I read Isaiah 25 for my quiet time with the Lord today. From this passage of scripture, the Lord has given me an illustration of how this is being lived out today in the church and in the world. A nation of people, though certainly not every individual within that nation, is depicted here as being flagrant enemies of God, i.e. of Jesus Christ and of his followers. These enemies of God, although many of them claim allegiance to the One True God, in our day and time, truly worship the god of this world, the god of the flesh, and of pride, pretense, lies, manipulations and deception. And, they use these fake personas, the manipulations, and the lies to deceive naïve minds, and to bear false witness against God’s servants and messengers who are daily fighting this battle against the enemy of our souls, utilizing the armor of God. This nation, too, is known for its pride. Yet, the Lord is also showing me the church, which is God’s holy nation, and how so much of his church has turned, and has become enemies of God in their hearts, character and actions, and are also enemies of the Lord’s servants and messengers, who are doing the will of God. This church is also part of this prideful and ungodly nation of people who are enemies of God. Contrasts in Character The Lord has led me here to contrast the actions (character, heart) of these enemies of God with the actions (character, heart) of those whom they are coming against, not that either side is wholly righteous or wholly evil in actions, heart or character, but that this describes their walks (lifestyles): The ungodly safeguard themselves against the truth by telling lies, and by putting on the flesh to defeat the truth. The godly safeguard themselves against the lies by telling the truth, and by using the armor of God to defeat those lies. The ungodly, who are falsely pious and prideful, are jealous of the godly and of their relationship with Jesus Christ, and of their love for him, their worship of him, and of their obedience to him as their ONLY Lord. The godly are jealous for those believers in Christ, who are living in wickedness, idolatry and immorality. They are jealous for them with a godly jealousy, and with a desire to see them walk in holiness and to worship Jesus Christ as their ONLY Lord. The ungodly tolerate (appease, accept, allow for, and indulge) evil. The godly oppose, disallow and expose evil for what it is. The ungodly test the godly with lies, deceptions, manipulations, tricks, schemes, the twisting of truth, and with their false testimonies (slander) in order to try to trip them up, or to get them to give up and back down. The godly test the behavior of the ungodly against the Word of God, the character of God, and the truth, in order to expose the lies and lead the ungodly to repentance and to faith (or renewed faith) in Jesus Christ. The ungodly use judgment to condemn and to destroy others. The godly use judgment to reveal truth and to save souls. The ungodly use “bad language,” i.e. wicked, corrupt and immoral speech in order to harm and to do damage to others. The godly use “bad language,” i.e. strong, tough and exacting speech, at times, to strongly enforce the magnitude and the severity of the evil in which the ungodly have indulged themselves. The ungodly serve themselves and put forth a false image in order to win the approval of other humans. The godly serve the Lord Jesus, and reflect his image, in order to please the Lord, and for His praise, glory and honor. The ungodly lie about (slander) the godly in order to make themselves look good and to make the godly look bad, in order to gain sympathy and support for themselves and to get others to reject and oppose the godly. The godly tell the truth about the ungodly in order to help them see themselves for who they are (to open blinded eyes) so that they can actually be good (righteous) through genuine faith (or renewed faith) in Jesus Christ, which involves repentance and obedience, and in order to help others to not fall into the same traps of the devil which the ungodly have fallen into. The ungodly are cunning, deceitful, devious, and underhanded who trick, use and manipulate others, and who play mind games, to their own advantage. The godly are honest, transparent, straightforward and trustworthy, who help others to salvation, healing, and freedom, for their good. False Impressions One of the primary tricks of these enemies of God is to create the illusion of role reversals. In other words, they will try to paint themselves as the godly, and the godly as the ungodly. They will paint themselves as the innocent victims and the godly as the aggressors and the perpetrators of evil. They also paint themselves as the abused and the godly as the abusers, and in order to gain sympathy and support for themselves, and in order to turn everyone else against the godly, so they will think that they are the real enemy. And, they are very good at this, very convincing, and many people buy into their lies because they are such clever enchanters and so conniving. They are able to convince people of their deceptions because they use clever language which is filled with subtle hints and innuendos. They don’t always directly accuse the godly, but rather by what they say and by what they leave out, purposefully, they give intended false impressions which lead people to draw the wrong conclusions. This is also true of how the false grace gospel works. They tell only a small part of the truth, and they leave out the vast majority of the truth, so that people will be led in the wrong direction to believe the lie rather than the truth, and then to have a false hope of salvation. They tell them about Jesus Christ, and of his death on the cross, and that he took our place on that cross so we could be forgiven our sins and have the hope of heaven when we leave this earth. But, they leave out that he died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, and that we must walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit, and not to fulfill the lusts of our flesh. For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21). One thing I know about liars and deceivers is that they are very good at what they do. They can be very convincing, that even they are listening to God, and that they are walking righteously. They may even confess some of their sins, even publicly, and perhaps even to give a false impression that they are progressing, and that things are improving, but it may all be a lie, a cover-up for evil, or in order to hide something even more insidious. So, we can’t take people at face value. Too many liars and deceivers abound. For, there can be a sharp knife hidden underneath their false persona just waiting to stab the heart of some unsuspecting person. So, we need to be very wise and discerning. And, we must pray diligently that God will help us to see these deceptions and not get trapped by them. A Day of Judgment But, God has a day of judgment in store for them, at which time he will rescue the godly from their grip, and he will wipe the tears from their eyes. Isaiah 25 NASB O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness. For You have made a city into a heap, A fortified city into a ruin; A palace of strangers is a city no more, It will never be rebuilt. Therefore a strong people will glorify You; Cities of ruthless nations will revere You. For You have been a defense for the helpless, A defense for the needy in his distress, A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; For the breath of the ruthless Is like a rain storm against a wall. Like heat in drought, You subdue the uproar of aliens; Like heat by the shadow of a cloud, the song of the ruthless is silenced. The Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain; A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow, And refined, aged wine. And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples, Even the veil which is stretched over all nations. He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the Lord has spoken. And it will be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain, And Moab will be trodden down in his place As straw is trodden down in the water of a manure pile. And he will spread out his hands in the middle of it As a swimmer spreads out his hands to swim, But the Lord will lay low his pride together with the trickery of his hands. The unassailable fortifications of your walls He will bring down, Lay low and cast to the ground, even to the dust. Have Thine Own Way, Lord Adelaide A. Pollard / George C. Stebbins Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Thou art the potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me after Thy will, While I am waiting, yielded and still. Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Search me and try me, Master, today! Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now, As in Thy presence humbly I bow. Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Wounded and weary, help me I pray! Power, all power, surely is Thine! Touch me and heal me, Savior divine! Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Hold o'er my being absolute sway. Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see Christ only, always, living in me! Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 8:03 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this message you have given me today based on this passage of scripture. Amen!