Life unfolds and revolves in cycles. Some of the most evident cycles are seen in nature with days and seasons. Whether concerning the lunar cycle or a life cycle, God has ordered and we all observe cycles in life. If you follow the stock market or the housing market or the crawfish market, markets follow predictable cycles. In some greater perspectives individuals, families, governments and the nations follow cycles. Girls often turn out to be more like their moms than they imagine and men find it hard not to repeat some of the same steps their dads took and we end up in life better understanding our parents’ decisions much better once we have grown children and begin watching them raise our grandchildren.
Just as the sun and the moon are predictable so also are the natural and the spiritual unfolding of Biblical prophecies. Since time began life on planet earth has continued to follow a prophesied cycle of people coming to God and being blessed and then using those blessings to fund and facilitate a departure from God only to bring themselves back into great need for God once again. We see this in the scriptures over and over. This cycle is not caused by God but well-known and spoken to throughout the scriptures.
A cycle is simply a predictable unfolding or repeats … We live in a very predictably repetitive world. Evidently mankind is very predictable and it is God’s hope that we would learn from our experiences, the experiences of others and the admonitions in His Word to help us avoid going through the downsides of life’s certain cycles. It is also God’s hope that when we find ourselves in a downturn that we would readily assess the situation, take inventory, find the right path and move ourselves out and back up into His blessed will.
When we find ourselves thinking, believing, acting or living in a way we never thought we would repeat, it’s time to go to God’s word and recognize His remedy for those who have before experienced the same thing we presently face. It is more common to judge others and know exactly what they should do in their situation than it is to judge ourselves when that same thing happens in our lives. And believe me when I tell you that God meant it when He said that … in judging others we only condemn ourselves. For, the Bible says, the very thing we are critical of in the lives of others we allow in our own lives without notice. For this reason God calls those who are judgmental hypocrites. But that’s not what we are focusing on tonight. Rather I have a spiritual point to this spiritual principle.
Life unfolds and revolves in cycles. While you turn to the book of Isaiah, chapter 50, let me read a verse written by the Holy Spirit and penned by the Apostle Paul which is intended to open a window into the greater revelation of the cycle of life. I believe this verse to a very broad brush intended to overlay the whole of life. I embrace the revelation of this principle as one of the “keys” to the Kingdom in understanding life and especially prophecy concerning things yet to come.
1 Corinthians 15:46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.
First the natural then the spiritual … perhaps this is the greatest cycle in God’s prophetic plan for mankind. Let’s look at:
When the prophet speaks this word from God he is speaking to a current situation in the lives and nation of Israel. Isaiah is addressing the Children of God and their physical departures from God’s will and way which have caused a separation in relationship between them and God and prescribes throughout the book those things which will happen to them as a result. He further gives the Children of Israel hope that if they repent and return, God will forgive and restore. Well, let’s just read these prophecies which were given to Israel in their natural circumstances with physical promises and remedies and see how they now apply to the Church in the spiritual moments we now face in this cycle of first the natural and then the spiritual.
1 ¶ Thus says the LORD: "Where is the certificate of your mother’s divorce, Whom I have put away? Or which of My creditors is it to whom I have sold you? For your iniquities you have sold yourselves, And for your transgressions your mother has been put away.
Note: God speaks of Himself as the husband of His people. He has married Israel in the same way as Jesus has married Himself to the Church. Isaiah 62:5 “As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride so shall your God rejoice over you.” Isaiah 54:5: “For your Creator is your husband.”; Jeremiah 3:14: “Turn O backsliding children, says the Lord, for I am married unto you.”; Revelation 21:9 – the Church is referred to as the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.
Note 2: Here none can claim that God has simply grown tired of His wife and divorced her for no good reason. These have gone into Babylonian captivity of their own accord and of their own doing. It is not God’s will or fault as some imagine that we are going through hardship. He is well able to respond with enough strength to deliver.
2 Why, when I came, was there no man? Why, when I called, was there none to answer? Is My hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver? Indeed with My rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness; Their fish stink because there is no water, And die of thirst.
3 I clothe the heavens with blackness, And I make sackcloth their covering."
Note: God came to help but no one responded. It is not the Lord who is unable to help. Then, there is a sudden change here as a hope. Messiah takes charge and begins to speak as the Redeemer and Deliverer of His bride and speaks prophetically to the course He would take to bring about the vengeance of the Lord on those who have taken advantage of the Children of God in their separated circumstances, even though they had brought it upon themselves.
4 ¶ "The Lord GOD has given Me The tongue of the learned, That I should know how to speak A word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear To hear as the learned.
Note: I can still hear the taps on the heels of my drill sergeant’s shoes at precisely 5:30am morning by morning as he approached the door to our barracks intending on waking us for morning drill. O the excitement that he would awaken in those ready for the day’s lesson. He had not to say a word for we were all awake and expectant yet he roared his command and we all sprang to attention ready for anything. This is the picture of an obedient Messiah so willing to hear the voice of the Father and do His will. Jesus continues …
5 The Lord GOD has opened My ear; And I was not rebellious, Nor did I turn away.
6 I gave My back to those who struck Me, And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.
7 "For the Lord GOD will help Me; Therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set My face like a flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.
8 He is near who justifies Me; Who will contend with Me? Let us stand together. Who is My adversary? Let him come near Me.
9 Surely the Lord GOD will help Me; Who is he who will condemn Me? Indeed they will all grow old like a garment; The moth will eat them up.
10 ¶ "Who among you fears the LORD? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness And has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD And rely upon his God.
11 Look, all you who kindle a fire, Who encircle yourselves with sparks: Walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks you have kindled — This you shall have from My hand: You shall lie down in torment.
Note: What folly to trust in your own fire … conversely: God comforts us in our trials and assures us He can deliver! This was spoken to the Nation of Israel in the time of their captivity and addressed the current moment of their natural needs. In the cycle of first the natural and then the spiritual, this prophetic word is unfolding to the Church as a light of hope in the dark times we know as we face the last days and we hear the voice of the Messiah telling us to wake up and look up for we shall be comforted and redeemed.
1 ¶ "Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, You who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were hewn, And to the hole of the pit from which you were dug.
2 Look to Abraham your father, And to Sarah who bore you; For I called him alone, And blessed him and increased him."
3 For the LORD will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the LORD; Joy and gladness will be found in it, Thanksgiving and the voice of melody.
4 ¶ "Listen to Me, My people; And give ear to Me, O My nation: For law will proceed from Me, And I will make My justice rest As a light of the peoples.
5 My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth, And My arms will judge the peoples; The coastlands will wait upon Me, And on My arm they will trust.
6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, And look on the earth beneath. For the heavens will vanish away like smoke, The earth will grow old like a garment, And those who dwell in it will die in like manner; But My salvation will be forever, And My righteousness will not be abolished.
7 "Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, You people in whose heart is My law: Do not fear the reproach of men, Nor be afraid of their insults.
8 For the moth will eat them up like a garment, And the worm will eat them like wool; But My righteousness will be forever, And My salvation from generation to generation."
9 ¶ Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD! Awake as in the ancient days, In the generations of old. Are You not the arm that cut Rahab apart, And wounded the serpent?
10 Are You not the One who dried up the sea, The waters of the great deep; That made the depths of the sea a road For the redeemed to cross over?
11 So the ransomed of the LORD shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness; Sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
12 "I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you should be afraid Of a man who will die, And of the son of a man who will be made like grass?
13 And you forget the LORD your Maker, Who stretched out the heavens And laid the foundations of the earth; You have feared continually every day Because of the fury of the oppressor, When he has prepared to destroy. And where is the fury of the oppressor?
14 The captive exile hastens, that he may be loosed, That he should not die in the pit, And that his bread should not fail.
15 But I am the LORD your God, Who divided the sea whose waves roared — The LORD of hosts is His name.
16 And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of My hand, That I may plant the heavens, Lay the foundations of the earth, And say to Zion, ’You are My people.’"
Note: God’s word always ends with His overriding redemptive goal in focus. He only loves and desires to recover us from these foreseen cycles of departures from His will and separations in our relationship with Him. God has always been able to deliver and will ultimately deliver us once and for all to a new covenant and new creation reality where we shall forevermore be one with Him as a bride that has married her husband.
Life cycles … we are in the season of the spiritual fulfillment of the prophetic word of Almighty God. He has given us clear word and full warning that should be understood and embraced by the Church. God will not allow His redemptive plan to go unfulfilled. He will have His final say and all we who look for His appearing and who follow His Word shall awake unto righteousness and shine as the lights of heaven eternally.
God is all powerful and He has put His words in our mouths and He has covered us with His hand. He has a plan, an eternal plan, to furnish an eternity for His family.
· Let us wake up and put on strength
· Let us not fear the reproach of man
· Let us not be afraid of their insults
· Let us lift up our eyes to the heavens
· Let us look to the Rock from which we were hewn
· Let us shine as the light of hope in the darkness of this world