God Is Still On The Throne

God is our constant

Job 18 to 20, “Where is the Compassion?”

When we are suffering, we need compassion; do we not? But, Job’s three comforters are anything but! He asks them, “how long will you torment me and crush me with your words.” We should take this as a lesson. Do we respond as these three men? Job’s heart is crushed. He is in pain. The last thing he wants to hear is that he is suffering because of some sin he is unaware of. Job says ten times you have reproached me. Where is your compassion?

While all of this is happening, heaven is silent. Have you ever thought heaven had shut its doors? Have you ever asked like Job; where are you, God? That has to be the hardest road to travel. When God is silent, we find it hard to be faithfully waiting and at peace, and it doesn’t help when others share harsh words. If there is one truth we can cling to at this juncture, it is what Job shared next:

“I know that my Redeemer lives and that at the last he will stand upon the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh, I shall see God Whom I shall behold, and whom my eyes will see and not another.”

We all need that reminder.  If you are facing a hard time like Job, underline that verse, memorize it, and cling to it. God may be silent, but He is still on the throne where He was yesterday and is today and will be tomorrow.  

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Importunate Prayer

ImageAre you waiting on the scepter to be extended to you to enter God’s throne room much like Esther waited on the king to extend her the golden scepter to offer her admittance? How do you come? Fearful or fearless? “Afterward I will go to the king, even though it violates the law…. If I perish, I perish!” [Esther] Today, as a child of God we do need an appointment, or be fearful of this for we have this promise: Heb 4:16 Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help.  God’s door is always open, thus “Pray without ceasing.” [IThess] And although we have never seen the vision of God’s throne as John did, “jasper and carnelian in appearance, and a rainbow looking like it was made of emerald” nor have we seen Jesus transfigured as Peter, James and John did, when we enter our prayer closet it is as if we are entering that sphere where the God of the universe stops and listens; His Son Jesus intercedes and the Holy Spirit interprets.

As we read Luke 11 it is as if the disciples saw and experienced this preciousness of this heavenly scene as he prayed to His Father. It was then that when he had ceased his time alone with His Father, they asked; “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

Jesus began by teaching them “when you pray.” When, not if, but a definite time frame. As Jesus taught them a model prayer they learned much about the pattern one should consider.  Following that he gave them a parable about the importunate man who came at midnight seeking help from a friend to teach them about the persistence of prayer, a valuable lesson for all of us when we fail to receive answers due to our “laxity, faintheartedness, impatience, and timidity which is fatal..” [E.M. Bounds]  In all of this teaching, Jesus is emphasizing that we have a relationship with God by which we can come importunately seeking and expecting answers. The pattern is as follows: First: addressing of a Holy Righteous God who sits upon the throne in heaven; secondly, petitioning for our needs, thirdly seeking restoration to a state of total and complete forgiveness all because we have what God desires—a humble spirit – a humble and repentant heart He will not reject.”[Ps 51], and lastly petitioning to be guarded from the one who seeks to distract and devour us from our walk of holiness.  In all of this there is no fear, but like Esther, we are to have a determination to enter and seek boldly our answers. It is there that we seek the face of the one who is the author and finisher of our faith.

Jesus offers insight to how this works through the parable of the importunate [persistent] friend who seeks help from the source he trusts expecting an answer and not willing to depart until his request is answered. So too with Esther as she demanded the law be reversed regarding her people. We are to be as bold and assertive as both the friend and Esther. “Importunate praying is the earnest, inward movement of the heart towards God…no principle is more definitely enforced by Christ than prevailing prayer must have in it that quality which waits and perseveres, the courage that never surrenders, the patience that never grows tired, the resolution that never wavers.” [E.M. Bounds] That is what Jesus was teaching his disciples.

Beloved, today as you enter the throne room of the Lord God Almighty are you coming asking, seeking and knocking not for answers from an earthly king but the King of Kings? If so, go therefore and pray importunately for He is waiting: Psa 66:19 However, God heard; he listened to my prayer.

 

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“The Lion-like Lamb and the Lamb-like Lion”

ImageJohn, in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day,  continues to share with the reader his vision of heaven and its activities. In Rev 1 John saw : “Jesus Christ – the faithful witness, the firstborn from among the dead, the ruler over the kings of the earth. To the one who loves us and has set us free from our sins at the cost of his own blood,” and now in chapter 5 John saw the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Lamb of God as John the Baptist had declared. The Apostle John writes “You [the Lamb of God] are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals because you were killed, and at the cost of your own blood you have purchased for God persons from every tribe, language, people, and nation.”  In both chapters John reminds the reader that it was his precious blood that paid the ransom. Heb 9:22 Indeed according to the law almost everything was purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

Now notice what John tells us beyond those descriptions. The Lion-like Lamb/Lamb-like Lion is standing. He has finished his work and now is worthy to take the scroll of judgment and to open it. No one else is worthy and thus John is found weeping at this realization. Secondly, he has 7 horns symbolizing strength and power. He has conquered sin, death and Satan not just because he was a Lion but because he was a Lamb-like Lion who was willing to allow man to take his life that he might redeem them from the jaws of death and sin and the power of Satan.

To those who have bowed the knee and accepted this gift of the Lamb’s blood is given a promise which John repeats in ch 5 as he had written in ch 1:  “has appointed us as a kingdom, as priests serving his God and Father/You have appointed them as a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”

Our Savior is both Lion and Lamb and he is waiting for us to stop and with the angels, living creatures, elders, whose number was then thousand times then thousand, thousands times thousands sing: “Worthy is the lamb who was killed to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and praise!” 

 Have you bowed the knee and are thus able to join the chorus today?

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“We Say What Happens Happens but God says—What Must Happen”

ImageJoin me for your ringside seat to what “must” (that is what is necessitated) happen after these things. As I was reading I stopped and asked: “after what things?” The scholars say after seeing Christ in all of His glory, after hearing and telling about the 7 churches. Now the clock starts ticking down to the judgment of the earth and the sin that envelops it—he who has ears had better hear what the Spirit says. Before John can share the events ahead he asks us to join him in viewing the contrast to the horror of sin here on earth as he lives on the barren island of Patmos to the awesome, marvelous incredible beauty of the throne room in heaven. John is not the only one to have had a vision of the Godhead but also the prophet Micaiah, Isaiah and Daniel. These too were transported in some way to see and thus to behold what we who are earthlings have yet to view. What must it have been like to see with earthly eyes that have been transformed so that one can see with heavenly eyes? How does one describe a holy God?

Micaiah says he saw the entourage of heaven—all of the assembly of heaven both on God’s right and left. Isaiah said: “I saw the sovereign master seated on a high, elevated throne. The hem of his robe filled the temple.” Ezekiel’s vision included “Above the platform over their heads was something like a sapphire shaped like a throne. High above on the throne was a form that appeared to be a man.” And Daniel said “thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His attire was white like snow; the hair of his head was like lamb’s wool. His throne was ablaze with fire and its wheels were all aflame.” And now John writes: “a throne was standing in heaven with someone seated on it that gleamed as jasper and carnelian with a rainbow encircling it. Around the throne were those who would worship without ceasing with white gleaming clothes and crowns about their heads. Beloved, are you ready to enter the expanse of heaven and see this too?

First John heard the sounds of roaring and crashes of thunder and flashes of lightning. In the midst of this power he heard worshipers. They were never in the mode of rest but over and over they say: “Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God, the All-Powerful, Who was and who is, and who is still to come!” You alone are worthy to be praised for you are “THE” Creator of all that was and is to come. Beloved is this our mode, do we worship without ceasing?

As we move from Revelation 4 to Revelation 5 we will now see what “must” happen. Are we prepared? Jesus said in Matt 13 ““You have been given the opportunity to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven…For whoever has will be given more, and will have an abundance.” But, Jesus also said that if we reject what has been given “even what he has will be taken from him.” Again Jesus explained that if our hearts are dull, hard of hearing, and blind, we will never see, never hear, and never understand the spiritual truths that he has for us. May we today have soft heavenly hearts, soft heavenly ears, soft heavenly eyes to see and behold the One who sits enthroned in the heavens.  

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