Oh the beautiful valley in which the city of Jerusalem sits; it is now filled with enemy chariots of war (vv6,7). Why? Because the people of God rejected him. Judah trusted in her own self-made plans. She built her war chests against the Assyrian enemy. She ran to her armories. She sought to shore up her breached walls. She stored up her reservoirs for war. She did everything but ask God for his help.
Today, I hear much rhetoric from politicians, educators, corporate, media and activist leaders, yea, even the citizenry. There is much talk of war against their perceived enemies. Like Jerusalem against her Assyrian enemy, America runs for her political arsenals, she seeks to shore up her walls of political advantage. She works furiously to fill her political reservoirs. But defeat on all sides will be as swift and sure as was Jerusalem‘s. Why? History teaches us. Because, like Jerusalem, in all of America’s self made plans, her leaders have abandoned the people (v3). She arrogantly pursues her own interests. She never stops to ask for God’s help. He is the one who sets her back on her heels; and though rejected by her, loves her and would save her. If she would only ask.
All of this presses this old sentry to his knees in prayer and mourning for my beloved country. Oh that she might seek for God’s help.
Be alarmed and turn your wayward heart back to God (Isa 28:18-22). #TurnToGod #RepentTowardGod #ForeWarnedIsForeArmed
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
It ought to cause the people of God to shudder, to hear and to know that God is willing to trample his own when they continue headlong into sin and the rejection of his word. Instead they think they have outsmarted the coming judgment. But God will strike out, cancel, the deal his people have made with pagan forces to avoid judgment. The bed his people have made to lay in securely is wholly inadequate. The bed blankets are too narrow to cover them.
Just as God defeated the Philistines (Jos 10) and the Amorites (2Sa 5), so he will deliver a defeating, crushing blow to his own people. God’s people ought to be jolted into a repentance and surrender to Jehovah God. But they are not and time has run out. Oh Lord, awaken your people (awaken me) to the disaster ahead if we continue to trust in our own schemes and ingenuity. Bring this old sentry’s heart into alignment with your will and purpose.
Father, would you bring the heart of America into alignment with your will. Would you send revival into the church of America. May your people be alarmed and jolted at the high stakes at risk when there is no humble repentance toward God. I pray your Spirit to awaken the sleepy heart of America from her long slumber. May we we see a sweeping renewal of hearts toward God.
Whatever the judgments of God on a people, there will always be a remnant. They often go unseen and unnoticed during times of spiritual squalor. While kings and priests and prophets and judges are lost in their filthy lifestyles, reel and stagger in their vision of self aggrandizement and judgments, the remnant of God stand watch.
While the nation falters, God’s remnant goes to battle in prayer and righteous living. The Lord is their pride and joy. He is their justice and their mighty courage. They are to God a “highway of holiness” a flowing “stream in the desert.” For God’s remnant, sorrow shall forever flee (Isa 35:1–10). Oh Lord, you give this old sentry hope in the worst of times.
To understand the full force of this one verse, one must read the entire account of the typhoon at sea and the escape of the apostle Paul, the ship’s crew and its passengers from certain destruction (vv13-42). Then, Luke says, “Fearing the ship would be driven against the rocks of some shoreline, they threw out four sea anchors to slow the ship down and prayed for daylight.“ These seasoned sailors feared for their lives. They were terrorized by the tumultuous seas for 14 days and nights.
The Welch poet, George Herbert (1593–1633) wrote, “He that will learne to pray, let him go to Sea.” Here, at sea, one may encounter the ultimate in awe and terror. But thanks be to God, as the Psalmist explains in Psalm 91, “The one who lives in the shelter of the Almighty shall not fear the terror of the night.” Lord, you have delivered this sentry through many a terror in my own storm tossed seas of life. I have seen the glory of the Lord – I will sing of my redeemer God.
Day 36 of 40 days of prayer for family and friends. Lord, may my family and friends, my beloved country, put their trust in God alone.
In Isaiah Chapter 40 Israel learns of her soon release from captivity…her sins are pardoned, her cup of punishment is finished. God is coming in power to deliver her (vv1-11). The God of Israel has no equal (vv13,14,18,25). God is all powerful, all present, all knowing, and eternal. He knows the troubles of Israel…of all men, everywhere. He gives strength to the weak and powerless.
All those who trust in God will gain renewed strength – they will soar like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and never faint. Oh Lord, my daily strength, the strength of all those who have gone before for me is a testimony to your deliverance, power and compassion. Oh, that all men everywhere might trust fully in you.
Keeping covenant with my soul to maintain a righteous thought life requires more than deciding NOT to do this, that or the other thing. That is part of the equation. The other part is to be proactive with things I WILL do.
Paul tells me here to refocus my thoughts on things that are honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable – things of excellence and worthy of praise. If I practice such things they will become my habit, making my thought life more righteously oriented. It comes with a promise: God will stand with me in securing for me a perimeter of righteousness.
What steps will help me secure the perimeter of my thought life? It’s like a three-legged stool: study God’s word, pray and worship together with other believers. Lord, as a sentry on the wall, I will take steps daily to secure my perimeter.
Day 12 of 40 Days of Prayer For Family & Friends – Lord, may my family and friends find courage in faithfully reading and applying God’s Word.
In the preface to the book of Joshua (New Living Translation) it says, “To be a strong leader like Joshua, we must be ready to listen and to move quickly when God instructs [Oh, the lost opportunities that sloth and indecision do bring]…”
“…Once we have God‘s instructions, we must be diligent in carrying them out.“ Strong, courageous men and women of faith do not deviate from God‘s Word; they study it, meditate on it (digest it), pray it and obey it. Lord, may I consistently and persistently be a student of your Word; then move with courage
Day 4 of 40 Days of Prayer For Family & Friends – Lord, surround my family and friends with a spirit of love and good deeds. Who does not need a regular word of encouragement? “Spur one another on“ (NIV). The idea in this Scripture is to stir up, encourage, provoke, motivate others around you. Especially strive to “spur on” those with whom we share faith in the Lord Jesus.
“Spur On” [motivate] to what? To do love and good deeds. Today our country is experiencing much provocation toward cynicism, skepticism and distrust. We need to hear, in a big way, from those in the faith who express genuine encouragement of others. Lord, I want to be the kind of friend and brother that motivates others toward love and acts of kindness. I want to get my “Spur On.”
Day 2 of 40 Prayer For Family – Father, defeat in my family the desires to walk according to our sinful nature (that which is defiant of God) resulting in sexual immorality, impurity, lust for pleasures, idolatry, sorcery (occult), hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outburst of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, hedonism, et al. Such will not inherit the Kingdom of God (Gal 5:19-21).
But may our family walk according to the Holy Spirit who produces a different result – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, truthfulness and self-control. Lord, fill us with your Spirit. May we all daily close the door on the influence to our sinful nature and walk yielded to the work of your Spirit.
Paul is about to leave the leaders of the church at Ephesus. He will entrust them with the great message of grace. He tells them, “GUARD yourselves…feed and care for the flock – the church. “WATCH OUT!“ Be alert to false teachers and prideful men who seek only a following for themselves. Such people will divide and create disunity in the church.
To “GUARD” and to “WATCH OUT” are a call to arms for the faithful leader in the church and in the family. Standing vigilantly requires him/her to, 1) teach God’s word well, 2) minister in truth and all sincerity, 3) counsel by prayerful insight, sought through tears and deep spiritual connections and 4) sound the alarm when danger approaches. Father, may this sentry effectively share the gospel and express the truth of Scripture by my words and by my example.
The nation of Judah was facing a crisis (Assyrian conquest). For her sin of rejecting God she stood at the threshold of destruction. The prophet Isaiah clearly identifies the character of men and women who disdain and reject God (vv5-7). America needs to wake up, for her bulwark reveals similar vulnerabilities.
This is America’s National Disgrace. It is clear to the discerning eye. From Isaiah 32:5-7: Those who are ungodly and foolish are seen as heroes. Dishonorable men are exalted and respected. Fierce zealots make plans to further their own ends. They practice ungodliness; ridicule and marginalize those who trust in God. They make plans for their own self interests but they deprive the disenfranchised of basic needs in life. Smooth talkers appear honest/earnest, but mix sense with non-sense, scheming to mislead. They lie to convict the powerless, even when their is just cause. Can we see any of this in America today?
THERE IS HOPE AHEAD!
Isaiah speaks of a Redeemer who will come. Judah had suffered under unjust rulers and leaders, but “A righteous king is on the way. Honest princes will prevail under him.” Although Judah would be destroyed and taken into captivity, still there were many who act according to “generosity” (v8). They were hungry for a righteous ruler. That ruler, that “righteous king” would be Jesus Christ, who has already come and he will come again to rule.
WHAT WILL THE HOPE OF THIS RIGHTEOUS KING LOOK LIKE?
The coming Christ will provide, “Shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm.” His rule will be “like streams of water in the desert or the shadow of a great rock in a parched land.” In Christ’s rule “everyone who has eyes will be able to see the truth and everyone who has ears will be able to hear it. Even the hotheads will be full of sense and understanding. Those who stammer will speak out plainly” (vv1-4).
Lord, it excites the heart of this aged sentry to know the assurance of my once come, and coming again, righteous king. Even so, come Lord Jesus!
Today would be as good a day as any to pray for a national repentance in America. That she would once again celebrate the Christ-child; the Savior of the world.
Lord, would you give the leaders of America a humble heart of repentance. I pray that they would no longer compare themselves to each other but see themselves in the light of a holy God.
Lord, would you begin the work of repentance and healing within the one square foot in which I stand this morning. Do a work of repentance and healing in my household. Do a work of repentance and healing in and among my neighbors, whom I know very well.
I pray for the leaders, the pastors and ministers in my city. I pray for those officials who carry out the will of the state in my county. I pray for the leaders of my state and the leaders of my nation.
From my house to the White House, Lord, may we have a humble heart of repentance. May you once again receive the honor and majesty due you in America.
Lord, this is a prayer from the heart of the sentry standing watch today. I join the sentinel call to prayer.
The prophet points to a new generation who would rise up strong, with no fear or shame. They would recognize the holiness and blessings of Jehovah God, stand in awe of God. This new generation would pursue understanding and instruction from God.
Was Isaiah also pointing beyond his day to a church triumphant, the many [spiritual] children birthed by Abraham (Gen 12:1-3)? The church stands in the tradition of walking with God through all kinds of tribulation. She will stand today in the face of many trials. She will stand going into a future kingdom with God. The world will never be without a generation of those who serve God. Lord, raise up the next generation of sentries who will honor you and stand with you.
When once the wayward, rebellious, child of God surrenders, his/her whimpers of repentance are heard from on high (v4). Then, like the father greeting the prodigal home from the far country of sin, God is first on the scene to help. This is the message of the prophets.
The enemies, the attackers, God had used to discipline his child will be crushed. Their course of pain and suffering will come to a sudden end. They will be driven away by heaven’s armies. They will “vanish like a vision in the night.“ It is God‘s greatest delight to vanquish the enemy of the child of God. Thank you Lord, for hearing in the night this sentry’s prayer of surrender so many years ago.
FOR AMERICA: Lord, I pray that my beloved nation may surrender her heart fully to you. May she know the fires of revival & spiritual awakening from sea to shining sea. May the power of heaven’s armies be used to deliver her from the enemies that would seek to destroy her.
Dare I say that there is a moment, a slice of time in my day, when I come as close to perfection as humanly possible?
It is my Morning Watch, between the hours of 4:30 and 8 AM (or thereabouts). It is that time of day when I bring my broken and fallen self to the table of self-examination.
It is those moments when the Holy enters into my daily dialogue and from Scripture the Lord counsels me, comforts me and challenges me. He speaks perfectly clearly from his Word. His Spirit interprets perfectly clearly (Rhema) to my heart. His Son perfectly clearly calls me to obedience. These are moments unmolested by the trials and the challenges of the day which await me. They are crouching at the threshold just outside the closed door of sweet communion.
For these few unmolested moments I am free of sin (for the most part; I am human). Like a “storm chamber,“ to which one goes for protection and cover from the storm, I am sheltered from the elements outside which batter the humble shack above. I am free in these moments from the demands of the flesh. I am entirely focused upon my Heavenly Trio of Friends: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
Ah yes. For these few moments, when things are perfect, I can hear clearly, perfectly. Then, having put on a new self, with a bound, full of grace and truth, I step out from the chamber, my cathedral of personal praise and devotion. Then, standing watch at the end of my driveway, I courageously answer the call to give my all for Christ another day.
At the center of the Jewish faith is the temple in Jerusalem and the worship of Jehovah God. At the center of the Christian faith is the temple of the Holy Spirit (my body – 1Co 6:19) and the collective worship of God by believers in union together with Christ (Jhn 4:23,24).
The call has always been to worship God in spirit and in truth. But we see here that rote ritual, rules and observances had supplanted sincere worship of, and devotion to, God. It was indifferent and deceitful. It happens today as well. This brings the holy ire of God on dead lifeless religion. Father, may this sentry worship & serve you with a whole heart, given in spirit and in truth.
Lord, would you bring America to a place of sincere worship and devotion to you. Would you intervene and give her a whole heart for you. Would you sweep our land in renewal, revival and spiritual awakening.
The lives of men will not be changed by providing a good environment. Although, that may help enormously. But even the most gracious of divine kindnesses, which God may display, are ignored by many. They take no notice of God’s daily mercies. They are taken for granted.
Men seem far more likely to respond better to judgment then to blessing. Judgment brings me face-to-face with my own inadequacies; my need to surrender to God. To this aging sentry this becomes far more evident. So, for me Lord, it is in the morning watches, before the dawn breaks, that I will earnestly seek you. In you I will find peace and accomplishment.
What keeps you awake at night? Securing your family, your home, your wealth? Your life? In God’s judgment none of these things will be safe.
The crisis of our day is but a harbinger of what is to come. The Scriptures read like a current news story: “There is no new wine – [where are the voices for God’s word?]. Joy is silenced. THE CITY WRITHES IN CHAOS; every HOME IS LOCKED to keep out intruders. MOBS GATHERin the streets, crying out for wine. Joy has turned to gloom. Gladness has been banished from the land. THE CITY IS LEFT IN RUINS, it’s gates battered down” (24:7-12). Sometimes I read Scripture and cannot believe my own eyes. Today we are seeing a picture of what God’s judgment will look like.
This old sentry has stood his watch many a day and night, near 75 times around the sun. From my watchtower I have not seen such chaos inside my own walls, in my own streets and political landscape as seen today. This sentry cries out in the Morning Watches, “Lord, enlarge my heart for the city. Much of my days are past, but my heart breaks for my city. I will do whatever I can.”
“Praise be to the LORD, for he showed his wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged city. In my alarm I said, “I am cut off from your sight!” Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help. . . Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.” (Psm 31:21–22,24)
“And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.” (Jer 29:7)
Praying through the ancient prophecies of Isaiah regarding all the godless nations surrounding Israel and Judah. Not an easy read. I was considering the fact that EVERY PROPHECY over every nation has been FULFILLED (Isa 14-23).
God is a sovereign, who providentially works his will through all the affairs of men. I have every reason to believe that the prophecies of the future (Isa 24-27, New Testament, et al.) will be fulfilled, just as they were in those ancient of days. My sentinel faith rests in an eternal Commander who seeks the ultimate good and will destroy all evil.
In a popular Food Network show, chefs compete to be the “Chopped Champion.“ Every round ends with a critique (judgment) of their food. One chef is eliminated. A judge explains the critique to the chef and says, “For these reasons, we had to chop you.“
In 2 Kings 17, God explains his reasons for judgment. They are Israel’s flagrant idolatry, obstinate disobedience and her rejection of God. She had sold her soul to worship of the stars (astrology), child sacrifice and other occult practices. “For these reasons,“ the cleaver of God‘s judgment had fallen on Israel.
Is America facing elimination? Why would she? The answer: she has forgotten/left behind the foundational principles and Biblical values upon which she was built. For this she will pay a heavy price. Like Israel and Judah of old, she will find herself in a “captivity” of her own making. She will find herself in perilous times. She will find herself dealing with the God who loves her and set her apart as exceptional.
America, my beloved nation, is in a moral melee. Her moral clarity is on the chopping block. The cleaver of God‘s judgment is certain to fall. She has leapt over the precipice of moral restraint and is in a free fall of decadent behavior.
What kind of behavior? The killing of innocent babies in the womb. Rampant immoral sexual behavior and homosexuality that is now the “new normal.” Violence in our streets. Public shootings – malls, schools, theaters and homes. Widespread use of drugs and alcohol. Politicians and other leaders ignore the people, lie, cover up their misdeeds and participate in all manner of ugly and shameless partisan vitriol…and so much more.
Further more, God has been rejected by the avant-garde. They wish to remove all traces of God from schools, government, and the marketplace. The church and Christianity has been pushed to the margins of the culture, ignored as an influence in public discourse, mocked and ridiculed as extreme. Soft persecution is here. A rise of more intense persecution may be expected.
God did not make a mistake when ordaining America as a light, a beacon of freedom and liberty against the tyranny of kings and dictators. I believe that America may expect God to orchestrate all of our circumstances (good and bad) in His providence in order to bring her back to faith in Him.
All of our hope is in Him. As a sentry on the wall of intercession it is my duty to earnestly pray and sound a clear warning. I pray for a repentant America and that God will raise up young leaders and Americans that love him and love this country.
There is a saying in Texas – “One Riot, One Ranger.” Heaven also has a saying, “One Assault, One Angel.”
The fierce fighting monarch, King Sennacherib of Assyria, showed up in full battle array to assault Jerusalem’s gates. He sent messages taunting King Hezekiah and the citizens of the city (vv10–19). He mocked and derided Jehovah God.
Although smaller in numbers the people of Jerusalem were prayed up, prepared and putting faith in God (vv1-8). Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah cried out to the God of heaven. God sent ONE ANGEL and destroyed the whole Assyrian army. Sennacherib went home in disgrace, never to be heard from again – he was killed in the temple of his god, by his own sons. Lord, this one lone sentry has reason to prayerfully expect you to do great things in any given day.
When a godly leader (King Hezekiah) followed God‘s leadership, went against conventional wisdom, good things happened. He called the people to return to God (v6). After a week long celebration of God‘s redemption (revival) the people decided to EXTEND THE CELEBRATION another week.
There was great purification from sin, people and priests were getting right with God. The revival exceeded anything ever seen before. In the end, God made good on the promise of 2Ch 7:14. Healing was on the way. God heard their prayer from heaven (v 27). Lord, turning my sentinel’s heart to you, I am prepared for you to exceed all my expectations (Eph 3:20).
When God turns on the light of revival, when he pours out his Spirit on his people, that light within becomes brighter, warmer. There is a supernatural inclination to want to share that light. Just so, we see that good King Hezekiah was compelled to send runners throughout all of Judah, even to the brothers in the northern tribes of Israel. “Come, let’s us once again worship, celebrate renewal and give thanks to the Lord.”
Renewed joy and expectations were at an all-time high. God was speaking into the life of Judah. O, that God would speak new life into our lives today. Lord increase the light, increase the warmth, that America would know revival and awakening. Jesus said, “And I, when I am lifted up, will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32 – NIV)
Lord, may the light within the sentry burn brightly and warmly, drawing others to you.
The closest thing that I’ve ever seen to spiritual awakening in my lifetime was the “Jesus Movement” in the 1970s. My heart longs, times without end, to see a movement like that (and better) once again in America. That awakening/revival came out of the tumultuous decade of the 1960s. Who’da thought?
Revival in the era of King Hezekiah of Judah came out of turbulent times under his father, King Ahaz. Under Hezekiah’s leadership the nation of Judah turned back to God. Repentance and renewal led to “times of refreshing from the very presence of the Lord” as described in Acts 3:20. The 20teens have been turbulent times. Could revival/awakening be just around the corner? My prayer in the morning watches is, “Lord, do it again.”
Sacrifice, to be meaningful to God, must be preceded by sincere repentance and consecration (Psm 51:17; Pro 21:3; 1Sa 15:22). King Hezekiah led the priests, Levites (temple servants) city leaders and people to turn from their sin (repentance). Then he led them to set themselves apart for God‘s purposes (consecration).
Finally, came the offering (sacrifice) to God, to present a token of thanksgiving to God for atonement of sin (today, reconciliation through Christ to God). For Hezekiah (for all of us today) this results in an abundance of sacrifice; much joy, praise and worship. There is no greater sacrifice than that of a humble broken heart toward God and subsequently toward others. Lord, the prayer of this sentry is that men would find themselves right with you and with each other.
Sixteen days after the Lord’s Temple was re-opened it had been cleansed of every defiled object (inside and out). The very next morning King Hezekiah had priests and Levites in their positions. Every city official was summonsed to be in the Temple. King Hezekiah himself led the procession.
Burnt offerings and sin offerings were made, consecrating the whole throng of leaders to God. Then there was a “joyous“ sound of praise and worship. The entire assembly sang, played instruments and read Psalms. They worshipped. How could the scene of repentance of leadership possibly be described? Only experienced. Lord, may our leaders (I myself) know such a repentance.
** I am encouraged to write the following Post Script: Eight hours after this post was published I heard Vice President Mike Pence speak to The Family Leader Foundation in Des Moines, Iowa. He spoke of a night in the 1970s when he, as a nineteen year old young man, gave his life to Christ. He told the audience that there are times when we feel God has abandoned us and is no longer working. But, he said, God is always working. We ought never give up, continue in faith and in prayers. He called the nation to, “humble themselves, and pray and seek God’s face, and turn from their wicked ways, then God will hear [as he always does] from heaven, and will forgive [our] sin and heal [our] land.” This is what it looks like when godly leaders call for and lead a nation to repent.
Be prepared for God to release you in his service (2Ch 29:3–5,10-12). #Revival #SpiritualAwakening https:www.bible.com116/2ch.29.3-5,10-12.nlt
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
I may not know all the ways of God in the onset of revival or spiritual awakening, but I can see clues from God’s word. God used King Hezekiah in Judah to implement a fresh wind of revival. Through Hezekiah God released the Levites (his godly servants) to purify themselves and the temple. Then to perform the ministry they had previously been denied.
Today there seems to be a growing alertness in the people of God. There is a man in leadership who, though not perfect, is a friend toward God. Hostility towards him, the increase of darkness and violence in our society, may be a clue that God is moving in our midst.
Lord, intensify this sentry’s alertness and prayer for those who minister before you daily, who lead in the cleansing of our national sins.