Sun am 10 November 2019 – Kobus Swart
Matt. 6:9-13; Matt. 6:25-34; Mat.t 4:17; Matt. 3:2; (Matt. 24:14); Jer. 1:5; (Gen. 39 – 41); John 18:36; Gen. 15:13; Ex. 1:8-15; (Ps. 24:1); Ex 2; Gen. 50:24-25; Ex. 3:13-14; (Ex. 7:3; Ex. 9:12; Ex. 10:27); Ex. 11:4-5; Ex. 12:12-13; (Col. 1:16); Ex. 12:31,35-36; Ex. 13:19; Heb. 11:9-10; Col. 1:27
Let us look at the Lord’s prayer again. This is Jesus saying, “Pray, then, in this way…” (Matt. 6:9). “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:9-10). Anxiety very often grips each one of us, somewhere deep inside (Matt. 6:25-29). But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matt. 6:33). When anxiety grips you, stop, seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; that means God’s rule in your life, His righteousness in your life. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt.6:34).
The kingdom of God was uppermost in the heart of Jesus when He came and started His earthly ministry. His first words were, “Repent, for the kingdom of God has come near” (Matt. 4:17). John the Baptist used the same words (Matt. 3:2). The word ‘repent’ does not mean crying and saying sorry – it may include that – but repentance means to change your thinking. Repent, because the very people Jesus was preaching to, had an old-covenant idea of kingdoms. Jesus said, “Think different, the kingdom of God has come near.” That is still the truth today, but the kingdom is also an unfolding reality. The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17). One of the reasons why he says that is because most of the people of that time associated a kingdom with the feasts and festivities of eating and drinking when a new king was set in – it is not that! It is about righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. That’s where the kingdom starts.
The Church of Christ, the body of Christ, in all its varieties worldwide, has to realise there is a transitioning taking place from a ‘churchy’ mindset to a kingdom mindset. Yes, it came in Jesus and He announced it, “The kingdom of God has come near”. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come (Matt. 24:14 A Faithful Version). ‘Proclaimed’ is the true translation. There is a switch required. It is not a begging prayer, it is a proclamation. That is what Jesus meant when He said, “Pray in this way: Thy kingdom come, thy will be done” – it is a proclamation! We must declare it in our own lives on a daily basis. When we go through rough turmoil, through tribulations, before you start complaining, before you become anxious, declare, “They kingdom come, they will be done, in earth as it is in heaven” and watch how calmness will settle.
See the deeper meaning in the calling of Joseph, the wonderful dream he had. His brothers did not like him and he was thrown in a pit and sold. He ended up in a prison in Egypt, but he had a calling. God had a plan with his life. God has a plan for you too, for each one of us! (Jer. 1:5). We must live according to the blueprint; the original predestined call; otherwise life will be just up and down and full of unnecessary challenges. Joseph came into Egypt and you know the story how God miraculously got him out of prison (Gen. 39-41). Joseph was appointed second in charge over Egypt. Joseph was aware of the famine in the land of Canaan where his family lived. His brothers came in and did not recognise their own brother, Joseph. But after a few visits, the whole family of Joseph – Jacob and all his sons, all his family (70 in total), were allowed into Egypt and were given favour by Pharaoh. They were given such favour in a land that was not theirs. We too, in this world, are in a ‘foreign’ country. I say this because Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. … My kingdom is not of this realm” (John 18:36). So, the origin of the kingdom is not from earth, it is from heaven. Then Pharaoh offered the district of Goshen to the Israelites. He did not just give them land, He gave them cattle and everything they needed! They were favoured – they were blessed, but there was something in the heart of Joseph that never disconnected from the ultimate call. Pharaoh, the king, who gave the Israelites favour, died, and a new king came into position who did not know Joseph. He looked at this growing nation, and saw them as a threat. This new king was very uncomfortable, and he turned them into slaves (Ex. 1:8-15). What started out a blessing and favour became hell on earth. Joseph had a call on his life, and so did Israel! You and I have a call. The Church has a call on earth!
Then came Moses (Ex. 2) – the man that God planned to use to lead Israel out of the land of Egypt into the land of promise had to go through certain training – forty years in the royal palace of Egypt; then his next forty years was in the wilderness. Forty years of an amazing lifestyle, then forty years in the wilderness! He had to lead a rebellious people from the land in which they were punished to the land of promise.
Right at the end, before Joseph breathed his last – knowing that the Lord would lead them to the land of promise – said: “Take my bones with you when you go, do not leave my bones in Egypt” (Gen. 50:24-25). He never lost the vision in spite of all the blessings and favour in Egypt!
Because we are called ones from God, penetrating the systems of this world, we should not lose sight of the real land of promise which is not necessarily to become rich and famous in some of the ‘mountains’ or systems in this world. Although God may favour you and bless you, you must never underestimate Satan’s skills to come as an angel of light, to make you feel very comfortable in the system of this world, and make you lose sight of the real land promise.
How did God get these people, who had become a big nation, out of the land of oppression and slave labour? God was instructing Moses to go to Pharaoh. He was in the wilderness and suddenly God appeared to him in the burning bush. God gave him instructions about Israel’s exodus from Egypt. But then he said, “Who shall I tell him sent me?” that is where the Name of God first became known: “Tell him, ‘I AM WHO I AM’ has sent you” (Ex. 3:13-14). That name in the original is Yahweh (YHVH). There is a type and shadow in this story. This story has significant relevance for the Church today! The ten plagues were significant! After the first plague, Pharaoh was shocked and he thought, “Let them go.” But God kept hardening his heart (Ex. 4:22; Ex. 7:3; Ex. 9:12; Ex. 10:27). The plagues affected and ruined Egypt. Sometimes you are going through tests and you pray, but then God blocks the release because you are not ready for the release yet. Then came the last plague and this is where the relevance is, God said he would kill the firstborn of everyone in every house, even the firstborn cattle (Ex. 11:4-5). But then God warned Israel that He would send His angel, even to each of their homes and unless there was blood on the doorposts of each house, even their firstborn will be killed (Ex. 12:12-13). That was the first fulfilment; prophetically, of the feast of Passover. That shows us the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus. Can you see the prophetic typology? When God said, “Israel is My son, My firstborn,” he was referring to Jesus. He is God’s firstborn. Everything was created for Him and by Him (Col. 1:16).
Only at the tenth plague, the last plague, when all the firstborn were killed, Pharaoh was very certain and he shouted at Moses and he said, “Get out from among my people! Go and worship your God!” (Ex. 12:31). The Israelites went to the homes of the Egyptians and collected silver and gold; they plundered Egypt (Ex. 12:35-36). Even that had a purpose. In the wilderness where God decided it was time to build the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant, many items had to be covered in gold or made in solid gold – God had a plan even with the silver and gold!
Listen to this, and let the Holy Spirit show you what it means in your life. The world-systems are not our land of promise. Yes, we can be blessed and be successful in these ‘mountains;’ Jesus said we should be salt and light in this world. His kingdom is not of this world. His kingdom is of another realm! The kingdom of God starts within us with righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Abraham lived as an alien in the land of promise for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God (Heb. 11:9-10). I am looking for a city whose architect and builder is God – a city with foundations! Look for the city with foundations.
There are a lot of new voices in the earth about what is past and what is still future. I have a very simple line for that: the’ already’ and ‘the not yet’. There is that which is already, and there is that which is busy unfolding. We, the Church, are the unfolding future. Christ in us the hope of glory (Col. 1:27). The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ! (Rev. 11:15 NKJV). It is yet to be completely fulfilled, but John, the writer of the book of Revelation, was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day and he saw things from the finish – the kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ!
We are part of the unfolding reality. We must let go of our passivity. God is not looking for spectators. He is looking for participators, for co-workers, for co-creators of a new era. This is my heart. The story of Israel: they almost settled in a land that was never meant to be the land of promise, and Joseph reminded them. Thank God for the Holy Spirit who can remind us of our ultimate, real destiny; our real calling! It is not to become big and powerful in the systems of this world. Yes, God will bless and we are thankful for His blessings in different realms. But do not let anxiety drive you; seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these other things shall be added. Put your trust in God who is the great I AM. Put your trust in the finished work of Jesus!