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A VIPER CAME OUT BECAUSE OF THE HEAT
Not For Sale
“But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand.”
Welcome to this edition of the Awakening Call. It has been a while I have shared some of the things the Lord lays on my heart. I apologise. I thank all those who have sent in a word or two on how the Word shared have been a blessing. To God, in whom, by whom and for whom we share be all glory, honour, adoration and thanksgiving in Jesus’ precious name.
This week, I share a word that seeks to explain what I believe is the one of the most important reason the afflictions of the righteous are sometimes so many and the need for fervency in overcoming the adversary.
Very often believers complain of an increase in the intensity of the battles they face following either their acceptance of Christ as Lord and Saviour or a decision to commit wholly to God. Many a time, Christianity is presented to the unsaved as a means to a trouble-free and prosperous life. While this is potentially true, yet the trouble-free life hoped for can only come with victory on the battle ground.
Acts 28:5 highlights a spiritual truth – that what often provokes the ‘viper’ – a name symbolically used for Satan into the open resulting in intensity in battle is the presence, hand or favour of God upon a believer. Because God is a consuming fire, His presence or hand will manifest itself as fire, and this will always, always force dormant or hidden ‘vipers’ out to the open.
Scripture’s greatest defence of this belief is the account in Job chapters 1-2. Job’s afflictions are triggered off, not by sin or iniquity, but by God’s boast in Job as ‘… a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil’.
It was the birth of Moses (God’s elect deliverer of Israel) that forced the ‘viper’ into the open in Exodus 1:16 and led to the commandment to kill all Hebrew boys. The enemy knew that God’s appointed deliverer had been born. This was repeated at the birth of Jesus and in Matthew 2:16 Herod gives the same order as did Pharaoh at the birth of Moses.
Joseph and David are other examples of persons whose election by God forced ‘the viper out’ into the open. While Jacob’s deep love for Joseph contributed to forcing the viper out, it was the fire of God’s election that led to the fierce trials he faced. The problem was not so much as Jacob’s love for Joseph but of God’s election as shown by His dreams – Genesis 37:20. We all know of his journey from slavery to prison.
As long as we want to be God’s elect, we must accept the truth that His election will force adversaries into the open not once , not twice but repeatedly in the course of life (I Corinthians 16:9). What we need is not an obsession with the ‘viper’ and his tactics but a focus on how to sustain and grow the fire of His presence that was strong enough to have forced the ‘viper’ into the open.
All of the men mentioned above, who experienced intense persecutions because of God’s election did actually go ahead to fulfil destiny and purpose. And so will we if, like Apostle Paul we acknowledge and act on the truth that the same fire that forced the viper out into the open is what is also designed to destroy it.
What we need to do is not to allow the intense trials to douse or quench the fire of the Spirit.
We must not allow sadness, sorrow, grief, melancholy, discouragement to weaken the strength of our faith in God or of our confidence in His willingness and ability to bring us into the fulfilment of His promise and purpose. The ‘viper’ is a legend at telling lies (John 8:44) and he will use this weapon to weaken and overwhelm us into believing that there is no way out of our challenges.
We need, not only to sustain the fire that ‘forced the viper out’ but to increase the fervency or intensity of it. We must allow our trials to drive us deeper into the Word, into genuine and sincere worship, into prayer so fervent it can open and shut the heavens (James 5:16-18), into a holy anger that leads to the exercise of our spiritual authority, into a stubborn and steadfast resistance of every and anything that conflicts with the revealed will of God for our lives. We must, as did Apostle Paul in Acts 28:5 throw the ‘viper’ into the same heat that forced him out and not seek to overcome him by a plan based on worldly wisdom or human effort. In this we must act, not as men but as the sons of God (I Corinthians 16:13)
We must ‘shake’ the viper back into the heat that forced him into the open.
A note of warning though is the possibility of studying the word, praying, worshipping but without any fervency, passion or keenness. Lack of fervency will breed luke warmness and luke warmness we know brings God’s rejection (Revelation 3:16). We must be genuinely fervent.
While the fierceness of our trials would often lead men to question our sonship as they did question Apostle Paul’ in Acts 28:4, we must let our victory lead them to acknowledge that we are indeed the sons of the Most High (Acts 28:6). We must leave no room for an end that disputes our sonship.
I pray for you and I that God will pour his oil afresh upon us, I pray that the Holy Spirit will, by His grace and power sustain the fire of God in us to such fervency as will deliver Jesus’ victory over every viper forced out by the fire of His presence in Jesus’ precious name.
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