Aug 3, 2009
Break the Yoke
Isa 58:6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
These Scriptures in the 58th chapter of Isaiah address many of the problems of the church, and the solution to fix the problems both in the church, and reveal true evangelism. How many among us know those we love who are bound by chains of wickedness? Regardless what the habit, or problem, we all know someone who is in some kind of emotional, mental or physical bondage. It could be a condition of the heart-one who has been wounded and has grown bitter with hatred and resentment or unforgiveness. It could be a violent temper, or drug addiction. It could be as simple as unbelief. We all know someone who suffers some kind of spiritual bondage. We all know somebody who is carrying a heavy load, burdened down by problems, and situations beyond their control. There are some people out there crushed under the weight of the distress in their lives, and they are struggling to hold on. They long to be free, but they are bound. They need somebody to loose them, to break every yoke, every hold that hinders them from the life and light of Jesus Christ. There is a freedom in Him. A freedom from the chains of darkness and sin. Isa 58:7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then there are those who are suffering from depression, or who are going through some kind of trial and are afflicted, and needy. Poor in spirit, poor in resources or understanding. They've been treated badly, or maybe they are an outcast and live in misery. Perhaps destitute. Maybe they have the wisdom of the world, and its goods, but are destitute of the riches of Christ. Beloved, all who do not know HIM are outcasts. They are outside of real life and love no matter what it may look like. These need to know. There are hungry souls out there, some for food, but some for truth. We live in a world that is so dark, there is so much deception and there is a cry in the heart of many who just long to see something real. These need to be brought to our house-to the family of God, to the Head of the family-for only there can they really find help and deliverance. But each of His children have been given a commission to go out in the highways and compel them to come into His house. They have been given a directive to go and share His Message, His Word with everyone. To do this, we have been given promises of the necessary power and wisdom-His Presence in us. So much of the church is ineffective. If you read the first few verses of this chapter in Isaiah you see some of the reason why it is so. Personal transgression, sin in the camp. There is a church who mention the Lord frequently, delight in doing so, delight in the religious side of things, assuming that is their righteousness. But they forsake the Truth of God when it calls for personal sacrifice for the right reason. They fast, but
their hearts are wrong, their reasons are wrong, they think by their fasting and praying they shall be heard and God will grant their selfish desires. There is striving and debating and wickedness among the people. They are walking in self not in the Spirit. There is pride and envy, and arrogance. But God said break every yoke. These things have to be understood by His people. We have to see the error of our ways and humble ourselves and repent and pray and be cleansed. We cannot stand against spiritual wickedness that is destroying others if we are ourselves infected. What is spiritual wickedness? Well, anything unlike God that draws one away from Him, and His heart-the saving of the lost. Anything that puts something else first in our lives when He should be first. Anything that seeks to operate independently of HIM and His direction. One decision made independent of the Word of God got Adam and Eve infected with sin and a carnal nature they were not created with and got them thrown out of the garden of Eden-which is symbolic of His Presence. Sin and transgression separate us from Him. When there is a separation there is no power to overcome or truly minister life and deliverance to others. When we see those who are naked, oh, they aren't covered with the powerful blood of Jesus, they aren't girded about with the truth of the Word of God, should we not cover them with prayer? Sure, if we have so many clothes, we should share with those who have not, but there are powerful spiritual applications to these Scriptures. He said we are not to hide ourselves from our own flesh..in other words when we see things creeping in to our lives, we deal with it, we don't spare self at all the suffering of the cross, while our families are perishing lost. What is the cross in the life of a believer? I've read and thought much on this. I'm sure there are better answers out there, but as I understand it, first, the cross is to put to death any idea that in ourselves is anything good that God can use to accomplish His purposes. We must resign ourselves (joyfully if we understand what we are doing) to being a tool in His hand, totally governed by Him, and devoted to being the tool He would have. He has to wash the tool, fill the tool with His life and His power, so that when He does something through us that helps someone, like Jesus, we say it is not I that do the works, but the Father which is in me. This requires we give up the control of our lives, totally into His hands. To do that we must have the power of the Holy Ghost. To love others enough to be able to sincerely and effectively fast and pray for them, we must have the Holy Ghost for He is the One who sheds the love of God in our hearts. Without love as the motivation for what we do, it won't be right or acceptable. Love of God, love for God, and love for others. I'm talking about the kind of love described in 1 Cor 13. That kind of love we have to get from Him, it's not naturally in us. So, let us look at the word 'fast'. Of course this means to abstain from food for a period of time, and during that time to spend as much time as possible communing with the Lord, and reading His Word. We should fast our minds from outside influencesnewspapers, news broadcasts, tv, radio, and limit conversations with others as much as possible. It should be a time set apart to God and for God. A time to humble ourselves by refusing to feed the flesh, in any capacity. Drink water, yes, but shut off outside influences as much as possible and seek God. Take 2Ch_7:14 to our knees and pray, and turn from our wicked ways, humble ourselves, repent, and seek His face, let Him deal with what is wrong in our hearts. If we say we have no sin, we lie and do not the truth. Like He had to wash the disciples' feet, we also need cleansing. We live in a dark and dirty world and we get spots and stains and wrinkles, and we must go to Him for cleansing. We have wrong thoughts, and sometimes instead of capturing and binding that wrong thought, we entertain it. Or worse, speak it out loud. But when we deal with self, and get it crucified, get the yoke of self broken (for self always wants to
run things, and we must yield to God) then what? Well, if we are obedient, and allow ourselves to be vessels God can pour His concern and love power through, lives of others can be changed. Souls can be saved. Isa 58:8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. The Scripture says of Jesus Christ, in Him was the life and the life was the light of men. The life of the Holy Ghost flowing in to and through us puts Christ on display, not self. Self has to decrease so He can increase. HE is our light, His life in us lights the way for others. That is the only way our light can break forth. Light is also another word for understanding, knowing. When we know Him, and understand His desire reach out to others, and we can look past the person to the spirit that has them bound, our own lives will have been changed, and we can rejoice, like the angels in heaven, because we were counted worthy to be a tool He could use to minister HIS life and deliverance to others! He can take them away from their cruel taskmasters that drive them mercilessly and enslave them, and deliver them from the cruel bondage of this world. When we begin to understand that those bound by wickedness, and oppressed, are bound by nasty, vicious, unclean spirits that torment and vex their human souls day in and day out, oh, we will rejoice when they are delivered! Too often the enemy will cause us to focus on the person, to react to flesh. Someone can say an unkind thing to us, or tell a lie on us, and we get upset. Our feelings are hurt. We feel betrayed. Someone can injure us by gossip, or slander, or mistreat us, and we get angry. We are reacting in and to the flesh. We are not to war with flesh.1 It requires the work and power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to see behind the flesh to the unclean spirit that is viciously driving that person to do what they do, and will end up destroying them if they don't get free. He will show us this soul, this person, made in the image of God, bound, molested by a nasty spirit of hell. It is as horrible to God as finding out an innocent child has been molested by a parent is to us. More so. Our self life has to be dealt with, before we can contend with spiritual powers of wickedness. The Lord can teach us, make us, He can do anything with us if we just give Him control. I've tried, I've tried, you say. I keep failing. I want to but I don't know how! I want to surrender all but how do you do it? Luk 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. That's how. We get in His presence, every day, cry out for Him, His power, search me oh, Lord, see if there is any wicked way in me, deal with it, help me see so I can repent and be clean! Know my heart, be the desire of my heart, fill me with YOU! Pray, wait, and keep coming back until He gives you the power you need to overcome what you are apart from Him. He knows you need it, and you know it. It's a matter of
1 - 2Co 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: holds;) 2Co 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong 2Co 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
disciplining self to stay in that altar, till you get the power you need to overcome. Lord, help me, I'm preaching to myself here. But these are the dealings of God with my heart. I see the need of these things in my own life, and in the church. Isa 58:9 Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;
If you are struggling with prayer, and fasting, like I have been, and wonder what good does it do? This is the result of God answering the cry of my own heart. I had begun to despair at the ineffectiveness of the church, my own Christian walk, and I just cried out to God what good does it do to deny myself food? That's a basic thing we need to live. How is denying myself food, and reading the newspaper or watching television going to change things? He drew me back to these Scriptures and opened my understanding some. He helped me see it weakens that self life that wants to rule. Deny self the throne of your heart and give it to Jesus. Put self on that cross and let Christ have the throne in your heart. When we yield to self, we put the life of Christ on the cross again. In every believer there is a cross, and a throne. The throne is the place where the decisions are made, where the vessel is governed. This is the place self occupies until we dethrone it and give this rightful place to Him. In simple terms it's called having the mind of Christ. If we think like Him, we will act like Him. I heard it illustrated so beautifully by Pastor BH Clendennen. He spoke of a lady in the service who was on the piano and played beautifully. He said "I can't play that piano and make it sound as wonderful as she does. I could bang on those keys, but I couldn't make music. But if you put her mind in my head, I could play like she does. And if you put God's mind in God's church, she can do what Jesus did." The fact He's dealing with us about these things reflects His desire to do something, to change things. But He must have a humble people whose flesh is crucified because when the power of God begins to move, flesh will want to rise up and take the credit and attention. This is why so many of the genuine healing ministries that have fallen in the past fell. God genuinely moved and healed people, but before you knew it, people were talking about the evangelist, not God! Oh, if we will hear this and seek to obey, then when we call on Him, it will be with confidence and peace, and He will answer because it will be His Spirit in us causing us to commune with Him, and cry to Him not the flesh crying out. There won't be no lying voice of the devil reminding us of our failures to hinder us from prayer. He might lie and tell you what you are doing is useless, but he lies. We have the promises right here. God will answer our cry. He will always answer the cry of the Spirit in us. He will always answer the cry of His children who are walking in the Spirit. We have to seek Him to teach us how to do this. Just like babies do not know how to walk, and have to be taught, so we must be empowered and taught how to walk in the Spirit, by the Spirit. Don't be yoked to the flesh life that wants to run everything. Stop pointing the finger at somebody else, and speaking idle words. Let Him sanctify every part of us, by filling us with Himself. Dedicate every part of ourselves to Him. Our hands were made to minister to others, and to Him-Him first. Our hands were made to lift in surrender and praise to Him, not to point at others and condemn. Our mouths were made to commune with Him, to speak His praises, His message, but we pervert it when we use it for other means, like carrying tales, criticizing, and complaining. He made our eyes to search His Word and know wonderfully liberating and marvelous truths, but we
defile them when we set something unclean before them. Our bodies were made to be temples, dwelling places of His Spirit. He wants to live in us, teach us, comfort and guide us. He wants to so fill us He can shine out of us to those around us who are lost and dying and on their way to an eternal hell. His heart breaks to see people perish and go to hell while a selfish church goes on about her business, unconcerned. Isa 58:10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then Isa 58:11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, Isa 58:12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. whose waters fail not. shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:
Isa 58:13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour words: him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own Isa 58:14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
What promises! Remember there are some ifs in there. If you will, He will. Let Him fill you, then pour out that life of His to the hungry through you, it will satisfy the afflicted soul! And because it's His life, His light will rise in the obscurity of your vessel, and the darkness will be to you as light. You will know. You will understand. Psa 139:12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
If we are willing to deny self, and suffer through that, for the glory of the Lord, for the sake of the lost and the poor and needy, that HE loves, and died to save, what glorious rewards! Then His light will break out like the morning sun in our lives, our healing will be brought to pass, and our righteousness shall go before us-and our Righteoussness is HIM. He will go before us, and His awesome glory shall be our rear guard! We see this pictured vividly in Israel's passage through the Red Sea. And the Lord shall guide you continually and satisfy your soul in dry places, and feed you well. You will be like a well watered garden, rivers of living water that doesn't dry up because He is in us and we are in Him-the connection is close, personal and maintained not broken or sporadic. If we remember the Sabbath day-the day of rest, and keep it holy by sanctifying that time as a day to spend with God, not out doing our own thing, oh, what we will learn! What rewards of knowing Him we reap! Don't speak your own words, but His. Don't do your own thing, but get alone with Him, and just spend time with Him, as a bride with her husband. Relish Him. Love Him. Adore Him. Draw strength from Him. Then we can build up the old wasted places and raise up the foundations of many generations as a repairer of the breach, a restorer of the old paths where that church of Pentecost walked with God in such power and purity!
Isa 58:14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
This is someone who is daily being raptured by the Lord...each day He's drawing more and more of them into Himself until there is nothing of self left and it's all Him. Trading rags for righteousness. Trading time for eternity! And because of sacrifice and yielding to God, many who would be lost and end up in a Godless hell for eternity can be saved and enjoy Him, too! It will be worth it, folks! Don't listen to that old lying devil when he tries to tell you if you deny yourself it won't matter, it won't change things. I've just laid out the promises of God which will go into effect if you do. Oh, let us seek the Lord, and His kingdom FIRST, daily! If we really believe He is coming back, and He's pure and holy, we better know He's coming back for a pure and holy bride. If we don't know Him now, we won't know Him then. If we truly love our lost loved ones, with His love, we will be willing to pay the price so He can save. The church needs a double portion of what they got at Pentecost. These Scriptures are key to that. A revival is not a series of meetings where people get encouraged. I've been studying in Acts and I see a real revival. A bunch of Jewish Christians, in hiding, waiting, afraid to step out and do anything, all having failed, but waiting on God for power. Only the Holy Ghost living in us, leading and guiding us, and loving each other through us, can revive us. Too long we've settled for an appearance of godliness with no power. The fact that our churches lack love and concern for one another is evidence the Holy Ghost is not present. He is love because God is love. When He filled the disciples in the upper room, self was of no concern. They stood and boldly proclaimed the gospel, they endured persecution and beatings. They sold what they didn't need so those who lacked would have. There was no selfishness involved. But there was real power and change. They reached their generation, and turned the cities where they preached upside down. Oh, God, grant us the power to be a people you can fill and control for Your purposes..