— Brother Phil Enlow: Praise God! Do we have a God who’s in charge? Amen. So, we see this checkered history. We see the overwhelming majority of…Abraham’s descendants who lived in unbelief, who lived in rebellion, who listened to the voices of the enemy, who served these foreign gods.
And I’ll tell you, when you serve a foreign god, when you embrace somebody who’s following him, you’re not just embracing something on the human level, are you? Remember the inspiration behind it? You were literally coming under the influence of demons. That’s what was going on.
And so, the northern kingdom of Israel fell under the power of demons, and God raised up an empire called Assyria. And He enabled them to come in and render judgment against this northern kingdom. He literally transplanted the entire population throughout the Assyrian empire, brought people in to replace them. You want to know where the Samaritans came from?
( congregation inaudible ).
Yeah. That traces some of their history. They were a mixture. But here is God allowing…God raising up the Assyrians. I know the devil did, but I know God was behind it. God said, yeah, this is your time. You do…you’re gonna carry out my will in this circumstance. Yeah, the devil may be trying to do his thing, but I’m doing My thing.
So, I am overruling, and yet, we see that very empire later on attacking Hezekiah. How many of you remember what happened there? Oh, he comes and his commander reads this letter, reads it in Hebrew so everybody on the wall can understand it. You think your God’s gonna deliver you? What do the gods of so and so….they couldn’t help them. We defeated them. All these other gods, we rose up against them and we defeated them. What makes you think…this tremendous challenge to the God of Israel.
And Hezekiah happens to have a prophet living with him in Jerusalem. Who was that? Who was the prophet? It’s Isaiah. You know, you can read this account in three different books. Isaiah records it in his book. And so, they spread this letter, and they say, Lord…Lord, help us. We know that You’re God in heaven above. You rule among the kingdoms of heaven and all of that. He says, are You gonna let them challenge You like this?
And he takes it to Isaiah, and Isaiah gives him the Word of God, and says, he won’t come in here. And you can read the lengthy prophesy about what God is gonna do. And all of a sudden, overnight, one angel goes through the Assyrian camp and 185,000 soldiers are killed. Well, the commander gets up the next morning…I guess I better go home.
( laughing ).
And I’ll tell you, there’s a God who rules, because it wasn’t long before the very emperor who made that challenge against him was in his temple worshiping his gods, and two of his sons assassinated him. You know, we’d look at that from a historical standpoint, and we’d see the intrigues and all of that. But do you see what’s going on in the spirit behind some of this?
That’s what, I believe, God wants us to understand—to understand our world. We’re gonna have to see it, not just in the human, visible dimension. We’re gonna have to see it in the spiritual dimension, as well.
And so, anyway, they went on, and of course, we see later on how Judah itself crossed that line that I mentioned awhile ago where you come to the point of no return. And Babylon was another empire that was raised up, wasn’t it? And God allowed this man named Nebuchadnezzar to rule and to reach such a pinnacle of power.
Man, everybody in the world…well now, what do you think Satan’s aim in all of this was? World domination. Every empire he raised up was meant to rule the world, and he ruled a lot of it! But God had a purpose in all of this. And there are two instances we read about. I know I’m not gonna get through all of this. That’s all right. There are two things that we remember in history that had to do with Nebuchadnezzar. What were they?
( congregation inaudible ).
Yeah. Well, okay, I guess I better tell you what I have in mind. How about the time when they made this great old image? And they made a decree that everybody either bows to my image, or they die. And there’s a furnace over there, and it wasn’t some theoretical thing. It was…there it is, it’s burning, and it’s hot. And I’m gonna get thrown in there if I don’t bow.
So, what happened? Three young Hebrew men…they were some of the ones who still believed God. You know, God preserved a remnant throughout the Old Testament. All the darkness that ruled the world in that day, God preserved that remnant. And those three men were willing to stand there and say, our God is able to save us from the fire, but even if He doesn’t, we’re not gonna bow.
Whoa! So, the Lord allowed this guy to get it really hot. And he said, I want you to make that fire seven times hotter. Tie these men up, and throw them in there. And, of course, we all remember what happened. The men who threw them in there…it was so hot, they died. The three guys that were in there, were walking around, and they weren’t alone! There was Somebody else! There was One like the Son of man walking with them. Who was that?
( congregation inaudible ).
That’s the One who later became Jesus Christ. This is the Lord Himself walking with these men in the fire. I’ll tell you, we’ve got Somebody like that today, same One. He walks with us. If that’s the way He calls us to go, He will be with us in the fire. Now, if we burn, praise God! That’s total victory, because to me, like Paul says, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (KJV). And if I live, I get to live for Him! If I die, I get to go be with Him! You can’t lose that deal.
But anyway, God had a purpose in making Himself known to the world through this. And Nebuchadnezzar had to change his tune and say, wait a minute. There’s a God In heaven.
( laughing ).
And I want everybody to know what this God just did. But God wasn’t through with Nebuchadnezzar, was He? He gave him that dream, and Daniel interpreted his dream. And it turned out to be that God wanted him to know that He rules in heaven, that He raises over it the basest of men.
It’s not a matter of, hey, I’m somebody. That’s why I’m in the position I’m in. He can take somebody who is a nobody and raise them up to a high position of authority. It’s not a matter of pride and all the values that Satan holds in his kingdom. God had a purpose in that man, at that time in history being raised up. The Devil might have thought he was pulling the strings, but God was over all, really pulling the strings.
And of course, you remember how that thing came true. He expressed all that pride, and this Babylon that I have built! And all of a sudden, his mind is gone, and he goes out and lives like an animal for a while, to the point where his fingernails grew like eagle’s claws. He had no mind. He was eating grass like an ox.
And all of a sudden, the Lord gave him his mind back, and he realized. But he didn’t just keep quiet about it, did he? He sent out a decree to all of his empire, telling about this experience, and saying that there is a God in heaven. He rules, “…in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth.” Nobody can tell Him what to do, basically. I want everybody to know about this great God.
But you know, there’s something about human kingdoms, with the inspiration behind them and the men who are deceived who are in them, that leads to an end, doesn’t it? Later on, there was another king, wasn’t there? Name was Belshazzar. So, he is having a drunken feast, and what does he decide to do, but to go and to get cups that had originally been in God’s temple in Jerusalem…bring them in, fill them with wine so they could get drunker.
And there’s a disembodied hand that begins to write something on the wall. Daniel is still there, isn’t he? This is the end of the Babylonian empire, this great empire, that surely the devil had dreams of where he was going with this. But this was the night it ended. He said, you have been, “…weighed in the balances, and…found wanting.” And that very night the Medes and the Persians came in, and another empire took over. And Satan’s dream had to be moved in a different direction.
Later on, Alexander the Great conquered everything! And oh, I’ve got…the Devil said, I’ve got my man, now, we’re going places! And he died young, and his empire was split. I mean, you see this period over and over again. Why has Satan not been able to unite the world? Because God is on His throne!
( congregational amens ).
God had in mind a kingdom that was going to supplant every other kingdom, and His kingdom was gonna last forever. And so, in the very midst of prophesies that were against nations, this nation’s gonna rise up and defeat this one. You’ve done my will in this, but now, you’re so full of sin, I’m gonna judge you. And Israel, you’re in such a mess that I’m gonna send judgment to you because of your sins.
But in the midst of this, you read the great prophesies of Isaiah. There’s a kingdom coming. There’s a king. Oh, it won’t always be like this. I’ve got a plan. I’ve got something that’s unfolding, and it’s for everybody that will listen and open their hearts to Me. I’ve got something I’m doing in all of this.
Don’t you get dismayed by looking at the condition of the world. Don’t you be like Elijah when he was on Mt. Sinai or Horeb, as they called it. And he said, oh, Lord, now take away my life. I’m not better than my fathers. Boo hoo.
( laughing ).
I’m the only one left. I might as well die and get it over with. The Lord didn’t pay any attention, did He? He said, I want you to go and anoint somebody over Assyria. I’ll tell you, the Israeli prophets…people knew who they were. In heathen countries, they knew these people were men of God, and they had real power. He goes and anoints a heathen man to be a king over a heathen empire!
And after he tells him several things to do, he says, and by the way, I’ve got 7,000 people who have never bowed the knee to Baal. We’ve got a God who knows how to preserve His people in the darkness of this world. Now the question is, are we His people? Because He is faithful.
Oh, I’ll tell you, there’s something that’s…all of this, you see, is leading up to what we read in the beginning. There was a great battle that was fought. There was a victory that was won, and that victory is what we walk in today. And it foreshadows something that’s gonna go on into eternity.
But all these years, there was this darkness. Do you remember what Isaiah prophesied was gonna be the condition when Christ came? “…Behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.”
Who was he talking to? He was talking to the remnant of His people, those that He had preserved through all of this. He’s saying, there’s a kingdom coming. It’s gonna come at the point where it looks like everything is black. There’s no hope. Rome is gonna be in power. There’s gonna be…the devil is gonna look like he’s in charge, but don’t worry. My plan is gonna come to pass at exactly the right time.
But I’ll tell you, we’ve got a God who knows what He’s doing, and He’s got a plan He’s working out. I’m so glad. I want to be a part of it right now. But you know, it helps me to be able to look back to the beginning, and I see the inspiration behind the world.
I see what he’s been trying to do. I see the spirit of the world that has been expressed in this…these appeals to the flesh and pride and all of that. I see why he holds the power that he does, and I see the condition of the world. I see his purpose, that he’s sort of tipped his hand to where he was going…the union of men under his authority and how God has continually gotten in the way of that and hindered it.
There’s no empire that’s ever been able to come together. I believe there’s gonna be one. It’ll be at the end…it’ll be right at the end. I don’t know how or when, exactly how the Lord’s gonna do it, but that’s what’s coming. But I’ll tell you, I see a God who is absolutely working out His purpose in the very face of what the enemy was doing.
And those are some of the lessons of this…that we serve a sovereign God, don’t we? We serve a God, as He revealed to Nebuchadnezzar, He does what He pleases! Nobody tells Him what to do! I don’t care what the devil does, he has no chance of succeeding.
And God hid all of His purposes in the words of the Old Testament. I’ll tell you, if you try to unravel that with natural understanding, you’ll mess up. But if we see it with the eyes of revelation looking back, we can see in those words, things the devil himself was not allowed to understand. Because the Word tells us if he had understood, if the powers of this world had understood, they wouldn’t have crucified the Lord of glory. They were so deceived by their own blindness, willful blindness, and wickedness, but God turned it right around and used them.
But I’ll tell you, we see again the thing that I’ve mentioned before. There is always a remnant! God always has a people! At the very moment when it looks like, it will look like Satan has won and the Devil has taken over, and he has a world society that’s about the snuff out the last of church, God is still gonna have a people when He comes. Those people will be transformed in a moment, in the blink of an eye. They will rise to meet their Lord in the air. I’ll tell you, we’ve got Somebody’s who is in charge.
There’s another thing I see, though…over and over and over again, God’s mercy and His patience in working out stuff for all His purposes. How many perfect people were there in the Old Testament? Zero! In fact, we see a lot of flaws in them. We see them doing all kinds of things and yet, we see God faithful to His purpose. We see God using flawed people.
Does that give you any hope today? Yeah. God is looking for a heart that wants Him, not perfection of performance. That doesn’t mean we’re careless and don’t care, but it does mean that, Lord, at my worst, I can look to Him. I can know there’s Somebody who’s faithful.
He didn’t call me because I’m who I am and what I can do. He called me because I needed Him, and He loved me, and He had a purpose laid out for me before the world ever started. Praise God! That puts us every one on exactly the same level!
And God’s promise, also…the thing that He reveals, it won’t always be this way. Over and over again, that’s the message of the prophets. He was speaking to people that looked…many of the people that Isaiah prophesied to were living under a wicked, wicked, wicked ruler, Manasseh. He reigned for over 50 years. I think it’s 55, something like that.
And he was more wicked than the people they had defeated to take the land. And here he was, ruling over the people who were supposed to be God’s people! And here’s Isaiah prophesying, there are glorious things coming! And they’re having to live in the reality of what was going on.
We’re having to live in a world where if you go by the news, it’s pretty black, and it’s getting blacker by the day. But I’ll tell you, if you can see past the news and understand what God’s doing, I’ll tell you, there’s a foundation for hope and faith and trust. That’s what God is looking for, for every one of us.
You look at the heroes of faith in the Old Testament. That don’t have what we have! That can’t look back to the cross! All they could do was hear the promises of God. I’ve got a kingdom. I’ve got a city. I’ve got a rule. I’ve got Somebody that’s coming. There’s a king coming. Just wait for it. Be patient. Stand in the face of this darkness! And they did, didn’t they?
And I’ll tell you, God has held them up as an example of people of what He’s looking for from every single one of us. Just stand. Keep your eyes on God who’s working out an eternal purpose in all of human history. Understand that the devil is the real power behind the nations of this world.
You know, I’ve mentioned several times, we mentioned Babel. And I mentioned several times that the government building of the European Union is housed in a building that is built as a model…built from a painting, is modeled after a painting of the Tower of Babel.
I mean, do they have a clue? Do you see the spirit that’s behind all of this? It’s just right out in your face. Every day, the spirit of this…of Satan is just taking over more and more minds in this world.
And all we can do is look to God and believe that every one that He has chosen, every one that the Father has given Him will come. We are part of a kingdom that cannot be defeated. And we need to have the same kind of faith that the saints of old, who had to live in the world they lived in…watched all the terrible battles, the rise and fall of empires, the people who were supposedly the people of God practicing idolatry, and they’re sitting there.
God…the temptation would be to say, God, I don’t get it. What’s going on? But yet, God enabled a people to have a faith that could see past that.
I’m gonna just read from one scripture that…I thought about this, and then I went back last night, and I read the scriptures that were lined out for the day, and one of them was this passage in Psalm 46. What an expression this is of the faith of those in the Old Testament. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” (NIV).
Do we have a foundation for being fearless servants, or is that just sort of human bravado? We’ve got a promise of a holy God who is in charge. And I’ll tell you, I want to put my…I want stake everything on who He is and what He’s planning.
“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.” Listen to this one, because this is a view of the Old Testament history. “Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.”
I mean, think of what He said to Isaiah. All, “…the nations are like a drop in a bucket…” or a little bit of dust on some scales. I’m thankful for many things about the country we live in, but do you know it is in God’s eyes? It’s a little speck of dust on the scales.
( blowing ).
My hope is not here. My hope is in the kingdom that He began through Jesus Christ. “He lifts his voice, the earth melts. The Lord almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire. Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
Those words were written before the cross ever came. They were written by people who had such an encounter with God, He was so real, that even though they could see the nations of the world, even though they understood the demonic powers that were involved, they said there is Somebody above that. He’s the One I’m serving. I rest my hope in Him.
That’s what we need to do today. And I just pray. I just put this in the Lord’s hands, and there’s a lot more that I believe we can unfold from some of this, but…praise God! Don’t we have something to rejoice about today? We’ve got a God who is on the throne, and we have every reason to be fearless servants. Praise God!