Sun am 19 November 2017 – Shane Egypt
(Rom. 8:28); Eph. 1:11-Amp; (John 15:5); (Eph. 2:20); (John 10:14); Heb. 12:9-Amp; (Luke 15); (Eph. 4:15); (Eph. 1:22); (2 Cor. 11:2); (Eph. 5:23); Isaiah 62:4; Hosea 2:13-23; (Luke 9:58); Rev. 12:1; Rev. 19:7
We all have plans, but it is God’s plan that will ultimately come to fruition. God has been faithful to us amidst some extreme challenges and fiery trials. Amidst all of this, I believe that God has expedited His purposes this year and it is unfolding at an alarming pace. I stood amazed at how God works and it has gone beyond my expectations. God works in this paradox. He says in His word that He has placed an open door before us, but we have little strength to move through that door. In that tension or severe strain, change is normally optimal and most significant in our lives. We have heard two weeks ago God is shifting and purifying us to bring us into alignment. Everything works together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28).
In Him also we have received an inheritance [a destiny—we were claimed by God as His own], having been predestined (chosen, appointed beforehand) according to the purpose of Him who works everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His will (Eph. 1:11-Amp). His purpose, His will be done! This is the Gethsemane, the’ oil-press’ time when everything is at an epicentre where it can go either way, then Jesus said, “Not My will, but Your will be done” (Matt. 26:39). The Son of Man experienced excruciating and severe strain for what was waiting for Him.
When we look at the word ‘alignment’ there are so many metaphors I would like to highlight. A metaphor is a figure of speech; an expression used which is not literally applicable but it suggests a resemblance.
I am the vine; you are the branches (John 15:5). It speaks of an abiding relationship with Him as the source. An abiding relationship is a pre-requisite for fruitfulness. You need to be grafted in the vine to bear fruit. It is an accountable relationship; there is a purpose to this relationship. He gives a warning saying if He has not spared the natural branches what will happen with the wild branch that has been grafted in? If because of disobedience He cuts off the natural branches, what will He do with the wild branches? The gardener gives a grace period, and there is an expectation of fruitfulness after the tending. The expectation in an accountable relationship is that you need to bear fruit.
I am the Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20). A cornerstone is uniting two intersecting walls. It causes an alignment of the whole building. If that cornerstone is not there and the walls are not aligned, the building will not fit properly. The cornerstone is a symbol of the union and stability of the building. Are you the building? He is the Head and He provides strength and stability in the relationship. The pre-requisite is that you need to be aligned.
I am the good Shepherd (John 10:14). He protects, He leads, He gives His life for His followers, He tends to His own and His own know His voice. The sheep do not dictate to the shepherd where to pasture? The shepherd comes and he leads for the shepherd knows where the wolf is and where the pastures are. If a sheep decides not to be part of the flock and goes on his own, what is going to happen? We are part of Him and need to be aligned to Him because He is our Father. We cannot make the decisions; He needs to make the decisions. We will normally get into serious trouble if we decide that we are going to make the decisions in our lives. Most of those choices get us into ‘cul de sacs’ and difficult places. God works in mysterious ways and it is part of His plan.
The Church as the Bride (Eph. 5:23). For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ (2 Cor. 11:2). Hosea 2:13-23 is a beautiful metaphor of how the husband is addressing an unfaithful wife. We find that because of the love that Christ and the Father has towards us, we willingly submit or subject ourselves and we recognise Him as the husband and the Head. We willingly submit ourselves to Him. This wonderful grace which is not just unmerited favour but it is also an empowerment to fulfil His purposes. The word speaks of an unfaithful wife. She had other lovers, she worshipped false things and she adorned herself for these foreign husbands and God visits her because of that. We need to respond to the time of God’s visitations in our lives. How can you entice somebody into a wilderness? If you know there is a wilderness you will never go there. Only God can do this. The word ‘visit’ in the Amplified speaks of punishment, but hear how the husband speaks to her in the wilderness (Hos. 2:14-23). The wife is unfaithful, not subject to Him; she goes after other men but the husband speaks tenderly to her after luring her into the wilderness. To ‘lure’ means to entice, charm; it is the language of intimacy and love. He creates the opportunity there and a door. When we go into a wilderness experience it is God’s dealings. The Holy Spirit also led Jesus into the wilderness to be tested. This is a picture of a wife that has been unfaithful and this is the way the husband addresses her and what He creates for her. God is bringing us into an elevated position, to see things from His perspective. It speaks of a door. It puts an expectation in the heart of the wife. Expectation creates a positioning in Christ. If you are expectant, in nine months’ time you will deliver. There is an expectation of something that needs to come to fruition. So there is a positioning and he positioned the wife in a wilderness experience. She will sing there, in the wilderness, because of how the husband is dealing with her and she is able to sing and respond as in the days of her youth. There is a reset. She goes back to the earlier days of her youth. It speaks of deliverance like the time she came out of the land of Egypt. It speaks of deliverance and a time when she was really joyous, all because of what her husband has done. The past will be wiped away. Baal will no longer be mentioned.
When this alignment comes, you will see a response to what has been created in the heavens and what has been created in the earth for the benefit of the wife. You see all of these things come into alignment. He addressed the wife as Jezreel (restored position in Him). He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth. He is letting the heavens respond on our behalf. The heaven and the earth shall respond to the grain and the wine and the oil – there is our supply. He is our provision. The heavens will respond to the earth on our behalf. He is the Head and we are the body. The earth is going to respond with resources.
Jesus said that foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head (Luke 9:58). He wants to be the Head of the body. He wants the wife to submit to Him as the Husband. He demonstrates His love to His wife by how He speaks to her in the wilderness. She cannot but to respond to Christ who is her Husband. She willingly submits. Now she does not adorn herself for Baal, but she adorns Herself for Him, the Bride Groom.
In Him, you have been made complete as He is the Head over all rule and authority. And a great sign [the sign is for the unbeliever] appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve (authority and government) stars (Rev. 12:1). Here is a woman who is adorned as a bride; she is radiant, she is ready, she has been betrothed to one husband. She is ready for marriage. She has gone through all the testings. There is no spot on her dress. Christ is eager for His bride. Everything of the past is forgotten. She is ready, re-aligned, re-constructed, the past is gone and unfaithfulness is gone and the word ‘tenderly’ comes to us. This is only how the Father demonstrates His love for us. The Head is blameless and spotless, the accuser cannot point a finger. It is not about who the bride is and the identity of the bride, but it is because of what He has done even before the foundation of the world.
We as the Church need to come into that alignment. Remember that we were reconstructed, we were made compatible again. We had previously listened to the soul and not the spirit. In Him, you have been made complete and He is the Head over all rule and authority. Let us rejoice and shout for joy! Let us give Him glory and honour, for the marriage of the Lamb has come [at last] and His bride (the redeemed) has prepared herself (Rev. 19:7). In difficult times let us remember this word.