“In that day,” declares the Lord Almighty, “I will break the yoke off their necks and will tear off their bonds; no longer will foreigners enslave them. Instead, they will serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them. So do not fear, O Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, O Israel,” declares the Lord. “I will surely save you out of a distant place, your descendants from the land of their exile. Jacob will again have peace and security, and no one will make him afraid. I am with you and will save you,” declares the Lord.
This was a message of hope to the people of Israel while they were in exile, going through much hardship, and distanced from the tabernacle of God’s presence. God’s chosen people had turned away from Him and served foreign gods. They had strayed from Him and chosen the ways of their neighbors. They rejected the sweetness of the Holy Spirit for the spirit of the world. God bore with them and patiently waited for them to turn back to Him, their Source, but sin continued to increase and abound. As society lost their fear of the Lord and all regard for the Law, God took His hand away from His people in grief. These chosen people lost His omni-protection, were conquered by their enemies, and taken into captivity in chains. They lost their freedom and everything they held familiar and dear.
This story could have had a sad ending, but God had mercy upon His people, as He continues to have mercy upon His people today. (Mercy triumphs over judgement - James 2:13). Today's culture is not very different. In most of the nations of the world, we see the same sins that rise up as an abomination before God. Life has become so cheap that during the last three decades, an estimated 40-50 million unborn children have been killed (in northern America alone), not to mention all the lives lost in the numerous power struggles across the face of the earth. What saddens the heart of God the most is the fact that His very own people accept the values of the world and that sin has found a place in the hearts of the Bride of Christ. Jesus referred to this in Matthew 24:15 when He spoke about the ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing in the “Holy Place”. The spirit of the world has found a home in the church and in the hearts of many of the children of God!
Many believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are in captivity today and are unable to break free because they have repeatedly and continuously grieved the heart of God and lost His favor and covering. Nations and cities have sold themselves to the powers of darkness because they have rejected the way of the Lord and excluded Him from their lives. Things may seem bleak and dark, but there is hope! In Jesus there is always restoration, and in Him we always have a second chance, which is what God gave the people of Israel.
God’s promise in this Scripture is that the foreign powers who held Israel captive (the Babylonians) would not continue to be their masters. God was promising to ‘break the yoke’ that the Babylonians had placed on the people of God. A new season was coming. A season of freedom for the people of God, a time of deliverance and empowerment to serve God and His Kingdom. The people had distanced themselves from God over a long period of time. Their hearts had grown hard to His Word, and they had forgotten how to listen to His voice. But God was promising to draw them close to Himself again. He was saving them out of a distant place, a place where they had been isolated from the power and presence of God; a place where they had to work hard and live by the sweat of their brow in submission to their bitter bondage. They were in a foreign land where their masters called the shots, and they had no freedom to live the way God had asked them to live. They had lost all the joy they once knew, but:
1) God was drawing them back to their first love. They would know once more the delight of being His chosen treasure and the apple of His eye!
2) God was promising that they would not need to live in the fear of their bond masters any more.
3) Under His protection and covering, they would sleep in peace; they would know perfect security. They would enjoy the sweet rest of the Spirit which we can only know when our hearts are fully surrendered to the Lord Jesus.
These are blessed promises for every child of God, but to receive their fulfillment, there is a key that needs to be turned. God's Word says to us in Romans 14:23 that “…everything that does not come from faith is sin”. Fear destroys faith, and this is why God says through the Prophet Jeremiah “Do not fear O Jacob my servant”. Everything in the Kingdom is based on faith. From the moment we experience salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ, and enter a relationship with Him, He gives us opportunities to grow and increase our faith. God is exhorting us today to begin to truly walk in faith and not allow fear to rule us or deter us. Remember that in God's eyes, everything that is not of faith is sin. Stop fearing whatever overpowered you or influenced your life! It could be a sickness, an addiction or a compulsive habit, or even a person who controls you and rules your life. Perhaps you have been praying for a financial breakthrough. God is asking you to dare to believe His Word today. Precious friend, do not fear! The One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4). You may feel like you are in a distant place and far away from the presence of God, but begin to believe that He can deliver you from where you are, lift you up to higher ground, and bless you with a blessing which will overflow to your generations! He can heal and restore you, and fill your heart with His peace. He is the God of the second chance and He longs to fill your life with all the goodness and glory of Heaven, hallelujah!
Today, I join with the Holy Spirit, and in Jesus’ mighty name, we break that spirit of fear from every level of your mind and heart. We break doubt and unbelief and every anxiety. Daddy God never gave us a spirit of fear, but a Spirit of power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Renounce and reject it, and begin to feed on faith food – the Word of God. We release the faith of God into you to hear the voice of God like never before, and to walk into the blessing that has already been given to you. Jesus is calling you back to your first love because He loves and cherishes you and wants to be close to you. As you refuse to partner any further with fear and step into the dimension of faith, you will find every stronghold breaking off and the sweetness of the Holy Spirit taking over. This is the beginning of a new season for you. Daddy God is beckoning you to higher heights. He is beginning a new work in you. He has great things in store for you and He asks you to place your hand in His so that you step into your destiny in faith, believing in the omnipotent power of the one who loves you and placed you upon the face of the earth. May you feel the perfect peace of the Holy Spirit from this day forth, and walk in the joy of His presence, in Jesus’ name, Amen!
Minoli Haththotuwa, 12 November 2012