“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Babylon the Great

“And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother's name was Joktan…. These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.” (Gen 10:25;32).

Genesis 11:10-16 records that 101 years elapsed between the fear and trembling, the humbling of soul and the salvation of heart taught by the flood, until total apostasy and a quick retreat to the life that caused the extensive destruction of the world by flood.

In short order Satan had moved the weakening race to set up a monument to the glorification of Nimrod’s genius and indomitable persona, and as well vicariously, to the people’s self-glorification.

“Let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly.” (Gen. 11:3). Feverishly did they use their vitality and strength to make bricks; feverishly did they burn them.

But from Solomon: “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.” (Ps. 127:1). Evidently, the Lord wasn’t helping them build this tower. He had not been invited; they had lost their fervor and fear of Him. The building was a monument to self that would stand forever to represent lack of simple faith in God’s heartfelt promise to never again repeat the world-wide flood.

The tower would be a slap in God’s face as it proclaimed man’s decision to live apart from God and protect himself from future disasters, a trophy of man saving himself; basically, salvation by works—salvation by my own works—salvation by self’s own work and effort and sheer will-power. It was motivated and orchestrated by Satan himself through a blinded and morally weak man to insult the God of heaven.

So the Lord simply confused their unified language and they labored in vain as they began to bend their energy until every ounce of determination came into play to continue the self building project. Every fired brick that made its way to the wrong worker represented the fire that was eating up each builder. Laboring in vain, frustration grew and tempers shortened; anger mounted until the tower was a mountain of confusion.

An essential part the building was brick. Not wood, which could be burnt and destroyed. Not of stone, which God made; but of a man-made material, each mud block with the empire’s symbol integral to and protruding from it, a relief of the lion with eagle’s wings. Every single brick boasted that the city and empire would endure forever.

The Lord’s curse upon Babylon and its destruction: “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; and the people shall labour in vain, and the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary…. And thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her: and they shall be weary.” (Jer. 51:58,64). Try as they might to save their beloved hopes of perpetual dominion, it would elude them to their utter exhaustion.

John takes up this language to describe those in the end who refuse to accept the grace and the rest of God, and the seal of God that His grace and peace bring the contrite and humbled spirit. “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,

“The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

“And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14:9-12).

The third angel’s message will be proclaimed to a world that has been brought again to the greatest boast ever, that it has all the resources to keep itself from destruction. Its religion is the instigator of the great endeavor.

Salvation by works. I don’t need to get acquainted with Jesus. He doesn’t need to be my whole focus. I have the resources to be a moral person, to be good enough. Give me all the commandments you can—I can keep them! Give me all the precepts and instructions, even the reproofs and exhortations—I can handle it! I am man—I can do it all! And I’ll show you I can do it all without a broken heart or a contrite spirit.

I am a strong man—I don’t need to fall on a Stone and be broken. I am man—I don’t need to be poor in spirit. Give me all the Testimonies for the church—I will prove that they don’t apply to me, because I am already good enough! And by all means, don’t tell me my righteousness isn’t good enough, after all I’ve accomplished for God, and after spending all and exhausting myself in the work of the Lord. Don’t tell me my righteousness stinks; who are you to judge me!

Those who persist in living a moral, religious life, without Jesus as their only focus, find nothing but a dry, wasted existence. Yes, they can look to their great works for God, but they have no rest day nor night. The smoke of their torment results from the constant frustration that comes from putting forth all their effort only to get nowhere in terms of goodness and a right standing before a holy God. The reality of their filthy condition keeps forcing itself upon their destitute soul, that they are just spinning their wheels, in spite of all their effort to be good. A life without that private time with Jesus, surrendered to His love, is a hard life.

And, if they never break down and admit their insufficiency, one day they will have a big surprise coming. They will find themselves declared filthy and wicked by God. In spite of all their good, clean living, they will not have a right to the tree of life and enter in through the gates of the city of God. Jesus is the passport into that city. He is our access. “Not because of me, but because of Jesus you must let me in!” we will say to the angels who guard the way into God our Father, and the tree of life. Him alone! All our righteousness acts without Him are less than worthless. It didn’t get us there; He got us there! Good living is not good enough; it will not pass the judgment of God. Jesus will get us through the judgment, if we have sought Him with all our heart.

“Behold, is it not of the Lord of hosts that the people shall labour in the very fire, and the people shall weary themselves for very vanity?” (Hab. 2:13).

“The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.
His ways are always grievous; Thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them.
He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity….
Thou hast seen it; for Thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite it with Thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto Thee; Thou art the helper of the fatherless.
Break Thou the arm of the wicked and the evil man: seek out his wickedness till Thou find none.
The Lord is King for ever and ever: the heathen are perished out of His land.
Lord, Thou hast heard the desire of the humble: Thou wilt prepare their heart, Thou wilt cause Thine ear to hear:
To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.” (Ps. 10:4-6,14-18).


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