40 Days of Prayer and Fasting – Day 33 – God is Just

Let’s talk about Lot. I’ve been feeling a lot like Lot recently. Now, there are a lot of unsavory things about Lot in Genesis- if you don’t know who he is, he is the nephew of Abraham who moved to Sodom and Gomorrah because it was located in a beautiful, lush valley. Yet, we read in 2 Peter 2 that Lot was a righteous man who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless. Peter tells us in verse 8, “For that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard.”

Does this sound familiar to anyone? Does anyone else feel tormented in your soul by the lawless deeds you see and hear around you every day?

Me, too. Me, too.

Feeling tormented by living in a land where evil is celebrated and good is hated is a spiritually normal thing to feel. Don’t feel like something is wrong with you. If this is you, you probably have days where you feel helpless and like your hands are tied. These feelings are a look into the heart of God. God definitely doesn’t feel helpless or like his hands are tied. But, Jesus carried the weight of all of this sin to the cross. He knows every evil thought. He sees every tear that is cried. He knows every abuse. He knows the deception. He sees the people in authority who are intentionally leading people astray. This is what Peter says about it.

2 Peter 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment. 10 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh  and despise authority.

When I see all this chaos in America, I know very clearly that the Lord is allowing it to come. He has removed his hand of protection and stepped aside, giving us as a nation over to the “gods” we really want to serve- “lust,” “new age,” “greed,” perversions,” false doctrines,” “self-centeredness” and all forms of wickedness. The people of America – and many people who claim to follow Jesus- have lusted after the things of the flesh. Many in the church have compromised the ways of many generations, as is set out in the word of God. In fact, regularly, people mock the ways of previous generations- and now even freedom is mocked. Purity is mocked. Holiness is mocked. Devotion to the Lord is mocked- and this from those who claim to follow Jesus.

We have turned a corner as a nation and as the church in America as a whole. The leadership of many denominations is walking away from truth of God’s word and the true power of the gospel to save and heal and deliver from sin. In fact, many churches won’t even talk about sin, because it’s negative, and we don’t want people to feel bad. Because feelings are everything. If there is no sin, there is no need for Jesus. We have become our own saviors. Can God deliver? Absolutely! Why doesn’t he? It’s not because he doesn’t want to.

You see, in order for God to heal and deliver a nation, that nation needs to repent. In order for God to heal and deliver a person, that person needs to repent. Why? Because the death and the pain are there as a result of the authority of sin. Only repentance and faith in Jesus breaks the authority and power of sin and death. For years and years I have prayed for people and wondered why there never seemed to be a single sign of their turning to the Lord. Was it God? Was he not listening to my prayers? No. He was listening. They weren’t listening to him. And that my friends, is a dangerous place to be- in rebellion against the voice of the Lord.

Let’s read this famous passage in Isaiah with fresh eyes. I have always read the first verse of this chapter to mean that God is strong and no matter where you are, he can save you. This is true. But, what do the verses following that verse mean? This chapter is a ode to the people of God who cry out to God and don’t seem to get an answer in calamity. So, if this situation sounds familiar to you- read on and see why the answer you want may not come.

Isaiah 59

Sin, Confession and Redemption

59 Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save,
    nor his ear too dull to hear.
But your iniquities have separated
    you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
    so that he will not hear.

For your hands are stained with blood,
    your fingers with guilt.
Your lips have spoken falsely,
    and your tongue mutters wicked things.
No one calls for justice;
    no one pleads a case with integrity.
They rely on empty arguments, they utter lies;
    they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.
They hatch the eggs of vipers
    and spin a spider’s web.
Whoever eats their eggs will die,
    and when one is broken, an adder is hatched.
Their cobwebs are useless for clothing;
    they cannot cover themselves with what they make.
Their deeds are evil deeds,
    and acts of violence are in their hands.
Their feet rush into sin;
    they are swift to shed innocent blood.
They pursue evil schemes;
    acts of violence mark their ways.
The way of peace they do not know;
    there is no justice in their paths.
They have turned them into crooked roads;
    no one who walks along them will know peace.

So justice is far from us,
    and righteousness does not reach us.
We look for light, but all is darkness;
    for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.

10 Like the blind we grope along the wall,
    feeling our way like people without eyes.
At midday we stumble as if it were twilight;
    among the strong, we are like the dead.
11 We all growl like bears;
    we moan mournfully like doves.
We look for justice, but find none;
    for deliverance, but it is far away.

12 For our offenses are many in your sight,
    and our sins testify against us.

Our offenses are ever with us,
    and we acknowledge our iniquities:
13 rebellion and treachery against the Lord,
    turning our backs on our God,
inciting revolt and oppression,
    uttering lies our hearts have conceived.
14 So justice is driven back,
    and righteousness stands at a distance;
truth has stumbled in the streets,
    honesty cannot enter.
15 Truth is nowhere to be found,
    and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.

The Lord looked and was displeased
    that there was no justice.

16 He saw that there was no one,
    he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
so his own arm achieved salvation for him,
    and his own righteousness sustained him.

17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
    and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
    and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
18 According to what they have done,
    so will he repay
wrath to his enemies
    and retribution to his foes;
    he will repay the islands their due.
19 From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord,
    and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory.
For he will come like a pent-up flood
    that the breath of the Lord drives along.[a]

20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion,
    to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,”
declares the Lord.

21 “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord.

Do you see the flow of this chapter? God reminds us he is mighty to save. Next, he lays out why a people may not be receiving answers to prayers. He acknowledges our inability to be righteousness apart from him. Finally, the Lord himself puts on his armor to save! Hallelujah!

We cannot save ourselves, so the Lord – in Jesus Christ- puts on his armor. Jesus is the ARM of the Lord. He is right arm. BUT, read verse 20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins.”

The Redeemer comes to those who repent. The Israelites, not unlike the Americans, wanted the Lord to work justice for them. They wanted God to show up in practical ways and work miracles- but the people were unwilling and even unable to repent. So, their healing did not come.

And we pray- we pray for our nation. We ask the Lord to work miracles, while the leaders and influencers of the nation harden their hearts against the Lord as Pharaoh. We long for life to go back to normal. We share memes about 2020, but little do we know that this is the new normal. I am not trying to gloom and doom you. But, I need to say what the Lord gives.

We long more for normal than we do for the the presence of God and the work of the Lord. Most of us don’t feel comfortable sharing our faith or living our faith out loud in tangible ways. Many believers would rather live in a nation where babies can be killed in the womb, as long as women have a choice than live in a nation that is under the blessing of God.

Yet, there is an “easy way” out for people who don’t want to recognize God’s hand of judgement- they can blame every strange crisis on global warming or another political point than actually hear the voice of the Lord that he is allowing the judgement. But, most believers in America are not taught to follow the voice of the Lord.

Is this condemnation? No. This is the truth. So, the Lord is just in his righteous judgements.

So, what is the point of fasting? Is there no point? Is there any hope?

If going back to normal is the reason you are fasting, you will miss the point. At this point in the time line, prayer and fasting will draw you close to the Lord, so you can personally know him. It will strengthen you. It will help to cleanse you. It will sharpen your ability to hear from the Lord. It will prepare you and equip you to be a warrior for the Lord in the middle of the judgement. The Lord is looking for life guards to help rescue people in the storm and bring them out. He is looking for lighthouses to shine his light in the darkness, so those in boats do not dash themselves against the rocks.

Can we pray for America? Yes! We must! But, how do we pray?

Let’s pray– Use these prayer points to pray today.

  1. We pray for the church to repent.
  2. We pray for the leaders of the nation to repent.
  3. We pray for God to reveal sin to us so that we can repent.
  4. We pray for mercy in judgement.
  5. We pray for protection in the storm.
  6. We pray that God refines his church, his bride.
  7. We pray that Satan is restrained, defeated and overcome by the word of our testimony and the blood of the Lamb.
  8. We pray that wickedness will be exposed.
  9. We pray for truth to shine.
  10. We pray that the church will rise up and overcome.
  11. We pray that we may be counted worthy to escape all these things.
  12. We pray that the Lord will provide for our needs according to his riches in glory.
  13. We pray that he exposes corruption in the church.
  14. We pray that God corrects our theology that the true gospel of Jesus Christ will be preached and that false gospels and teachings will fall by the wayside.
  15. We praise God for his judgements. He is just.

If you are reading this and you want God’s deliverance- today is the day of salvation! The Lord sent his Son Jesus the Messiah 2000 years ago to make us holy. He stood in our place of judgement so that the righteous requirements of God might be met in us- who put our faith in Jesus to save. Cry out to the Lord to save you today. Ask him to forgive you of your sin and to live inside of you by his Spirit. He will draw near to you and dwell in you. He will forgive you of all your sin and strengthen you with his presence. Even when the nation is in turmoil, those who trust in the Lord will never be put to shame.

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