When Zion Travailed-special message 27/8/2018
For some time now, I have focused, because God directed me to focus on a eternal and present hope message. “The Spirit and the Bride say Come!” is for me an encapsulation of all that I desire, all that I aspire and all that me inspire. It is my pursuit to transmit the richness that I see in the most simplistic situations, for me taking a coffee in a café the Lord comes near to communicate with me, for you, to minister and enrich you, as His heart is always to enrich us, so that we transcend the confusion, the selfish nature that resides in all of us. Yet, God does not attent to that, in His Grace, He opens the heavens, and like John, the Apostle He invites us, “Come up here!” And in response to this invite we ascend, letting descend from us all that which can “embarrass” us ( Hebrews 12:1-3). Which can cause us to fall yet we have a promise in Jude, “He that is able to keep you from falling” can also keep us in our arising.
And today I have been stirred, as for many weeks now we have focused on an eternal vision, and bringing that eternal vision into daily life. I cannot say that this for me, or for anyone is easy, or an achieved task in its entirety. We sometimes have those “breakthroughs” but for this dimension we still fight the daily war against the world, the flesh and the devil. Yet the Lord wants me to change direction and bring a new series from now, called SAYING PRAYERS OR BECOMING A PRAYER. Our only dimension for which the eternal vision can descend into our daily life is to have a new approach to prayer.
No movement of God, no Word of God, no transformation comes without there being a preparation of prayer.
Prayer must be the spiritual discipline which particularly now, we fall short. The mastering of this discipline is the key to our advance in this life toward our high calling. I believe that before we can contemplate in defining ministry, defining gifts.
We cannot divorce or distinguish these from the intimacy gained in the place of prayer.
In Isaiah 66 we see in verse 8 the verse for which this message is entitled, “When Zion travails, she brings forth her children.” We could take this phrase out of its context, but the whole verse makes the question, “Can a nation be born in a day?” The fact is that Zion travailed 3 distinct times. Zion travailed through the wives of Jacob, to bring forth 12 patriarchs. Zion travailed to bring a nation back from captivity to the land after 70 years of displacement. And in 1948 by order of the UN a nation (Israel) came into being in a day! After the horrors of the holocaust, and 2000 years of displacement.
When I think of Zion, I think of the Tabernacle of David, the mount, the Threshing floor of Araunah. I think of the bringing of the Ark of the Covenant from Shiloh, and the glory which was accessible to all who would come with praise and adoration. Zion is where God’s glory, His weight, touched the earth. And in a moment in time, God gives a season of joy, praise and renewal in His Presence.
We see Zion here in the figure of a expectant and pregnant mother, with the pains of “travail”. These are birth pangs. A woman will tell you, that these pains, are incomparable with any other pain experienced in this life. They are the types of pain which can even kill the one who delivers the new born. It is these pains, according to doctors, the contractions, where breathing and pushing in simultaneous effort brings forth the new born into the world. How much more in the spiritual dimension.
It is therefore with this image in our minds, we comprehend the daunting task of prayer and the discipline it requires. It seems that we think of prayer as asking, as asking for forgiveness, asking for protection, asking for all manner of solutions. And in many times and places these are valid motives, however these become the superficial pursuits when we consider that this “supplication” is yet just a cup of water, when prayer is a sea. I like Paul can fully affirm by no means do I fully comprehend, or have fully apprehended. The more I pursue, the more I perceive my own ignorance, my own imperfection.
It is this discipline, and this lifestyle which will bring the “nations born in a day”. The nation God presents here is a nation redeemed, birthed of God, walking with God. This nation is joined (Levi) to God by covenant. It is with this motive that I present this new series to you, because the necessity is so great in a age so complex, that only in the dimension of prayer can we see light in the darkness, see order in confusion, health in the midst of sickness, and love in a world of hate.
So we see that Zion, image of God’s covenant people, engaged in bringing forth children. Is it an easy task? No. Is it painful? Yes. It risks our own heart.
There are so many examples throughout Church history, where saints dedicated themselves in intimacy with God, to a life given over to prayer. I have two realities that I see in their stories. I see the level of suffering in life, and the level of intimacy afforded. How can I reconcile the suffering that they suffered and the healings and miracles that flowed from their lives? These are questions which have no dogmatic answer, but I sense that the answer resides in how we see suffering in the Biblical context. When we have reconciled this in prayer we can then go forward to embrace the high calling set before us.
God asks a question in Isaiah 66 v9; ” Shall I bring to birth and not cause to bring forth?”
This means that God has the intention of bringing to birth.
What does He desire to birth? He desires to birth a nation of priests and a holy nation, unto God. He desires always to bring into being love, faith and hope. This is encapsulated in all the mission of Jesus, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church in Acts 2. The question God asks here, is that if He is desiring to birth, there is a means to do it. I believe and have seen Biblical and historical evidence that it is prayer that brings this answer to the question.
The question also affirms that God intends something, and not give the means for it to be accomplished? It is an assurance. It is a promise. It is inevitable that He will bring about what He will, however it will be with our collaboration, through prayer.
So if He purposes to birth in our generation, then we must align ourselves with that inevitability that what we enter, in that spiritual place, is the hearing and comprehending of divine intentions, and the imperative of our seeing it brought into being.
Look at the following question, “shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb?” This means that once God brings forth through Zion He will not bring forth, and then shut the means then give over to sterility. He will establish Zion, God’s people as life givers, birthers, as mothers who bring forth offspring. This is significant of fruitfulness. This also means that Zion will give birth to generations of people given over to God, and in every generation shall arise worship to God. As we are faithful to Him He is faithful to us, just as Jesus affirms, “Seek first the Kingdom, all these other things shall be added unto you.” The fulfilment of God’s desire brings us into His fulfilling of our desires. This exchange in a context of intimacy can only occur in prayer.
Therefore, I commend this new series to you.