Both Expected and Unexpected
By Iverna Tompkins
As transcribed and edited by Jane Vaughn
In Part 1 of this message, we read a lengthy portion of 2 Kings (from 6:24 through all of chapter 7). This relates the astounding story of when Syria held the city of Samaria captive and just waited for their supplies to run out so they would starve to death. Note that Samaria was the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel at this time. Iverna then turned our attention to consider the subject of miracles. jv.ed.
I don’t have to convince you after the scripture reading that a miracle in this situation was desperately needed. Wouldn’t you agree? We know that just from reading this passage relating what has transpired. This isn’t a story about good people against bad people. It’s a story about bad people and bad people – needing God’s intervention.
No one – not anyone in this story – not Syria – nor Samaria – deserves the grace of God. No one has served Him. I’m speaking of the countries as whole entities now. Neither of these countries has served God rightly. Neither of these countries – Syria nor Israel – has been walking in divine obedience so they could proclaim: “I expect the blessings of God in my country.” They both deserve great judgment for living contrary to God’s expressed ways.
No wonder we hear throughout scripture, the cry of those who have been breathed upon by the Holy Spirit to recognize it: “Oh, God, in judgment, remember mercy!” (Hab.3:2). God must ultimately judge sin – sooner or later. In His grace and mercy, He allows for plenty of time, or room, for repentance to come, followed by reconciliation and restoration.
America used to be a country that legitimately could claim: “We walk under the illumination and guidance of the Almighty God. There is one God, one Lord, one Master.” We used to be able to honestly say that! But no longer. It used to be normal in this country to be a Christian. It was almost expected.
We all went to church – most of us – more than not. We believed in the Creator, Almighty God. We prided ourselves in our ethics and morality and good deeds – because we wanted the blessings of God to continue toward us. The unusual situation was when a person was not a Christian. Some of you are too young to remember that life or lifestyle. But that is the way it once was here in the USA – and not so long ago.
Christians didn’t all think exactly alike back then. You know – some dunked and some sprinkled; some had wine and some grape juice. There were differences in methodology, and in interpretation, and of doctrinal positions – but we served the same God and we recognized that common position. There was a sincere cry within the average person to serve and please Almighty God.
In one short lifespan, that has been snatched away! How did that happen?
Samaria was besieged by Syria in our story. Syria, who sat outside the gates of Samaria, prepared all of their own people to have plenty, but they aggressively cut off Samaria from outside supplies. They simply were willing to wait until the supplies ran out. In the meantime, Syria had plenty of water, plenty of food, plenty of clothes, plenty of everything.
They could just out-wait the inevitable. They could wait to see how long it would take to starve to death the people on the inside of the gates. Can you follow this story in your minds? Does it remind you of anything? Something in our contemporary times?
Just as surely, there has been an absolute besieging of our country – but it’s been so subtle. The “enemy” has been willing to patiently wait. We, however, haven’t even realized we were under attack. But look: the blessings have been on the unbelievers.
The unbelievers, in letting down any protection of the believers, had to yield to one spirit or another (good or evil) – and that which was filthy became filthier still. So they were no longer just unbelievers of Christianity, they were yielded to the evil spirits that were hanging around waiting, prompting the take over this nation. Is this too heavy for you?
We in the Church didn’t see it happening because the only thing we knew was love. And we didn’t really understand love. We had “sloppy agape.” :-) We just let – we allowed – anything to go unchecked. “Don’t take a stand against anything, you might hurt someone’s feelings; they might be offended. I know they probably shouldn’t say it like that, but what they really meant was…” What they meant was what they said!
We Christians were so brain-washed into winning the world by love…. Hello? That wasn’t love! Love corrects; love exhorts; love takes a stand for righteousness. Love refuses the falseness of teaching that is anti-scripture. Love declares: “There’s one God, one Lord, one Way.” And that is the Truth – there is only one way! His Name is Jesus!
Some people who were invited by other people to come hear me speak would respond by saying: “I didn’t care for her because she is so – extremely opinionated.” :-) Well, I think it’s high time for Christians to become opinionated again – if – our opinions are founded on the Word of God. It can’t just be something we think up. You see, I care enough to speak up for rightness. That’s what love is.
I cared enough to correct my children as I raised them. I hope you do! I hope your children aren’t raising you, as I see in some homes. I hope we set limits because of our great love for our offspring. But this is what I hear from some parents, and so pathetically spoken, as if they can’t do anything about it: “Oh, but they threaten… They threaten to leave home.” My response to that? “Pack their bags! :-) … and leave the door unlocked! It’s not as good out there as they think it is, and they are going to come back.”
Besides, when my son went through his rebellious state, I used to say to him – so frequently it’s a joke between us now – I used to say (and I sincerely meant this!) “You don’t have a chance. :-) I don’t care what you learn to do – you don’t have a chance. I gave you to the Lord when you were born and you’re under a covenant relationship that I have with God – and there’s no way out for you!” And he’d snap back at me: “Well, you can’t make me do anything.” And I’d just agree, “I know. I can’t….”
I watched it throughout those four years – I’d simply watch God at work. Every time he’d get a new job, later he would find out he was working for a Christian. It would make him so angry. :-) Then he’d go into some store and someone would witness to him. He’d call me and complain: “Mom, it’s like you’re sending them!” :-)
It’s called prayer, baby! :-) That’s what mothers do! And it ought to be what daddys do as well. You see – we don’t give them up! We just give God room….
Haven’t you noticed the penetration of the enemy into our whole society? There is like a troop of the enemy that has infiltrated many different countries over the past decades but has waited for ours last. Think about that. It’s been a very gradual assault here – but assault it has been!
The reason the enemy had to wait until last with us is because, up until this time, we were half asleep. Unaware would be a kinder term. Unaware of the seepage that was coming into the teaching of a younger generation: “Just because your mom and dad believe that, doesn’t make it so.” “And just because…” “And just because your church…” “And just because….” “And just because….”
This more subtle kind of attack was designed to twist and warp the minds of our young people until it was abnormal in their inner thought-life for them to believe in God, or in Jesus Christ especially, as the only begotten of the Father. That was no longer a normal way of believing for them. And because we were snoozing, we allowed it to happen! Oh, yes, thank you. I’m seeing people raise their hands in agreement – because you know exactly how true this is.
The kids would come home from school with “I don’t quite understand….” But we didn’t attack that which caused them confusion. We felt, somehow, that love never attacked. I don’t know where we got that or still get it today! The Good Book surely does not support that! (cf. Num.25,31).
In the Old Testament, when the enemy troops came against God’s people, God enabled His people to attack! And take back everything that had been stolen – and a little more too! (e.g. Abraham rescued Lot – Gen.14:9ff; Saul against the Ammonites – 1Sam.15; David against the Philistines – 1Sam.23).
Until we, the Church, the universal church, begin to wake up and understand the power of God that resides within us individually – the dunamis-power that will produce miracles – that will do exceedingly and abundantly ...
Oh, it’s so easy to say: “Now unto Him who is able to do…” (Eph.3:20). It’s so easy to quote that! And it is undeniably true! Every word of it is true. But where is He? Come on, Church. Think about it. Where is He – today?
We used to sing: “You ask me how I know He lives…” Are any of you old enough to remember that song? Can you finish it? “…He lives within my heart.”
If I can honestly recite that verse in Ephesians (3:20), I need to pay attention to what it’s saying: “Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that I can ask or even think!” It is “according to” – what? “to the power” – where? “that worketh in us.” Again, how and where does His power work? It “worketh in us.”
Point to yourself. It’s the power of God that works in you. It’s the power of God that does “exceeding and abundantly above. . . according to the power. . . in us!”
You do know, don’t you, that you can exert that power effectively in your homes? You don’t have to sit back and take the things you’re putting up with – in the name of love – or is it just – tolerance? You need to get up in the morning with an attitude: “As for me – and my house – we will serve the Lord!” (Josh.24:15).
Do you have rebellious people living with you who say, “Well, I’m not going to….” You need to say, “You don’t have a chance.” :-) Maybe you will only think it – or pray it in your private warfare – or say it in principle, but that needs to be the attitude in your own heart. If the devil comes back in every day, kick him out in the morning! And again the next morning! And again – as often as that rebellious person brings him back into your home. It’s your home! Kick the devil out!
You see – you don’t need me to come to your house to do that for you. You don’t need your pastor to come. You don’t always need someone from the church staff or some ministerial group to cast it out for you. Cast it out yourself!
There is the power of God – within you. It’s been there from the time you met Jesus Christ and asked Him to come into your life to be your Savior. From the first time you declared, “You are Lord!” the Holy Spirit has been at-the-ready to work from within you. When you said “You are Lord,” He thought you really meant it!
Go to Part 3