assures us that "All things are possible to him who believes" (Mark 9:23). Do you believe? Or are you just a nice unbeliever who goes to church?
Beloved, if we fail, it is no great shame. We simply join the ranks of the spiritual heroes who went before us and "died in faith, without receiving the promises" (Hebrews 11:13). In truth, it is better to die in faith than to live in doubt. But consider: What if we succeed? What if, through the process of believing God, He imparts to us Christ's perseverance and His character, and in so doing we find God helping us turn our land back to Him?
Lord, You have promised that nations shall come to our light. Forgive me for wavering in unbelief and from the conditioning of yesterday's failures or attainments! I believe that You have prepared our nation for great things. We will follow Your promise to dislodge our enemies, even as David conquered the great city that would bear the name Jerusalem! In Jesus' name, Amen.
Ministries of Francis Frangipane