If My people…Part 4

Point # 4 – God is STILL talking exclusively to the Godly King Solomon. He is telling him the conditions upon which he and his descendants will continue to rule His people.

“And as for theeif thou wilt walk before Me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe My statutes and My judgments; Then will I establish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel. But if ye turn away, and forsake My statutes and My commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them; Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of My land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for My Name, will I cast out of My sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations.”

God, still addressing Solomon, speaks of the conditions of his continued rule and the rule of successive generations.  “…if thou wilt walk before Me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe My statutes and My judgments; Then will I establish the throne of thy kingdom”

God’s promise is conditional to the heart of the leader. God delegated the authority to lead to David and then subsequently to Solomon his son. Additionally, God offered to them a promise that their descendants would rule perpetually upon certain conditions. None of these conditions were outside of their control. The conditions were all within the sphere authority of the ruler. This promise had nothing to do with the hearts of His people Israel. The conditions of ruling perpetually were within the power of David and his descendants.

If these kings failed to keep God’s commands, the promise was this… But if ye turn away, and forsake My statutes and My commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them; Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of My land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for My Name, will I cast out of My sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations.”

Notice also, that the land never ceased being God’s. He had only offered it to Israel as a stewardship, which could be revoked by God under the conditions He outlined above.


So one is likely to ask, “Then what are we to do and what are we to pray?”  “If we have no control over the heart of the ruler then what are we to do?”

Good question!

The rulers are not independent of the people:

The appointed ruler of God’s people, has always been a result of the hearts of His people. When their hearts were taken away to serve other Gods, then the nations of those “gods” became their rulers. When Israel was brought into bondage, their hearts would begin to cry out to God for deliverance. The book of Judges (which predates the time if the Kings) reveals the whole story. God allows His people to be filled with their own fancies, until they begin to vomit it out of their mouths (e.g. until they are so full of their own ways that it sickens them). -Ps. 78:25-31; Numbers 11:18-20.

The people are not independent of their rulers:

In like manner, if Israel had a godly ruler, the people largely lived godly lives. Historically, people often reflect the disposition of their king. This is true on virtually every level. Children follow the heart of their fathers. Employees tend towards the same attitudes and aptitudes of their employer. Nations follow the leading of their rulers. This is not to say that there are never any exceptions, but they are rare enough to not serve as the rule.

Most of the time if people are evil – their leader is as well.

In the rare cases when the hearts of God’s people change (which change is evidenced in the way they live their lives), God has always sent deliverance. Again, you need look no further than the book of Judges to confirm this as truth. Also, the cry of Israel was never solely focus upon their plight. They cried out for deliverance “For the sake if HIS GREAT NAME”. If American Christians wanted deliverance for even half as noble a reason, it might go a lot further, but then again THAT would require a heart change, so we are back at the original problem.

There are two major difficulties I can see with attempting to apply the actions of God toward Israel when they cried out for deliverance to our situation here in America (or else where for that matter).

  1. When God delivered Israel – they as a ecclesia ( a group called out from the world and unto God for his special purpose) WERE A NATION. Not only that, they were a natural nation – meaning they were all Jews. America is by very definition a “melting pot” of various nationalities and beliefs. Yes, I believe our nation was “founded” on Christian principles and therefore began as a nation inclined towards Christian principles. However, there is nothing in our Constitution which requires all naturalize persons to be adherents to the Christian faith. From the beginning anyone who wanted to be an American was welcome! That is more than a trivial difference! To be an Israelite, one HAD to be a partaker in and adherent to their faith or they were killed. That is NOT true, nor has it ever been true of this nation. To compare the two and attempt to take the Old Testament promise given to a natural Jewish nation of one faith and “retrofit” it quite unnaturally onto our nation which is eclectic in the extreme is simply irresponsible.
  2. Israel was a NATURAL NATION whose promises all spoke to NATURAL issues. Everything in Judaism was a “reversed parable”. Every tenet of their faith was a heavenly reality illustrated through a natural paradigm. Feasts, new moons, sabbaths, atonement by animal sacrifice, ritualistic cleanings, dietary laws, the Mosaic Law itself and even the very nation of Israel itself…etc.  All of them were types and shadows of a spiritual reality which they could not embrace or enjoy while under the old covenant. Paul said as much in the following passages:
  • Rom. 9:6-8 (natural Israel was Jewish, Spiritual Israel are those who rely upon Christ’s finished work)
  • Col. 2:16, 17 (new moons, Sabbaths, feast days – types of Christ)
  • Acts 11:7-18 (unclean animals were a type of the Gentiles)
  • Heb. 10:1-5 (clean animals sacrificed for atonement [a covering over] of Israel’s sins were a type of Christ as the Lamb Who, once and for all, takes away the sins of the whole world.)
  • Rom. 10:19; I Peter 2:9 (Israel was a natural nation with physical boundaries, we are a spiritual nation without physical, national boundaries.)

We are a spiritual nation comprised of every ethnic group and language of this earth. The promise was to reconcile our hearts   to God not with those on the earth. Jesus promised that the world would HATE you – not create laws which made your Christian lifestyle easy. – Matt. 10:16-20.

Why is this important? Because if the enemy can over occupy you with a seemingly “good” thing, he can keep you from doing the only necessary thing to which you were called.

It is not my desire to crush any hope of living in peace on earth. As we read earlier, it was Paul’s direction that our prayers for our leaders was with this goal in mind. I do not however, want my brothers and sisters to get too caught up in attempting to conform the world to the church. That was NOT our commission! We are to see to it that WE do not conform to the world (Rom. 12:1,2), not the other way around! Our commission was to be witnesses in the world, without being part OF IT. The only overcoming we are to do is to overcome the influence of the world within our lives by maintaining what we have in Christ and not allowing Him to loose ground within US.

Too many believers today are on a mission which God never issued. If we would be more diligent in allowing God to gain more real-estate in our hearts we would BE the witness to the world He desires. Instead, we have a tendency to fight the world in the world. We want government to establish laws in keeping with our Christian beliefs. This is little different from the crusades in goal.

What were the words our Lord and Savior used to describe the worlds reaction to the church?

“Then Jesus replied to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and they will deceive many. You are going to hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, because these things must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these events are the beginning of birth pains. “Then they will hand you over for persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of My name. Then many will take offense, betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered. This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come.” – Matt. 24:4-14.

Regardless of how we view 2 Chron. 7:14, we must admit that our part is to “… humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways;Then and only then and ONLY IF IT APPLIES will God do His part of hearing “from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Let us allow God to determine what “land” He will heal.


 *“Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God will come, He answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with something observable; no one will say, ‘Look here!’ or ‘There!’ For you see, the kingdom of God is among you.” Then He told the disciples: “The days are coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you won’t see it. They will say to you, ‘Look there!’ or ‘Look here!’ Don’t follow or run after them. For as the lightning flashes from horizon to horizon and lights up the sky, so the Son of Man will be in His day. But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man: people went on eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day Noah boarded the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It will be the same as it was in the days of Lot: people went on eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building. But on the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be like that on the day the Son of Man is revealed.” – Luke 17:20-30

I have been blessed in recent years with many brothers who talk much of Jesus and little of politics! It is in hearts like these that I take much solace. I tire quickly of Christians who talk incessantly concerning the woes of politics, speak accusingly of dignitaries and promote natural men with natural agendas as though they will be our national saviors. I pay little regard to and virtually no confidence in man nowadays! God has revealed to me that if He can deliver all of Israel through a Pharaoh and a shepherd [Rom. 9:17 ; Acts 7:35] and could not save most of Israel through a John and a Jesus [Luke 7:31-35], then it becomes abundantly clear that, it is not of him who runs, nor of him who wills but of God! I am not saying that God was incapable of saving Israel, but God Himself sent Jesus as a Rock of Offense and a cause of stumbling to Israel and for the most part they rejected Him. While the existence of John, who was outwardly Jesus’ counterpart, made it clear that it did not matter how God came or in what package – Israel was determined to save itself and so missed their day of Visitation. Was God unable to come in a form they would have received? No, I believe He could have, but in His wisdom He chose to come through a means which Israel would find offensive, and to the church – I believe He is coming the same way.

“Blessed is He who is not offended by Me.” – Luke 7:23.

What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOMEVER I WILL HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOMEVER I WILL HAVE COMPASSION. So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.  ~ Rom 9:14-16

For those who are predominately visual thinkers:

Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!