Carter Conlon from the historic Times Square Church in New York City. The devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy, and we're seeing that in our generation. Professing to be wise, we've become fools, and we have worshipped the creature and turned away from the Creator.
We're glad you've joined us for A Call to the Nation with Carter Conlon. Because the children of Israel engaged in such evil, God gave them over to the unbelieving Midianites. But through all of their sufferings, the children of God cried out to the Lord for help, and God heard their cries and saved them from total destruction. As we'll learn today from Carter, America is now facing a similar situation. We must turn back to God for help and allow God to open a window of mercy for us.
Here's Carter. Judges chapter six, resurrecting the voices of victory. I'm going to read from verses one to verse 12. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.
Now keep that in mind. God allowed this. God allowed a foreign, godless power to come in and overthrow what appeared to be his testimony for a season. And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel. And because of the Midianites, the children of Israel made them dens, which are in the mountains and caves and strongholds.
What a testimony for the people of God, everyone just now trying to survive, trying to get through the days, trying to stay unnoticed, trying to make it through the storm to the other side. And so it was when Israel had sown that the Midianites came up and the Amalekites and the children of the east, even they came up against them, and then camped against them and destroyed the increase of the earth till you come to Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep nor ox, nor ass, for they came up with their cattle in their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude, for both they and their camels were without number, and they entered into the land to destroy it. And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites. And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord. Oh, my heart longs for that moment in this nation, when there's a cry again in the house of God, that cry has to come back into this country, it's got to come back into the house of God again. And it came to pass when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord because of the Midianites, that the Lord sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and I brought you forth out of the house of bondage. And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drove them out from before you and gave you their land. And I said to you, I am the Lord your God, fear not the gods of the Emirates and whose land you dwell, but you have not obeyed my voice. And there came an angel of the Lord which sat under an oak which was in opera, that pertain to Josh, the heavier side and his son Gideon thresh wheat by the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, The Lord is with the the mighty man of valor. God will even allow his own people to go through seasons of appointed hardship, that we might once more be willing to embrace his ways of power and mercy.
God appoints it, God will get his church back to himself again. There's a season there's times when the Lord says, for my namesake, you read it in Ezekiel 36. He said, for my namesake, I can't let this go on anymore. I can't let you be declared as my people. You profane by name as you travel throughout the nation, declaring these are the people of the Lord. God says now for my own holy namesake, I'm going to rise now. And I'm going to draw you out of all the places where you've been taken captive, and I'm going to wash you with clear and clean water. You're going to put away your idols, you're going to put away your filthiness, and I'm going to gather you again to myself, and the heathen are going to look at the work that I will do in you. And when they see it, they will begin to glorify God.
He says, I don't do this for your sakes. I do it for my holy namesake, which you profaned among the heathen whether you went, America, it's a tragedy in my heart coming back from Europe and realizing that throughout the world, we're now known as America, the decadent. It was once called America, the beautiful once a place where God brought people from around the world who are being oppressed, who were being persecuted for what they believed and brought them to their own land and prosper in a nation and just a few hundred years in measure like is not seen anywhere else in the world, gave prosperity gave blessing gave intellectual ability, technological ability that changed the world as we know it today.
And how did we reward him as a nation? Romans chapter one says, and holding the truth in unrighteousness, he turned them over to a spiritual reprobation, a dark and thinking. And now we've arrived at that place in this nation where our thinking is dark, evil is now good, and good has now become evil.
Anyone, as Isaiah said, it departs from evil makes himself a prey. Anyone who wants to do good now finds a certain segment of society pouncing on them, and vilifying and branding those who want to walk with God with names like domestic terrorists and people unworthy and changers of good social order and such like things. Amazing that where we've come to and how we have rewarded God as a nation for all the blessings he's given for all the good things he's done. Yet in the midst of it all, folks, the wonderment to my heart and the wonderment to your heart is that God remains merciful. It is an amazing thing that one more time, one more time, is it possible one more time that we could look at the cross of Jesus Christ again one more time, God's people could begin to gather of every denomination of every church of everywhere where there's even a flicker of a flame left of love for God one more time, we could begin to gather and look away from everything that has caught our affections and our attention and look to that cross where the Son of God came for ordained before the foundation of the world to die for a humanity that would cause unspeakable pain to the heart of God. One more time that we would gather one more time that there would be a cry one more time see folks because God won't intervene till the cry comes won't intervene till prayer meetings come alive in churches all across the city won't intervene until people turn off their sporting events and go to the house of God and begin to pray. We won't intervene.
We'll just deceive ourselves. We're just keeping to ourselves teachers having itching ears and being told new and wondrous fables in the name of God but God won't intervene until there's a cry for righteousness to righteousness that comes in to his house from the hearts of his people. God allowed the Israelites of this generation to experience their own weakness to the point where it says in verse four, their sheep and their oxen and even their donkeys were taken away. That means their sustenance was not assured for the future their strength was leaving and even their mobility was gone.
Their ability to go even socially from one place to another was being taken away. They were beginning to experience now the weakness that comes into every nation and upon every society that turns away from God. You read it for yourself how the prophets and priests are prophesying foolishness out of their own hearts. Those that are supposed to be leading the nation are doing so for their own gain. Truth is fallen into the streets. It doesn't matter if people both basically lie anymore because nobody's held accountable.
Nobody's expected to speak the truth anymore. God help us how far we have fallen, how far we've come down. It's not that America was ever perfect.
Don't misunderstand me. There are incredible blights in the past in this country. But the one thing that this country did have was a respect for the Word of God. Even when it was misguided, there was still a respect for the Word of God and a nature that could be turned.
And I have to believe with all my heart that we've not gone so far that we can't turn back again, even for a short season of mercy. The Midianites and all of their associates as I came in, as a multitude, there's a sudden overwhelming of the society with that which is foreign, that which is anti God, that which is intent on destroying the nation and devouring the testimony of God. The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy. And we're seeing that in our generation, professing to be wise. We've become fools. And we have worshiped the creature and turned away from the Creator. We have fulfilled the scriptures again, and our generation just like many before us have gone.
And Israel verse six was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites. And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord. If you're going to pray for anything now, pray for that cry. Oh, God produce a cry in America. It's got to be the cry of my heart.
It has to be the cry of your heart. And it has to start with the people of God. When they did so when they cried, the Lord sent him a prophetic voice.
And he will always do so to reason with his own people to reason with them about their part in the moral, the spiritual, the social, the ethical dilemma they now found themselves in. He said, I brought you up from Egypt. I brought you out of a place of bondage.
I delivered you from the hand of those that oppressed you. Now think of it. When God speaks, he's going right back to the first generation. He remembers what we don't. He has as clear in his mind, as if it happened five minutes ago, what we don't even teach in high school or grade school anymore. He remembers it. He remembers those who came and sought freedom.
He remembers the day when it was true. Bring me your oppressed. Bring me your lame.
Bring me your main. Bring me your poor. Send them to us.
We will take them if nobody else wants them. He remembers when that which was in the heart of God was in measure in the heart of a people that he set apart in the nation for himself. And he said, I delivered you from their hand and all that oppressed you. I drove them out and I gave you their land.
And I said to you, I am the Lord, your God. Don't fear the gods of the Amorites and whose land you dwell, but you have not obeyed my voice. Don't bow to them. Don't let them grip your heart. Don't let them become your direction.
Don't let them steal the vision of your eyes, but you've not listened. John the Baptist was sent as a voice, a similar type of voice just before Jesus Christ. The man at 30 years of age comes on the scene for the most significant three years of ministry in the history of humankind. John was sent by God to introduce his coming. And as the people came out to be baptized of John and the baptism represented the failure of all of human effort to produce that which glorifies God, the failure to live up to a standard that they were trying to preach, but nobody could keep it.
And John in the wilderness in Matthew chapter three basically said this to the people. If you have born fruit that bears witness to the fact that you have a living relationship with God, then produce a testimony of it. And if not, let it be cut down and cast into the fire. Throw it away from you. If all of your human effort, if everything you're doing and have done, if it has truly produced that which glorifies God, then bear witness to it.
Otherwise, throw it away from you. In Acts chapter 27, as the vessel Paul the Apostle was traveling on, it finally now became evident. They had defied the Word of God. They had put away the warnings that they should not go on this journey. And they had continued on the journey for the sake of what they felt was right and going to bring them to a desired end, only to end up in a storm.
And no matter how they tried to hold it together, it obviously got to the point where the ship was falling apart. And Paul, not in might or power or anything of his humanness stands on the deck of that ship. But he's now sustained by the Spirit of God.
He has a word that is beyond advice. It's something that begins to resonate in the hearts of those 276 people on the deck of that ship that we're hearing from something that is supernatural. Paul said, Sir, you should have hearkened to me and not loose from Crete and have gained this harm and loss. Now it's often in these the worst of times to the natural eye, that the window of miraculous mercy opens before those who are willing again to listen to the voice of God, the window of mercy.
That's what I pray for now every day. Oh, God, give us a window of mercy. I know we deserve judgment. And I know judgment could come in one hour. We live on the edge of eternity. We're singing about heaven, but we don't realize what we're gonna have to go through now to get there. We don't understand the hour.
Many people have just put it far away from their thinking. Don't realize how perilous this moment in history really is. Nations are beginning to rise against nation famines, pestilences, earthquakes. As Jesus foretold, it is beginning to happen right in our generation. But it's at these times that God will open a window of mercy. Paul said the next 27 22. In spite of the fact the ship is falling apart, in spite of the fact that people didn't listen to the warnings of God and got themselves into this mess, Paul says, Now I exhort you to be of good cheer.
Amazing. I've been in the presence of God. I have a word from the Lord and we're all going to make it. Now doesn't mean they're all going to go to heaven, but they're going to make it physically to be able to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. John the Baptist, after telling people put away all the false righteousness, put away all these these imitations of godliness, put it all away from you. He then says, Behold, the Lamb of God. And once we're willing to walk in humility before God, once we're willing to realize that we need the strength of God to make it through, then suddenly there's a beholding of the Lamb of God. God's deliverance doesn't come to the with what looks like to the natural eye, might or power. But it comes in a way that looks feeble, and oft times looks foolish to those who walk in their own strength.
Listen to what the prophet Isaiah said, Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? As I said, Who will know the power of God?
Who will know the strength of God? For he will grow up before him as a tender plant and as a root out of a dry ground. He has no form or common in other words, he's not naturally even handsome. And when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. It was God's plan that his son would come and even be ordinary. He's despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hit as it were our faces from him, he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Paul says in First Corinthians 118, for the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God.
Think about Jesus for a moment. Born in a stable, not in a palace. Think about his mother and father coming in the stepfather coming into the temple on the day of purification when needs to be dedicated to the Lord and the scripture says they came in with to offer pigeons or turtle doves, which was the offering of the poor. Think of the religious system of the day looking at this, this man and his wife coming in perhaps late in the day and everyone there more or less looking around to see who's going to do this.
Everyone wants to get home to their family. All those who have jockeyed for position, all those who are using their position in the temple for their own influence and authority. They're all blind. None of them can see the power of God. None of them have any understanding of how God works. All those that have settled for form and tradition, but there's no real inward working of the life of God.
They have no spiritual side whatsoever. They have no idea who's just come into the temple. God himself has just come in, but because he's not come in the way that could enhance their position, they're not able to see it.
You said they preached in a certain way, but they can't see where the power of God really lies. The only one who really sees it as an old man who's had a heart longing after God. And he said, Lord, don't let me die until I've seen your plan of salvation for this generation. And the moment they come walking in, his eyes are open and he begins to understand something that religious so that they could never understand. And another woman and a prophetess who'd made a choice through sorrow to continue living for God. She too had a vision of what this baby really meant. It's a deliverance.
It's hidden from the natural eye and from the proud of heart. The scripture tells us that God came to a young man called Gideon and he looked upon him and he said, go in this your might and you will save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have not I sent thee? And he said, Oh Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel?
Behold, my family is poor in Manasseh and I am the least my father's house. Consider your calling brethren. Not many mighty, not many noble, not many of royal birth, not many movers and shakers in society, but God has chosen the foolish things of this world. God has chosen the weak things of this world. God has made his choice that no flesh can glory in his presence. He has made to us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.
In other words, he becomes our all in all our encompassing strength, our covering on the outside, the transformative power of our lives, the new song that is within our hearts, the ability to love that wasn't there before, the courage to stand in an unpopular time, the ability to speak a word that can't be stood against in the power of the Holy Ghost. Now he doesn't take the wise in their own sight. He doesn't take those that are using religion for their own gain. He doesn't take those that are all caught up in the gods of the Amalekites and the Amorites all around them.
No, no, no, no, no. He goes to those that are hiding in the backyard and don't see any strength in themselves. That is you and that is me. That's the glory of this moment. If God is calling me in my weakness to make a difference in my generation, then what am I to do? What do I do? That's the next question.
That's what everybody always has. What do I do? Do I start preaching tomorrow? Do I pray for the courage? You can do all of that, all of those things that are good, but here's the one thing, the very first thing that God speaks to Gideon to do. And if you and I are going to know strength in this generation, this is what we have to do. In verse 25, he said, it came to pass the same night.
The Lord said to him, take your father's young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old and throw down the altar of Baal that your father has and cut down the grove that is by it and build an altar unto the Lord your God on the top of this rock in the ordered place and take the second bullet and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove, which thou shalt cut down. Here's the very first thing that you do. If you're going to be used of God, if I'm going to be used of God, if you and I are going to make a difference, folks, we don't have a long time to get this right. You have to understand what we're up against now. We're up against the tsunami of evil. We're up against the complete upheaval of everything that is godly and a turning around a vilifying of those who walk with God, and an exalting of those who are godless folks we are living in a midnight hour in this country right now.
If you and I are going to make a difference, there's one thing that you got to do first. Before anything else, turn away from that which has brought weakness by association. Turn away from every altar, every place, every relationship, every practice, everything that you know is wrong. And it has brought you into a place of weakness, because it's in your yard. Get everything out of your yard, get everything out of your apartment, get everything that's weakening you out of there.
Whether it's flesh and blood, whether it's a laptop, whether it's books, or magazines, or whatever it is, get it out of your apartment. And build again an altar of obedience to God. The days of this kind of foolishness are over.
The Scripture says in Hebrews that God winks at it, but now commands all men everywhere to repent. There must be a cry in your heart, there must be a cry in mine. God help us in this generation to realize what hour we're living in. Yes, heaven is coming soon. But we're going to have to go through a valley of the shadow of death, my friend, you're going through it.
Whether you hide, try to hide in a cave, whether you no matter what kind of a thing you build for your own protection, you're going to go through it, I'm going to go through it. The question now is, are we going to make a difference? Are you and I going to stand in this generation? Will our voices matter? Will we count for anything? Will anybody want to listen to us?
I prayed for my own life that like Paul was that God give me the strength to willingly embrace the journey he has for me and to give me the strength to stand in the midst of a season where it looks like everything is falling apart, and to boldly declare the goodness of God. We've got to be a people of good news. We've got to be a people of courage. We've got to be a people of strength. We have to be a people who had the answer.
There must be a cry before any of this can happen. Everything that weakens you must be put away. That was the first instruction to get in everything that weakens you. And you already know what that is. Put it away. What is the point of it? Why hang on to it? Why continue embracing it? Put it away.
If you need to forgive somebody, forgive, as Christ has forgiven you. Let the old grievances go or you won't have any power. There must not be found in this house. Anything that offends the cross of Jesus Christ, we must be willing to put it away.
There must not be division. There must not be racism in this house. There must not be greed in this house. There must not be anything that offends Christ in this house.
God help us to take seriously this charge. Have courage, my friend. Have courage, my brother, my sister. Have courage. Put away what needs to be put away. It means different things for different people. In some it's just age old grievances that need to be put away if you're really going to make a difference. Others, it's practices in the workplace, and you already know what that's all about. You need to put it away.
Some it's relationships. You need to put those things away. God help you. God help me to make a difference. You've been listening to Carter Conlon from Times Square Church in New York City. For more information and resources to help you in your walk in Christ, log on to tsc.nyc. That's tsc.nyc. And be sure to be with us next week for A Call to the Nation with Carter Conlon.
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