Wrestled -- Giving Up, In, and Over

Nebuchadnezzar, in the fourth year of King Jehoiakim's reign, seized Judah, the Southern Kingdom. The Babylonian king made a vassal type covenant with Judah so that Israel could stay in the land peacefully under their new foreign regime. It was Judah's new safe haven...

Jehoiakim's father, Josiah gave his life and reign to restoring God's order to the Southern Kingdom after his father, grandfather, and great grandfather lived out power and lustful fantasies, murdered and sacrificed their own people, worshiped idols, and forsook the Lord their God. There was such peace in the land during Josiah's reign. But the damage was done and the once feared people of God were now under the rule of their fiercest enemy. Yet, this was God's place of provision, safety, and keeping. King Hezekiah's and Manasseh's evil brought this upon them, ending the nation's sovereignty of Judah, hence Israel, but in God's mercy... all Jehoiakim needed to agree to was to live peacefully and be Nebuchadnezzar's servant, or vassal.

Jehoiakim agreed for three years, then, he grew tired of it and rebelled. He wanted his own regime... his own nation. He brought in the same evil as his great-grandfather, Manasseh... built his own palace... and restored "the high places", or false gods/idols that Israel and Judah were judged for so many times before.

This grieved God... He sent Uriah, the prophet, telling how Zion and Jerusalem were to be "plowed like a field" if Judah did not return to the Lord. Jehoiakim ordered Uriah to be pursued all the way to Egypt and had him killed.

The Lord's anger grew, yet, He said to Himself, "Perhaps they will listen and will turn from their ways". Jeremiah's warnings and prophecies to Jehoiakim were numerous and even the people of Judah plotted to kill Jeremiah because of them. Baruch took down Jeremiah's dictation on this prophetic scroll: "Now reform your ways and your actions and obey the Lord your God... Then the Lord will relent..." Baruch stood before the king and read the scroll. The king angrily got up and threw the scroll into the fire. Shortly, thereafter, Nebuchadnezzer and his allies plundered the land, took Judah captive back to Babylon, where the people of God were now slaves -- where once they were freed from the hand of a foreign master, their refusal and rebellion brought them back once again to bondage. (II Kings 24; Jeremiah 26 and 36)

What a place for a church service... sitting here on this white bench. The church met in the old stench of a rodeo complex for awhile now. The name grew and here I was invited and now sitting in the bleachers watching this horse move and sway back and forth with the pastor. He had on his white hat and spurs... and what was amazing was he brought he 4-year guilding to the arena on the Sunday morning. He spoke of not being sure what his horse will do... if he would kick, buck, rear his head. Curious and fidgetty, I moved in my seat to get more comfortable. He talked long about giving our hearts to God go that we can be pliable and move as He moves and do as He asks or does. I watched the horse, who stood ten feet to the preacher's left on the dirt floor. The male guilding would sway his head as his owner moved to the left and right, almost in unison.

The pastor was almost done talking and asked a curious question that would soon be answered... "I hope he gives me his heart" as he pointed to his horse. He went into prayer and thanked God for the moment, asked that the people there would willing to yield themselves to thir Lord, and then... he prayed for his horse, passionately and tears came... "And God please move on my horse to give me his heart."

He stepped over to the horse and straps in the saddle as tight as it could go and then ties in the reigns so they are not flapping around. He gently grabs the front, right leg of the guilding and curls it up under his stomach. His other hand is on the horse's breast. The pastor gently but firmly nudges and pushes on his breast... the horse pulled away. He went over and attempted again grabbing his right leg and curling it. As he begins to press on the breast of the horse in this tussle... suddenly, he gives up -- the back legs buckle to their knees. The horse jostles one more time and pushes away from his master on his front left leg that still is standing, but he cannot pull away. At his owner's pressing and bidding, the reluctant male gives in and lets his last standing leg buckle... as he rocks and slides to the ground down on his side. One last gasp of fight, he rears his head backwards while the rest of him lays prostrate. Then, the horse gives himself over to his master and lays his head down simmetrical with his body. He laid there still... in perfect peace.

The pastor gets up off his knees and addresses his congregation. With tears flowing he proclaims, "He gave me his heart."

One thing for sure in life with God... He wrestles our souls. Yield,,, perfected peace; Rebel... a life of bondage. Choose life!

Dale Watkins dale@answers2prayer.org http://momsherbs.com/Oracle

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